New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday asked legal experts and social scientists to explore the possibilities if Dalit victims of Mirchpur Village violence in Haryana could be brought back and resettled in their native place.
The court's observation followed the state government's statement that it would provide food grain and employment to the Dalit victims from Hisar district.
An apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice V. Gopala Gowda asked the president of the Hisar District Legal Aid Committee and representatives of Tata Institute of Social Sciences to explored the possibilities if the displaced victims could be brought back to the village or suggest other alternative options.
"We consider appropriate to request the Hisar Legal Aid Committee and the nominee of the director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences to conduct joint inspection with the assistance of other officers of the district to suggest available solutions," the court said.
Dalit settlements were targeted and torched by the members of dominant case April 21, 2010 in which a 70-year-old man his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter were killed.
The court's order to explore the possibilities of bringing back the displaced Dalits came after Haryana's Additional Advocate General Manjit Singh Dalal told the court that "resettling them outside Mirchpur was not possible".
The court said that those members of the victim families who need employment should approach the competent authority for employment under the rural job scheme.
"They are not coming" as they had found employment, Dalal told the court.
As senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for victim petitioners, told the court that they were scared of going back to their village fearing a backlash, the court said that things will change only with awareness and change of mindset.
Pointing to incidents of violence against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh, the court said "it takes a lot of time before reforms come".
Pointing to the national statistics of violence against Dalits, the court said: "Obviously the bias is across the country. Unless the mindset changes, how does it help...society must change."
"In a large country like ours it takes time. There is no other country where such caste based crimes takes place."
Justice Singhvi referred to the growing awareness on women empowerment. "There is awareness about women. Their participation is increasing. It is more in urban areas but with passage of time it will come there (rural areas) also."
The court asked Northern Railway to submit their claim for damages before the claim commissioner appointed by the Haryana government on the losses it suffered on account of an agitation and damage to its property.
The judges said the railway would file their claim for damages within two weeks and claim commissioner would decide it in four weeks.
The judges asked the railways to file their claim for damages before the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary, if there was no claim commissioner, for the losses it suffered in railway blockage by members of particular community.