Over the last few years, crimes against Scheduled Castes have been on the rise. 2017 also saw enough examples to show that this malaise isn’t going away soon.
On 1 January 2018, the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon was celebrated by the Dalit community all over Maharashtra. However, the celebration led to clashes between Dalits and upper castes, resulting in the death of a man.
But here’s the sad part – even in 2018, Indian society doesn’t seem to have moved on from caste-based oppression and violence.
The National Crime Records Bureau data for 2015 and 2016 showed that the number of crimes reported against Dalits had risen from 38,670 to 40,801, with Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan heading the table of states with most instances of crimes against Scheduled Caste people.
In the year gone by, too, there were many crimes against the Dalit community that made the headlines. Here’s a list of some of the most notables ones.
The torturous ritual of ‘Sidi’ takes place where Dalits are made to perform excruciatingly painful tasks like piercing their own flesh using metal hooks and then being tied to a wooden poll. ‘Sidi’ is a part of the Udusalamma Devi Jaathra Mahotsav at Hariharapura village near Bengaluru. Many voices from the Dalit community like the Dalit Hakkugala Samiti (DHS) have come forward and actively condemned this archaic ritual.
5 May 2017
Violence breaks out in Shabbirpur village in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, after Dalit youths start a protest against a procession being carried out by the Thakur community to commemorate 16th century king, Maharana Pratap. Enraged Thakurs torch 50 Dalit houses,leading to the region being on tenterhooks for weeks.
7 May 2017
In Deri village of Madhya Pradesh, a Dalit groom, Prakash Bansal, is allegedly beaten up on his way to the wedding venue by four upper caste men for ‘daring’ to ride a decorated car to his wedding, according to the police.
A farm worker, Mareppa Harijan, and his son Ningappa, from Haligondakanal village in Karnataka are tied to a tree and beaten up by another villager, who suspected Ningappa had eloped with his daughter.
Two Dalit men from a village near Gandhinagar in Gujarat areallegedly thrashed by members of Rajput community for “sporting a moustache”.
30 September 2017
In Gangur village of Karnataka, five Dalits are assaulted during the Vijayadashami procession. Violence breaks out as backlash from the upper castes, who had prohibited entry of Dalits in the village temple, only to be overruled by the police. The Dalit residents had allegedly submitted a plea to the local police to take proper security measures before the procession, but no arrangements were made.