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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
India dalits protest arson attack
Police disperse a demonstrator in Amritsar in Punjab state
Protestors damaged four buses during protests in Amritsar
Lower-caste Hindus, or dalits, have demanded a federal inquiry into the burning of more than 50 dalit homes in the Indian state of Haryana.

The houses in Gohana village were burnt by members of the upper-caste Jat community on Wednesday.

The Jats said they were protesting at "police inaction" over the alleged murder of a member of their community.

Several thousand dalits met in Delhi on Monday in protest and also demanded increased security in the village.

The dalits say that they want an "honourable homecoming" for those whose houses were burnt down last week.

Convenor of the dalit panchayat (dalit council) in Delhi, Darshan Ratna Ravan, told the BBC that if the dalits did not get justice they would take further action.

Self-confidence

A strike call by several dalit organisations was observed in some places in Haryana and neighbouring Punjab state.

In Amritsar protesters damaged four state buses while trying to force a closure of shops and businesses.

But Haryana remained largely peaceful, possibly because of an increased police presence, the BBC's Asit Jolly in Chandigarh says.

Observers say clashes between dalits and upper caste Hindus have been reported more frequently in recent years because of the increasing self-confidence of dalit groups.




SEE ALSO:
Men held over 'caste gang-rape'
10 Jul 04 |  South Asia
Mayawati: Dalit firebrand
03 May 02 |  South Asia
Rise of the untouchables
20 Feb 02 |  South Asia
Activist urges action over Dalits
26 Aug 01 |  South Asia


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