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

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.