Maharashtra reports two caste-based crimes within 7 days!

August 2021 has been marred with disturbing incidents of caste violence across India; these crimes can no longer be brushed under the rug or whitewashed


Maharashtra witnessed two caste-based atrocities within the last week. While one was a double whammy of caste and superstitious evils in society, the other represented years of exclusion of scheduled caste communities in Maharashtra. In fact, August has recorded a concerning number of such crimes, not the least of which occurred in Delhi cantonment against a minor girl.

Crimes against Dalits in Maharashtra

On August 21 evening, seven members of a Dalit family were brutally assaulted on suspicion of performing black magic at Wani in Chandrapur district. According to the Hindustan Times, at least thirteen villagers were arrested under the Prevent of SC/ST Atrocities Act.

News reports said the family members suffered thrashing and mud-flinging by a mob at the village square. Three family members including two women were tied to wooden poles. Five of the survivors – Shantabai Bhagwan Kamble, Sahebrao Eknath Hooke, Dhammashila Sudhakar Hooke, Panchfula Shivraj Hooke and Prayagbai Eknath – were shifted to Chandrapur government medical college and hospital due to serious injuries.

Accusing an individual or individuals of black magic or witchcraft, is considered a non-bailable offence resulting in upto seven years of jail with fine as per the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act, 2013. The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti, responsible for the enactment of this Act, held an awareness meeting with the villagers in Wani.

Similarly, Congress MP Balu Dhanorkar condemned the incident and visited the injured later. Meanwhile, the local police assured that all those responsible for this incident will be arrested soon. All those wishing to enter and exit the village are being thoroughly interrogated.

Prior to that on August 20, the Dalit community in Malewadi village of Solapur district burnt the body of 74-year-old Dhananjay Sathe in front of the gram panchayat office as a sign of protest against the refusal of access to village crematoriums to Dalits.

Sathe, who had disabilities, belonged to the Matang community, according to The Wire. On his death, his brother Dashrath Sathe, the village sarpanch, and other family members headed for the crematorium situated adjacent to the farmland of the OBC Mali community. However, people from the dominant caste prevented them from entering the area. An argument ensued, and reportedly continued for 18 hours but to no avail.

Family members said the other community members had been aggressively discriminatory against the only two Dalit households in the village since a Dashrath Sathe was elected village sarpanch. His presence and vocal opinions in the panchayat resulted in verbal and physical abuse. Family members were particularly upset at police inaction when the incident took place. Even the FIR was registered hesitantly and promptly followed by two counter cases.

Local activist Nana Kadam of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi wrote to district authorities seeking immediate protection for the victim’s family.

Caste-based crimes in August

Unfortunately, Maharashtra is not the only state reporting disconcerting incidents of caste-based abuse. In Nalanda, Bihar, 25-year-old Upendra Ravidas was killed for demanding his wages and dues of 10 kg rice. The accused Dinesh Mahto allegedly assaulted the victim before tying him to bricks and throwing him in the river. It may be mentioned that Nalanda is also the home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

According to The Telegraph, Ravidas and his brother were promised food and money for a day’s labour in a rich farmer’s field. The police found his body in a rivulet near Bahadurpur after his brother ran to get help.

Worse still on August 10, a Dalit labourer, who was beaten to death was accused of molestation in Gurugram, reported Times Now. The city police filed an FIR against the deceased migrant labourer from Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh and three other people at the behest of the girl’s father. In the police report, he claimed that his daughter was allegedly surrounded by four people threatening to abduct her. The victim Anuj died at the hands of the mob around August 2 in Kadirpur area.

Earlier conversations with women activists have highlighted how many caste atrocities rarely come to the limelight and the few that do end up shadowing others that occur in tandem. This was true in the case of the 9-year-old girl from the Valmiki community in Nangal as well. Soon after the heinous crime at Delhi Cantonment’s cremation area, a 6-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 30-year-old man in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri.

While the accused was charged under the POCSO Act and the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act, such incidents highlight the need for greater social sensitivity towards caste atrocities.


Those who do not remember the past, are bound to repeat it: Justice AP Shah

Delhi: Women’s group calls upon media to cover the ire of Nangal villagers

Delhi Cantonment rape case: AIDWA demands action against police for alleged ‘silent complicity’

Nangal village gang-rape, both gendered and caste-based violence: Civil Society Organisations



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