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

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.