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Payment of compensation under atrocities Act: Gujarat govt fails to move despite murder of Dalit in Bhachau

Navsarjan's Dalit campaign in
Ahmedabad 
By Our Representative
Top Gujarat human rights organization, Navsarjan Trust, has protested against the Gujarat government’s failure to pay compensation to the nearest kin of Premjibhai Palabhai Dafda, a Dalit farmer of Bhachau in Kutch district, aged 46, who was murdered in broad daylight on August 11. Senior activist Kantibhai Parmar, who rushed to Bhachau on hearing the gruesome murder, told www.counterview.net that under the prevention of the atrocities Act, Dafda’s family should have been paid 75 per cent of the compensation they are entitled to – which is Rs 5 lakh in case of the murder is of an earning family member.
“Social justice and empowerment department officials visited Dafda’s family six days after the murder, on August 17, and only when family members raised the issue of compensation did they say it would be paid. Under the Act, 75 per cent of the compensation should be paid within 24 hours of the murder. However, the state government has just refused to move, showing up its inertia”, Parmar said, speaking from Bhachau.
Enhanced monetary relief in the case of atrocities against scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) was announced by the Government of India through a notification in December 2011. Under the notification, as per the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities (Amendment) Rules 2011, which came into effect from December 23, 2011, compensation in case of murder of an earning SC/ST member was revised to Rs five lakh from Rs two lakh. As for a non-earning member, the compensation was revised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh.
Dafda was reportedly overrun by a car following a brawl with Kanaksinh Zala, aged 28, the chief accused, who has been arrested under section 302 (murder). “The brawl took place because of a minor incident, in which Dafda was riding on a motorbike and refused to allow the car to move ahead. This led to a brawl, which was also settled. However, in no time, Dafda was brutally attacked and run over by the same car. It was not an accident. It was an act of murder, in the presence of all present, between 1.00 and 2.15 pm”, Parmar reported the incident on the basis of his talk with the victim’s family members.
Parmar alleged, “The accused is known as a bootlegger of Bhachau, and is terror in the town, and the police had been going soft towards him till now. Only three months back, riding a bike, he attacked someone in a similar incident, badly injuring the person, even a police complaint was lodged. However, the police did not do anything because he holds lot of influence.” He added, “Had police taken action against him at that time, things would not have deteriorated so badly.”
Dafda belonged to a relatively well-to-do Dalit family, with an ownership of 30 acres of land. Bhachau has in all 400 Dalit households, suggesting they hold considerable influence in the small town, which was the worst victim of the killer quake of January 26, 2001. Zala, a Rajput by caste, feel locals, was feeling the pinch of increasing might of the Dalits in the region, one reason why he acted the way he did. “He behaved in a very odd manner even after the murder. After overrunning Dafda, he first ran away, and then sent someone to pick up the car”, Parmar said.




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