Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gujarat's commercial capital "tops" the list of murder, rape of Dalits: Compilation based on RTI plea to DGP

By Our Representative
A fresh compilation, based on detailed right to information (RTI) replies on victims of caste violence in Gujarat, has revealed that Ahmedabad’s Dalits top the list of victims of caste violence compared to any other district. The data, which contain individual cases of those who have suffered caste violence, suggest that 38 Dalits were murdered in Ahmedabad district out of a total of 295 in Gujarat since 1991.
This is followed by Rajkot 32 murders, Surendranagar 26 murders, Junagardh 22 murders, Surat 21 murders, and so on.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s commercial capital, also tops the list of rapes cases, 90, out of 519 across Gujarat, the information, sought by a senior Dalit rights activist, Kantilal Parmar of Navsarjan Trust, suggests. Rajkot follows Gujarat with 59 rape cases, Anand 38, Surendranagar 32 rape cases,
Mehsana 25 rape cases, Junagarh 23 rape cases, and Patan 20 rape cases.
“Our aim of getting the information was to get compensation in each case. We wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), with copies to state authorities, seeking compensation in each of the cases. Our efforts are beginning to bear fruit”, Parmar told Counterview.
“A government order dated August 4, 2017 has been issued to provide cash compensation of Rs 4.12 lakh to the family of Rajeshbhai Becharbhai Parmar, who lived in Chandodia area, one of the 38 persons murdered in Ahmedabad”, he said, adding, “We hope more will follow.”
On August 11, 2017, another order by Gujarat’s social justice and empowerment department, asked director, scheduled caste welfare, to immediately work out rehabilitation of Dalits in Gujarat’s 295 villages, which are known to have experienced caste violence. 
As far as social boycott cases are concerned, the data show, Bhavnagar district tops the list with 15 incidents, followed by nine each in Botad and Rajkot districts, seven in Vadodara district, five each in Banaskantha and Surendranagar districts, and three in Ahmedabad district.
Surprisingly, despite fewer number of social boycotts in Ahmedabad, the district experienced the highest number of forced migration cases – eight.
While an equal number of forced migration instances happened in Rajkot district, too, Banaskathan followed with seven cases, Patan five cases, Amreli and Anand districts three cases each, and so on. In all, Gujarat experienced 75 cases of social boycott and 49 cases of forced migration by Dalit groups because of caste violence, the data reveal.
“We have told in our plea to the NHRC that monetary compensation, though necessary, is not enough for rehabilitating Dalits who have suffered caste violence”, Parmar said, adding, “We have simultaneously demanded allocation of agricultural land to each victim, government job to an adult in the family, housing facility, and so on.”
Parmar, however, regretted, the state apparatus, especially the police establishment, has refused to part with all the information on caste violence, “one reason why the total number of individuals cases we have been given is far fewer than the National Crime Record Bureau figures.”
Parmar further said, “There was considerable delay in providing RTI information. While the application was filed about 10 months ago, the office of the Director-General of Police sent applications to respective district police heads and city police commissioners.”
He added, “While a few of the district police offices provided information, others, like Porbandar and Bhavnagar, replied to us that it was an impossible task, asking us to approach individual police stations. This led us to gather information from local sources.”

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