Dalits unite to oppose crime against women

Even after nearly two years of the infamous Mirchpur village incident in Haryana that shocked the nation over the killing of Dalits and burning of their houses by some upper caste people, over 70 affected families refuse to return to their homes.

They fear for their lives and property. Since 2010, these families have been camping with whatever little they are left with in makeshift hutments at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Hisar.

The recent incidents of rape in Haryana – including the shocking case which forced Congress president Sonia Gandhi to reach the doorsteps of the family of a minor Dalit girl who immolated herself after being gang raped – have left women feeling vulnerable.

Vexed over a spate of crime against women, several Dalit activists will now gather in Panipat on Sunday under the aegis of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights to draw an action plan to deal with the ‘deteriorating situation’.  

They plan a massive protest by Dalit women next month at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.   
General secretary of the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, Asha Kotwal, said the idea is to make the authorities act.

“We will hold a meeting in Panipat, and later hold rallies in the state’s towns and villages where recent reports of atrocities against Dalit women have surfaced,” she said.

Advocate and state coordinator of the forum Savita Singh said enforcement of the provisions of the SC and ST Act was poor in Haryana. She said apart from rapes, Dalits are humiliated in many other ways. In some instances, people belonging to influential upper castes still won’t permit Dalits to share their water source, she said.

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