Skip to main content

Dalit political activist's murder: caste hatred ignored in 'devbhumi' Uttarakhand

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

The murder of Jagadish Chandra, a political activist from Uttarakhand, due to his marriage to a savarna caste Rajput girl is simply outrageous and a crime against humanity. The state of Uttarakhand might not have much crime record, but caste discrimination and untouchability are still prevalent in the state and Dalits live a life under deep pressure, as they are in a minority in the state.
Dalit issues never become mainstream in the state, and even political parties desist from raising them. Social movements in Uttarakhand often keep the issue aside and speak in a sweeping generalization way, as if the mountains don’t have a caste system or untouchability.
You don’t need to go to far. Just visit about 30-40 kilometres from the state capital Dehradun to the Jaunsar region, which is actually 'termed' as scheduled area for 'tribes', and you will find how caste discrimination is so powerful that Dalits are not even allowed to pray in the temples.
Almora is one of the most powerful districts of Uttarakhand, where various social movements have emerged. The Dalit movement too emerged here under the stewardship of Munshi Hari Prasad Tamta, who supported Baba Saheb Ambedkar in the roundtable conference, but the Brahminical mainstream of Uttarakhand rarely speaks about Tamta.
The Brahmin-Thakur binary in Uttarakhand ignores the rights of the Dalits as an independent and autonomous community. They take their own decision on the participation of Dalits-Adivasis in the political, social and cultural life. Even the issue of reservation is highly sensitive in Uttarakhand. The movement for separate states got momentum here after the Mandal report was reluctantly accepted to be implemented in Uttarakhand.
The murder of Jagadish Chandra is not an incident confine to Uttarakhand, neither is the state any different in terms of caste discrimination from the rest of the country. The dirty fact is that India is united when it comes to caste prejudice and cultural hatred towards Dalits and Adivasis.
Pushkar Singh Dhami, Uttarakhand CM
We recently saw how a Jharkhand Adivasi woman was tortured by a Brahminical elite and got wide media attention. Cases of violence against Dalits and Adivasis are happening everywhere. But while in most other states they get highlighted, in Uttarakhand this is not the case. The state’s intellectual elite would suggest as if they are living in an alien world where caste discrimination does not happen and everybody lives in great harmony.
The Uttarakhand government must take strict action against the thugs and goons who killed Jagadish Chandra. The girl who fell in love with him was living with her stepfather, and her step brothers never treated her with respect. They probably treated her like a domestic servant. How powerful is the ‘jaati’ concept can be gauged from the fact that that the girl wasn’t treated well in her family, yet faced resistance when she took an independent decision about her life.
The Almora police must respond as to why it did not act when the girl complained that her life and that of Jagadish Chandra was in danger. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami would do well to focus on the crime and order the police to act decisively.
Will people come to the streets for the honour and life of the girl who lost her husband? Will women of Uttarakhand rise up against this shameless and barbaric killing of a man just because he married the woman he loved?
It is caste hatred. It must be condemned with a call for total annihilation of castes. All talk of the state as #devbhumi are bogus unless we clean our heart and embrace everyone without prejudice based on caste and religion. Uttarakhand should not allow such caste violence to happen if it wishes to be called a civilised state.
---
*Human rights defender. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vbrawat. Twitter: @freetohumanity

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.