Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Dalit women, still a deprived lot

Chennai, Oct 20:

Who said women are on road to empowering themselves and seem to enjoy the benefits as men do? At least not in villages of our country.

Atrocities against Dalit women still continue in Siruthondamadevi Village of Panruti Taluk, Cuddalore district, according to a representative from the village, whose name was withheld on request.

Though an incident in which a women named Pazhaniammal, who was sexually-harassed by the dominating community, was featured in almost all the media, violence and sexual exploitations continue unabated in the village, says the representative.

Recently, a pregnant woman who had been waiting in the ration shop was beaten up by the women from the dominant community in order to get the rations first. Another incident involved a woman from the lower caste, who was raped by three men from the so-called upper caste. The victim was murdered and the body thrown into the river, alleged a Dalit representative.

These kinds of atrocities were going unchecked and the people from the lower caste were neglected and deprived of employment opportunities in the village. Hence, people from the lower rung of the social ladder were forced to travel four or five kilometers from the village to find other employments, said Bernad Fatima of Tamilnadu Dalit Women Movement. She also said that with an aim at giving the discriminated Dalit women an opportunity to air their grievances, a State-level conference had been planned at Panruti. The sixth conference of its kind would discuss issues relating to the atrocities based on caste and sexual harassments against Dalit women, Fatima added.

Delegates and representatives of the Dalit comunity from all over the country would be participating in the meet. Workshops to train women in and around Panruti to empower the women community would also be held as part of the conference, she said.

Source: News Today, October 20, 2004

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