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#LockdownCasteAtrocities: Human rights social media campaign to petition UN

A Dalit artist's painting on caste atrocities 
By Our Representative
The Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network (DHRDNet), claiming to be a coalition of over 1,000 Dalit human rights defenders across India, has collaborated with Public Bolti, a citizen journalism  and advocacy platform, to run a social media campaign #LockdownCasteAtrocities on DHRDNet’s official social media handles on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linktree and Youtube.
Explaining the reason for the month-long the campaign, DHRDNet said, “The mainstream media – as far too many Dalit journalists have pointed out ad nauseam – reports only on the most brutal cases of caste atrocities, especially after a furore raised by people from the community.”
Giving instances, DHRDNet said in a statement, this is true of Khairlanji, as also Hathras, pointing out, “When they do cover it, even the most ‘progressive’ of media tramples on the dignity of the victims/survivors, fails to mention the caste of the perpetrators, while universally trying to suppress the caste angle.”
“Further”, asserted DHRDNet, “When it comes to victims of atrocities against Dalits, images of brutality inflicted on them are shared widely, while the consideration of the dignity of the individual and their families – a courtesy extended always to upper caste victims – is honoured only in the breach.”
Giving details of the campaign, DHRDNet said, “To highlight the cases, while at the same time respecting the dignity of the individuals, the campaign features 30 artists from Bahujan communities presenting 30 cases over 30 days, through rap and music, illustrations, poetry, performance art, and mixed media. It’s an attempt to rewrite the narrative from victimhood to calling out the Brahminical oppressors.” 
It continued, “The campaign has initiate conversations on various aspects related to atrocities being committed against Dalits, through explainers, sessions with on-ground experts, media reporting on atrocities, and various Call to Action steps for allies. One of the key focus areas is making information related to the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act accessible to members of the community, to facilitate quicker registration of cases.” 
Deciding to table a petition for the United Nations Organisation at the end of the campaign, DHRDNet said, it would stress on institutionalizing “regular reporting and effective dialogue on the elimination of discrimination based on caste and analogous forms of inherited status”, adding, “A second petition contains a detailed list of concrete recommendations to address and prevent caste crimes in individual states directed to lawmakers such as MPs and MLAs.”
The campaign, which is being carried out on, which is being concentrated in five states – Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka – will be followed with the release of a report on the atrocities on Dalits during the pandemic lockdown in these five Indian states, some time in the first half of November 2020.

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