Posted On October 10, 2022

Hyderabad: Expressing concern over continuing atrocities on dalits in the country, dalit right activist and Navsarjan Trust founder Martin Macwan said on Sunday that seven decades of freedom from foreign rule had not ensured equality to dalits in the country.

Taking a dig at the Gujarat Model of development, Macwan said inequality was still prevailing on a large scale in Gujarat despite rapid development. “Dalits face discri

Speaking on ‘Untouchability Abolition and Prevention of Atrocities’, as the ‘Dalit imagination of Independent India @75’ lecture series organized by the Centre for Dalits Studies (CDS) and Dalit Bahujan Front in collaboration with the Somajiguda Press Club here, Macwan said a survey conducted by his organization Navsarjan Trust in about 1489 villages of Gujarat covering about 98,000 respondents found that in about 90.2 per cent villages, dalit Hindus were not allowed in temples and about 98 percent non-dalits kept separate utensils for dalits.

Similarly, 64 percent of dalit sarpanches were not provided chairs to sit in their offices and in 64 percent government schools, dalit students were provided separate drinking pots. The survey also found that about 53.78 percent of dalit school children were being discriminated in implementation of the mid-day meal programme by the Gujarat government.

He expressed the need for dalits to join hands with Other Backward Castes (OBCs) to address the issue of untouchability and discrimination in the country.

“Both dalits and OBCs are being discriminated and neglected by the society and government. If they join hands, they could wipe out untouchability from the society. Today, the strongest movement in India is the dalit movement and if OBCs join hands, they can achieve their goals,”he observed.

“We are seeing the practice of untouchability prevalent not only between dalits and non dalits, but also among dalit communities. Until dalits do away with discrimination, untouchability will continue in the society,”he said.

Stating that the primary problem of dalits was not economic, but social upliftment, Macwan said from 1974 to 2020, 25,947 Dalits were murdered, 54,903 dalit women were raped and the number of other cases of atrocities was above one million. The condition of Adivasis was not different. During the same period, 5356 persons belonging to the ST category were murdered, 22004 ST women were raped and the total number of atrocities crossed two lakh.

CDS chairperson Mallepalli Laxmaiah, explaining the idea behind the lecture series, said there was a need to know after 75 years of independence where dalits stood, what their achievements were and where they were lagging.

“We have to fix an agenda for 2024 and 2050 or else we will miss the bus and lag behind others,” he said.

Courtesy : Telangana today

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