Railway traffic on the Jind-Jakhal section of the Delhi-Ferozepur route was disrupted after residents of Mirchpur village in adjoining Hisar district began an indefinite dharna on the railway tracks to demand a fresh probe into the killing of two Dalits in April last year, after which around 100 members of an upper caste community were booked.
Police personnel have been deployed in strength to maintain peace in view of the dharna by members of the Jat community on both the railway tracks on a distance of about 1 km leading to the Jind Junction station.
The protesters, including a large number of women from Mirchpur and adjoining villages, raised slogans against the Central government.
Meanwhile, according to a report from Hisar, tension prevailed in Mirchpur village after the 98 accused of the upper community were sent from the district prison to Tihar Jail.
Following the direction of a Delhi court, the district police had produced all the inmates before it on Friday, who sent them to Tihar Jail till the next hearing.
Members of the Jat community, who were on an indefinite dharna in Mirchpur village for the last nine days, expressed their resentment and burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda yesterday as news about the court's decision to lodge all the inmates in Tihar Jail reached them.
The irate villagers also raised slogans against the state government and Congress party leaders, the report from Hisar said, adding, leaders of khaps or community panchayats criticised the state government for what they termed as complete betrayal.
According to a report from Jind, railway traffic on the Delhi-Ferozepur section has been disrupted due to the dharna, the call for which was recently issued by a Jat Mahapanchayat of 42 khaps demanding a fresh probe into the Mirchpur incident, including booking of members of their community.
The protesters announced at the site that their dharna would be peaceful and they would not indulge in any violent activities such as uprooting of the railway track. The dharna would continue till the acceptance of their demands, a spokesman of the protesters told reporters at the site.
Reports said that five to seven Dalit families have fled Mirchpur village fearing that they would be again attacked.
However, Superintendent of Police, Hisar, Hanief Qureshi denied that any Dalit family had left the village where additional police personnel have been deployed.
Railway sources said that some local trains, including the Jind-Kurukshetra passenger, have been cancelled while several long-distance trains have been diverted via other routes, including Jakhal.
The Mahapanchayat has also asked its members not to give any statements as a committee would be formed soon to spearhead the agitation.
Though the Mirchpur village falls in Hisar district, the protesters have commenced their protest dharna in Jind district as their village is only 15 km from Jind.
A Delhi court, on January 9, had directed the Haryana government to move all the 98 accused from Hisar jail to a prison in the national capital following the transfer of their trial in the case relating to the attack on Dalits allegedly by members of the upper caste Jat community in Mirchpur village in April last year.
The direction was made in view of the fact that the case related to the killing of 70-year-old Dalit Tara Chand and his 17-year-old polio-stricken daughter Suman, allegedly by a mob, was transferred to a special court in Delhi designated under the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act by an order of the Supreme Court on December 9 last year.
The protesters have opposed the shifting of the trial of the case to a court at Rohini in New Delhi and lodging of the accused in a prison in the national capital and demanded that the probe should be held either at Rohtak or Hisar and the accused should be lodged in either of the two jails.
The trial was shifted to a Rohini court recently after the aggrieved party had approached the Supreme Court claiming that a fair trial was not possible within the state.
A Dalit, Tara Chand and his polio-stricken daughter were killed when their house was set afire on April 21 last year in Mirchpur district after which 98 members of the Jat community were booked.