Scores of NRI Ambedkarites from the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Nederland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Belgium, Hungary, Australia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Malaysia have condemned the rape and subsequent death of a Dalit girl in the Uttar Pradesh state of India.
In a statement, scores of NRI Ambedkarites said that during this distressing time, the NRI Ambedkarites are seething with rage, pain and sadness at the brutal caste hate crime against a 19-year-old girl from the Scheduled Caste community (also referred to as Dalits/backward castes in media).
“We offer our condolences to the family of our sister from Hathras, UP. Our sister lost her life on September 29th, 2020, in a Delhi hospital, after she succumbed to the injuries because of the hate crime where she was raped, her tongue was slashed, spinal cord broken and she was left to die by some men from the caste Hindu Thakur community. In an alleged attempt to destroy the evidence, her body was forcefully cremated by the UP police, which caused her second death. This happened against the wishes of the family, who were begging in front of the authorities to see their daughter one last time and who were then heckled and locked up. Even before the ashes from her pyre cooled down, there are reports of other heinous rape crimes again on Dalit girls in Balrampur, Azamgarh and Bulandshahar. What is even more shameful is the age of the victims is as low as 8 years,” they said.
As per the India Spend Analysis of the National Crime Records Bureau statistics, the crimes against Dalits rose by 746% from 2006 to 2016. The caste motivated rapes and murders of Dalit women form a major proportion of such crimes against Dalits. The cases pending investigations were up 99% and the police were half as likely to help.
“The subsequent reports only point to an upward trend in such crimes. This data only shows the reported crimes for which FIR’s were admitted. The actual number of such crimes against Dalits is much more than these numbers,” the statement read.
NRI Ambedkarites noted that since 2016, the NCRB used to give crimes recorded under POA, 1989 and overall crimes. “However, since 2016, the overall figure is not being provided. Thus, there is a visible attempt at hiding the real data. The Dalits have increased vulnerability to such crimes due to the casteist mindset of Caste Hindus, who have a predominant presence in the police force and administration. There have been malicious attempts at obstructing justice, in the form of refusal of the police to file FIR’s, refusal to use the POA Act, 1989, threatening of the victim’s families by the perpetrators and preventing the victim from seeking justice (For instance, the 17-year-old Unnao Dalit rape victim was burnt on her way to the court hearing. The convict is a member of the ruling dispensation). Thus, the obstruction of justice often happens with the complicity of the administration and government. The conviction rate for the men accused of raping Dalit women is almost nil. In 2018, the only legal safeguard against the heinous caste crimes and atrocities against the Dalits i.e. the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, was diluted by the Supreme Court of India, whose independence and integrity has been severely compromised in the recent times,” they said.
The NRI Ambedkarites further said that the difference between rape, murders and other forms of atrocities against the Dalits and similar crimes against other people, is that the crimes against Dalits are caste hate crimes arising out of casteist mindset of Caste Hindus. “Such crimes are a reflection of jealousy, hate toward and intolerance of the little progress the Dalits have been achieving,” they added.
The NRI Ambedkarites demanded the Central government and the UP government, who have already been served NHRC notice to stop perpetuating such violence against Dalit women and stop protecting the perpetrators of such crimes.
The NRI Ambedkarite community demanded strong punitive actions against the perpetrators of the crime and strong protection measures to safeguard the Dalits, especially the women, and take steps to prevent such caste-related hate crimes from happening in the future.
“The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, needs not just to be brought back in its original form but also given more teeth to tackle the rising caste hate crimes against Dalits and offer protection to the Dalit women and child victims. The Indian government must take initiatives along with the community leaders to eradicate caste, restore law and order in the State of UP and country and create a safer space for women, and provide equal opportunities to all its citizens along with additional safeguards for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes,” they said.
Those who endorsed the statement include Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), Ambedkar Buddhist Association of Texas,USA (ABAT), Ambedkar International Mission-USA (AIM), Ambedkar International Mission, Japan, Ambedkar International Center-USA (AIC), Ambedkar King Study Circle -USA (AKSC), Ambedkar Times ,USA, Ambedkar International Coordination Society(AICS),Canada, Ambedkar Mission Toronto,Canada, Ambedkar International Mission Society, Canada, Begumpura cultural society of New York USA, Boston Study Group, (BSG), USA, Coalition of Seattle Indian-American, International commission of Dalit rights (ICDR),USA, Indian Civil Watch (ICW), Jaibhim Atlanta, USA, Periyar Ambedkarite Study Circle (PASC) ,USA, Periyar International ,USA, Shri Guru Ravidas Sabha of New York, USA, Shri Guru Ravidas Sabha of Bay Area,USA, Samaj Weekly of United Kingdom, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist, United Kingdom, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) UK, Dr Ambedkar Mission Society, Europe (Germany), Ambedkar Buddhist Society of Spain, The Asian Independent of United Kingdom, and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Association for Education, Japan.