Dalit women to march across seven Haryana districts against caste violence

By Ritwika Mitra| Express News Service | Published: 24th June 2018 01:30 AM
The AIDMAM has organised the Dalit Mahila Swabhiman Yatra (Dalit women’s self-respect march) in seven states, covering around 120 districts so far. | File Photo

NEW DELHI: To create awareness about rising atrocities against Dalit women, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM), a Dalit women’s organisation, is planning to carry out marches across seven districts in Haryana.

“The march will be led by young Dalit women leaders, which in itself is an achievement in a state like Haryana,” said Asha Kotwal, general secretary, AIDMAM. This is a part of a series of such marches being arranged by the Dalit women’s collective in north India.

The AIDMAM has organised the Dalit Mahila Swabhiman Yatra (Dalit women’s self-respect march) in seven states, covering around 120 districts so far. The prime objectives of the march are to organise community members into raising their voices against the caste-based violence they are subjected to, to provide information on legal provisions and to support survivors and their families.

The collective concluded a 15-day march in Rajasthan in May. The team of women leaders looks to building a close network of grassroots volunteers who can coordinate with local lawyers and the administration to monitor the ground situation on caste-related violence against women. “The yatra provides momentum through which pressure can be built on local officials who often neglect the cases and are also sometimes in nexus with the perpetrators. The idea is to protest against the normalisation of violence,” said Kotwal.

The volunteers will raise livelihood issues, access for Dalit women to government schemes and the utilisation of grants for SC/ST scholarships.

The AIDMAM presented a report on caste-based violence, titled ‘Voices Against Caste Impunity: Narratives of Dalit women in India’, at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

CASES OF CASTE-BASED VIOLENCE

2015: A 16-year-old girl from Valmiki community abducted and raped by three men when she went to feed cattle in Bhiwani, Haryana. In the FIR, sections under the SC/ST (PoA) Act-1989 and POCSO Act-2012 were not invoked. The survivor was given a compensation of I90,000 in June 2015.

2017: A 17-year-old student in Karnal went to college and did not return. Later, her body was found in Awardhan river. Medical reports confirmed she was raped and murdered. An FIR was registered, but not under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 Amendment Act 2015, as per Rule 5 (1) of SCs and STs (PoA), which amounts to negligence.

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