2017 Calender & Resource Book on Dalit Struggles in India by Intercultural Resources (ICR) Over 200 million Dalits in India live in a perilous state, shunned by much of the mainstream society – because of their ranks as untouchables or Dalits who remain at the bottom of a rigid caste system. Dalits are often discriminated and subjugated in many aspects of life. The Social Movements Calendar and the Resource Book 2017 are efforts by ICR to capture the vast array Dalit Struggles in India.
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Social Movements Calendar 2017 – Dalit struggles in India – a compilation of Dalit struggles over the last 100 years has been released along with a powerful companion Resource Book.
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Fishworkers Protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Fishworkers from several parts of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to protest against the government’s policies towards the fisherfolk in the coastal regions of India. They demanded a separate ministry for fishing and criticized the government for allowing the constructions of innumerable ports without looking into the environmental hazards they pose.
Tibetans in Delhi protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Tibetans observed the 57th Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day which took place on this day in 1959. The protesters called for global intervention in Tibet to save Tibetan Lives and send fact finding delegations in Tibet to access the real situation of the Tibetans living there under the Chinese regime.
Dalit Christians and Muslims Protests at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. National Council of Dalit Christians, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India strongly condemned Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thawar Chand Ghelot for his offensive statements. The protesters demanded to grant SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims in India.
Condemn Recent Atrocities Against Dalits
Delhi Solidarity Group strongly condemns the killings of 3 dalits by the dominant caste Jats in Ajmer, Rajasthan on 15th of May 2015. The 3 dalits were mowed down under tractors and a dozen others were wounded following the killings. The dispute over a piece of land turned violent when the Jats held a Panchayat to resolve the issue and summoned the dalits to attend. Fearing attacks from the Jats who had gathered there, the dalits fired at them which led to death of one. Following this, the crowd at Jat panchayat went berserk, attacked the dalits, bulldozed their houses, assaulted their women and chased the fleeing men on tractors and 3 were crushed to death while 14 others, including six women, were injured. On the next day, hundreds of armed attackers reached the hospital and surrounded it to prevent doctors from treating the injured dalits. Police force from half-a-dozen police stations had to be called to ensure medical treatment to the injured, some of whom were later taken to Ajmer.
In another incident at Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh five dalit women were paraded naked and caned by 15 OBC villagers after a girl eloped with a Dalit boy. “They dragged us out of our houses on Saturday, stripped us in the middle of the village, beat us with batons and took us to a tea stall on the Saraya-Budhwana Road where passersby stopped to leer at us. This continued for about four hours before some other villagers intervened,” one of the victims, whose son has allegedly run away with the OBC girl, told the police.
The way dominant caste/class people deal with dalits remains unchanged. Just like the numerous atrocities that have taken place in the past, even in these incidents, the entire community was attacked in retaliation to a feud that was essentially between two individuals/families. Just like always, the dalit women were targeted and molested in order to thrust caste dominance over the dalit community. This has been the culture of caste atrocities since forever and it persists.
Such acts of violence and humiliation not only violate basic human rights of the dalits but also reflect upon the highly casteist feudal mindset that continues to prevail in our society. What essentially furthers such atrocities is the impunity that has continued in the cases of caste atrocities. We cannot forget how the perpetrators of violence against hundreds of dalits in the massacres at Bathani Tola, Khairlanji, Laxmanpur Bathe, Baghana walked away unpunished. The silence of civil society organizations and the larger society on the issue of caste has contributed to the nurturing of this culture of caste atrocities, which has taken such an ugly face for the dalits. Caste and its implications for the dalits need to be acknowledged by all and condemned strongly.
In times like these, we need to register our protest against such atrocities and pressurize the government to punish the perpetrators. We must be a part of the fight put up by dalits against caste oppression, else all our slogans for social change will remain mere rhetoric if the people belonging to the most marginalized communities continue to be humiliated and slaughtered.
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