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Violence against Dalits: There is a discernible pattern to this madness

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports a 44 per cent increase in violence against Dalits, up from 32,712 in 2010 to 47,064 crimes in 2014.

Written by Annie Namala | Updated: July 23, 2016 2:03 pm
gujarat, dalit thrashed, cow skinning, gujarat dalit beating, gujarat dalit case, uttar pradesh elections 2017, dead cow skinning, bjp, bjp elections, mayawati remark, mayawati prostitutem dayashankar singj, indian express news, india news The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports a 44 per cent increase in violence against Dalits, up from 32,712 in 2010 to 47,064 crimes in 2014.

In Gujarat, Gau Rakshaks attacked seven Dalit youths with rods and knives on July 11, where they were stripped and beaten for almost two hours. The father of the youth intervened and he was beaten up, too . Further, they were tied to an SUV vehicle and paraded. Their crime – they were skinning a cow.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports a 44 per cent increase in violence against Dalits, up from 32,712 in 2010 to 47,064 crimes in 2014. The heinous nature of these crimes is beyond imagination – a Dalit women was brutally raped and murdered in Kerala in April, another was raped and murdered, and dumped in a water tank in Rajasthan in March, two children were burnt to death in Faridabad in 2015 and two girls were raped, murdered and hung up on a tree in Badaun in 2014.

Atrocities against Dalits haven’t stopped even after the July 11 incident, despite the ongoing protests. The violence continues in July — a 14-year-old minor girl visiting her grandparents was raped and mutilated in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. On July 17, a college-going Dalit girl was gangraped again by the same men who were arrested for the crime in 2013.

Not just violence, other means are also being employed to trample the rights of Dalits. Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula was driven to suicide by harassing him over non-payment of college fees. The UGC fellowship was cut down and so was the budget for the release and rehabilitation of manual scavengers. While the government and political parties paid rich tributes to Balasaheb on his 125th birth anniversary, his office in Dadar was razed without permission from his grandson.

READ: Four more Dalits attempt suicide in Gujarat

The growing violence against Dalits follow a clear pattern. These incidents are directed towards reminding Dalits about their status in the caste-based social structure, and ensuring that they remain there. These atrocities are committed to ensure that Dalits live a life of indignity, humiliation and exclusion from the mainstream society; so that they continue to provide the caste-based services ‘so essential for society’ and remain at the bottom-rung without access to higher education and entrepreneurship.

What can explain the continuing practice of manual scavenging and bonded labour despite legislation against them?

READ: Gau rakshak samiti blames Shiv Sena for Una incident

The ‘dominant civil society’ had always arrogated itself the right to decide the fate of the Dalit community through its caste sanctions. The larger civil society does not consider it necessary to intervene when Dalits are murdered in broad daylight, publicly beaten, paraded naked and raped. The administration and policymakers provide the added support to the system with impunity. The police have also been implicated in supporting and colluding in the violence. Even in Una, the use of police lathis by Gau Rakshaks to beat the Dalit youths serves as an example.

According to Wilson Bezawada, the convener for Safai Karmachari Andolan, the violence that has sporadically spread across Gujarat shows the “deep grievances” that the community has been facing. One wonders who will take action when senior administrative officers label these men as just “lumpen elements who have taken the law into their own hands” and that the “self-styled Gau Rakshaks are hooligans”.

The response of about a dozen youth attempting suicide in protest against the Una incident also reflects the abject lack of faith in the system. They once again reflect what Rohith Vemula did. “The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. Never was a man treated as a mind” – as a glorious thing made of the stardust”. Even as India hopes to achieve its rightful global status through empowering its youth, it is important to ensure that Dalits live with freedom and dignity.

The Constitutional rights and entitlements of the Dalit community need no illustration. Babasaheb’s leadership ensured that adequate rights and provisions were included for eliminating untouchability, providing protection, promoting education and economic development, and the right to participate in the political process of the country. It is important that these provisions are implemented and the caste-based disadvantages are addressed through equitable and inclusive social justice measures.

Namala is Director, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion. Views expressed are personal.

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  1. Ciril J Thundiyil
    May 14, 2017 at 10:44 pm
    Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale said on May 14, 2017 that dalit atrocities were lowest in the state. “Nationally, 44,000 cases of violence against dalits are reported every year. But here in Kerala, it is only 102. This shows that the government is doing well for the welfare of the scheduled caste and tribes in the state,”
    1. K
      Jul 23, 2016 at 8:46 am
      120 million dalits need separate electorate and separate settlement away from bar baric hindus.120 million dalits must join with 120 million muslims to give two fingers to hindus and there hindu led government in india.
      1. Research Analysis
        Oct 11, 2016 at 9:04 am
        Nice article5
        1. H
          Jul 23, 2016 at 9:37 am
          The cause of sudden atrocities against Dalits community need to be found out. All of us are fellow Indians and we need to live in harmony and with unity. There should not be any caste discrimination in India. Since this was a sudden lit up causing harm to Dalits and the responsible should be punished.Peace should be restored among dalits so that no harm come to them. Law and order should be strictly evaluated and protection must be provided to Dalits community. CM's,Governor and police must be held responsible rather than blaming PM or the President. India is a country where all religions live together and there is no compromise on these planned / unwanted atrocities against Dalit people. Indians must learn to live together and treat others with respect and love.
          1. J
            Jul 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm
            You are an really dumbbb..wasted reservation seat and our tax money...free loaders want more money..why don't u beggggg on the roads it's more honorable.
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