MADURAI: In a public hearing hosted by an NGO, Evidence, on caste atrocities and discrimination against dalit women, 16 representatives from persons who were subjected to rape described how the violence was held, their current position and their demands to a panel comprising Dalit Human Right Defenders Network President Manjula Pradeep, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Advocate Alagumani, Writer Jayarani, Journalist Senthilvel and Loyola College Professor Semmalar. The representatives appealed to the panel to initiate job opportunities for the survivors.
"Out of the 16, more cases are from Pudukottai. Survivors need to be supported by family and society through compassion, They need to continue their education, jobs by proper rehabilitation," said Tamil Nadu Women Commission Chairperson AS Kumari, who convened the meeting.
While hearing the cases, National Dalit Human Right Defenders Network President Manjula Pradeep asked whether the practice of two-finger test exists during medical check-up, and asked workers to ensure its ban. "There should be a medical check-up immediately along with psychological counselling after the incident," she said.
Vijayakumar from Pudukkottai said he, his pregnant wife and their two children were attacked by caste-hindu men when they were travelling in a bike. "They humiliated us by spitting pan parag. When we questioned them, we were attacked. After a long battle, the men were booked under SC/ST Atrocities Act," he said, adding that the accused is still issuing threats.
In Madurai, Alagarsamy from Sikkendar chavadi area said his son was murdered by caste hindus for fighting against Ganja peddling. "I am looking after my son's wife and their three-month-old granddaughter despite the threats from the accused side. Police refused to accept my complaint," he said, seeking the panel to give protection to his family. AS Kumari assured him that she will talk to the SP and ensure his protection.
Executive Director of Evidence, Kathir said this was the 32nd public hearing organised by the group in a span of 16 years. "So far, 3,500 cases were filed and Rs 12 crore compensation was given by the government to the survivors. However, the conviction rate in the State is at just 7%. However, States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala are acting progressively for ensuring social justice", he said.
Earlier in the day, National Level Report titled on 'Caste Based Sexual Violence and State Impunity' was released by AS Kumari.