Dalits seek justice for Haryana rape victims

Eight Dalit organisations and other rights groups on Monday protested outside Haryana House here against the increasing number of rape cases in the state.

Activists Aruna Roy and Anni Raja participated in the protest, and criticised the government and police for not taking measures to curb such crime. “It is the state government’s responsibility to ensure that women are safe. If it is unable to do so, it has no right to enjoy any kind of power,” said Roy.

  The most recent case is the gang rape of a six-year-old girl in Gurgaon. Of the 19 cases, 12 involved Dalit women and three were minor girls.

Activists retaliated against the suggestion of reducing the marriageable age of girls to prevent rape incidents. They said rapes have become a demonstration of male power and caste dominance in Haryana, which need to be rectified immediately. Over a hundred people demanded an explanation from government authorities for not taking action to protect women in Haryana.

“Even the literate population is going for sex-selective abortion these days. The government is not making policies to protect physical and sexual harassment against women,” said Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Kamal Chenoy.

Roy and four other activists presented their charter of demands to the Haryana government. These include speedy action in molestation cases, appointment of fast-track courts to deliver quick justice, implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevent of Atrocities) Act to deal with rape cases involving Dalit women, and strict action against police for inaction.

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