The local police on Sunday arrested eight persons and booked 18 of Madina village of the district after two members of the Dalit community were shot dead here on Saturday.
“On the basis of the complaint of Sansar Kumar, father of Sudhir, one of the victims, we have arrested eight persons, excluding the main accused, Mandeep and Bhumi,” said Sumit Kumar, deputy superintendent of police (DSP).
A case under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and SC/ST Act has been registered.
Meanwhile, members of the Dalit community blocked the national highway 10 for around two hours on Sunday morning. Later, they also reached the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) to take possession of the bodies of Sudhir, 10, and Vikram, 22, who were allegedly murdered by three motor-cycle borne youths of an upper caste.
After raising slogans outside the hospital, the protesters took the bodies to chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's residence at Model Town and demanded immediate arrest of perpetrators.
To prevent any untoward incident, heavy police force was deployed outside the chief minister's residence and inspector general of police (IGP) Anil Rao reached the spot. Later, deputy commissioner Vikas Gupta also reached the spot to placate the protesters.
Thereafter, Rao issued directions to set up a police chowki at the village to safeguard the community and prevent the incident from taking a caste hue.
Notably, tension gripped the village after three motorcycle-borne youths - Mandeep, Bhumi and one unidentified man - shot dead two members of the Dalit community on Saturday evening.
Ten-year-old Sudhir died on the spot, while Vikram and Sandeep (in early 20s) were rushed to the PGIMS where Vikram was declared brought dead.
Genesis of the issue
A fight had broken out between a few Dalits and members of an upper caste on July 15 last year. Thereafter, a case was registered by the Meham police against both the parties based on the allegations and counter allegations under the charges of criminal intimidation and physical assault.
Meham DSP Pritivi Singh said: “Both the cases are under investigation and probe in being conducted.” Sources said Mandeep, one of the accused allegedly involved in the double murder, used to stalk a Dalit girl. Though he was warned several times, nothing could deter him. In July last year, some Dalits had allegedly overpowered and trashed him after making him drink liquor.
Enraged, the upper-caste members grouped together and filed a complaint. Meanwhile, Dalits also filed a counter complaint against Mandeep and got a case registered under the SC/ST Act. Mandeep allegedly harbored a grudge against the three victims - Sudhir, Vikram and Sandeep - who had allegedly thrashed him.
While protesters staged a dharna outside the chief minister's residence, commuters bore the brunt.
Police force, though present in large number, didn't navigate the motorists to take a circumvent route to prevent unnecessary hassle owing to gravity of the situation. Unmindful of the road blockade, a motorcyclist tried to pass the road but was assaulted by the protesters. Various women on two-wheelers were chased away by the protesters, while police personnel remained stationed at a safe distance.