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India’s Dalit Lives Matter

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Indian society - one where the preamble of the Indian Constitution is considered as a declaration of social, economic and political justice, equality of status and opportunity, fraternity and liberty and a national goal that speaks to us of the kind of country we aspire to be, but whose validity is not considered when it comes to the legal protection of minorities in our “secular” country. Despite laws against caste discrimination and the establishment of special commissions to monitor its proper execution, caste discrimination and caste-based crimes still persist throughout India, with violence against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes rising at a high rate.

In a recent case which brought to light the horrible reality of the people’s greed for money, a 17-year-old Dalit boy was shot by four other young men after he had entered a Shiva temple to pray. He got into an argument with the perpetrators, which later turned physical. This escalated to a point where they came to his house later at night and shot the sleeping, defenseless boy. Although the Amroha police say that this case had nothing to do with the temple, the concept of “untouchability” or the young boy’s caste, the persistent cases against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh say otherwise. For example, a 13-year-old Rajasthani Dalit minor was found to be 17 weeks pregnant after three men from her village had gang-raped her for 4 continuous months.

Upper caste COVID-19 patients from Uttar Pradesh refused to eat food served to them in isolation centers just because it was prepared by a Dalit cook. A Dalit groom in Rajasthan’s Madhopura village was prevented by members of the Jat community from sitting on the mare due to “religious sentiments” and the couple was later subjected to physical violence and social boycott. A Dalit woman was attacked by a masked man who sprayed poisonous gas near her while she was on her way to relieve herself. It’s time to abolish casteism.

By: Kashish Bhargava

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