In September 2023, Beena Johnson became the first Dalit woman to address the United Nations General Assembly on September 18. Johnson is the general secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR). Speaking during the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, Johnson outlined the need for non-discrimination as well as a multipronged approach to tackle these issues on a global level. However, despite the fact that there is global attention on the problem of caste, and violence against Dalits, the issue continues to persist in India at a large level. Sabrang India rounds up recent instances of violence against Dalits below, revealing how widely spread and pervasive this phenomenon is.
On October 17, in Doddavalagamaadi, Bangarpet taluk, Kolar district, a 29-year-old Dalit construction worker was brutally beaten after being verbally abused by his employers because he had demanded his rightful wages. The victim is now recuperating at the hospital, according to Deccan Herald. The Bangarpet police have acted on the case and have invoked the Atrocities Act. Three of the accused are siblings from the Rajput community – Jagadish Singh, Ravi Singh, and Satish Singh have been named. Two of them, Jagadish Singh and Satish Singh have already been taken into custody, and attempts are being made to locate and look for and detain the third sibling, Ravi Singh. Kolar Deputy Superintendent of Police Mallesh has been assigned to lead the investigation.
According to the report by Deccan Herald, the victim had been hired by Jagadish Singh and his brothers for the construction of their new residence and they had agreed for his wages to amount to Rs 3,500, but when the time came, they had only paid him Rs 2,000. Following this the day of the incident he met the accused at a local roadside tea shop and asked payment of his outstanding dues. However, the response he received was in the form of a barrage of caste-based insults, humiliation and physical violence.
A harrowing incident has come to light from a government school in Gujarat’s Amreli district. A Dalit school teacher lost his life to suicide after repeated instances of casteist abuse. The incident took place last Friday, on October 20th.
His name was Kanti Chauhan and he was reportedly a dedicated teacher at Juna Janjariya village in Bagasara. He recorded a video with his final words before attempting to kill himself. In the video, he revealed that the village’s Sarpanch had repeatedly threatened him, pressuring him to surrender the grants he had received and had even circulated defamatory messages against him and his caste across various social media groups.
The schoolteacher committed suicide by consuming poison while at the school. However, after he was taken to the hospital and was receiving treatment, he passed away. Villagers gathered the next day at the Bagasra police station demanding action against those mentioned in the video by Kanti Chauhan.
Local authorities have responded with the police filing a case against five individuals. The case includes the village Sarpanch and three school teachers, and following complaint, the Sarpanch was taken in custody. The case has been registered under Section 306 which pertains to abetment of suicide as well as with various sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, according to J. P. Bhandari, Deputy Superintendent of Police in Amreli.
Three arrests took place for the gang rape of a Dalit woman, according to The New Indian Express. The incident happened in August, however a formal case was registered only last week. The incident with the 32-year-old woman took place in the Kuchaman district of Rajasthan.
A case has been filed for gang rape and with certain sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. While the police have taken the 3 men, whose names are Kishore Mali, Ramdev Thalod, and Tejpal into custody, they are also reportedly actively searching for the two remaining suspects who are still at large.
In a horrifying incident, the father of a teenaged minor was arrested for having murdered her. The 50 year old man had reportedly murdered his daughter because she had been involved in a relationship with a Dalit boy. The accused, who is a farmer, surrendered to the Bengaluru police October 22, 2023, according to the Indian Express. He had also reportedly coerced his daughter to leaving college and sending her to a relative’s house to prevent her from meeting the boy. However, the girl reportedly went missing by October 14, following which her parents arrived from Mysore to Bengaluru to search for her and then filed a report on October 18. The girl was soon discovered in a few days, and the Dalit youth was arrested with a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) filed against. However, the ordeal did not end there, the father soon attacked her and later she succumbed to her injuries. Her mother was also injured in the process of defending her. The accused is now in judicial custody.