Chandigarh, Apr 5 (PTI) The Haryana government will rehabilitate 254 Dalit families who had migrated after two people were burnt alive in inter-caste violence at the Mirchpur village of Hisar district eight years ago, state minister Krishan Kumar Bedi said today.

The Manohar Lal Khattar government’s announcement comes days after several Dalit groups taking to the street in violent protests across the country against an alleged dilution of the SC/AT (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and opposition parties trying to tap the anger to corner the ruling BJP.

Bedi said Khattar had on January 1, 2017 itself decided to rehabilitate these families.

“On the initiatives of the Chief Minister, this decision has been arrived at. The tragic Mirchpur incident happened on April 21, 2010 and the victim families were forced to migrate to other places and to wander for eight years due to negligence of the then Congress government,” Bedi said.

They would be settled on an eight-acre plot of land at Dhandoor village in Hisar district from June 1, he said, after meeting with a delegation of Mirchpur villagers here today.

A group of villagers belonging to upper caste had allegedly torched over a dozen houses belonging to Dalits on April 21, 2010 in Mirchpur, in which 17-year-old polio-stricken girl Suman and her aged father Tara Chand were charred to death.

The trigger for the mayhem was said to be a dispute between upper caste men and a Dalit man over a barking dog.

The delegation had called on him to express their gratitude for deciding to rehabilitate the families which had migrated from Mirchpur to Hisar, an official release said.

Financial assistance for construction of houses would also be given to the 254 families under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Bedi said.

He said the families belonging to the Dalit community migrated to Hisar, and they would be rehabilitated on about eight acres of land at village Dhandoor from June 1 onwards.

“The government had given them the option of choosing between Municipal Corporation, Hisar, Municipal Committee, Barwala, Uklana and Municipal Council, Hansi. But they expressed their desire to settle at Dhandhoor,” he said.

Bedi said that Mirchpur incident had become a national issue during the regime of previous government.

“But unfortunately victim families were left in lurch due to lack of willpower of the previous regime,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.