Several incidents of caste atrocities on Dalits have been committed by the dominant caste forces in different parts of the country – spanning from Bolangir of Odisha to Lakshimpeta of Andhra Pradesh and recently in Bhagana in Haryana, in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and in other places. While the massacre of five Dalit peasants in a gruesome manner in Lakshimpeta village by dominant caste landowners and rich peasants have shaken the country, other incidents of casteist attacks like the burning of houses and assault on 60 dalit families in Bolangir or the social boycott and banishing of 128 Dalit families in Bhagana have not attracted much attention from the progressive and democratic sections of the country. In Lakhsimpeta, the landed section of the Backward Caste Kapus have adopted the brahmanical ideology as a result of their acquisition of private property – most importantly, land, and became perpetrators of caste violence on the ‘untouchable’ Mala people. Lakshimpeta massacre also involves the questions of dam and displacement, since the people of the village are evictees of a dam constructed by the government. While other evictees got compensation and land from the government, Dalits could get nothing and lost everything due to this forced displacement.
Caste atrocities in UP and Bihar too are being perpetrated on a daily basis, including the murder and rape of Dalits, without any visible protest or resistance. Land is the central question in most of these incidents of atrocity in rural India which takes the form of caste violence. Moreover, the dominant castes resort to brutal caste violence whenever the Dalits assert their independence and freedom, challenging the dominant castes. Class struggle and class violence often takes the form of casteist violence and repression in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country like India which has the specific attribute of brahmanical caste system. This shows the entrenched nature of feudalism in Indian society and the need to intensify the anti-feudal struggle as an immediate and urgent task before a revolutionary organisations like RDF and its constituent mass organisations. The complicity of the ruling classes in instigating and perpetrating caste violence is apparent in each and every incident of attack on Dalits, whereby the administration and the police invariably side with the dominant castes and further oppresses the Dalits. The Supreme Court’s acquittal of the culprits involved in the Baithani Tola massacre in Bihar and of similar bloodbaths of Dalits show that Dalits cannot expect any justice and fairness from the existing system, nor will the attacks on Dalits will stop unless there is organised resistance and retaliation on the part of the Dalits and other oppressed people.
It should be also understood that the spiralling world economic crisis has been showing its ugly manifestations in the form of fascist attacks by the dominant ruling classes/castes and their state on Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims – the most vulnerable sections of the oppressed people.
The attacks on Dalits and their conscious assertion however is not confined only to the rural areas. Even in urban areas Dalits face the ire of the dominant castes as well as the Indian state. For instance, the workers of Maruti Suzuki factory in Gurgaon started their recent agitation when a Dalit worker was humiliated and targeted by the management on caste lines. We have also witnessed the state’s persecution of Kabir Kala Manch- an Ambedkarite cultural organisation which espouses the ideals of New Democratic Revolution working in urban Maharashtra. To counter the incidents of caste violence – whether perpetrated by the dominant castes, the ruling classes or the state – retaliation is the only answer. RDF calls upon the Dalits to fight back all occurrences of caste violence. RDF calls upon all its constituent organisations to participate and lead retaliations against the violence of the dominant castes in their areas of work. RDF will launch a militant and aggressive campaign against incidents of caste violence.