Given their social, educational, economic and political backwardness, dalit women and girl children continue to be victims of class, caste and gender exploitation, according to Dalit Stree Sakthi State convener Gaddam Jhansi. DSS is a community-based women's organisation working for the rights of dalit women.

Speaking at a round table conducted on the sidelines of the 5th district meeting of the DSS here on Saturday, she alleged that the atrocities against dalit women were on the rise and the sexual exploitation of girls and women of the dalit community was frequent. Citing instances of dalit women and girls in Krishna district being attacked sexually and on the basis of caste, she said, “Though the higher-ups of various departments had reacted favourably to punish the guilty, the lower rung officials had neglected implementation of the orders in many cases.”

“Take the case of rape and murder of 14-year-old Ghanta Sirisha of Bapujinagar in Gudivada. This seventh standard student of Navodaya convent complained to her parents about her school principal who used to harass her. They convinced the girl to stay on in the school till the completion of the examinations but they were shocked to hear the news that she was no more. She was raped and murdered but the school management described it as suicide. The parents and relatives pointed to the injuries on her legs and contended that it was a rape and murder. Justice has been denied to the parents in this case,” Ms. Jhansi said.

Vijay Daniel Prakash, who is working on the issue of children's rights, criticised the Act brought in by the State government to protect the children's rights. He said that even after the enactment of this legislation “we do not know how many cases have been filed and resolved.”

Appreciating the services being rendered by the DSS, Assistant Social Welfare Officer Mary Bharathy called upon the dalit women to get united to achieve their rights.