28, Mar 2023 | CJP Team
“You cannot build anything on the foundations of caste. You cannot build up a nation, you cannot build up a morality. Anything that you will build on the foundations of caste will crack and will never be a whole.”- Dr BR Ambedkar
These words Dr Ambedkar wrote in 1936 are a part of the book called “annihilation of caste”, and more than 8 decades later, these words are, unfortunately, still relevant. This is, albeit, just one of the many thoughts and words of Babasaheb which remain relevant as the caste system persists and the discrimination still thrives.
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We present a round up of acts of violence and inherent discrimination against Dalits reported from different parts of the country, in the month of March.
Dalit homes burnt for dancing in procession
On March 5, an incident was reported from Karnataka where two homes belonging to Dalit were set ablaze by villagers as they were opposed to Dalit children dancing in the village fair procession. A village fair was being held at Nandihalli village in Haveri district when some children and youth from Dalit community started dancing in the procession. A section of villagers opposed this saying that they had contributed money for the fair and that Dalits should not take part in it. What followed was an altercation and later that night when 12 members of the family were sleeping in two houses next to each other, a group of villagers threw logs of wood and poured petrol and set the house on fire hoping the fire would spread to the other house as well.
Attacked for playing Dalit liberation song
A twitter account called @HateDetector posted a video on March 8 showing a family seated in a vehicle being harassed by some men and the men then enter the vehicle and mercilessly thrashing the young boy, giving him repeated blows. This incident allegedly took place in Bhuvanagari, Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu. The people in the video appear to be speaking in Tamil, hence it is difficult to certainly verify what prompted the attack. However, it is alleged by Hate Detector that the Dalit family was ruthlessly assaulted by Vanniyar caste men when the former was returning from a pilgrimage, as they were apparently playing a song about Dalit liberation from a movie featuring well known Tamil actor Dhanush. While thrashing the Dalits, the Vanniyar men hurled caste slurs as well.
Reportedly, the police intervened after some time and were taking the Dalit to the Hospital and on their way to the hospital as well, the vehicle was stopped by some other Vanniyar men and the group of Dalits was beaten up again.
After sometime there was police intervention & seriously hurt Dalits were transported to a nearby hospital by an ambulance. pic.twitter.com/IeDAgEDTqu
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) March 8, 2023
In Basti, Uttar Pradesh a video erupted on March 9 where, as per the account of the Dalit victims, they were beaten up by privileged caste men as they were out to buy groceries and were being threatened and not allowed to enter the village.
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) March 9, 2023
On March 9, a Dalit MBBS intern working at the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Science and Research in Amritsar, Punjab, allegedly facing caste discrimination, died by suicide. Her mother, Kamlesh Rani filed an FIR at the local police station in Vallah while alleging that her daughter, Pompesh, was subjected to discrimination and casteist slurs by her colleagues and two professors as well.
On March 13, a Dalit sanitation worker allegedly died by suicide in gram panchayat office in Bibipet Mandal, Kamareddy district of Telangana due to the non-payment of his salary since past after 4 months. Families of as many as 12 sanitation workers who have died since 2020, did not receive due compensation for their kin, reported the Times of India on March 26, 2022.
Minor boys beaten by Police for playing DJ music
On March 14, A shocking incident of being oppressed by the protector came to light in Aurangabad, Bihar as minor Dalit boys were beaten up by the police for playing DJ music during Holi celebration. The women then sat on an indefinite Dharna against this abhorrent act. This incident took place in Bantara village of Devkund police station in Aurangabad. The women sitting in protest demanded that the police officer, Subodh Kumar Singh, be suspended. The women, interviewed by NavBharat Times said they were going to indefinitely sit there on a hunger protest. They also claimed that false cases were filed against them. They also claimed that the women who went to save the children from the beatings were also beaten up by the police and false cases filed against them. A five-member delegation of CPI joined the dharna and supported the Dalits, reported NBT.
Dalit family attacked over land dispute
On March 18, an incident surfaced from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, when a Dalit family was attacked by “upper-caste” Thakur men after the former wanted to take possession of their disputed farmland in Kalva village. It is being alleged that the Thakur family wanted to snatch the land, and had attacked the Dalit family during wheat harvesting. Seven members, including women and children, were seriously injured, and one died as a result of those injuries.
Minor beaten for drinking from common bucket
On March 20, a Dalit boy was allegedly beaten up by his school teacher, Shashi Yadav in Jalaun, UP, for drinking water from a common bucket. Yadav allegedly locked the boy inside a room and physically assaulted him so severely that his nose began to bleed profusely. Ankush’s mother also alleged in the police report that the teacher’s actions were driven by her casteist mindset. When she confronted the teacher about this issue, the latter remained defiant and even threatened to ruin Ankush’s future by striking his name off the school rolls.
On March 22, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani claimed that in last 24 hours, 4 incidents of Dalit atrocities had come to light including w incidents of death of Dalits while cleaning sewers in Rajkot; Alleged rape of a Dalit girl in Mahisagar and a Dalit being beaten up by local goons. These pieces of news, however, could not be verified.
In last 24 hours, Gujarat has witnessed atleast four cases of dalit atrocities.
Two People died of sewer cleaning in Rajkot.
One young girl was allegedly raped & killed in Mahisagar dist.
This is another video where a dalit is being beaten by local goons.
Amrit Kaal ? pic.twitter.com/HB9plTRcOR
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) March 22, 2023
On March 23, in Uttarakhand’s Someshwar, Almora district, Dalit women were stopped from entering a temple. A girl said they were told that “If their parents were not allowed to visit the temple, how can you visit it”. A local news channel reported this incident where they interviewed the girls. The girls said that they were stopped by saying that the temple is not for Dalits. One of the girls said that they entered bigger temples elsewhere and nobody had stopped them. “The god is same in all temples then why are we being stopped?,” one girl posed the question. Another woman said, “ they think just because our previous generation remained silent and bore such discrimination, they thought we will too.” They said such people should be taught a lesson and that they want justice.
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) March 23, 2023
Dalit activist heckled for raising caste issues
Dalit writer and activist, Shalin Maria Lawrence has been facing repeated targeted harassment on Twitter as well as Facebook over the past year, specifically from handles associated with the DMK, ruling party in Tamil Nadu and the BJP, ruling party in Union. Shalin has used social media to raise awareness of caste-related atrocities in Tamil Nadu, especially those that might not find a mention in regional media.
Dalit beaten over allegation of cow slaughter
It was reported on March 27, that a Dalit youth mistaken to be from Muslim community was beaten up by extremists over allegations of cow slaughter in Bargaon Village of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) March 26, 2023
Dalit man tonsured, face blackened
In UP’s Brahmpuri, Meerut, a shameful incident of a Dalit youth, Lakhan being tonsured amidst a crowd came up on March 27. His face was visibly blackened and was surrounded by a group of people who were also thrashing him. Some women can also be seen hitting him with their sandals. The hands of the man were also tied. He was being kicked and thrashed repeatedly. Meerut police confirmed that it was a dispute between two families and 4 people were arrested in this matter and further investigation is being carried out.
#Horrible In UP’s Meerut, A Dalit youth Lakhan’s Hand and feet tied to the tree and his face was blackened and then made bald in front of the crowd. During this, a garland of shoes and slippers was also put around his neck… pic.twitter.com/HOllJEYxta
— The Dalit Voice (@ambedkariteIND) March 27, 2023