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

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.