Sociological Analysis Of Dalit Human Rights

 

by- Oliver D'Souza

 

Over one-fifth of India's population, approximately 232 million people, live in sub-human conditions, discriminated by most of Indian society because of the status as'untouchables'.

 

An analysis done by Senapati Tushar Kanti, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, to find the nature and magnitude of atrocity on Dalits, sociological and legal constraints for Dalits getting justice and the compatibility of Human Rights with the social order in Indian villages, has once again reiterated the little change that has taken place with regards to the violation of Dalit human rights.

 

The analysis concluded that there has been a "dereliction of social, cultural and civil rights of the Dalits in India, which is practiced through religious sanctions enshrined in various Brhaminic scriptures and in Manusmriti- the caste system code bible.

 

According to the analysis, "despite the Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes Atrocities Prevention Act, which provides for stringent punishment for crimes under the act, the crime rate against Dalits continues unabated."

 

As per statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2012, approximately 12,576 cases of atrocities against Dalits were reported under this Act as compared to 11,342 in the year 2011, with an increase of 10.9%.

 

Bihar alone accounted for 4,436 cases amounting to 35.3% of total cases reported in the country, while Odisha accounted for 1943 case (15.5%), Uttar Pradesh 1,740 cases (13.8%) and Karnataka accounted for 1,334 such atrocity cases (10.6%).

Heinous atrocities like rape, murder and arson have been on the rise in comparison with figures for the year 2008.

 

The study also found that there is an increase in the crimes against women. There were approximately 1349, 1557 and 1576 cases of rape in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

 

The analysis concluded that although " Dalits constitute 17% of the population (One out of every five Indians is a Dalit, due to their caste hierarchy Dalits incessantly encounter discrimination and violence which deprives them of even basic human rights and dignity to all citizens as enshrined in the constitution."

 

The analysis also highlighted the fact that considerable physical violence is inflicted on Dalits and sometimes, as in Punjab, the whole Dalit community in the village is socially boycotted.

 

The analysis pointed out that "Several legislations in the constitution have been enacted for the protection of the Dalits, but atrocities, violence and discrimination against them continues as before."

 

The analysis pinpointed the fact that the police too resort to various tactics to discourage reporting and registration of cases, very often diluting the seriousness of the offences, and protecting the accused shields, while Dalits are also intimidated by the perpetrators of caste atrocities to prevent reporting of such crimes.

 

This is also the reason why the National Crime records do not present a true picture of the magnitude of crimes against Dalits and various NGOs put the official figures as only the tip of the iceberg.

 

The analysis recommended that " A democratic movement from the grassroots level has to be launched against discrimination and atrocities as they are more apparent in rural areas. There is a need to change the status quo and discrimination."

"The Dalit human rights have to be taken to the centerstage of any political and social movement in the country. Dalit right to be human cannot be attained by themselves being mere spectator. Dalits have to spearhead this human right movement and all progressive forces should join their hands with them."

-Adapted from the orginal analysis.

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