A Dalit family of four, including two children, was set afire inside their house allegedly by members of the Rajput community in Sun Perh village in Ballabgarh, Faridabad district of Haryana, early on Tuesday.
While Vaibhav (2 years) and Divya (10 months) died before reaching the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, their mother Rekha (22) was admitted to the ICU with serious burns.
Rekha’s husband, Jitender (26), a medical attendant at a hospital, escaped with minor burns on his hands.
The police have booked 11 persons in the case and arrested three so far. “A case has been registered under the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against 11 persons and three — Balwant, Dharam Singh and Kartar — have been arrested,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (Prithla) Vishnu Dayal.
The attack on the Dalit family has its history in the murder of three persons of the Rajput community on October 5 last year following an altercation over a mobile phone. Twelve members of Jitender’s family were named in the case and are currently in jail.
Two weeks ago, the accused had allegedly threatened Jitender’s family with dire consequences if they did not leave the village. Jitender, who has been given police protection since October last year, said he had informed the local police about the threat, but no action was taken.
“The Rajputs had threatened my wife of dire consequences. We gave a written complaint to the Station House Officer, Sadar police station, Ballabgarh, on October 6, but the police did not take cognizance of it. Had they taken our complaint seriously, the lives of my children could have been saved,” said Jitender, demanding action against the police for their inaction.
Recalling the attack, Jitender said he, his wife and two children were sleeping on a bed near a window that was kept open. The other members of the family had gone to attend a jagran, a religious function, in the neighbourhood. “Around 3 a.m., a few men poured petrol on us from the window. I felt some liquid on my hands and got up. It was dark in the room. Even before I could figure out anything, somebody threw a lighted match stick inside and we were engulfed in flames,” said Jitender.
The three policemen in-charge of Jitender family’s security were at the jagran when the incident took place. All three — constables Bali Mohamad, Vikas and Sandeep — have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
Inspector Anil Kumar, Officer-In-charge of Sadar police station, has also been suspended for not taking action on Jitender’s compliant.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced Rs.10 lakh to Jitender’s family.