Yatra against caste violence

June 12, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

: The All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch embarked on the ‘Dalit Adivasi Mahila Swabhiman’ yatra on Thursday. They covered 3,000 km across 11 districts of Odisha, alleging that the State police were indifferent to the sufferings of victims belonging to the lower caste.

“I have come across full spectrum of caste violence. The women have particularly been at the receiving end in Odisha in the last 10 days. To my utter shock, I have met survivors and victims of every type of violence, including kidnap, rape, murder, sexual assault, stripping, beating, verbal abuse, untouchability and discrimination,” said Asha Kowtal, General Secretary of AIDMAM, addressing a press conference here.

Ms Kowtal said, “In a recent chilling and inhuman crime, no headway has been made to apprehend perpetrators of the alleged rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Sargipally village of Bolangir district. The rape was as barbaric as the Nirbhaya case in New Delhi. But the police are silent and soft on perpetrators of caste-based violence.”

AIDMAM members, who have travelled to 11 districts in the past 10 days, observed that violence against Dalit women is often a tool in the hands of the dominant caste to instil fear, maintain status quo, control access to resources and reinforce the caste hegemony.

“We have observed this in Zabara village of Jajpur district where women are fighting hard to save the common grazing land. Many of the women complained to us that instead of arresting the accused, the police have filed false cases against them,” said AIDMAM general secretary.

The manch demanded that government should strengthen the institutional mechanism (exclusive special courts) for the protection and security of dalit and tribal women in the State by making special budgetary provisions.

The State government should amend the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Government officers found neglecting their duty and responsibility wilfully in cases concerning caste-based gender violence should be taken to task.

The rape was as barbaric as the Nirbhaya case in New Delhi. But the police are soft

on perpetrators of

caste-based violence

Asha Kowtal

General Secretary of AIDMAM

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