June 17, 2019: Prakash Saroj, a resident of Pratap Garh is burnt alive allegedly by members of some upper caste persons over an argument in the backdrop of India- Pakistan match.
July 5, 2019: A Dalit woman is abducted and raped allegedly by a gang of three unidentified men on Aligarh-Kanpur highway when she was going to Mainpuri for final rites of her relative. Perturbed Husband approaches local police station for help but the police officials accuse him of fabricating a false story, torture him during questioning. Later, a medical examination shows grievous injuries on his back and legs. Ashamed by the conduct of fellow officials, UP Police suspends accused absconding policemen. Victim couple looks for justice.
July 7, 2019: A viral video shows three Dalit youths being publicly stripped and thrashed by a mob after they were allegedly caught during a theft bid in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh. The images of the thrashing bring back the memories of open flogging in Una, Gujarat in 2016. Uttar Pradesh Police faces backlash over delayed action.
The three of these incidents in Uttar Pradesh in last one month suggest peculiar similarities where the victims were subjected to gruesome violence and complete indifference from the law enforcement agencies. For instance, the husband approached the police in the alleged Mainpuri gangrape case soon after his wife was abducted. The victim was later dumped into the fields in neighbouring Etah district.
As per the account revealed by the husband to the Indian Express, he said that around 4 am, his wife too reached the police station where he was being questioned and said that the kidnappers had gang raped and dumped her in the adjoining Etah district after taking her jewellery and Rs 15,000. She had allegedly taken a bus to Etah and had called her family who had instructed her to reach the Kurawali Police Station.
A case was finally registered against the three men under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The level of indifference can be gauged by the fact that the medical examination of the victim still needs to be done, even after five days of the incident.
Rajneesh Gautam, a Dalit activist and advocate who is associated with various cases of oppression and discrimination, argues that the spiking cases of atrocities against the Dalits are a testimony to the fact that everything is not going as smooth as it was promised by the present regime led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He told NewsClick, “there are two aspects related to Dalit atrocities in any state; first the registration of cases under SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act come with the baggage of additional investigation. So, other matters except the serious ones of murder, rape or any grievous injury are summarily discarded by investigating officers. Secondly, the instructions are also clear from the government about the registration of cases as it is required to pay compensation every time. If the victim is not known to any influential person or [if] any other organisation is [not] raising the issue, the case will not be registered. But it must be noted that this apathy has transcended beyond quarrels and physical violence. A systemic exclusion is under place and the first visible instance of it was when several persons from Dalit community were arrested post April 2 Bharat Bandh protests last year on the pretext of false cases."
Ravi Kant, another Dalit activist told NewsClick that the burgeoning numbers are seeped in both; conduct and the mindset of the government. He said, “I have seen it a few times now. For example, a simple altercation could have been solved after a negotiation. It all started with a collision between a motorcycle and an SUV. But when a local leader not only rips apart the clothes of a woman but also threatens to file FIR against the victims, one can understand the mentality of how things work on the ground. But a different message is sent altogether when people like Satpal Malik or Sudesh Rana, who are known for their casteist remarks are chosen for leadership and its visible when people lynched Rohit Jatav in Udepur in Meerut last year and said ‘do what you want. It's our government’."
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