There is still a long way to go before the Dalits could imagine of some degree of respectability, dignified life and livelihood and access to criminal justice administrative system. For the Dalit community across the country, little has moved ahead on both fronts, with daily life continuing to be marred by incessant human rights violations in the form of atrocities and archaic untouchability practices.
Still today for the majority of Dalits, regardless of education or economic status, to journey through life as a Dalit entails daily subjugation, humiliation and exclusion from India’s mainstream caste society, commencing from birth, through childhood and as an adult worker until death.
Emerging trend is that, increasing atrocities related to land, water, wages and other livelihood. Most of the atrocities are committed when Dalit attempted to assert their right to resource (land, water, wages and other livelihood) and they attempted to avail legal recourse.
This is despite the fact that many Dalits do not report crimes for fear of reprisals by the dominant castes. Despite this 27 officially registered atrocities being committed against Dalits every day, police often prevent Dalits from entering police stations, refuse the registration of cases by Dalits and regularly resort to the practice of torture against Dalits with impunity, and there exists a gross negligence of the state machinery, especially the police, resulting in impunity.
The Justice Delivery Mechanism, primarily the Legal System, which is supposed to protect the poor and the marginalized Dalit victims of in-justice, is struggling with the gigantic problems of huge number of pending cases and the biased mindset of human element within its system. Lack of minimum legal awareness among the poor and the marginalized Dalits makes their situation further worse.
There is a strong comfort level in both society and the state that crimes against Dalits do not matter, need not be punished. This attitude of impunity is rooted in the social and cultural values and though the Constitution has made a very conscious change and consistent interventions of various organizations and movements, the mindset in society has not changed.
These complex reality demands of us committed to and involved with the Dalit human rights monitoring that we re-think, re-strategize and reorganize our interventions in support of Dalits assertion. It is time that we follow the footsteps of Dr. B R Ambedkar, Babu Jagjeevan Ram, Mahatma Jyothi Rao Phule, Savithri Bai Phule, Periyaar… and give voice to the anguish aspirations and hopes of our people and lead them forward and affirms our right to equity, identity, dignity, life, development and future. We must capitalize the spaces and opportunities opened up by Dalit women, men, children and human rights struggles across the nations.
A critical engagement with these larger processes, both creative and constraining, have now persuaded those of us engaged with the struggles of our people that we must go beyond of our conventional modes of thinking and vehicles of action and re-vision our goals and re-imagine our strategies. We must be bold enough to take risks and to creatively develop more appropriate instruments for furthering our struggle. We must have courage to accept that our NGOs, networks, organizations and their programmes are only instrumentalities. We must invent new tools to respond to new realities and possibilities. We have to, no more work for our people, and we have to work with our people by merging our hopes, aspirations and organizations with those of the people we belong to, committed to and want to reach out to.
The emergence of National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) is contextualized within our rising consciousness of new challenges and new opportunities and a critic of the limitations of our older modes of thinking and action and move forward from being different to making a difference.
What is NDMJ?
“NDMJ is the democratic, secular, non-party movement of Dalit survivors, defenders, academics, organizations headed by Dalits to initiate, advocacy and involve in mass action to address the issues of caste based discrimination and violence primarily untouchability and atrocities to ensure dignity, equality and justice.”
NDMJ is not
An organization working on the project based activities
A Political party based power initiative which plays the role of an ambassador
A mass movement for any party beneficiaries
NDMJ is a
Movement of Dalit Survivors who responsibly own and play the active role to snatch their rights
Movement for empowerment of Dalit for right to dignity, life, liberty and justice
Movement which undertakes advocacy, legal interventions, and mass actions for the cause with a leadership who can interlink the issue at all levels and to remind responsibilities of the duty bearers and their accountabilities.
Movement with democratic, secular values irrespective of creed and caste to reestablish the casteless and classless society
Movement Lead by Dalit leadership to be continuously focused on the cause
i. Networking with organizations, networks, activists, advocates and other professionals working on Dalit civil and political rights violations. We will identify them and organize a consultation with them and form a core group.
ii. Developing mechanisms to promote and protect Dalit human rights defenders’ rights. We will identify them and build their capacity through a cadre of trainers throughout India and organize state consultations.
iii. Making assertiveness of the survivors as collective force to address issues of Criminal Justice Administrative Systems. We will call them for a consultation, where a core group will be formed and then capacitate them and continuously support them to regularly meet with the enforcement authorities to assert the implementation of the rights of the survivors.
iv. Promoting a network of dalit lawyers by capacitating them to mobilize more dalit lawyers to come together and thus collectively address the judiciary and other enforcement and statutory bodies
v. Identifying all the dalit ‘sarpanches’ to collectively ensure that the untouchability and atrocity against dalits are erased at the village-level.
vi. Enhancing the voluntary participation of civil society in addressing civil and political rights violations by promoting the movement to enhance more and more membership throughout the society.
vii. Protecting the civil and political rights of the dalits by monitoring any major violation of rights and whenever necessary make legal advocacy intervention and other advocacy intervention through campaigns and other public action.
viii. Promoting the civil and political rights by advocacy follow-up at various levels and advocacy with various national level statutory and policy making bodies and publicizing the status of the criminal justice administration system and that of the various monitoring agencies of the society.
NCDHR – National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) is a National Movement initiating its presence in 17 states across the country and is an expression of Hope as well as Anguish: Hope that we Dalits can reclaim human personality; Hope that we Dalits have the capacity to transform our pain and struggle into power for achieving justice, equality, and dignity regardless of caste, gender, religion, race, or ethnicity. Our efforts are to establish ourselves as equal citizens in the society under Dalit leadership within our rising consciousness of new challenges and new opportunities and a critique of the limitations of our older modes of thinking and action and move forward from being different to making a difference with the objects to Organize, mobilize Dalit community, organizations and civil society to promote and protect Civil Political Rights of Dalits for ensuring just and fair justice.
Sangharsh Hamara Nara Hai - Nyay Aadhikar Hamara Hai!