A fact-finding team, comprising lawyers, activists and human rights defenders, which recently visited the Pabnava village in Kaithal district of Haryana has noted that following the violence perpetrated on them by the dominant Rod caste there, a large number of Dalits have fled from the village.
The episode was just another chronicle of continual and systematic violence against the underprivileged communities in India. The team, which visited the village to assess the situation there, said on Friday that the Dalit settlement was ransacked and attacked by a mob belonging to the dominant Rod community of the same village.
Sent by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) and the Delhi Solidarity Group, the team pointed out that in the incident, which occurred on April 13, about 200 Dalit families in the village were attacked; the violence triggered by an inter-caste marriage involving a Dalit boy and a girl of the Rod community.
The team, which released its report at the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, said they found that following the violence many Dalit families had fled from their houses in fear and the remaining few they met were infused with a complete sense of insecurity.
Speaking at the release of the report, social activist Swami Agnivesh condemned the caste violence. He demanded that those involved in the crime be immediately punished. The former MLA from Haryana also advocated the need for promoting inter-caste marriage.
Abirami, an activist of National Dalit Movement for Justice, said: “Assertion of the rights of Dalits is necessary. Six persons have been injured in the incident out which three are critical. I was shocked to find 200 abandoned houses with broken glasses and doors, all of which belonged to the Dalits of the village.” Several other activists, who were part of the fact finding mission, too shared their experience and opinions on the issue.
The team also issued a set of recommendations, which among other things called for immediate arrest of the remaining 28 accused who have been moving in the village freely; the acceleration of the departmental enquiry against the police officials who neglected the complaints by the Dalits and did not provide protection to them before the incident; directions be given to the Superintendent of Police to provide protection to the victims and their family members; payment of substantial compensation for damage and loss of property to the affected Dalit families; and setting up of a special court for speedy trial of the cases.
The activists also stated that Pabnava is not the only village in Haryana which suffers from caste violence against the Dalits. They claimed that the State has witnessed some of the most gruesome incidents of caste violence in places like Gohana, Mirpur, Jhajjar and Salwan in the recent past.
Quoting National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) statistics of 2011, the report said a crime is committed against Dalits every 15 minutes in this country.
Observing that crimes committed against the Dalits have been scaling up rapidly even after the enactment of several laws and commissions to defend the rights of Scheduled Castes in India, the report also lamented that discrimination and violence against the underprivileged communities is still being continued with impunity.