03, Jan 2023 | CJP Team
Throughout the year we documented incidents of hate crimes based on caste as well as attacks on tribals. Such incidents were reported from various parts of the country and a common thread between these incidents is that caste based atrocities are often triggered by miniscule and trivial matters such as sporting a moustache, drawing water from a well, eating food at a ceremony and so on.
To witness such incidents even in this day and age is not only disheartening but should shock the conscience of the nation.
As per the statistics provided in the NCRB report, atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Castes have increased by 1.2% in 2021 (50,900) over 2020 (50,291 cases).
Uttar Pradesh (13,146 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) accounting for 25.82% followed by Rajasthan with 14.7% (7,524) and Madhya Pradesh with 14.1% (7,214) during 2021. The next two states in the list are Bihar accounting for 11.4% (5,842) and Odisha 4.5% (2,327). The above top five states reported 70.8% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes.
Furthermore, as per the report, Atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Tribes have increased by 6.4% in 2021 (8,802 cases) over 2020 (8,272 cases).
Madhya Pradesh (2627, cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes (STs) accounting for 29.8% followed by Rajasthan with 24% (2121 cases) and Odisha with 7.6% (676 cases) during 2021. Maharashtra was next in the list with 7.13% (628 cases) followed by Telangana at 5.81% (512 cases). The above top five states reported 74.57% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes.
In terms of ratio to the overall population, Dalits (SCs) are estimated to be at 16.6 per cent of the population and Adivasis/Indigenous peoples (STs) at 8.6 per cent.
We look at some of the most shocking instances of crimes against Dalits and Adivasis in 2022.
DALITS UNDER ATTACK
Karnataka: Dalit minor allegedly gang-raped multiple times
A minor Dalit girl was allegedly raped by five men in Karnataka. At a coffee estate in Karnataka’s Hassan district, four people, one of whom is a minor, have been accused of gang raping a 13-year-old Dalit girl. When authorities received information about a girl who was six months pregnant and admitted to a hospital, the sexual assault of the minor child was discovered.
Four men, including the minor, have been held by police while five people have been charged in the case. Police said that the incident occurred in a town where the girl’s parents are laborers. The girl was raped more than once by more than one person, police said, and the information was shared with child development protection officers, counselors, and female police officials.
Rajasthan: Dalit family attacked, women beaten in Rajasthan’s Alwar
A Dalit family of six, including three women, was attacked in Ukeri village of Alwar district in Rajasthan. The family was attacked for allegedly vandalising and setting fire to Gorakhnath temple of the Nath sect. The accused, who attacked the family, also burnt the cattle fodder of the victim’s family to ashes. The victim family’s lawyer further said that during the physical attack, women of the family were thrashed with sticks and rods. Further, the accused is alleged to have made a video of the beating and uploaded it on social media.
Even after complaining about this to the police, no action was taken. The victim’s family has accused the Raini police station of conspiring with the accused.
Uttar Pradesh: Dalit youth thrashed for touching food at wedding
An 18-year-old Dalit youth was allegedly abused and brutally thrashed for touching the food during a wedding function. The incident took place in Wazirganj. Renu, a resident of Naubasta village, said her younger brother, Lalla, 18, had gone to attend a wedding in the village and the feast was arranged at the house of one Sandeep Pandey. As soon as Lalla picked up a plate for himself, Sandeep and his brothers abused him and thrashed him. When Lalla’s elder brother Satyapal tried to save him, they also beat him up and damaged his motorcycle. The police said that an FIR under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been lodged and a probe was underway.
Tamil Nadu: Six Dalit students allegedly made to clean toilet in government school by headmistress
Six fourth-grade Dalit students in a government elementary school were allegedly forced to clean the toilet and the water tank with bleaching powder. After the horrible case was discovered in the government school in Perundurai, near Erode, Tamil Nadu, the school’s headmistress was suspended.
The incident was uncovered after one of the victim students in the school was admitted to the Perundurai government hospital for contracting dengue. The police filed a case under the Juvenile Justice Act and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. According to the inquiry that was held, it was revealed that the six students were told to clean the two toilets, one used by teachers and the other by students. Following this, the education department ordered the headmistress to appear before it, but she reportedly absconded.
Karnataka: ‘cow urine’ used to purify tank as Dalit woman drank water from it
Certain ‘upper caste’ residents of Heggotara Village of Chamarajanagar District in Karnataka drained all the water from a tank, from which a Dalit woman drank water and ‘cleaned’ it with gomutra or cow urine. The incident occurred during a wedding when the bride’s relatives from Sargur in HD Kote taluk had come for the wedding. After the ceremony, when they were walking towards the bus stand, one of the women drank water from the tank. A man, upon seeing this, called other villagers and they all berated the woman for sullying the water in the tank.
After the woman left the village, the residents of Lingayat Beedhi opened the taps of the tank, released all the water, and cleaned it with gomutra. The tehsildar of the district tried to track the woman who was abused to record her statement and file a complaint. Meanwhile, a complaint has already been registered by members of the community at Chamarajanagara rural police station.
Karnataka: Dalit Workers assaulted, confined for days; pregnant woman loses baby
Jagadeesha Gowda, along with his son, had been accused of assaulting and keeping 16 people from the Dalit community locked up for several days in his coffee plantation in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district. A week before the complaint was registered, the accused allegedly reprimanded the workers for not returning some money as well as snatched their phones. One of the 16 labourers who were forcibly confined, Arpitha, lost her baby after Gowda allegedly assaulted her. A case was then registered on the basis of a complaint filed by her. A criminal case has been registered against Gowda and his son Tilak under the SC/ST Act, 2015 and some sections of the IPC. The father-son duo has been absconding.
Uttar Pradesh: Dalit teen boy died after assault by teacher
A young Dalit boy, Nikhit Dohre, faced a brute casteist assaultin Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh , on September 7 by his social science teacher, Ashwini Singh, allegedly because he spelt a word incorrectly during an exam. The victim’s father had alleged that Singh, purportedly belonging to an “upper caste”, unleashed the thrashing on the minor youth with sticks and rods, and even kicked him until he fell unconscious.
He further claimed that the teacher first gave Rs 10,000 and then Rs30,00 for the boy’s treatment but later stopped receiving their calls. The boy’s father said that when he confronted the teacher, he was also abused with casteist slurs.
Nineteen days after this attack, the 15-year-old boy died on the evening of Saturday, September 24 and the body was handed over to the grieving family on the morning of Monday, September 26. The police have included sections of the SC/ST Act in the FIR filed against the accused. The teacher, Ashwini Singh has been on the run, absconding according to news reports.
Lakhimpur Kheri: Bodies of two Dalit sisters found hanging from a tree
The bodies of two sisters hailing from a Scheduled Caste were found hanging from a tree in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur district. The autopsy report of the victims has confirmed that they were raped and strangulated to death before they were hanged to a tree by the accused men. The girls were minors, and were aged 14 and 17. The family of the girls alleged that the girls had been abducted three hours before their bodies were discovered. The police arrested six people in the said case.
Uttar Pradesh: Headmaster allegedly throws hot meal on Dalit girl, burns her arm
In Icholi village of Tikaitnagar, the headmaster of a school in Barabanki allegedly threw a hot meal on a Dalit girl student of class two. District Magistrate of Barabanki, Adarsh Singh, has now ordered a probe. Santosh Pandey, a Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) is in charge of the probe where the girl whose arm was burnt is not only a Dalit, but also differently abled. The incident allegedly took place on August 29, and came to light on September 3 after her mother filed a complaint.
Uttar Pradesh: Minor Dalit boy beaten up by headmaster for touching his bike
An 11-year-old Dalit boy was beaten up by his headmaster after he touched his bike at a pre-secondary school in Balia. The incident took place during recess at the school located in Ranaupur of Nagra area of Balia. The boy, a student of class six, placed his hand on the bike and the headmaster then started thrashing him, dragging him to his office. But before allowing the boy to leave the headmaster applied some ointment on his injuries. When the boy reached his home in Kauwapar of Bhimapur area, he showed his injuries to his father. Enraged villagers protested and the headmaster was suspended the following day. Basic education officer Maniram Singh said that a probe was conducted by a team of block officers and a report was awaited.
Uttar Pradesh: Dalit School Teacher Alleges Discrimination by Principal & Upper-caste Teachers
A Dalit teacher, Abhay Kumar Kori, who teaches Sanskrit at City Inter College, a government inter-college in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district, was allegedly discriminated against by the school principal and teachers. The Dalit teacher has alleged that kshatriya caste teachers in the school have formed a separate group and regularly hurled casteist remarks at him. As per the claims made by him, his principal and colleagues opposed to his clothes, a yellow kurta and dhoti, and his braid. He was also told to sit on the ground, and not on a chair. He also said that five teachers, mostly from the kshatriya community, snatched books from his hand and beat him in front of students. The harassed teacher
ADIVASI (INDIGENIOUS) COMMUNITY UNDER ATTACK
Chhattisgarh: Christian Adivasis assaulted, displaced and forcefully converted to Hinduism
Incidents of violence by Hindu outfits against the Christian community were being reported in Narayanpur and Kondagaon districts. There was an “organised campaign” to forcibly convert Christian tribals into Hindu. From December 9, 2022 to December 18, there was a series of attacks in about 18 villages in Narayanpur district and 15 villages in Kondagaon district, displacing about 1,000 Christian Adivasis from their own villages. Those displaced were told to give up their Christian faith and convert to Hindu religion, failing which they were threatened to either leave their village or face dire consequences, including death. Many Christian adivasis were gravely assaulted and beaten with lathis, tyre, and rods. At least two dozen people had to be hospitalized with injuries like fracture of collar bone.
Rajasthan: 46-yr-old Tribal man lynched for drawing water from tube well
A 46-year-old tribal man from Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district died as he was assaulted by a group of people over drawing water from a tubewell. As per the police, the family of the deceased alleged that the accused also abused the deceased man Kishanlal Bheel, from Bhomiyaji ki Ghati, with casteist slurs. Ashok, the deceased’s brother, claimed that the accused prevented the victim’s family from taking him to the hospital. The police had so far arrested three people — Shakeel, Nasir, and Bablu — and booked them under the SC/ST Act and Section 302 (murder) of the IPC.
Jharkhand: Chaibasa tribals allegedly assaulted by security forces during Naxal search op
On November 11, tribals of Anjedbeda village alleged that during a Naxal search operation by Paramilitary forces, the personnel assaulted them. As per the details divulged by the victims, a couple of jawans attempted to rape a teenage girl and in that bid molested her and pulled her towards the forest, when her mother intervened even the mother was beaten up. A boy, about 16 years of age was kicked, tied up with a rope while they allegedly pulled his hair, beat him up with slippers and even tried to strangle him. Even his mother was allegedly not spared and was assaulted as she was beaten up by the butt of the rifle, kicked and grabbed by her hair and thrown on the ground. They also entered a few homes and vandalized them. When the jawans entered the home of a pregnant woman with their shoes on, she protested and one of them allegedly pointed the rifle at her chest and then scattered all the household items, enraged by her protest.
In December, 2022, the Anjedbeda’s villagers wrote to the DC & SP with descriptive details of the violence. They demanded in the FIR filed that action be taken against the perpetrators, and violence against Adivasis be stopped.
Telangana: Adivasi man takes 3-yr-old daughter’s body on bike for 65 km after hospital refuses ambulance
A father was forced to take the dead body of his 3-year-old daughter on a bike for 65 kilometres since he did not have money for an ambulance and the Khammam government hospital refused to provide an ambulance. The man, Vetti Mallaiah, belonged to an Adivasi family in Kota Medepalli village of Enukuru Mandal in Khammam district, as was reported by India Today.
The Adivasi couple’s daughter, Vetti Sukki, was taken to Enkur government hospital where the doctor said that the girl’s condition was critical and referred her to the Khammam government hospital. However, she died there while undergoing treatment in the early morning hours on Sunday.
The girl’s father reached his native village and informed his relatives. He took a bike from his relatives in the village to move the girl’s dead body from the Khammam government hospital to New Medepalli village. The girl’s family members had alleged negligence by the government medical staff.
Chattisgarh: Adivasi Christian cop thrashed by superiors, pistol confiscated
A group of Adivasi Christians were allegedly attacked in the Sukma district of Chattisgarh in October. When they tried to file a police case, the same was refused by the police.
Madvi Joga, a police officer who was also an Adivasi Christian, requested his superiors to investigate the matter. Following this request, Joga was repeatedly thrashed by his superiors. In a video that was shared on Twitter, a police officer in plain clothes was seen slapping Joga continuously while verbally abusing him. Meanwhile, Joga did not raise his hand or lose his cool the whole time. As was reported by Siasat.com, following the incident, Joga was forced to surrender his pistol and was made to be weaponless in a densely populated Naxal district with frequent clashes.
Kerala: Adivasi Mooppan assaulted for obstructing marijuana sale
An Adivasi mooppan (chieftain), Kani Gopi, was attacked by a man named Rahul, a resident of Kulamankuzhi, for objecting to the sale of marijuana by him. The chieftain had also threatened to inform officials about such sale. On August 18, the accused entered Gopi’s house with another person, and attacked Gopi, as was reported by Mathrubhumi.com. Gopi’s ribs were broken in the attack. After the attack, the accused fled the area. The accused also tried to obtain anticipatory bail in the case but failed following which they went into hiding. Police received information that the accused were in Thiruvananthapuram. Rahul was taken into custody, but the other accused ran away.
Madhya Pradesh: Two Adivasi men allegedly lynched on suspicion of killing cow
Two Adivasi men accused of slaughtering a cow were allegedly lynched by a mob of 15 to 20 men in Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni district, as was reported by the PTI. The incident took place early on the morning of May 2, between 2.30 am and 3 am, in the Kurai police station limits. The two men died while being taken to hospital and another sustained minor injuries, as per the police. The complainant, Brajesh Batti, who was also injured in the attack, alleged that the assailants belong to the Hindutva group Bajrang Dal. Batti said he along with the deceased men were beaten with sticks.
Nearly 20 men have been booked in connection with the attack, a police official said, as reported by the PTI. Of these, six were charged with murder.
Tamil Nadu: Malasar Tribals evicted from ancestral land
About 40 Malasar tribal families of Navamalai village, who used to live on the border of Tamil Nadu’s Anamalai Tiger Reserve had not only been denied the rights to ownership of their land, as conferred by the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA), but were also driven out of their ancestral land, where they had been living for five generations. The reason for this eviction was that their 100-acre agricultural land in Navamalai village was being completely used to plant coconut trees by the local owner known as ‘Chettiar’.
The tribals were distressed by lack of proper sanitation and electricity supply, poor access to healthcare and livelihood opportunities. Lack of electricity supply not only hindered their children’s studies after sunset, it also made it difficult for them to protect themselves from snakebites. By driving them out of their ancestral property, the State government had deprived them of their source of livelihood as they source water, food and firewood from the forest as also graze their goats in the forest.
Karnataka: 9 booked for assault on Adivasi woman
A tribal woman was allegedly stripped and assaulted by a group of nine people in a village in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district, as reported by Udayavani. As per the police sources, the incident occurred on April 19 in front of several villagers at Guripalla village in Belthangady taluk of the district. Cases have been registered against all the accused. The nine persons were booked based on a complaint from the 35-year-old woman, who alleged that the gang tore her clothes, made her semi-nude and shot a video of the incident. Her elder sister and mother were also assaulted, the woman said in the complaint.
The accused have been identified as Sandeep (30), Santhosh (29), Gulabi (55), Suguna (30), Kusuma (38), Lokayya (55), Anil (35), Lalitha (40) and Chenna Keshava (40), all belonging to the victim’s village, police said. Sources said the incident occurred when a team of revenue department officials reached the village to measure the government land where the complainant and her elder sister were staying as per the application given by the woman to the authorities. The accused objected to the work done by the officials and created a commotion forcing the surveyors to leave the spot, after which the nine-member gang assaulted the woman.
Madhya Pradesh: Mob sexually assaults Adivasi woman, 15 arrested
Fifteen men were booked by police for allegedly sexually assaulting two Adivasi women in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district, PTI reported. The incident took place during Bhagoriya, a festival celebrated by Adivasi communities in the state a week before Holi. The police said they had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter after videos of the assault were shared on social media.
In the video, a man can be seen sexually assaulting the women, before another person pushes him away. A few seconds later, another man grabs a woman and drags her towards a group of men, who then sexually assault her. Some other men can also be seen making videos of the incident.
The policed then informed that they have nabbed three of them while five others, who were shooting the video and instigating the accused, are absconding. The police have booked the arrested persons under Sections 354(a) (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 34(a) (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Jharkhand: Police physically assault Adivasi farmer
A 42-year-old tribal man in Latehar district of Jharkhand was brutally flogged at Garu police station in the intervening night between February 23, 2022 and February 24, 2022. As reported, Kuku village’s Adivasi farmer Anil Singh and his family were fast asleep, when Garu police woke the residents around midnight. Officials marched Singh to the police station where Station in-Charge officer Ranjit Kumar Yadav accused the farmer of helping Maoists. When Singh rejected the allegation, he was allegedly struck with “300 to 400 lathi blows” inside the cop’s office. As per Singh’s account, he has injuries on his backside and chest. Photos of his injuries show his buttocks were skinned by the force of the attack. He also claimed Yada poured petrol on him. This is all Singh remembers before he fainted from the pain.
Worse still, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), which had brought this incident to the forefront, said that the police apologised to the man the next morning for accidentally picking him up. He was kept in the station until February 25 when the Superintendent of Police met him and urged him to change his blood-stained trouser and underwear for clean ones.