The Big Picture – Checking atrocities against Dalits

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The Big Picture – Checking atrocities against Dalits

Summary:

A Dalit family was set ablaze in Haryana recently. Many would term this as just another incident of violence between communities and a law and order problem. However, Such incidents show that individuals are getting lost in the identities of caste and religion. The usual politics and blame game has continued over the incident.

Reports show that atrocities against Dalits in the last decade in Haryana have increased by 271%. Various legislations and awareness programs have had a very little effect. It is also being said that the mindset of upper castes, particularly the conservative traditional people, have not changed and this is the main reason behind the rise in number of atrocities cases. It is a basic attitude problem. Caste and democracy are face to face. And Indian constitution is on trial today. It is one of those constitutions, which promised justice – social, economical and political – and that gave an affirmative action. In terms of gains, Haryana has been a success story, but it is generally said that democratic dividends are missing in Haryana.

Close to seven decades after Independence, in many villages of India the nature of certain social equations has not changed from what they have been for centuries. Such villages continue to remain what Dr. B.R. Ambedkar called “sinks of localism, dens of ignorance and narrow-mindedness”. Discrimination against Dalits is widespread and ingrained in the psyche across India, in rural settings in particular. In some places it takes the form of violent oppression, in others it is disguised yet omnipresent. These recurring incidents raise the question whether state response and constitutionalism alone are enough to overcome longstanding social injustice and prejudices.

The Constitution guarantees the right to equality of all citizens and affirmative action for Dalits. But without progressive social consciousness permeating society at large, constitutionalism, state actions and political equations simply do not suffice. It would help if the political actors also believed in and worked as conduits for social transformation.

Caste is the ultimate reality in India. In a country where most people passionately cling on to their caste identities, the prejudices and the dehumanizing culture engendered by the caste system is passed on from one generation to the next. The biggest anomaly of our democracy is that the focus has shifted away from social justice and human rights protection. The mainstream discourse stays focused on the economic, electoral and technological changes for contributing to better standards of living, but we have paid only intermittent attention to the fountainheads of inequality in our society.

 

To monitor atrocities perpetrated against Dalits and Adivasis and to ensure speedy justice, a unique web-based tool — Atrocity Tracking and Monitoring (ATM) System — has been launched. The initiative falls under the aegis of the National Coalition for Strengthening SC/ST PoA Act (NCSPOA) by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ).

The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was enacted to prevent atrocities against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The Act is popularly known as POA, the SC/ST Act, the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or simply the Atrocities Act.

Crime vs. atrocity

According to the Act, the term atrocity “denotes the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane,” whereas the term ‘crime’ relates to an act punishable by law.

It implies “any offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) committed against SCs by non-SC persons, or against STs by non-ST persons. Caste consideration as a motive is not necessary to make such an offence in case of atrocity.”

Why the atrocities?

According to the National Commission for SCs and STs, “Economic dependency of the poor on rich non-SC/ST persons, social discrimination arising out of the practice of untouchability and the age-old urge to subjugate the weakest of the weaker sections make SCs/STs vulnerable and victims of atrocities…”

Offences

The Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns of behaviors inflicting criminal offences for shattering the self-respect and esteem of SCs and STs, denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process, etc.

  • Arthi Gomathinayagam

    Thanks a lot 🙂

  • latika

    Thanks insights

  • naren

    Thanks insights .

  • Anamey

    Atrocities on any section of the society is condemnable whether it is on sc and ST or upper caste. our government should make a strong law like USA and Germany against atrocity . It is my very humble request to everybody who discriminate any person because of their caste ,social status, complexion
    or any other reason is condemnable. Please don’t do that!!!!!

  • Lalit Katheria

    Equality is the one of the basic piller of democracy and it may be ensured by 1. By making effective laws and 2. By treating human each other with the respect.
    Atrocity is still the result of prejudice in people’ mind.
    It is the first responsibility of citizens then comes to government to do away the prejudice regarding caste system.

  • aspirant15

    thanks insights

  • sanal

    The needy people of india are unaware of such laws hence the exploitation …..in states like hariyana are on rise.
    the best solution is to bring them (sc/st) to mainstream rather then making more laws .
    and definitely looking at the implimenetion part of law,which normally lies with local police.

    • vijay kawale (maharashtra)

      Social awareness programme rising above vote bank politics and community policing which is successful in kerala and our fundamental duty is to promote harmony and common brotherhood among all the people of india will certainly change the way

  • Ajay

    If government can successfully implement sex determination of foetus as crime, it can also make steps in direction of determining one’s caste as serious crime

    • kumar

      If government can successfully implement sex determination of foetus as crime

      really!!

    • hitesh

      actually it’s the people who are not leaving there caste. take the example of recent chaos created by Patel community in Gujarat. Here i am not targeting any community but making point that untill reservation is there no body will abandon their caste.
      reservation is very critical issue that one needs to be look after because there are genuine people who are backward and who need reservation.

      • kumar

        friend it is not the caste but the castism which is problematic

  • kumar

    the opinion associated with the reservation that it is given to “correct the historical error” is totally false and political only. it only increased enmity between communities. on the one hand reserved categories took it as personal right without fulfilling any social responsibility, on the other hand general consider it as if their share is looted. the need is to take all the communities on board if someone realy want to correct this historical error. the reserved need to understand that they also have to fulfil certain responsibility towards their society and especially towards their own community. on the other hand the generals need to understand that this is in greater good of every one as it will open up new era of growth which will bring much more job opportunity , faster growth and above all a better society. without taking all the stakeholders on board this problem can not be solved

    • vijay kawale (maharashtra)

      We should always introspect into did reservation improve empowerment of backward classes on ground level or not?

      • Mr. Guite

        You’re right.

      • kumar

        that is the point . one family is taking it generation to generation without realising the fact that it is not whAt reservation meant for . base is not getting broader. untill and unless well off of the sections will start refusing benefits of reservation it is not gonna happen

  • Raman Ghai

    Caste system is in our blood . It is infused by our elders in us . In our society , it is believed that whatever elders say is right. Enough of this. Raise your voice against discrimination. It is our responsibility as the youth of country to bring positive change in our society and make this world a better place to live .

    • Viraj Pal

      nothing is in our blood. it is the matter of mindset. the persons having evils in their mind against people of lower caste are the barriers to make our nation prosporous. these are impediments in the way of progress of nation. bocoz these people may be litereate but not educated.

      • Raman Ghai

        Every Indian is casteist .
        The so called ‘lower caste’ feel bad about being born in that caste . The so called ‘upper caste’ are proud of being born in their caste .For example : Most of Punjabi songs have caste references Haven’t you heard that song “Jehda jatt de sene vich ni , jigra ae sher da” ?
        Each and every important decision of made by us is directly or indirectly influenced by our caste equations . The intellectuals feel we should not discriminate with the lower caste people . The orthodox feel it is their ‘dharma’ to follow ‘caste system’ as it is given in ancient Indian scriptures. My argument is that instead of saying that we should be nice to lower castes , why don’t we say there is NO caste. We need a CASTELESS society. Let me give you examples :
        Marriage :
        Haven’t you seen all those caste based advertisements (classifieds) in almost all the newspapers of our great country ? for example : Seeking Majhbi boy , Seeking Jatt Sikh girl etc .
        Housing :
        Most part of our country is rural. In almost every village , there is segregation of houses according to caste. At some places , ‘lower caste ‘ people can’t even fetch water from village well.
        Racism :
        Racism and Casteism are strongly related to each other. Dark complexion is related to lower caste/status. Even if a ‘upper caste’ person has dark complexion , he is also thought of as lower caste person. Haven’t you heard college girls talking “Miss X ko to kapde pehnne ka dhang nahi hai , aaj to poori ______ lagg rahi thi” ?
        Reservation :
        One of illegitimate children of caste system. First, they give you free gifts . Then, they tell you to give them up. Do you really expect people to give it up ? And On other hand , this further widens the gap between so called “upper” and “lower” castes .

        There is not a single politician or social reformer who has pointed it out publicly. We , the youth of India , should have guts to honestly and truthfully talk about it .
        “Agar kuch log galat ho toh unhe sudhara ja sakta hai , Agar poora desh hi galat ho , Usse kaise sudharoge” . Hope you get my point brother.
        Thanks for reviewing . Peace .

        • pujaHzb

          I feel casteism has been ingrained so deeply in our hearts and mibds that it will never be wiped off. I HV FEW questions from modern history (nt trying to disrespect respected personalities though!)
          1. Why did Gandhiji didnt undertak fast to remv it frm roots?
          2. Ambekar saab shud hv ended the caste in constitution itself n given affirmativ discrimination over social economic basis? Mny lower castes wud hv been brought to beter status this way.
          I still find, people preaching caste s bad. Bt hardly saw people marrying out of caste. If they do then the spuse belong to same varna bt nvr frm lower caste. Many love relationships broke bcz of couples belonging to different castes.
          I find sch a hypocricy in casteism. When upper castes inflict atrocities on lower caste they resort so mny inhumn ways. The major brunt bore by women. At times lower caste womn are raped. Cmon! On one hand they r called untoichables and on the othr they r raped (to satisfy lust n impose supremacy!)
          Issey achha toh wo sach ka untouchable hi rahe !

  • Deepak P

    The caste boundaries was created by the human being only not by the almighty god, and the same might be vanished by us only. the thinking to destroy this had constitutional foundation more than 7 decades, but still not able to push it much enough. the need is to change the basic mind set of the society by the moral educational values and literacy. it’s is time to rethink on policies and politics, neither is helpful to build a unite nation.

  • kartik

    we should also relate this caste ism problem as one of the greatest barrier in realizing our potential as great and modern nation.until & unless we won’t leave our habit of blaming each other by lower & upper caste, we won’t have impact on regional as well as global affairs.. for the sake of our future generation we really have to take the steps & make India responsible caste system..what i mean to say is we can’t ignore the caste system today but generating responsibility in mind towards each other as nationalist..
    1)implementation of affirmative action should be very strong by authorities & be completed as soon as possible
    2)for above expected time limit should be there
    3)working on changing the mindset specially by upper castes
    4)we are so diverse country but constitution are holding us united .. this should be justified in real grass root level
    5)small steps in grass root level & big steps in national level to eradicate this problem
    6)control on sectional & regional forces…..

  • pujaHzb

    I feel casteism has been ingrained so deeply in our hearts and mibds that it will never be wiped off. I HV FEW questions from modern history (nt trying to disrespect respected personalities though!)
    1. Why did Gandhiji didnt undertak fast to remv it frm roots?
    2. Ambekar saab shud hv ended the caste in constitution itself n given affirmativ discrimination over social economic basis? Mny lower castes wud hv been brought to beter status this way.
    I still find, people preaching caste s bad. Bt hardly saw people marrying out of caste. If they do then the spuse belong to same varna bt nvr frm lower caste. Many love relationships broke bcz of couples belonging to different castes.
    I find sch a hypocricy in casteism. When upper castes inflict atrocities on lower caste they resort so mny inhumn ways. The major brunt bore by women. At times lower caste womn are raped. Cmon! On one hand they r called untoichables and on the othr they r raped (to satisfy lust n impose supremacy!)
    Issey achha toh wo sach ka untouchable hi rahe !