Student, sanitation worker, farmer: Dalit lives across society unsafe

From Banaras Hindu University’s students to sanitation workers, violence continues to affect and be fatal for India’s Dalit community.

The latest statistics provided by the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) records and notes that atrocities against Scheduled Castes have increased by 1.2% in 2021 (50,900) over 2020 (50,291 cases). Three of the recent incidents of anti-Dalit violence below are from UP.

The top five states include Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and others. Uttar Pradesh (13,146 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) at about 25.82%, which is followed by Rajasthan with 14.7% (7,524) and Madhya Pradesh with 14.1% (7,214) during 2021. The next two states in the list include Bihar accounting for 11.4% (5,842) and Odisha 4.5% (2,327). 

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

A young Dalit student was assaulted and sexually abused at the Banaras Hindu University. According to Hate Detectors’ X page, an FIR has been filed in the case. As per the Mooknayak, the student has sent a written complaint to the Lanka Police Station in connection with police demanding action and has stated that he will leave the university if no action is taken.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi also saw the death of a 40-year-old sanitation worker from the Dalit community. The man, Ghurelal, died after inhaling toxic and poisonous gases while cleaning a sewer. The death took place at Bhaisapur Ghat in Adampura village. The incident reportedly took place after a complaint about a sewage blockage had taken place, as per the Mooknayak. The outlet reported that over the last 5 years, 400 sanitation workers have died on accidents related to work in sewage systems. While on the job, Ghurelal and a colleague Sunil, went into the sewage after which Sunil emerged from the pit speaking about the presence of poisonous gases. Ghurelal could not return to consciousness even when the medical team arrived and rescued him from the pit. A similar incident had taken place in Tamil Nadu, where two Dalit men died of cleaning a sewage tank.

Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh

A Dalit woman was beaten to death after her goat strayed into a field. The owner of the field had beaten her with a stick after shouting abuses at her. The woman can be seen being beaten brutally in a video that has come up of the incident.

The local police have reportedly started an investigation.

Salem, Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s Salem was shocked by violence after members of the Adi Dravidar community, a scheduled caste in the state, were denied entry into a temple on May 2nd during festivities.

The denial of entry to the Mariaman temple at Deevattipatti by the Vanniyar community, which is designated as Most-Backward Caste, led to a violent clash with stone pelting between the two groups. Although major violence has subsided in recent days, sporadic incidents of stone throwing continue, prompting a significant police presence in the area to prevent further escalation.

According to a senior police officer, local police stations have been instructed to monitor purchases of knives and sickles, even for domestic use. In Salem District, shops selling such items have been directed to record the phone numbers and identity card details of buyers. The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), led by MP Thol Thirumavalam has decided to take a protest march in the area on May 8.



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