There was a special discussion in lok sabha on the atrocities against Dalits that have arisen in various parts of the country. Leaders spoke about injustice and oppression the dalits have had to face for centuries. There have been greater incidences being reported, in una where dalits were publically flogged by the Gau Rakshaks
We have enough laws to deal with, the atrocities against dalits. But it has not made any effect on these issues. There should be a social movement by political parties on the ground that could make an impact. We need reformers of the old like B.R Ambedkar, Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, andAbraham Lincoln who fought for the rights of the blacks and some more of the similar kind.
The Dalits atrocities have taken the country by storm. The issues like the suicide of Rohit vemula, Dalits who were found to be skinning a dead cow were flogged in una, and the case in Andhra Pradesh. These incidents seem to be increasing or they are coming to light much more.
Somehow these incidents take the fight forward, particularly in a democracy where a dalit has a vote.
Highlights of the Debate
- There were only few members in the lok sabha, considering the kind of agitation these incidents have created and the kind of demand made by all parties.
- This is very tragic, considering the seriousness of the issue, and the electoral impact this issue is going to have on the future elections in the states of Punjab which has a large section of dalit population around 30%, 22% in Uttar Pradesh, 7% in Gujarat
- Most of them who spoke were dalits themselves. In women issues, we see women MPs speaking. Whether it is gender inequality issue or dalit issue, we see the concern only from the people of that community. These issues are of equal concern for all of us, and the society at large.
Governments approach towards Dalits
- Dalits should not be job seekers, but the job givers and should lead the professions. If this happens, we can see a fundamental change in the society. The process of awakening and constant growing amongst the community will have its own dynamics
- There is little minuscule percentage of dalit entrepreneurs, who are doing very well for themselves. Government is working towards encouraging more entrepreneurship. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) has been able to give Rs 50,000 crore worth of loans to 80,000 small entrepreneurs so far, most of them from backward castes.
- Government has taken significant steps, but we still have a long way to go. The time has come, where we need to look forward to dalits. Dalits are emerging as new leaders.
- Steps taken by the government like Jan Dhan yojna and pension and insurance schemes. “The PM has inculcated courage among those who did not have courage to face the gates of a bank,”
- Prime ministers strong words against gau rakshaks and that these attacks won’t be allowed and they should not take law into their hands.
- 1 dalit is killed every 18 minutes. 40% of the dalit girls are uneducated. Dalit girls are the largest group in the world who are illiterate. In recent times we see some improvement, but it is not enough and 40% is a very large number.
- The conviction rate is very low. Its only 2 to 3 %. Even under Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- They are not getting the basic elementary education. Along with education, the economic wellbeing and social discrimination makes the dalit women a triply exploited entity in our society today and because of caste, class and gender.
Need of the Hour
- The issues remain very serious. It is only through quality education which takes the dalits to the tipping point.
- We need a reformer now like R. Ambedkar and Babu Jagjivan Ram. The movement may not come from the political party, but it will come within the dalit society. Political parties must take note of it and act accordingly.
- Political parties must undertake social change movements. Only then we can see the real change on the ground.
- Attention is required in case of nutrition provided to dalit women.
Today dalits have political participation and can raise their voices to demand their rights. In terms of social discrimination, the things are changing in towns. But that is not the case in rural areas. Dalits have been dormant since 70 years of independence, but an awakening has come into them. We may not be able to stop them from here onwards.