Hari Ram Meena Retired IPS (ADG) : Why Dalit Atrocities are increasing?

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MOOKNAYAK MEDIA I 02 September 2022 I Jaipur : The latest hot news of Dalit atrocities is from Rajasthan, in which a Dalit student named Inder Kumar Meghwal, studying in class III of a private school in Jalore, was brutally beaten up by a teacher named Chhail Singh. This happened on 20th July 2022. The student died on August 13 during treatment. The relatives of the deceased say that their child drank water from the pot of a teacher belonging to the upper caste.

Incidents related to Dalit atrocities as took place in Dangawas in Rajasthan (2015), suicide of Rohit Vemula (2016) at Hyderabad Central University, gang rape and murder of a 17-year-old Dalit girl in Tamil Nadu (2016), Saharanpur violence (2017), Bhima Koregaon (2018) and Tribal student Anil Meena at AIIMS hangs self (2012) Dr. Payal Tadvi’s suicide (2019) can be termed as national shame since they shook the social fabric of the country.

According to the latest report of the Union Home Ministry, a total of 1, 39, 045 cases of Dalit atrocities were registered between 2018 and 2020. Around 1/3rd of these cases were registered in UP further followed by Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. According to the data made available by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), after every 10 minutes, there is an incident of atrocity.

Constitutional Provisions
The Constitution of India has given equal rights to all citizens in every field. Dalits have been treated as a second class for thousands of years. The biggest reason behind this is the Varna system and the caste system that arose out of it. Its most tragic aspect is the treatment of untouchability on the basis of caste. To prevent such discrimination, Article 14 to Article 18 of the Indian Constitution provides for the right of equality. Article 14 talks about equality before the law. Articles 15 provides for social equality and access to public places. Article 16 provides equality in matters of public employment.

Article 18 provides for the abolition of titles. Regarding civil rights, Article 17 plays an important role as it provides for the abolition of untouchability. In furtherance to the constitutional spirit, first of all, the Untouchability Act, 1955 was promulgated. Seeing that the problem was not resolved, it was amended in 1976 and its name was changed to ‘Protection of Civil Rights Act’. After that, for the first time under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the word ‘harassment’ has been broadly explained and strict penal provisions were incorporated for such offences. Special courts were set up for speedy trial of cases.

Mindset of Upper Castes
Despite all above efforts to establish an egalitarian society in independent India, there is an anti-dalit mentality sitting in the minds of a section of the society, on which there is no fear of any constitution, legislation and punishable provisions under them. Why is there such a mindset and why is the answer to this question not found in the penal system? The real answer to question after question must be somewhere else, which will have to be found.

Dalit thinker Dr. Chandrabhan Prasad calls this the price of awareness and strength coming among Dalits. He says, ‘Earlier there were no violent attacks on Dalits. There used to be incidents of petty fights. But violent incidents have increased in the last 10-15 years. As the dalits are progressing, the attacks on them are increasing. This is not a legal problem but a social problem. Ex DGP of UP, notable author and former vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha Mr. V.N. Rai believes that ‘the problem is not in the law but in their implementation. The way of thinking in media, police department, judicial system and else whether has not changed completely yet.’

Root of Dalit atrocities
Dr. Ambedkar wanted economic and social equality before political equality. He clearly says that without economic and social equality, political democracy can be in danger. For this we cannot blame only Hinduism and especially Brahminical ideology. This feeling of social discrimination is also found in Muslim community. The pasmanda Muslims are looked down upon by the Sheikh, Sayyid and Pathan sections. The truth here is that this virus in the Muslim community seems to have come from the influence of the Manuvadi Varna system, the victims of which are converting Muslims who lived at a lower level in the Hindu system. I think the root of Dalit atrocities lies in the supremacist mindset of most of the operators of the democratic system.

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