Over the last few years, atrocities against people belonging to Scheduled Castes have skyrocketed. There were enough incidents in 2017 showing that the despair is not going away anytime soon.
2018 just cemented the fact.
We are living in the 21st century and the sad part is that Indian society doesnʹt seem to have evolved or moved on from caste-based oppression and violence. Dalits, formerly untouchables, across India have been threatened, abused, beaten and killed for seemingly mundane reasons, highlighting that how vulnerable the community is in the country.
Beaten to death for letting goat graze
On June 24, a Dalit woman was beaten to death by a 30-year-old man after her goats strayed in his field at Datauli village in Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
Sixty-five-year-old Rani Devi was grazing her two goats when the animals entered the field of the accused, Shalu Singh. He then allegedly started abusing her. When the woman raised an objection, an ʹinebriatedʹ Singh beat her up with a stick. The woman then rushed home, nearly 500 metres away, and died soon after.
She is survived by a husband and four married daughters.
This being the most recent case, there have been several other incidents of atrocities committed against Dalits.
Attacked for cutting hair of Dalits
On Monday, June 25, a barber in Gujaratʹs Mehsana district was attacked by four persons at his salon for ʹcutting the hair of Dalitsʹ.
Beaten up for riding a motorcycle
On the same day, a 30-year-old Dalit man identified as Dayaram Ahirwar was allegedly beaten up for riding a motorcycle past the house of a sarpanch in a village in Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh. The victim, Dayaram Ahirwar, in his complaint alleged that on 21 June, the village sarpanch, Hemant Kurmi, his brothers and one of their neighbours beat him up severely after objecting to his riding a motorcycle in front of their house.
The men also hurled casteist abuses while thrashing him.
ʹI was going to the market and passed by sarpanch Hemant Kurmiʹs house. While returning, his men stopped me and started beating me. They hurled casteist abuses and threatened to kill me if I rode past his house on a motorcycle again,ʹ Ahirwar said.
According to PTI, Ahirwar also stated that the accused told him that he should not have driven through the road in front of their house and should have dragged the motorcycle instead.
Burnt alive for opposing land encroachment
In yet another incident, a Dalit farmer identified as Kishorilal Jatav, was burnt alive allegedly by four men in Bhopal district when he opposed their attempt to encroach on his land on June 22. The incident took place at Parsoria Ghatkhedi in Berasia tehsil on 21 June.
The 70-year-old farmer succumbed to injuries before reaching the hospital.
Lynched for sitting crossed-legs
In early June, three people belonging to the Dalit community were hacked to death by a mob of upper caste men for sitting crossed-legs in Tamil Naduʹs Kachanatham village in Sivaganga district.
Police said a mob of around 20 people armed with sickles entered the village and indiscriminately attacked every man on their way.
Stripped, beaten and paraded naked for jumping into well
On June 10, three minor Dalit boys were stripped, beaten and paraded naked in a village in Maharashtraʹs Jalgaon district for swimming in a village well. The video of the assault went viral on social media and then the authorities swung into action.
As soon as locals, mostly upper caste men, heard about boys jumping into the well to beat the scorching heat, they gathered in large numbers and forced the boys to strip and paraded them naked around the village.
In the video, the boys could be seen wearing only sandals and leaves around their private parts and people whipping their legs and back with sticks and a leather belt.
Abused and threatened for riding a horse
On June 17, Prashant Solanki, a young Dalit man, was on his way to his wedding riding a colourful, decorated horse, as is a common practice, when he was ambushed by a group of upper caste men from his village in Gujarat. They insisted that riding a horse is an upper caste privilege and that he should get down.
Assaulted for wearing ʹmojrisʹ
A 13-year-old Dalit boy was assaulted by four Rajput youths for wearing mojri (traditional embroidered leather shoes), a fake gold chain and ʹposingʹ as a member of the upper-caste Darbar community in Gujarat. The incident was reported by media on June 15.
The videos of the beating, shot by one of the accused in Becharaji town, about 110 km from Ahmedabad, went viral on social media.
A crime is committed against Dalit every 15 minutes in India
And, six Dalit women are raped every day, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data of 2015.
According to the IndiaSpend analysis of NCRB report of 2016 (the latest), over the decade to 2016, the rate of crime against Dalits rose more than eight times. There were 2.4 crimes per 100,000 dalits in 2006, rising to an alarming 20.3 in 2016.
The rate of crimes against adivasis or scheduled tribes grew by over 12 times (1,160%)–from 0.5 in 2006 to 6.3 in 2016.
In terms of atrocities on Dalits, Uttar Pradesh leads accounting for 17 per cent of the crimes against the 20 per cent of the countryʹs Dalit population that it houses. In Rajasthan, more than half of the total crimes in the state have a Dalit victim. Bihar too has an abysmal record, where 2 out of every 5 crimes committed are targeted towards Dalits.
Dalits, or schedule castes, comprise 16.6% (201 million) of Indiaʹs population, up from 16.2% in 2001, according to Census 2011. Adivasis form 8.6% (104 million) of the countryʹs population, up from 8.2% over a decade.
As many as 422,799 crimes against Dalits or scheduled castes (SCs) have been reported between 2006 and 2016.
While the reporting of crimes against Dalits and adivasis has risen over the decade, there has not been an equivalent rise in the rate of disposal of cases by police and courts.
Rising income and growing educational achievements have led many Dalits to challenge caste barriers, causing antipathy among upper caste groups, leading to backlash, observe social scientists.
So when the arbitrary superiority granted at birth is challenged, severe repercussions are expected.
The dismal number of crimes reveal the mindset that is deeply entrenched in the caste system. The number is also a reflection of the bitter truth that India remains a deeply regressive and capable of committing unthinkable acts of savagery and barbarism.
SOURCE : India Times (https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/dalits-are-still-threatened-abused-beaten-killed-for-absurd-reasons-yes-it-s-2018_-348255.html)
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