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Casteist? Gujarat official supported social boycott of Dalit fair price shop owner: RtFC

By Our Representative 

The civil rights group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has taken strong exception to the order given by the district collector of Patan, Gujarat, to transfer all the ration cards from the Dalit Fair Price Shop (FPS) dealer to another village based on the social boycott that has been continuing against a Dalit dealer by the Thakor Community (upper caste) in Kanosan village.
District Collector Arvind Vijayan transferred the ration cards of all 436 households in Kanosan to the FPS in Edla village in an order dated 12 September 2023.
In a media communique, RtFC said, “This order came after the majority of the non-Dalit community of the Kanosan village stopped taking their monthly ration from the FPS run by Kanti Parmar (a Dalit). The Kanosan village with a population of around 2,200 has more than 90 percent of the Thakor community. The Dalit FPS dealer has been running the dealership for the last 30 years but for the last two years, a negative campaign started after a Thakor leader of the village was denied ration because of the invalidity of his ration card.”
it added, “The boycott of the FPS first started when fake allegations were put in for the poor distribution of ration on the ration dealer with the signature of 371 people in the Kanosan village and through conspiracy ration were being distributed with the help of POS machine of savarna FPS dealer from the neighbouring village.”
Stating that this led to a mental trauma on Kanti Parmar due to which he tried to commit suicide by consuming poison during the month of May 2021, RtFC said, “The intake of poison led to a serious injury in one of his legs and it had to be removed. After this, a case was filed against 5 people and they were put behind bars.”
“But”, noted RtFC, “In a span of one month, they were released on bail and soon a mass social boycott of the FPS run by a Dalit where the majority of the households in the village coming from the Savarna community stopped buying ration from him and wrote a letter to the district collector to transfer their ration card to neighbouring Edla village. Currently, the licence of the Dalit FPS dealer is on the verge of getting cancelled.”
This kind of caste-based discrimination against a Scheduled Caste person is clearly an atrocity under the law
Claimed RtFC, “This kind of caste-based discrimination against a Scheduled Caste person is clearly an atrocity that comes under the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 amended 2015 and such an act of injustice by the district collector to transfer ration cards of the villagers to other FPS should immediately be taken up as a suo moto cognizance by the chief secretary of the Gujarat government.”
It added, “The mental torture of a Dalit FPS dealer is caste-based violence that also violates the National Food Security Act which upholds the democratic empowerment of Fair Price Shops in the village by advocating giving distribution control to the marginalised community of the society.”
According to RtFC, “As per the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 amended 2015, Section 3(1) under which; (r): When an individual gets humiliated, (s): When an individual gets abused, (u): Creating a feeling of enmity, hatred and animosity against Scheduled Caste person, (Zc): Social exclusion of a person, family or group of a specific caste, (Za)(e): economic boycott, damaging the profession, employment, business, shop or any job are applicable in this case and 3(2)(va) as in this case the person has been forced to commit suicide, therefore, crimes of serious nature as per the sections of IPC along with other sections mentioned above needs to be applied immediately.”

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