Sustain Humanity


Saturday, September 17, 2016

... Data compiled by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) show that there has been an almost 40 per cent increase in the incidence of crime against Dalits across India between 2011 and 2014. ..

... Data compiled by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) show that there has been an almost 40 per cent increase in the incidence of crime against Dalits across India between 2011 and 2014. ...

"We were pleading for our lives as we heard some say they would burn us alive. There have been cases where Dalits were burnt and killed for small issues. I was very scared. People watched they did not help. Even the police just stood around." -- Ashok Sarvaiya, 17, one of the four victims. 

... In May 2016, a group of men calling themselves gau rakshaks (cow protectors) attacked a colony of Dalits in Rajula, Amreli district. Accusing the Dalits of killing cows, they beat and broke the hands and legs of several Dalits with lathis and knives. When Premabhai Rathod, who was hit on the head, attempted to file a complaint at the police station, he was sent back saying they did not believe him and that it was some sort of a vendetta. ...

Torture and backlash - Aug 6, 2016 at 15:07 http://www.frontline.in/social-issues/social-justice/torture-and-backlash/article8932673.ece

IN an incident that shocked the sensibility of the country, four Dalit youths were tied up and brutally thrashed by a bunch of self-professed gau rakshaks (cow protectors) for skinning a dead cow in Una town of Gir Somnath district in Gujarat on July 11. With the arrogant assumption of having done a great service (as the cow is considered mother in the Hindu religion), the gau rakshaks posted videos of the beating on social media. They were successful in saving a sacred animal, they said proudly.

The video that went viral on the Internet triggered a nationwide outrage. After that the authorities were scrambling to find a solution. Otherwise it would have remained buried as just another case of brutality against a community that has been bearing oppression and violence for centuries.

The incident exposes several issues, the most critical of which is the serious level and number of atrocities against Dalits and the miserable status of that marginalised community.

Significantly, the incident caused the simmering resentment among Dalit youth to boil over. In a first, they rose in solidarity and the State witnessed massive protests in the form of a few suicide attempts and dumping of carcasses in front of administrative offices. Municipal cleaners, or safai karamcharis, who are largely Dalits, said they would stop cleaning the streets unless action was taken against the perpetrators.

The incident is not an isolated one in Gujarat. Facts show that atrocities against Dalits have been widespread and constant and that feudalism and casteism exist in their worst forms across the State. Speaking to Frontline, Vasram Sarvaiya said: “We earn Rs.200 from every carcass we skin. I share that with three other boys. I get Rs.50. Sometimes I get work in the fields and we manage with that. Our homes are away from the main village. We cannot use their well and we cannot enter the main temple.” ...

  ... In May 2016, a group of men calling themselves gau rakshaks attacked a colony of Dalits in Rajula, Amreli district. Accusing the Dalits of killing cows, they beat and broke the hands and legs of several Dalits with lathis and knives. When Premabhai Rathod, who was hit on the head, attempted to file a complaint at the police station, he was sent back saying they did not believe him and that it was some sort of a vendetta.

In July the same year, Rama Singrakhiya, a Dalit, was hacked to death by a mob in Porbandar district for sowing castor seeds on a disputed piece of land. A few days before that, Sagar Rathod, who had been imprisoned in Gondal jail, committed suicide. According to news reports in Gujarat, his family has accused the jailor of harassing him.

Data compiled by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) show that there has been an almost 40 per cent increase in the incidence of crime against Dalits across India between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, Gujarat reported the highest crime rate against Dalits (163.3, 6,655 cases), followed by Chhattisgarh (91.9, 3,008 cases) and Rajasthan (58.5, 7,144 cases). The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports that there were 1,130 cases of crimes against the Scheduled Castes (S.Cs) in 2014 in Gujarat. Activists point out that this means at least three cases of atrocities a day.

Although the newly amended Atrocities Act, 2016, had enough teeth to book perpetrators of violence on Dalits, the rate of conviction was so poor that they know they could get away with it, said Jignesh Mevani, a civil rights activist and advocate. He said the sense of impunity came from the fact that the conviction rate was as low as 3 per cent in Gujarat. “They have become fearless and shameless. Imagine putting a video online and proudly claiming they have beaten Dalits. Where is this coming from?” asked Mevani. In 2004, there were 24 cases of raping Dalits. In 2014, the number was 74. ...