Skip to main content

Carcass removal by Dalits in Gujarat sanctioned by law: Top activist tells PM it is "a caste-based forced labour"

A Dalit skinning a dead cow removes plastic from the body
By Our Representative
In a major revelation, Navsarjan Trust executive director Manjula Pradeep has said that responsibility for removal of animal carcasses, including those of cows, has for long been the responsibility of the social justice committees in Gujarat's villages, which are headed by a Dalit or a tribal, suggesting the caste-based occupation is sanctioned by the state.
Pointing out that this has also been allowed by a state law, the Gujarat Panchayat Act, 1993, Pradeep, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has wondered whether this is not against the “rights ensured in the Constitution of India”, and why should it not be equated with “imposing caste-based forced labour.”
The issue has been raised close on the heels of the controversy surrounding cow vigilantes bashing up four Dalit youths in Gujarat's Una town on July 11 for skinning a dead cow. A caste-based occupation of Rohits (chamars), experts consider the removal of animal carcasses part of untouchability practice in rural Gujarat.
Agreeing with Modi that these vigilantes have opened shops in the country and 80 per cent of cow protectors are anti-social elements, the letter asks, “You have advised to make dossier about them, but how many shops of the cow protectors were closed when you were chief minister?”
Manjula Pradeep
The letter, which raises a large number of issues facing Dalits following Modi “breaking” his silence on the cow vigilantes attacking the Dalit youths, wonders why did he remain silent when when the Gujarat police open fired on Dalits of Thangadh, “using AK-47, killing three innocent Dalit youth, two of them minors”.
Pointing out that when the incident took place (September 22-23, 2012), Modi was just 55 km away in Limbdi town addressing Swami Vivekanand Yuva Vikas yatra. Pradeep asks, “Why was your compassion for Dalits absent then?”
Referring to Modi's address in Hyderabad, where he said that cow vigilantes should better shoot him than shoot his Dalit brothers or sisters, Pradeep says, “An investigation a report on Thangadh was submitted to you by Sanjay Prasad, IAS, to the state home department on May 1, 2013 but no further action is taken until now.”
“The accused police in the Thangadh incident are moving around and the CID crime has filed C-summary in two cases. Despite of this why are you keeping silence?”, the letter queries.
Referring to the Navsarjan Trust report “Understanding Untouchability”, released in 2010, which says there is discrimination against Dalits in majority of the 1,459 villages surveyed. Pradeep says, instead of accepting the findings, he condemned it and asked the CEPT University to prepare a parallel report, which called untouchability in Gujarat a matter of perceptions.
“For past two years, the Gujarat government has not taken any crucial steps to abolish untouchability in Gujarat. You have failed to fulfill the responsibility as per the Constitution of India and you have not uttered a single word to end untouchability against Dalits”, the letter says, wondering where had his “compassion gone”.
Other issues raised in the letter include Rs 5,550 crore, allocated for Dalits' development having remained unspent in the budget, failure to fill up 40,000 government jobs meant for Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs, failure to enact a law for reservation of Dalits and tribals in public and private sectors and ensuring its effective implementation, and so on.

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.

In defence of Sam Pitroda: Is calling someone look like African, black racist?

By Rajiv Shah  Sam Pitroda, known as the father of Indian telecom revolution, has been in the midst of a major controversy for a remark on how Indians across the regions look different. While one can understand Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking it up for his electoral gain, suggesting it showed the racist Congress mindset, what was unpalatable to me was Congress leaders – particularly Jairam Ramesh, known for his deep intellectual understand – distancing themselves from what Pitroda had said.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using' geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.