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Where is state protection as violence against Dalits rise in Maharashtra, asks NCDHR

by ragini — last modified 2014-05-15 15:18


 13 May 2014

 Where is state protection as violence against Dalits rise in Maharashtra, asks NCDHR

 New Delhi: Even as the world sees the general elections in India as a celebration of democracy, it isn’t a celebration for the Dalits who continue to be slaughtered by the upper castes. From 25 April to 5 May, four Dalit youth were brutally killed in separate incidents in Maharashtra by the dominant Marathas. These attacks are not only examples of increasing incidents of Dalit atrocity where even murder is committed with impunity but also an example of how the state has failed to protect its citizens.

 “The caste system is outlawed in India, but legislation is poorly implemented, and the country’s 170 million Dalits continue to suffer appalling forms of discrimination. In the wake of this sudden rise in violence against Dalits, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil should resign and the Government needs to bring in certain measures such as the licence to hold arms as per provisions under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” says Paul Divakar, General Secretary, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR).

 On 25 April, Umesh Agale, who belonged to the Matang caste (a Dalit caste), was stabbed to death in a field close to Deopur village in Kannad block of district Aurangabad. Agale was suspected of having a love affair with a girl from a dominant caste. The accused Kailash Kaje, Pandurang Ghuge, Sagar Ghuge and Ganesh Pawar. On the fateful day, the accused, who are from the Maratha community, called Agale out of his house and led him to the fields where he was later killed. His body was then dumped into a well. It was fished out from the well the next day and sent to the rural civil hospital at Pishor.  The police, however, refused to register an FIR under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and even pressurised his mother Savitri Agale to take back the complaint. However, due to media pressure the police later filed an FIR under the Act and arrested the four accused.

 In the Jalna district, Nanegaon Dalit sarpanch Manoj Kasab was assaulted on April 3, 2014 by former sarpanch Ganesh Chavan, and ten others, and after battling for his life for around a month, he succumbed to his injuries. Chavan disliked Kasab immensely because he became the sarpanch through the reservation quota three years ago and it was a caste-based case of revenge killing.  The police have lodged an FIR under the Prevention of Atrocities Act and arrested the 11 accused.

 On 28 April, a 17-year-old Dalit boy was murdered and hanged from a tree over his love affair with a minor girl from an upper caste at Kharda village in Jamkhed taluka of Ahmednagar.    A group of around 15 men dragged the boy, Nitin Aghe belonging to the Mahar caste, out of his school, and paraded him through the village before attacking him with sticks and rods. He was later strangled to death with a rope and then hanged from a tree. While the police initially registered a case of accidental death, investigations later revealed that Nitin had been killed. The police then registered a case of murder and arrested two men — the girl's brother Sachin Golekar (21) and one Sheshrao Yeole (42). A minor boy, Aakash Surve was also detained.

 22-year-old Manik Udaage, a Dalit Budddhist, was killed on 1 May by the Marathas for celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti on 14 April this year. Udaage had established an organisation called Sanvidhn Pratishthan earlier this year. Some members of the Maratha community in the Chikhali village of Pune district were opposed to the organisation and the subsequent celebrations.  The accused Santosh Bate (38), Sagar Khandale (23), Nilesh Tate (26) and Vishal Nemane (27) abducted Udaage from his house and took him to the stone mine in Moshi where they crushed his head with a big stone. When Udaage went missing on 1 May, his mother Kalida lodged a missing complaint at Kuralwadi Police Station on the same day. On 2 May, his body was found and Kalida identified his body and also informed the police about the four accused who had come to their house the previous day and taken Udaage away. The police have arrested the four accused but no case has been registered under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

 In yet another attack on Dalits in Adoli village of Washim district of Vidarbha region on 15 April, four children and 14 others were severely injured in stone pelting by the Marathas. The injured were part of a peaceful rally marking Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. Following the attack, the Washim police arrested 34 persons. All the accused have been booked under the Prevention of Atrocities Act along with other sections of the Indian Penal Code for attempt to murder and rioting. According to locals, a similar incident had occurred in the village last year as well but the police paid no heed and refused to provide protection to the Dalits despite their fervent pleas. 

 “The Government of Maharashtra should create confidence in the Dalit communities by identifying atrocity prone villages. And should also identify communities and individuals indulging regularly in such caste based atrocities. Such individuals and community leaders should be expelled from villages,” demands Dr. VA Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary, National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ).

 The NCDHR delegation has also demanded for the immediate arrest of all the accused in the above cases, ensure that the provisions under the SCs and STs (PoA) Act Amendment 2014 are enforced effectively as in most cases the police have refused to file FIRs under the Atrocities Act, compensation of Rs 5 lakhs, adequate protection for victims’ families and eye witnesses,  among other demands. To know more about the Demands and Appeal click on the link Demands and Appeal-Maharashtra

Complete list of demands attached.

 For more information, contact:

Beena Pallical

National Campaign Coordinator, NCDHR

M: 9958797404


Programme Coordinator, NDMJ-NCDHR 

M: 8588844239

NCDHR, 8/1, South Patel Nagar, Second Floor, New Delhi - 110 008, INDIA.
Phone: +91 - 11 - 25842249, E-mail: info@ncdhr.org.in
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