Five-fold jump in crimes against Dalits in Gujarat, UP has worst record

Caste related crimes in India

In Hindustan Times,  New Delhi,   Jul 22, 2016

Balubhai, father of Dalit victim who was brutally assaulted by self-styled 'cow protectors' at Mota Samdhiyala village in Una, Gujarat. (Arun Sharma/HT Photo )

(Note: Are cows more protected and better taken care of and more blessed in India than humans in the lower strata of society, low castes, Dalits, those that are weak socially, economically, culturally, educationally? It looks so. What is the primary task of an Ideal democracy, and ours is called the biggest democracy? It is the common good, the public good starting with the last, least and lost. It is also the first duty for followers of all major religious teachers, starting with Jesus: “When you have done to these little ones you have don it to me.” In other words, the commanding principle is to be intrincically involved with misery of the miserable in our midst to wipe it out. Hence they have coined the phrase: “Option for the poor” to be the first option for every  Christian. Then how should such option and duty fail to compel those in the hierarchical positions – from Pope to priests – to be role models in foot-washing ministry? What is worse, how can they become  advocates James Kottorand promoters of one’s  Caste superiority? It is here the Kadappa kidnap of a bishop and silence over many an insulting and glaring practices of caste, class and racial atrocities both in church and society stand out for instant condemnation and correction. Preachers of this principles should become practitioners. james kottoor, editor)

Gujarat reported a five-fold jump in crimes against Dalits in 2015 over the previous year, data released by the national commission for scheduled castes shows, giving credence to charges that the community was vulnerable in the PM’s home state.

The report comes at a time when Gujarat has erupted in protests against the stripping and flogging of four Dalit youth by a cow vigilante group in Una district for allegedly skinning a dead animal.The state reported 6,655 cases of atrocities against scheduled castes, figures circulated for a review meeting on Thursday show. Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states with 8,946 cases. Gujarat, however, had the highest rate of atrocities against Dalits in 2015. It recorded 163 crimes for every 100,000 SC population, compared to 43 for Bihar.

These figures will give fresh ammunition to the Opposition, which has in Parliament targeted the Centre for growing violence against Dalits and minorities. The main opposition party, the Congress, has accused the Modi government of unleashing “social terror” in the country.Another BJP-ruled state, Chhattisgarh, also shows a spurt in crimes against the scheduled castes. Around 3,000 cases of atrocities against Dalits were registered last year.

The agenda notes for the meeting to review the implementation of safeguards for Dalits flagged the figures to the two states, pointing that the sudden increase in respect to Gujarat and Chhattisgarh was “abnormal”. In 2014, Gujarat had reported 1,130 such incidents and Chhattisgarh 1,060.

“It can be seen from the analysis… that Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh are the states that deserve special attention,” the document said.Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar account for nearly 40% of all reported crimes against members of the schedule caste community in 2015.

‘Cultural practices of caste-Hindus obstructing justice for Dalits’ according to KumKum Dasgupta who sent in the interview report below  

Dalits protest against the attack on community members in Una, Gujarat, July 19 (AP)

Last week, four Dailt men were stripped, tied and beaten up in Gujarat for skinning a dead cow. On Wednesday, a top BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh, Dayashankar Singh, compared BSP chief Mayawati to a prostitute. These are two more additions to a long list of incidents that prove biases run deep in this country.

YS Alone, professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a strong voice on Dalit issues spoke to Hindustan Times on the reasons behind increasing caste violence and why political leaders only pay lip service to the Dalit cause.

KD: Is the Una violence against Dalits and protests in Gujarat surprising?

YSA: The Una violence has got coverage because of media; it is not new, many such incidents have happened in other states. It is not an isolated incident; the public beating is a reminder to the Dalits that they have to live under fear and are secondary citizens of the Republic, even though equality as is a fundamental right of all citizens. But caste-Hindu citizens don’t think about equality, their ingrained hierarchy and hate generate two equalities, one for themselves, and another for their caste-duties.

KD: Could this round of protests flag off a new phase of caste struggle in Gujarat?

YSA: This round of protests is a sign of unrest that is exists in Gujarat and other parts of India. The Dalits demand constitutional justice. India is in a perpetual and constant denial of constitutional justice. Khaps exist in rural Gujarat the way they exist elsewhere. The Gandhian syndrome of the state has produced constant denials when it comes to atrocities and inhuman nature of behaviour of the so-called spiritual caste-Hindus. The atrocity data is a testimony to this fact of life of this democratic nation.

KD: There is a view that Patidars’ protests for quota benefits and OBC status is spurring caste clashes. Would you agree?

YSA: The Patidars have been frontrunners in all anti-reservation agitation in Gujarat. Though there is a constant re-configuration of the caste pattern within the larger caste-Hindu society, but their attitude towards Dalits remain the same. Ambedkar does not figure in their ideological change. The Patidars have been the most influential community in Gujarat. The religious ethos of spirituality is just another paradigm of ignorance and their reality is that of psychotic behavior because caste is a psychotic perversion. Dr Ambedkar has stated that caste is a perversion of Varna. Caste is a psychotic perversion. Perversions have been legitimised as sacred.

KD: National crime statistics show that violence against Dalits is on the rise in India. Is this an administrative/political failure or cultural/social failure? How can this state of play change?

YSA: It is indeed true that statistics has shown increased violence against Dalits. However, it is not increase but increase in reporting and complaints lodged by the Dalits. Earlier, many complaints even would not be registered against violence, but today, because of spread of consciousness, administration is forced to record complaints against Dalits. Police and general administration has always been very insensitive when it comes to issues of atrocities against the Dalits.

Failures have to be blamed to cultural and religious belief systems. The caste-Hindus think that they have every right to perpetuate violence on the scheduled caste community. As long as the scheduled caste community remains subjugated, live under fear and does not demand equal right, the caste-Hindus find it alright but the moment Scheduled caste demand rights, equality and constitutional justice, he/she is punished, all kinds of means are used to inflict violence, to an extent of public elimination/termination of life. Such is the nature of society.

The one who claims to be nationalist should care for each and every citizen of this nation, but the Dalits and tribals are always treated as that of ‘others’.Things can change if people mainly the caste-Hindus including the Shudra caste-Hindus realise how their claimed cultural practices are hindrances to equality and constitutional justice. Ambedkarian ideas and principle is the only solution to end such menaces. Ambedkarisation of Indian society is the only solution.

KD: Is the ban on cow slaughter pushing Dalits to the brink?

YSA: Anti-cow slaughter laws have been enacted in many states; it shows the mindset of the state legislator as to how their ideas have been controlled by religiosity of sacredness. I wonder why the same State and its followers do not do anything to prevent atrocities against the Dalits and tribals. Killing of human being becomes secondary in such legislations whereas a particular animal becomes primary concern, it’s an irony.

KD: Some Dalit commentators believe that economic growth/development can erase caste discrimination to a great extent.

YSA: This is a recent idea that has been advocated by few individuals who are not voice of the society. It is their prerogative and democratic right to think on those lines. I do not think that mere economic empowerment will end caste as well as hate. As I said, caste is a ‘psychotic perversion’, will economic well being stop such perversions? Solution lies in Ambedkar’s ‘Annihilation of Caste’, which should be the agenda. No non-Ambedkarite political party has courage to take this agenda. It requires courage and for that, the age-old practice of hate, anger and violence will have to be put in the dustbin.

Larger cultural change is required. Belief systems will have to be discarded totally. Caste discrimination operates on ideological level. So far economic growth has not brought any ideological and cultural change. The only change it has brought in India is ‘Sanskritisation/Brahmanisation’ of society. Such a change is harmful to make society to believe in constitutional ethos and make nation a proud place to live or even to have ‘shared aspirations’

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