This refers to the report, “47,000 cases of crime against SC/ ST registered in 2016 : Govt” (National, April 4, 2018). A week after the Supreme Court ruled that complaints of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) should be dealt with caution, a Dalit youth was hacked to death for his “audacity” of riding a horse at a upper caste dominated village in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.
There has indeed been a long list of atrocities against Dalits like beating them up for twirling or even just sporting moustaches, disallowing them to ride horses or to drink water from public taps or to get haircut from a village saloon or to enter temples or to use village wells or to sit in a row in a village feast etc.!
The story is the same as that of “Sadgati” which is not just a Munshi Prem Chand’s short story or a Satyajit Ray’s film. It is indeed the continuing saga of agonizing caste hatred in our country.
This made Ambedkar embrace Buddhism. This made Vemula write in his suicide note, “My birth is my fatal accident.” This made Una happen. And this makes the dropout rate in Dalit children generally high in our country. The UN report suggests that more needs to be done as there is widespread discrimination against Dalits throughout the entire educational system in India.
Modern Manus are still stooping very low to suppress the rise of Dalits. Thus the crime against Dalits is shooting up every year. The statistics compiled by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows a hop, skip and a jump in crime against Dalits ~ 33,655 cases in 2012, 39,408 cases in 2013 and 47,064 ( a nasty jump!) in 2014. There has been a sharp rise in the number of rape on Dalit women ~ 1,576 in 2012, 2,073 in 2013 and 2,233 in 2014. And now Lok Sabha was informed that as many as 47,338 cases of crime against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were registered across the country in 2016.
We cannot turn a blind eye to unabated hatred, abuse, torture and exploitation that Dalits have still been facing every day in our country. Stringent and effective act must be in place to prevent atrocities against Dalits apart from ensuring their proportional representation in government administration. We need political will to prevent atrocities against Dalits.
Sujit De, Kolkata