CPI (ML) Enquiry Team Report on Saharanpur Incident

During the communal tension which erupted on 20 April in Sadak Dudhli village (Saharanpur) in connection with taking out an Ambedkar procession without permission, members of the BJP, which is nowadays claiming to be followers of Ambedkar, perpetrated a brutal attack on Ambedkarites at Shabbirpur village, causing great outrage and anger among dalits in Saharanpur and all over the country. The administration acknowledges that after this incident, condition in 90 villages is not normal. Even after days of the incident, the leaders of the attack including Nakli Rana, local RSS shakha sanchalak Satender Singh Amarpal Singh had not been arrested.

A team from the CPI (ML) led by Afroz Alam had visited Shabbirpur village and met the injured at the Saharanpur District Hospital after the incident.

The team discovered that even on earlier occasions, there was antagonism between the dalits and Thakurs in Shabbirpur village. The dalits wanted to put up a statue of Ambedkar on a 6 ft platform in the village Ravidas temple (Ravidas himself being from the dalit community) but the Thakurs opposed this and did not allow the putting up of the statue. Further, they did not allow the Ambedkar procession to be taken out last month on the pretext that permission for this had not been granted. After this when the Thakurs announced that they would take out a Maharana Pratap procession on 5 May, the dalits opposed this on the same pretext that this procession too did not have an administrative permission. It is to be noted that Shiv Kumar, a dalit, had won the elections to the post of village Pradhan even though it was a general seat and not a reserved one.

On the occasion of Maharana Pratap Jayanti permission had been taken for a programme at Maharana Pratap Memorial Inter College in Shimlana, 5 km from Shabbirpur.  Thakurs from different parts of the region who were going to participate in this programme were taking out a Maharana Pratap procession en route to the College venue, whereas they did not have permission for this procession. Suresh Rana, a Minister in the UP cabinet along with BJP MLAs from Saharanpur and other places were gathering for the Shimlana programme. In a way, the Shimlana programme was a ruling party BJP programme. When the Thakurs who had reached Shimlana got the news of the clash with dalits in Shabbirpur, they converged on the village Shabbirpur in a mob of thousands. They attacked the dalit basti in the village and burnt and destroyed 56 dalit homes, burnt 11 motor cycles and two hand carts, looted money and ornaments, and misbehaved with women.

The leader of the attackers was BJP leader and District Panchayat member Nakli Rana. The question is, when the attack on the dalit basti was perpetrated by a crowd which had gathered to attend a programme in which a BJP Minister and several MLAs were participating, is it possible that this attack could have been done without the consent of the BJP leaders?

The enquiry team found that other than the one person who died in the clash, the 20 injured who were admitted in the District Hospital are all dalits and all have received sword injuries. One of the injured Satya Kumar, who is the village Pradhan’s son, is critical. Other than the dalits, houses belonging to one Balmiki family ad one dheemar family were also destroyed in the attack. No Thakur home has been destroyed. The dalits were only acting in self-defence. The Ravidas idol in the Ravidas temple was broken. The dalits allege that the idol was also urinated upon.

The enquiry team feels that after Yogi became the Chief Minister the morale of feudal forces is on a high and this attack was carried out under ruling party protection in order to ‘teach a lesson to the dalits’. The Maharana Pratap procession was only a pretext for the attack on the dalits.

The enquiry team has put forward the following demands:

    1. The Yogi government should stop protecting dominant feudal forces and take action against and arrest the guilty in the Sadak Dudhli incident during which the attackers attacked even the house of an SP.

    2. A judicial enquiry should be conducted into the Shabbirpur incident.

    3. The dalits should be given compensation for the destruction of their property and they should not be slapped with false cases against them.

    4. The family of the dead victim should be given a compensation of Rs 15 lakhs and the manner and place of his death should be investigated.

    5. Strict action should be taken against the police personnel and officers who stood with the attackers instead of stopping them.

The enquiry team was comprised of Uttar Pradesh Party in-charge Com Afroz Alam, Saharanpur District in-charge Com Bholaram Maurya, and Com Chunnilal.

The CPI(ML) Uttar Preadesh organized a statewide protest day on 15 May against attacks on dalits in Saharanpur. Programmes were held at different places on the day including in capital Lucknow, Kanpur, Mau and other towns.