NEW DELHI: Seventy-five ‘human rights defenders’ will be on vigil across states during elections in identified ‘sensitive’ constituencies across 20 states to monitor any form of violence against Dalits during the voting process.
The National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) — a coalition of Dalit rights organisations — is coordinating with volunteers the move.
“If the volunteers notice any violence during the voting, they will immediately inform the electoral officer and the police. These defenders are trained and to spot any form of atrocity against Dalits. During the first phase, it was elementary. It would be intensified from the next phase,” said V A Ramesh Nathan, general secretary, NDMJ.
The focus would be on Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Gujarat. The list, however, is not comprehensive.
The coalition recently monitored the situation in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar during the first phase of the polling season.
In Andhra Pradesh, there were cases where Dalits were not being allowed to vote, which were taken up by the volunteers and the issue was resolved, said Kamalchand Kispott, policy and advocacy officer, NDMJ.
The volunteers will report on any atrocities to a control room, which will then initiate action needed