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 '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.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Coal blocks for tycoons: Rinchi village tribals may be declared forest land encroachers

By Gladson Dungdung*
On June 18, 2020, the Government of India initiated the process for auctioning 41 coal blocks for commercialisation. These coal blocks are located in different states within India and most of them fall under Fifth Schedule areas. The Indian government claims that their decision to auction these coal areas is a big step towards making the country Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant) in the energy sector.