Monday, June 28, 2004

Dalits seek justice in Bangalore

Maya Sharma

Monday, June 28, 2004:

A public hearing of the atrocities on Dalits was held in Bangalore before a jury.

Victims of discrimination and abuse from around Karnataka spoke of what they had been through and the troubles they were facing.

The jury consisted of retired justice, political and social scientists.

Brutal torture

The victims spoke of being beaten up by upper caste villagers because they sat and ate the food being served at a village festival.

After the incident, their water supply was cut off and they were not allowed to go near the lake. A fine of Rs 5,000 was also announced if anybody helped these people.

Still under threat

In another case, two schoolgirls from villages in the Kolar district were raped. The man who committed these crimes is still at large and has been threatening the families.

"Blood was running down her legs � she walked with great difficulty for two kilometers, crying all the way. They have given him bail and he is out of jail. Now he follows the children closely on his tractor - abuses them and threatens to kill them," said the father of one of the victims who was raped.

The human rights activists who organized this public hearing have documented the cases and based on the jury's recommendations, will try and see that justice is finally done.

Source: NDTV, June 28, 2004

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Tamil Dalits denied use of male dogs

Sam Daniel

Thursday, June 24, 2004 (Tuticorin):

Dalits living in a village of the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu are denied access to many common amenities.

And off late, the upper castes living in the village have forbidden the Dalits from even using male dogs for hunting�something they've been doing for generations.

"A female dog can bring the catch only if it is nearby. Whereas a male can bring it from a fair distance in the forests," said a local K Thaayamaal, a Dalit woman.

The Dalits are dependent on the upper castes for their livelihood and are worried about the repercussions. "We depend on them for our livelihood. They will call us to work in their fields and pay for it," said another local.

Denials issued

All public facilities including telephone, school, community hall and a health center are located in the upper castes area. The only place the Dalits have access to is the school.

However, the upper castes deny any kind of discrimination including the current one on the use of dogs. "Both communities go together for hunting. How can we ask them not to have male dogs? All these allegations are imaginary," claimed an upper cast local.

The district police have received no official complaint though they say they'll continue their investigations. "Both the upper castes and Dalits have said that no discrimination of any kind exists," said S Choodeswaran additional SP, Tuticorin.

Barely two weeks back Dalits in a nearby village embraced Islam, unable to bear the atrocity of the upper castes. While the Dalits are too scared to tell the truth, it is a challenge for the local police to find out whether caste discrimination is extending to animals too.

Source: NDTV, June 24, 2004

Monday, June 21, 2004

Dalit youth tortured in Rajasthan

Harsha Kumari Singh

Monday, June 21, 2004 (Newai):

Members of a Dalit community in Rajasthan's Tonk district were hung from a tree and brutally beaten after they were arrested on charges of stealing.

The victims, Puran Bairwa and three others, were tortured by dominant Mali community of the village, to admit to a crime they say did not commit.

"They hung my son from a tree and beat him senseless. I immediately reported this to the police," said Chittarmal Bairwa, Puran's father.

After appeals to the district administration, a case of atrocities against the Dalits has been lodged, and five members of the Mali community have been arrested. The Dalit youths too continue to be in police custody.

Police sources say the incident has polarised the entire village along caste lines, and that is making investigations difficult.

Source: NDTV, June 21, 2004