'Govt must wake up to crimes against Dalit women'

Dalit activists demand that all stakeholders, especially the government, should raise concerns about crimes against Dalit women across the country and more importantly in Haryana.

The National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights and All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch had recently set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the recent incident in which a 16-year-old dalit girl was gang raped in Hissar, Haryana on September 9.

The committee held a conference in Delhi on Friday highlighting their findings.
Activists argued that Haryana has more unreported cases of Dalit atrocities than registered ones.

“This is not the only case. There are at least four atrocities and crimes against Dalits in every 15 minutes as per our study. These include incidents like chopping of hands, rape, murder, molestation and discrimination,” said SDJM Prasad, general secretary National Dalit Movement for Justice.

Prasad added that none of the 21 districts in Haryana have formed the district monitoring vigilance committee to check crime cases.

“The National Commission for Women do not have a commission for SC/ST yet. Out of the eight recently reported cases of rape in Haryana, five or six of the victims belong to the Dalit community,” he said.

There are only 15 SC/ST commissions across 15 states, where most of them are defunct, alleged activists.

“The growing incidence of violence on dalit women and girls is irrefutable proof of the colossal failure of the state to protect them,” said Asha Kowtal, general secretary, AIDMAM.

Seema Mishra, advocate said it is essential for the government to ensure safety of the gang rape victim.

“According to our findings, 11 accused persons have been arrested but despite 24 hour protection, the victim is being pressurised to settle the matter and not take it to court,” she said.

Dalit organisations and advocates have demanded that the rape victim should be counselled and an experienced lawyer be hired to look into the case.

“We aim to form a delegation of five people from Delhi and five from Haryana which will include activists, lawyers and others. We plan to approach Sonia Gandhi and government bodies as well regarding Dalit women crimes,” said Kowtal.

They are also planning to hold a state level “yatra” sometime during this month in Haryana to spread awareness about crime against Dalit women.  

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