Skip to main content

Shabbirpur violence: Many Dalit families have left village, safer resettlement sought by those left behind

By Our Representative
A Fact Finding team by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), which visited Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, has said that the recent violence against Dalits in the village should be seen against the backdrop of “a resurgent Dalit community", which was "moving ahead politically, socially and economically.”
Pointing towards how Shiv Kumar, a Dalit, won the elections to the post of village pradhan in 2015, even though it was not a reserved seat, suggesting political empowerment of the community, a report prepared by the team insists, the resentment of dominant castes of "this forward movement cannot be ignored” while analysing what happened in Shabbirpur.
The team –which consisted, among others, of Ajit Kumar Yadav of the Swaraj Abhiyan; Ashok Bharati, Chief Advisor, National Confederation of Dalit Organizations; Ashok Chaudhury or the All India Union of Forest Working People; Ram Kumar, President, Dynamic Action Group, Lucknow; Dr Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary, NCDHR, visited Shabbirpur on May 14, and 15, 2017 – believes the May 5 violence appears to have been “pre-planned by the Thakurs.”
The team’s report, a copy of which has been forwarded to Counterview, says, “The administration, in particular the police, failed on serious counts to prevent, contain and stop the violence”, adding, “Trouble had been brewing in these areas since April in relation to Ambedkar Jayanti, and yet, the police did not take adequate precautionary measures.”
Referring to the Ambedkar Shobha Yatra on April 20, taken out by Raghav Lakhanpal, BJP MP, through Sadak Dudhli village, an area mostly dominated by Muslims, the report says, UP Police registered an FIR against the BJP MP, yet neither he nor his supporters were arrested. “Instead, SSP Love Kumar, who registered the FIR against the MP, was transferred out immediately thereafter”, it regrets.
“UP Police also did not take any of the preventive measures allowed under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and the accompanying Rules (1995), such as recommend removal of a person likely to create unrest from a particular area for a specified period of time”, the report says.
Post-April, says the report, in the event to commemorate Maharana Pratap Jayanti at the Maharana Pratap Memorial Inter College on May 5, BJP leaders – including minister Suresh Rana and BJP MLAs Kunwar Brijesh and Nakli Singh – were present, and an accused in the Phoolan Devi murder case, Sher Singh Rana, was facilitated.”
This was followed by a procession, in which the Rajputs played “loud DJ music and shouting slogans such as Jai Sri Ram and Ambedkar Murdabad”, the report says, adding, “When Dalits of the village asked for permission papers, Rajput community started attacking the Dalits, who retaliated by throwing stones.”
Noting that “false rumours” were spreading that one or two Thakur youth had been attacked, leading to Thakurs from the nearby villages converging into Shabbirpur in thousands, the report says, “The fact that such large numbers were able to assemble so quickly does suggest that this very rapid mobilization was perhaps prompted by advance planning.”
“What followed for the next few hours was selective and targeted burning of 55 houses of Dalits of Shabbirpur village. Before the Thakurs set the houses on fire, they looted—jewels, cash, clothes and whatever they could lay their hands on”, the report says, adding, “The Ravidas temple situated in the midst of the Dalit settlement was attacked” and “Dalit women complained that the assailants sexually harassed them.”
Referring to the Dalit meeting at Ravidas Hostel on May 9, 2017, the report says, “The meeting was stopped in the name of law and order. Later when Dalits gathered at Gandhi Park demanding justice and rehabilitation and compensation, the police lathi charged the peaceful gathering.”
The situation has reached such a point, says the report, that “the administration has started to come heavily on the activists and leaders of Bhim Army, an organization of Dalit youths. Several false charges have been filed against the founder member of Bhim Army, Chandrashekhar Azad.
Pointing to several Dalit youths having been “arrested and put behind bars in Saharanpur District Jail”, with the Dalit community being “considered under the National Security Act” for social media posts, the report says, “Many Dalit families have left the village and those left behind are demanding resettlement in a place where they will feel safe.”

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.