What began as a kabaddi tournament to promote inter-caste unity in Gurgaon ended in violence after a Dalit team started outperforming a team of Yadavs. The latter allegedly assaulted the Dalits, threatened them with country-made guns and hurled derogatory abuses before police arrived. In the violence that unfolded, over 10 people were injured, the most serious injuries being an arm fracture sustained by 24-year-old Yogender, and a head injury sustained by 32-year-old Vijender.
Both of them are recovering at Uma Sanjeevani Hospital in Gurgaon. An FIR has been lodged at Sector 29 police station against eight members of the Yadav community after they allegedly assaulted members of the Dalit team during the “friendly” kabaddi tournament in Gurgaon’s Chakkarpur village Monday, said police.
The tournament involved a competition between teams from various villages and castes, including Dalits, Yadavs, Jats, Gurjars, Banias, and Agrawals, among others. It was held at the Government Senior Secondary School in the village and over 30 teams from across Delhi-NCR participated.
“The Yadav team was actually from Sikandarpur, but members of the Yadav caste from our village… were also supporting them. During the match, when it looked like we were going to win, the Yadavs from our village got angry and became violent, and other participants and spectators from their caste also got involved,” said Bitto Singh, a member of the Dalit team. “They hit our players, and even people who intervened got beaten up. They also hurled caste abuses at us and fired shots in the air from their desi kattas to scare us,” he added.
After the shots were allegedly fired, people started fleeing the scene, said a local hawker. “We were standing outside and selling food to the spectators when people started running… they said someone had fired shots, so we also ran… ,” he said. A complaint has been filed at the Sector 29 police station under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (offence by member of unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as sections 25, 54, and 59 of the Arms Act, and sections 3, 33 and 89 of the SC/ST Act.
“No arrests have been made yet. The matter is being investigated,”said ASI Kanwar Singh. Dalit residents of the village claimed that such clashes between members of the lower caste and Yadavs are not uncommon in the area. However, local MCG councillor Sunil Yadav claimed the tournament had led to the altercation and caste had nothing to do with it. “The competition was organised by the residents of the village… It had nothing to do with caste. If there were teams with members from only one caste, that’s just coincidence,” he said.
Yadav added, “The argument happened like it does in any game played by youngsters, and it just went a little overboard. Some people may try to give it a caste angle but there is nothing like that. This is a peaceful village and will continue to be one.”