Monday, 30th October 2017

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Dalit cases up under Maya rule

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  • Published 31.05.09

New Delhi, May 30: Atrocities on Dalits appear to have risen during Mayavati’s tenure, a human rights report claims, but activists said the reason could be that Dalits were now bolder about lodging complaints.

Some 6,942 atrocities on Dalits were recorded in 2008, a rise of 4.74 per cent from the 6,628 registered in 2007, says the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), which consulted state police records.

“This can be (because of) the rise in awareness levels among the Dalits. Maybe they feel more secure about registering complaints now that they have a Dalit chief minister,” ACHR director Suhas Chakma said.

“The other reason can be that because of the Dalit movement started by Mayavati, more Dalits are fighting for their rights, which is bringing them into direct confrontation with the other castes, leading to a rise in violence against them.”

The ACHR’s 2009 India Human Rights Report says that Dalits — 21 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s population — are still barred from temples and public water facilities, and face discrimination in educational institutions.

Upper caste students, with support from their parents, often refuse to eat mid-day meals cooked by Dalits in government schools.

Only one in six schools has a Dalit cook despite a government order that says the community must get priority in the hiring of cooks.

The report cites several atrocities in 2008, such as:

On November 2, a 14-year-old Dalit was raped in Banda district after the attacker poured hair dye into her mouth. She died in hospital.

In February, teachers of a government primary school in Jalaun segregated Dalit pupils before the mid-day meal, forcing them to squat on the veranda and eat.

Chakma said the conviction rate in cases of atrocities against Dalits was low. “It’s been just 29 per cent for many years. Most of the time, the judges aren’t sympathetic to the Dalits.”

The report, however, accuses the Mayavati government of failing to implement Dalit welfare schemes, alleging thousands of crores remain unutilised.

For instance, it says, not a paisa had been spent till end-January 2008 from the Rs 100 crore earmarked for the Extremely Backward Communities among the Scheduled Castes. Only Rs 74 crore had been spent out of the Rs 421 crore allotted for scholarships for Dalit students.