Skip to main content

The war of attrition on Dalits and Adivasis: Anti-atrocities Act, reservations and Constitution of India

Dalits agitate against the anti-atrocities Act
By Antara and Umesh Babu*
“Ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle of reclamation of human personality.” -- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
In the recent past, the social fabric of this country has been repeatedly violated through gross acts of politically motivated injustice and violence. We are witnessing a growing political leaning towards fascism under the current regime. Hundreds of cases of pre-planned riots, murders, mob lynchings and loose-end policy formulations have been taking place rampantly.
Some examples would be the murders of renowned journalists like Pansare, Gauri Lankesh and Kalburgi amongst others who articulated such doubts. Further, horrendous cases of mob violence have been reported, where innocent Dalits, Adivasi, women, religious and other social minorities have been targeted without the fear of law. Dalit and tribal students have been harassed in University campuses, where educational aids have been reduced and conditioned, women are increasingly being reduced to their bodies and the entire country is being poked into a xenophobic frenzy.
In relation to the above, most political parties have failed in their duties and their assurances have fallen flat. Persistent and consistent deprivation, humiliation, isolation and discrimination to the point of cold blooded murder is being regularly committed by militant political outfits like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Durga Vahini, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and its related branches. 
They claim that they are the ordained enforcers of religious codes and that their retaliation towards any social minority that tries to step out of their ‘status’, is a sacred duty. They are shielded by the governments at the Centre and run amok with no fear of law. Even though there is a large pool of proof like audio, video and photographic evidence of their wrongdoing, they continue to go scot free.
To articulate the necessity of collective action, one should observe the current events in the country. The Supreme Court’s decision to dilute the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has resulted in a widespread protest and agitation by unorganised Dalit and tribal communities. 2nd April 2018 was a day of historic resistance, without any political or religious organisation, the streets across the country were covered in blue and the rage of the historically deprived masses. This attempt by the Supreme Court to protect the perpetrators was not received passively, it is not only an attack on these communities but also a large blow to the Constitution of this country.
The High Courts have also ordered that SC/ST/OBC employees, who benefitted from reservation at the time of their recruitment, should not be promoted and instead should be demoted if required. Court orders also prohibit recruitment of merit owners, once fee or any other relaxation is taken by the applicants of these communities. Such court orders are being implemented on war footing. Besides court orders; there are ordinances, laws, office memorandums, guidelines, and many other instruments and subordinate legislations that are being used to abandon the representation of these communities in bureaucracy.
It makes one thing clear: religious and political ideologies that encourage violence, political and economic unrest within the country are in blatant opposition to the Constitutional rights; they are no longer acceptable to the larger population, which is evident in the growing distrust in the system. These spurts of resistances and social movements have to be channeled into a larger opposition to the current regime. These struggles can be turned into a tide of change and to strengthen it, the civil society has to play a major role.
Therefore, we need to plan and strategize our work to support such resistances. Political leaders, law scholars, academicians, activists and other likeminded people need to work together and unify practice and theory.
---
*With Delhi Forum. Concept note for preparatory meet in Delhi on April 6 for a plan of action and to strategize to support struggle

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

Lost to commercialisation, vanity? Ashram awaits 'second assassination' of Gandhiji

Counterview Desk  Around 130 “concerned” citizens, in a statement, have protested against the Government of India and Gujarat government decision to turn Gandhi Ashram into a ‘world-class’ tourist destination spread over 54 acres at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, which would include a Gandhi Ashram Memorial, an amphitheater, a VIP lounge, shops and a food court, stating it would compromise and trivialize the “sanctity and importance of the present-day Ashram, mainly Hriday Kunj, surrounding buildings, and the museum.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Govt of India has 'no moral right' to declare national day for Muslim women, Naqvi told

Counterview Desk  In what has been described as a nationwide outpouring of condemnation, following the announcement by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs, declaring August 1 as ‘Muslim Women’s Rights Day’ to mark the anniversary of the Triple Talaq law, over 650 citizens have said it is nothing but "cynical optics" of using Muslim women’s rights in the face of an "unprecedented" onslaught against the rights of the Muslims in recent years.

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.

Madhya Pradesh Adivasis protest externment notice to Barwani tribal rights leader

By Harsing Jamre, Nasri Bai Ningwal, Prakash Bandod*  Over 2,500 Adivasis mobilized in response to Barwani district administration’s recent move to issue a show cause notice to Valsingh Saste, a prominent Adivasi activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), Madhya Pradesh. For two decades, Valsingh Saste as an activist of JADS has been continuously leading struggles for the constitutional and fundamental rights of Adivasis.