The BJP came to power with the slogan of ‘Sab ka sath Sab ka vikas’ but the continuing assalt on civil and political rights of Dalits has been a betrayal of the slogan
The Modi government has completed three years at the Centre. The BJP came to power with the slogan of ‘Sab ka sath Sab ka vikas’ but in practice, the governance of the country has become ‘Poonjipati ka Sath Vanchiton ka Vinash’ (Support the capitalists, destroy the deprived). Modi went around saying that he was from the ‘pichhda varg’ (backward class) and played with identity politics. But all this was done just to get votes. All his promises have only been election jumlas (bluffs).
The marginalised communities - Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes along with the minorities - have been on the receiving end in these three years. They have been given lesser priority than the ‘cow’. But none of the misdeeds of the present regime are part of the discussions in the media.
The best way to expose the misrule of BJP is to look at their Election Manifesto for 2014 general Elections and then compare it to actual implementation.
“BJP is committed to eliminate manual scavenging”
This promise is far from reality. In fact, in the 2017-18 Budget presented this year, Modi government reduced allocation for the rehabilitation of manuals scavengers to half - from 10 crore to 5crore. According to the 2011 Census, there are nearly 26,07,612 dry latrines, which require 2,00,000 workers for this inhuman work. If we take into consideration the number of people who are engaged in cleaning the sewers and railway tracks, it would be an even bigger number. If we were to calculate Rs. 40,000 that is given as cash incentive per person for the rehabilitation of the people engaged as manual scavengers Rs. 800 crore would be required. Only 7,573 people were rehabilitated till 15 February 2016. That leaves a whopping 1,92,427 more people still to be rehabilitated. There is no data on how many dry-latrines have been even discarded or dismantled to claim as part of Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ programme.
“We [BJP] will accord highest priority to ensuring their security, especially the prevention of atrocities against SCs & STs.”
The Hindutva forces have been emboldened since BJP came to power. The above quoted claim made during the election campaign is far from reality. As one of the victims of Saharanpur violence said, “We are Hindus for the elections and after that we become untouchables.” Dalits have been facing severe atrocities under their rule. The recent attack on the Dalits in Shabbirpur, Saharanpur district, Uttar Pradesh is a reminder that whenever Dalits seek to uphold their human dignity they would be attacked to reinforce the caste codes in the society. The incident in the village was like any other attack, the upper castes’ pride was hurt as the Dalits wanted to install a bust of Dr B. R. Ambedkar in the Sant Ravidas temple compound and this was not acceptable to the dominant castes. On May 5th, 2017, when the Thakurs were congregating to unveil Maharana Pratap’s statue in the neighbouring village, a rumour spread that the Dalits have misbehaved with the procession that passed through Shabbirpur. After the rumour spread, people went with swords, attacked Dalits and set fire to their homes. This pattern is often repeated in most of the cases of atrocities against Dalits.
Another horrendous incident that evoked widespread protest was the attack by the gaurakshaks on four Dalit youths in Una while they were involved in their traditionally forced work of disposing dead animals. The youth were publicly flogged using the police baton. It shows that the police have a tacit support for gaurakshaks.
Every year the Ministry of Home Affairs brings out the ‘Crime Scenario in the Country’ in its annual report. It is interesting to note that although there is an increase in media reports of atrocities against Dalits, there is a clear decline in the cases registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The cases registered in 2013 against this Act were 13,975 and have decreased to 6,005, a massive decrease of 133%, in 2015. The data shows that there is an increase in most other crime cases, including other crimes against dalits. In all probability, police have been instructed to curtail registering cases under the POA in order to bring about an artificial dip in the data. Otherwise, how is it that all crimes are increasing steadily over the years, yet atrocities against Dalits have suddenly started decreasing from 2014?
No Jobs for Dalits
Dalits are a community with no access to property. Employment in the government sector had been a major contributor for their progress. With the governments of the day adopting the neo-liberal economic agenda which increases privatisation, the numbers of government jobs have been decreasing. The BJP government which has been making a noise about empowering Dalits, has no concrete policy for recruiting to fulfil the backlog in jobs. The last special drive to fulfil the backlog posts for the SC/STs was carried out in the year 2008.
BJPs Denial of Budget allocations to the Dalits
The government had provisions called the Special Component Plan (SCP) for proportional allocations in the budget for the SC/ST population. These allocations were monitored by the Planning Commission. This year’s (2017) budget has been a bane for the Dalits with the planned economy being scrapped. According to the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), the budgetary allocations for the SC-ST as a proportion to their populations, should have been Rupees 91,386 crore and 47,276 crore respectively. But the current allocations are only 55% for the Dalits – Rs 52,393 crore and 66.5% for the Adivasis – Rs 31,920 crore. Even these figures are not exclusively for SC-ST population. They include allocations that are for other sectors as well. The SC/ST MPs had written to the PM stating that “The increase is notional as the funds for SC/STs have been diverted to administrative heads such as salaries, pensions and the like rather than properly-targeted schemes for empowerment of the SC-STs.”
The provisions that directly benefit Dalits are scholarships. The MPs pointed out that an outstanding amount of Rs 11,267.61 crore of scholarships was pending from the previous years. Education has been the vehicle for social mobility for the SCs. This deliberate delay is a way to make the Dalit students drop out from schools and colleges.
Alternative to BJPs jumlas- The Real Empowerment of the Dalits
On the other hand, CPI(M) led governments in Kerala and Tripura have retained the planned budget. Dr. Thomas Isaac said in his budget speech, “Rs. 26.00 billion for SCP (Special Component Plan) and Rs. 7.51 billion for TSP (Tribal Sub Plan) are earmarked. 9.81% of total outlay is being earmarked for SC population, who comprise 9.10% of total population. 2.83% is earmarked for STs who form 1.45% of the population. Rs. 1.88 billion for Scheduled Castes and Rs. 3.66 billion for Scheduled Tribe has been allocated in excess of the proportionate normative share. This allocation is higher than that of any other State in India.”
The message of alterative development taking place in the Left ruled states are an answer to the hollow ‘ache din’ of the BJP.
The views expressed here are the author's personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sabrangindia.