|12 powerful men from the 'upper caste' burnt down the houses of 4 Dalit families, our Community Correspondent Reena Devi reports from Maha Dalit Tola area of Chitauria Village in Katihar, Bihar.
The conflict arose because the attackers had been trying to forcefully evict the residents. A meeting date was negotiated between both the parties to settle the issue. Instead, 12 men arrived at the spot on the 7th of April, 2 days early, taking the residents by surprise. After beating up and abusing several individuals, they set fire to 4 houses. As if that wasn't enough, the attackers stole 5 the bicycles from the community. Local police officers prevented the families' initial attempts to file a First Information Report with the local police. It was finally registered after orders from the District Magistrate.
Speaking to Ajit Bahadur, Video Volunteers' State Coordinator in Bihar, we found that there has been no change in the situation even after 7 months. While 1 of the 12 accused was arrested, the rest of the 11 attackers roam free in the village. They have issued threats against the community to take back the F.I.R. or be killed. Threatened and abused once already, the community is now afraid to even leave their makeshift homes. The situation has left a lasting repercussion on their lives- hunger, exacerbated poverty and a lack of employment opportunities.
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