Violence between Gujjars and Jatavs escalated in Kanawani village on Monday, a day after a 22-year-old was shot dead over a disputed land.
Rahul Kasana was shot after negotiations over the disputed land between the two communities failed, triggering a violent reaction from family and friends of the Gujjar youth, in which a dozen people were injured and properties ransacked.
Police forces from Ghaziabad, Greater Noida and the PAC had to be called in to bring the angry mob under control. The police had stopped an attempt to attack Ram Krishna Institute, where many children of the Dalit families study.
On Monday night, around 50 people from Gujjar community allegedly started firing at houses of Dalits.
They brought two earthmovers and uprooted electric posts near the house of a Dalit family. Siddharth Public School owned by Subhash Chand Siddharth, a Dalit, was demolished.
The police had registered an FIR against 18 people, including Siddharth, on a complaint by the Gujjar community on Monday.
Kanawani is in Ghaziabad but falls under the jurisdiction of Sector 58 police station in bordering Noida.
Dalit residents said their SOS calls fell on deaf year as the police reached the spot but remained mere spectators to the violence.
When the police arrived, the rioters fled, leaving the earthmover behind but they made no attempt to nab the rioters.
“Police are shielding Gujjars and targeting Dalits. The situation is no different from Muzaffarnagar riots. Almost 50 Dalilt families have left the village as Gujjars have threatened to kill us,” said a man on condition of anonymity, as he left the village along with his family in a tractor.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police, Meerut zone, said strict action would be taken against people from both the communities.
“We will book all the accused from both the communities under National Security Act. I have ordered to deploy round-the-clock force in the village. We have seized the earthmover which was used to demolish the school building and have arrested two more people for violence,” said Alok Sharma, IG Meerut Zone.
“It is under my notice that people have migrated from the village and there are many rumors which are making round so for confidence building senior police officer will camp at the village and regular announcement will be made to maintain peace and to cooperate with police,” said Sharma.