'Won't allow arrests of Jats'

Khaps of Muzaffarnagar claim police filed false cases

Riot torn Muzaffarnagar district appears to be headed for yet another bout of tension after the powerful khap (caste panchayat) leaders warned the Uttar Pradesh government against what they termed persecution of Jat community and arrest of youths on trumped up charges.

The khap leaders, who had held a meeting at Fugana village in Muzaffarnagar district on Wednesday, made it clear that they will not allow arrest of any youth of the community ‘come what may’ and would oppose their ‘persecution’ peacefully.
Senior leader of the khap, Baba Harikishan Singh Malik has written to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav apprising him about the decision and has sought his intervention in the matter.

He said cases had been registered against 7,000 people at different police stations in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts in connection with the September riots.
“While a large number of cases are against unidentified people, as many as 4,000 people had been named in the cases,” he added. The cases pertained to murders, rapes and looting.

The leader claimed that a majority of cases had been lodged by the alleged riot victims only to ‘claim compensation’ from the government.
“We have been telling the officers that the cases are false and asking them to investigate them thoroughly before taking any action but they have been effecting arrests,” he said.

“Our youths are scared. Their future is at stake. The farmers are also scared and are not even going to their fields,” Malik alleged.

The meeting was held at Fugana and was attended by leaders of 35 caste panchayats from different villages in the district.

 “We have decided not to allow police to enter the villages,” the leader said.

He added that another meeting of the khap leaders drawn from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan will be held on February 9 to chalk out a nationwide agitation plan against the ‘persecution’.

The Special Investigation Team, constituted by Uttar Pradesh government to probe into last year’s Muzaffarnagar riots, had sent a list of 22 accused in five gang rape cases to the local police asking them to make the arrests.

The arrest of one of the accused Vedpal on January 24 had triggered protests by locals and Khap members.

Police had met with resistance from irate locals when it had gone to the village to arrest the accused.

Over 60 persons were killed and more than 40,000 people displaced in communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in September last year.

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