Delhi, Haryana asked to give Mirchpur witnesses security

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 15:00 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Delhi and Haryana governments to provide security and travel facilities to the witnesses of the Mirchpur violence case till their testimonies are recorded.

The court also asked the principal secretaries of the two states' home departments to hold discussions Feb 17 on providing comfort to the witnesses while they are on their way to record their statements.

Justice Hima Kohli, in an order, made it clear that in case the senior officers fail to comply with the court's direction, they would have to appear in person to explain the reasons for delay before the Delhi district court Feb 19.

Justice Kohli, hearing a petition of the Delhi government for permission to provide security to the witnesses in the capital, said: 'Both the governments should sit together and chart out a plan on security of the witnesses who have to appear before a Delhi court to record statements.'

The court imposed a restraint on the appearance of the Delhi principal secretary or secretary of the home department before the city court Feb 17 in the Mirchpur riots case.

City court Special Judge (Scheduled Castes-Scheduled Tribes Act) Kamini Lau earlier had asked either of them to appear before it Feb 17 in the case.

The city court had earlier ordered for deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Mirchpur village, preferably around the Balmiki Basti where the violence and killing occurred, and that they should continue till the witnesses are examined.

The Supreme Court had earlier directed that the Mirchpur violence case be transferred to the special court here from a Haryana court to ensure a free and fair trial.

Following this, 97 accused were transferred to Tihar from a Hissar district jail.

Of the 103 accused, five are juveniles and one has been freed on bail.

A Dalit man and his physically-challenged daughter were burnt alive April 21, 2010, in arson and violence against the community allegedly by a mob of over 100 upper caste people, forcing about 150 families to flee Mirchpur village in Hissar district.

Jat agitators later launched an agitation against the arrest of 98 people from their community allegedly involved in the riots and arson, blocking trains in Hissar district.