India: Dalits unite to oppose crime against women

[The oppressive conditions of Dalits by the Hindu caste system — fostered, historically, with active enforcement by British colonialism, and later formally outlawed but still deeply rooted in India today — has led to countless attacks and ongoing resistance.  The attack on Dalits by upper-caste in 2010, has ongoing effects in both fear and struggle.  Below this article, see the video documentary on the Mirchpur attack.  —  Frontlines ed.]
GAUTAM DHEER CHANDIGARH, Deccan Herald, October 12, 2012

Even after nearly two years of the infamous Mirchpur village incident in Haryana that shocked the nation over the killing of Dalits and burning of their houses by some upper caste people, over 70 affected families refuse to return to their homes.

They fear for their lives and property. Since 2010, these families have been camping with whatever little they are left with in makeshift hutments at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Hisar.

The recent incidents of rape in Haryana – including the shocking case which forced Congress president Sonia Gandhi to reach the doorsteps of the family of a minor Dalit girl who immolated herself after being gang raped – have left women feeling vulnerable.

Vexed over a spate of crime against women, several Dalit activists will now gather in Panipat on Sunday under the aegis of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights to draw an action plan to deal with the ‘deteriorating situation’.

They plan a massive protest by Dalit women next month at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.   General secretary of the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, Asha Kotwal, said the idea is to make the authorities act.   “We will hold a meeting in Panipat, and later hold rallies in the state’s towns and villages where recent reports of atrocities against Dalit women have surfaced,” she said.

Advocate and state coordinator of the forum Savita Singh said enforcement of the provisions of the SC and ST Act was poor in Haryana. She said apart from rapes, Dalits are humiliated in many other ways. In some instances, people belonging to influential upper castes still won’t permit Dalits to share their water source, she said.

See this video for documentation on the horrific attack on Dalits in Mirchpur in 2010:

Crying Shame, A documentary film.

anhadmedia1 on Apr 30, 2010

The 21st April, 2010 Mirchpur burnings of Dalit houses and the setting ablaze of a father and his physically challenged daughter over a drunken brawl shows the Jat communitys’ intensely rooted contempt for the lower castes which has led to the deepening of caste divisions in Haryana society. Based on the testimonies of the victims, the film proposes to show the destruction caused by the Jat violence both in terms of material and human life. The film brings to its audience an authentic account of the Mirchpur incident and its aftermath.

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