Unmute your Mute, “Dalit Women Demand Justice”

(Asian Independent)

New Delhi, 10th October 2020: All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM), National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) along with Joint Action Forum for Dalit and Adivasi Women have come together to put forth our demands to ensure justice for Dalit and Adivasi women who have been targets of sexual violence in the country time and again. In the event of the recent rising atrocities in Uttar Pradesh specifically the Hathras gang rape and murder; NDMJ and AIDMAM organized a protest at Ambedkar Bhawan, New Delhi.

The Hathras gang rape and murder is not a stand-alone case. According to NCRB data every day 10 dalit women and girls are
raped in the country. It should be noted that the crime rate against Dalits in Uttar Pradesh has been rising exponentially.
Dominant castes are using sexual violence as a tool to showcase their power and authority. Such ghastly incidents of violence
are perpetrated everyday against women and minors and especially during the Pandemic and the Lockdown; Uttar Pradesh
has witnessed several cases of atrocities against Dalit women; with Lakhimpur Kheri leading in the graph of violence. In the
past 60 days more than six atrocities were reported in the district against Dalit women and minor girls. Similarly in Saharanpur district, six cases of abduction and rape have been reported. These gruesome incidents of sexual violence reflect
the real picture of Indian society constructed on violent casteist patriarchal structure.

In hathras, rape and murder of the dalit girl, intimidation of the family, burning of the girl’s body in the middle of night, without the consent of the family by the authorities, and the organizing of the dominant caste groups raises many questions
on the casteist systems prevailing in the society, and even in the legal system. Brutalization of Dalit women’s bodies continue
as cases of sexual assault of Dalit girls from Balrampur, Azamgarh, Bhadoi were also reported.

Demands:-

 We call on to the Centre and State government to strictly implement the Rule of Law and charging all the accused in the cases of caste and gender based atrocities under the relevant sections of the PoA Act, IPC, POCSO;

 Fast track all cases of sexual assault on Dalit women and girls under the POA and POCSO Acts in conjunction with IPC Sections;

 Calls for strict implementation of the SCs and STs POA Act, POCSO Act and Rules in cases of violence and discrimination against SC and ST communities especially Minors;

 We call on the Supreme Court to take Suo Moto cognisance of the rising atrocities against the Dalit women and minor girls in the country;

 We hold the State responsible for providing the impunity enjoyed by the dominant caste in Uttar Pradesh for being complacent and delaying legal investigation and action in the Hathras gang rape and murder case;

 We demand Prosecution of the police and administrative officials along with DM and SP under (section 4) of SCs & STs Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act and IPC for forcibly disposing of the remains of the deceased and trespassing her last rites (Section 297 IPC), disappearance of the evidence (Section 201 IPC), harassing Dalit family (Section 3(1)(r)(s) SC/ST Act), wrongful confinement (section 340, 342 IPC), criminal intimidation Section 506 IPC), physical assault against the victim family (Section 323, 324 IPC).

 Demand strict follow-up of the formation of the State and District Vigilance and Monitoring Committees in Uttar Pradesh as well as the entire Indian State;

 Central and State governments should ensure safety and protection mechanisms for women specifically Dalit, Adivasi women and girls;

 We demand the resignation of the UP Chief Minister Ajay Mohan Bisht for being inefficient in maintaining the rule of law in the state of UP.

All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch – National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (AIDMAM-NCDHR), New Delhi, India; has been working with Dalit women in 7 states, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Bihar, Maharashtra and Delhi in order to raise and address the issues of caste discrimination and violence against Dalit women on national as well as  international platforms. Also AIDMAM is doing advocacy with police and administration of these states for effective implementation of Scheduled Caste and Schedules Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and 2016.

National Dalit Movement for Justice – National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NDMJ- NCDHR); focusing on
Access to Justice by the Dalit communities from systemic discrimination, exclusion and violence based on caste and gender,
promoting Dalit leadership specifically of Dalit women, and has been engaging with the Judiciary for justice, state
machinery for effective implementation of Scheduled Caste and Schedules Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment
Act, 2015 and 2016, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, 2018 and other significant legislations, there is
regular advocacy with the State for policy changes impacting dalit and other marginalized communities. NDMJ also
engages at the international forums on issues impacting Dalit communities.

Jai Bhim! Jai Savitri!

Dr. V. A. Ramesh Nathan
National Convener
National Coalition for Strengthening the POA Act and Its Implementation
+91-9560028068

Prof. Vimal Thorat
National Convenor
All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch
+91-9999807818