IDSN member the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR) has issued a press release detailing a wide range of atrocities against Dalits over the past months under the Covid-19 lockdown. NDMJ highlights that the lockdown has led to a surge in caste-based violence and atrocities and that access to justice for Dalits remains deeply flawed. The organisation has collected a wide range of case reports and has made interventions in these. NDMJ has also collated media reports documenting examples of the violations.
Below please read the full press release from NDMJ on this:
Press Statement by National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR)
– 10 June 2020
At a time when communities around the world are experiencing severe health and economic issues due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, acts of violence on the basis of colour and caste are incredibly shameful for humanity. Building of stronger solidarity between Black and Dalit rights Movement and similarly affected communities in times like these is the need of the hour. The importance of campaigns like #BlackLivesMatter and #DalitLivesMatter is to channel the discourse around the institutionalized racism and casteism that exists and challenge these biases at work. With this Pandemic when the virus is infecting anyone irrespective of religion, caste or creed; it is discomforting to see the misuse of power by those in positions of authority blatantly violating people’s bodies in accordance because of their biases and prejudice.
NDMJ- NCSPA expresses its full solidarity with the black community in the United States and all the other marginalised community around the world. The powerful slogan, ‘Black Lives Matter’ now resonating across the US, reminds us of the targeted violence being perpetrated by the Indian state and police against specific communities. Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised community in India are experiencing similar atrocities in different part of the country. It has been observed by NDMJ- NCSPA through its network of volunteers and various media sources that although cases of police brutality and physical assault on the marginalised community are on the rise. However, the indifference in covering the cases of atrocities against the marginalised communities by the mainstream news channel, national newspapers is a matter of concern.
Life of one person in Minneapolis caused uproar in the society that came united. However, in India, the atrocity and pain of the Dalit community is only the concern of organisations working for the protection and promotion of Human Rights of Dalit and other marginalised communities. There has been multiple instances of murder, attempt to murder, physical violence, sexual violence, police brutality and domestic violence, untouchability practices being reported by a few regional media and newspapers are highlighting some of these issues and due to many videos doing the rounds on social media has led to further probing of cases of violation. Under the lockdown in India members of the Dalit community are further marginalised and atrocities perpetrated on them, as in many cases police and other higher authorities have been very complacent.
NDMJ-–NCDHR has intervened in 34 cases of Caste and Gender based violence during the Lockdown.
The nature of these cases reveal a surge in cases of layered untouchability through socio-economic boycott and physical assault, murder of Dalit men, women and a minor, several cases of brutal attacks, rape and murder of a minor, sexual assault, desecration of Ambedkar Statue, domestic violence, and a case of 3 Dalit women being branded witches, heads tonsured and made to consume human waste. Though, the Constitution of India prohibits discrimination in any form, the in-differential attitude of the society towards Dalit’s and Adivasis and refusal on its part to change its mindset has been leveraged also due to impunity within the system. These are one of the primary reasons for the exploitation of the marginalised communities.
- According to the data collected by NDMJ- NCSPA-NCDHR through various media sources 92 cases of atrocities of different kind has been reported in different part of India during the lockdown period. This includes, practice of Untouchability, Physical assault, Sexual assault, Police brutality, Murder, inadequate PPE Kit for sanitation workers, death due to hunger, deaths in Shramik Special Trains, death of migrant workers etc.
We are anguished that Indian society has often been complicit in such brutality. The ruling government has questioned the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala. In contrast, it is silent on the rising cases of Caste and Gender based violence and violence agaisnt children in the country. This Indifference by leaders and administration on the plight of the marginalized communities and the raging violence speaks volumes on the priorities of the state.
Along with the Black community in the US, and drawing strength from their struggle, we also shout out loud, ‘Dalit Lives Matter’, ‘Adivasi Lives Matter’. Along with them, we also cry out, ‘We cannot breathe. Get off our necks!’ END ATROCITIES AGAISNT DALIT’S AND ADIVASIS, END POLICE VIOLENCE NOW. END STATE COMPLICITY IN SUCH VIOLENCE NOW! END RACISM NOW!
NDMJ- NCSPA urges all the media houses in the country, to wake up and address these issues which have not been discussed for decades. It’s high time to be the voice of the voiceless and act as the fourth pillar of society.
NDMJ- NCSPA calls upon the state to uphold the rights and dignity of all people especially the more vulnerable community during these times.
Calls for strict implementation of the SCs and STs POA Act in cases of violence and discrimination agaisnt SC and ST communities.
National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR)