Memorandum of Demands Seeking Chief Minister's Immediate Intervention to stop the Ongoing Brutal Atrocities/ Crimes against Dalit Communities in Odisha
Today, there will be a demonstration in Bhubaneswar to seeking Chief Minister's Immediate Intervention to stop the Ongoing Brutal Atrocities/ Crimes against Dalit Communities in Odisha. In this occasion this memorandum would be submitted to Chief Minister of Odisha.
A Memorandum of Demands Seeking Chief Minister's Immediate Intervention to stop the Ongoing Brutal Atrocities/ Crimes against Dalit Communities in Odisha
To, Date: 22/03/2012
Mr. Navin Patnaik,
The Honourable Chief Minister Place: Bhubaneswar
We the undersigned victim of human rights violation, representatives of various mass organisations, Non-Governmental Agencies, Community Based Organisations, Human Rights Activists, journalists and citizens belonging to the marginalised communities drawing your attention to the ongoing atrocities against Dalit Communities in Odisha. We are subjected to all forms of corrupt practices that include discrimination, humiliation, exclusion and denial of access to rights, entitlements and human dignity. We stand here because we are beaten and humiliated by the Mass Education Minister Mr. Pratap Jena. We are here because we are implicated in false cases without committing any crime. We stand here because our daughters are molested and denied justice in your regime. We stand here because the police is acting on the behest of the powerful and refusing to accept our complaints. We stand here because it is clear to us that the upper caste do not want to give us any space in the society or anywhere in the state and the politicians have decided to be the partners of the upper caste.
The present system of governance of the state has made us vulnerable and become insensitive to our agony and sufferings, though the wealth of the state was built on the theft of our land and from our work in the farms, mines, factories, kitchens and laundries of the rich. We cannot and will not continue to suffer the way that we do. We cannot and will not allow our voices to be stifled. The time has come for the Dalit to be heard. The time for politicians to talk for and about the Dalit while they make deals with the upper caste is over. The time has come for politicians to talk to the Dalit and to talk to the marginalised openly and honestly and respectfully so that we can, together, ensure that there is a place for everyone in this society and in this state.
The life of the Dalits is increasingly vulnerable in the state due to a persistent lack of assured entitlements to augment their existing resource base. Land alienation has deprived them of their land; forest legislation has turned them into encroachers on land they have always used; and they have also been disproportionately affected by displacement due to mining operations, irrigation projects, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. It seems that the Govt of Orissa is pursuing an agenda of 'Hidden Apartheid of discrimination against Dalits in its policies and programs. The recent incidents of the"objectionable" behaviour of Mass Education Minister, Mr. Pratap Jena towards Dalit youth at Katarpada of Nischintakoili block in Cuttack district and the ongoing atrocities against Dalit communities in Katarapa village and the negligence of theduty-bearers have shown the lackadaisical attitudes of state machinery for Dalit communities.
Orissa remained a highly vulnerable State with high incidence of atrocities against the Dalits and religious minorities. Over the last few years, we have witnessed a continued use of force and suppression of the rights of the Dalit communities in Orissa. We are horrified and appalled by these inhuman incidents. We are particularly concerned at the frequent involvement of the duty-bearer in heinous against Dalits in clandestine with people representatives. We want you to intervene and ensure that justice is served to those who have been constantly ignored.
Brief detail of some of the recent atrocities:
1. Mass Education Minister, Mr. Pratap Jena beat Dalit youthat Katarpada of Nischintakoili Block in Cuttack district.
Caste atrocity and Caste abuse at Katarpada of Nischintakoili Block in Cuttack district has once again shown the ugly face of BJD ruled Government in Orissa. Mass Education Minister, Mr. Pratap Jena who is representing Mahanga constituency grossly flouted the model code of conduct during the election campaign for his party supported candidates. He even violated the Constitution of India by assaulting the Dalits during his tour to his constituency. It can be mentioned her that the Constitution of India providers special safeguards for the social, educational and economic advancement of Scheduled Castes. And a Minister who is holding an office of dignity is expected to respect this basic principle of the Indian constitution first by respecting the Dalit communities. But it is a matter of fact the mass education minister himself is aiding and abetting such heinous crime against Dalit in broad daylight. Mr Jena himself involved in the incident of assault against Dalit communities along with his upper caste supporters. This heinous nature of incident is an inauspicious signal for a nation ruled with the polity and praxis of democracy.
While campaigning for his supported candidates, Mr Jena accompanied ZP candidate Rekha Rani Samantray in a workers' rally to Katarpada Gram Panchayat ofNischintakoili Block on 6th February, 2012. On the way to their workers rally dominantly led by higher caste people, Mr. Dibakar Samal who belongs to Scheduled Caste category along with some locals attempted to welcome the honourable Mass Education Minister Mr. Mr. Pratap Jena with flower garland. Having been seen this, Mr. Ashok Mohanty, Brajendra Swain and Sushanta Nayak who are from the local upper caste category also escorting the Minister prevented Dibakar Samal from garlanding Minister. Three of them even beat him ruthlessly with their footwear. They even threatened him for life and used caste abuses saying ''Magia Pana ku Jibanaru Maridia'' (finish the Mother Fucker Pana-). While disappointed with the humiliation and merciless beating, Mr. Ishwar Samal was trying to pacify these miscreants suddenly Mr Pratap Jena dragged Mr. Dibkar Samal in an in human way and started beating him cruelly saying ''Magia PanaTumaku chuile chua'' (You untouchable rubbish mother fucker how dare you to touch us and welcome us). In this brutal incident both Dibakar Samala and Ishwar Samal were grievously injured and undergoing a treatment in Nischintakoili Primary Health Centre.
Though a case has been registered in the local police station, no action has been taken so far against the minister and his co-culprits. And the concerned Dalits communities were threatened to be killed and their village Katarpada would be set on fire, if they dare to complain the higher authority about the incident for justice.
2. Tukuna Sethi Was Arrested without committing any Crime and the Intention of the Arrest is to Disturb His Daughter's Matriculation Exam
Mr Tukuna Sethi aged 37 is from Katarapara village that runs his family from his daily wage. In addition to this he also earns some additional livelihood working as a tube-well repairing mechanic. On 17th March Mr. Tukuna went to repair a tube-well of his neighbour just a kilometre from his home. While repairing the tube-well he heard a noise from the road where people were negotiation with a contractor for quality construction of the road. And the road which was prepared by the same contractor was damaged within a few days of the completion of the work. And this time they were asking the contractor to pay attend to this work. Having heard this noise, Mr Tukuna went to the site where the noise was taking place and he was just standing there. Then police came and some higher caste people who were present there instructed the police to nab Mr. Tukuna Sethi. Then Mr. Tukuna was arrested taken to the police station though the mob present there informed the police about Tukuna's innocence. Sources said that Mr. Tukuna was kept in the Police custody (Hajat) for 3 days and tortured by the police, and then sent to court. As he was falsely implicated under section 506 of the Indian Penal Code, Mr Tukuna was not given bail and now he is inside the jail without committing any crime. This all happened with the clean and clear guidance of the people who are in power.
Tukuna is completely is innocent and he has a daughter who is appearing for ongoing matriculation exam. Sources said that this was done intentionally to disturb his daughter not to appear in the board exam. And it is also a fact that in general the upper caste community are against the social mobility of Dalit communities specifically education of a Dalit girl child.
3. A low-caste Dalit Boy studying in Standard one was killed in a Road Accident at Duliamba in Koraput district.
In a brutal accident Kedar Halua, a 10 years boy studying in standard one was brutally killed in Lulipada village. And false cases have been registered against Dalit communities when they demanded the arrest of the person who is responsible for the accident. The concerned villagers are terrified and threatened dare consequences.
In the above narrated cases, the victims are harassed and shabbily treated by the public Institutions including police, ministers (Mass Education minister) and these are taking place due to sheer callous attitude of the police. Though all the cases attract the provision of SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 and Rules 1999 but no initiatives has been taken by the Government and responsible departments. .
In view of the alarming rise of violence and the ongoing discrimination, harassment, atrocities against Dalits in Orissa, we appeal you to intervene immediately and take appropriate action to eliminate ongoing discrimination and violence against Dalit community for not only the interest of the nation but for the respect of humanity.
We appreciate you for your proactive action against Mr. Damodar Rout in connection with an anti-Dalit remark case and compelling the former agriculture Minister Mr. Pradeep Maharathy to resign from your ministry of protecting the culprits in a gang rape case on November 28 last year near Arjunagoda. We the Dalit Rights activists appeal you to take the following actions for the redressal of justice to the most vulnerable people of state.
1. We also demand immediate dismissal of Mass Education Minister Mr Pratap Jena who is abetting, aiding and involving himself with such blatant assault against Dalit communities and perpetuating discrimination and caste feeling in society while remaining in public office
2. We experience clearly that law alone cannot eradicate those forms of atrocities that dehumanise, discriminate and enslave Dalits in society. Therefore we appeal you to develop an appropriate mechanism to challenge and change those systems and structures that promote, justify and perpetuate discrimination, especially caste-based discrimination and atrocities against Dalits. On the other hand, values such as social equity and equality should be promoted, strengthened and safeguarded by initiating massive campaign and awareness
3. There are ample evidences and instances to assert that Dalits are often made victims of false implications due to their social and political vulnerability and caste prejudices and perversion. Hence it is imperative that there should be adequate legal and other safeguards to protect the interests and sovereignty of Dalits in Odisha. And all false cases against the Dalit communities in Katarapada and Duliamba of Koraput district should be withdrawn immediately.
4. We appeal strict implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in order to prevent atrocities against Scheduled castes.
5. To inflict punishment on all those perpetrators, police and others directly or indirectly related to the above narrated cases for their criminal negligence in dealing with the matter without care, sympathy and blatantly violating all protective laws for the Scheduled Castes.
6. We also demand an immediate stop against all forms of atrocities against Dalit communities in Odisha.
7. We appeal you to direct police to maintain peace in Katarapada of Nischintakoili block and take appropriate action for restoring dignity of the Dalit communities in the areas.
We request you to consider these matters as most urgent and take appropriate action. This will instil faith among the ordinary people, especially the weaker sections of our society on the provisions of our protective laws mandated by the Constitution. Further, this will protect them from the oppressive dominant socio-economic system. We are herewith submitting this memorandum for promotion of justice, equity and protection of human rights in society.
Thank you for considering our recommendations and demands. We would appreciate learning about any steps that you take in this regard.
1. Mr Ashok Mallick (Dalit Rights Activist)
Mr. Sukanta Chandra Behera
Program Facilitator- Policy Analysis & Research
Synodical Board of Social Service