The brave Dalit women of Uthapuram are the real heroes who have fought a valiant battle. They have showed the world that if the oppressed and exploited along with the Left and pro-democratic forces stood up, they could beat any form of discrimination, said Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Buro member Brinda Karat.

She was delivering a special address at a function held here on Saturday to honour the advocates and social activists who fought for social justice in Uthapuram village near Madurai where portion of a long wall that separated Dalits from caste Hindu locality was razed to enable access to the common pathway of Dalits.

Ms. Karat said that radical social change would happen only when annihilation of deep-rooted caste prejudices and discriminatory practices against Dalits was undertaken.

The National Crime Records Bureau shows that in 2012, there were 33,655 cases of atrocities perpetrated on Dalits. This gives us an idea that on an average, every day 93 members of the Dalit community were victims of one form of atrocity or the other. It is a shame that even after 66 years of Independence such a situation exists in the country, she remarked.

The NCRB data suggests that 1,10,000 cases of atrocities are pending in courts, but only 3.6 per cent have ended in conviction. Among the 35,655 cases sent to court, conviction in cases of atrocities on Dalits was a mere 23 per cent and in 77 per cent of the cases, the perpetrators go scot-free. “It is a shame on the judiciary system and on the process of legal justice,” she said.

“When the wall was demolished in Uthapuram, it was not just brick and mortar. The wall represented the edifice of discrimination and denial of minimal human dignity.” Earlier denied rights like worshipping rights and access to common property resources have been won after a long struggle.

Still there were unfinished tasks like proper access to the common pathway that was created after the demolition of the wall. The Madras High Court ordered that full compensation be given to each and every family that was affected in the police excesses. The order further said that district monitoring committees should be vigilant in maintaining peace and it is our duty to mount pressure on the monitoring committee to implement the court order fully, Ms. Karat pointed out.

The 92- year-old veteran Marxist leader, R. Umanath, was present at the function in which a lot of Dalit women participated.

Third front

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Ms. Karat said the Left parties did not see the emergence of a Third Front before the elections. Each party has its own agenda and in the case of Left, alternative policies are important as the current policies are disastrous to people.

She said that the Left parties were in good coordination with each other and were working for alternative policies.

Answering a question whether they would support the DMK for Rajya Sabha seat, she replied, “There is absolutely no question of such support.”