Dalits and Adivasi organisations from all over the country have planned to take to the streets on May 1st, which is also a Labour Day. Dalits and Adivasi organisations have decided to observe 1st May as ‘National Resistance Day’.
The call for holding the protest and observing 1st May as National Resistance Day has been given by a collective of more than 500 Dalit and Adivasi organisations which goes under the banner of ‘National Coalition for Strengthening POA Act and its Implementation’.
Protests on May 1st are expected to be bigger than what we have seen on 2nd April Bharat Bandh.
Organisations will be protesting against the Supreme Court’s order on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Last month on 20th March, Supreme Court had diluted the provisions of SC/ST Act in an attempt to save the perpetrators of atrocities on SC/ST.
Collective has issued 12 following demands –
Demand 1 – Government of India should ensure that either through Judicial or Parliamentary recourse the status quo of the SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 is restored to its original position as was before 20.03.2018 judgment.
Demand 2 – The SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 and the POA Amendment Act 2015 shall be included in the Ninth Schedule so that it may get some protection in the matter of judicial review.
Demand 3 – Release of all the Dalit and Human Rights Defenders, activists, leaders, community members and employees arrested on 2nd April, during the “Bharat Bandh”. Immediate action should be taken against the people who were indulged in firing against the community.
Demand 4 – Robustly, enforce and implement the amended SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 and Rules 1995 and in specific the rights of victims and witnesses as enshrined in the amended Act.
Demand 5 – Establish mandatory exclusive special courts as per the Section 14 of the SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 in each district. These courts shall not take cases of any other legislation.
Demand 6 – Take immediate measures to appoint Public Prosecutors of victim’s choice as per Rule 4 (5) of the SCs and STs (PoA) Rules 1995 for speedy trial of the cases.
Demand 7 – Conduct an open and transparent investigation under Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and prosecute those Government and police officials under section 4 of the Act who are found to be aided and abetted criminals or found to have negligent in their responsibilities in implementing the provisions of the Act/plan and schemes.
Demand 8 – Immediate notification or G.O> to be issued to all the state governments to frame contingency plan in line with contingency plan framed by the Government of Tamil Nadu and simultaneous framing of guidelines and schemes under the plan if any for the purposes of rehabilitation, employment, pension, strengthening socio-economic conditions of the victims. Unless this is done the plan would be merely a piece paper.
Demand 9 – National Human Rights Commissions, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Commissions shall conduct open hearing all over the country on cases of atrocities and on the implementation of SCs and STs (PoA) Act. The Commissions shall ask for the annual reports from the states and present the same before the Parliament.
Demand 10 – The Parliament shall also debate during the sessions on the effective implementation of the PoA Act 1989. The Parliament shall constitute a National, State and district level Enforcement Authority for the effective implementation of the PoA Act 1989.
Demand 11 – Ensure that the underdeveloped Dalit and Adivasi habitats, habitats prone to atrocities, and habitats which are arsoned or damaged are provided with land, adequate housing, clean water and sanitation facilities and infrastructure facilities from SCP/TSP from the provisions of Contingency Plan.
Demand 12 – Ensure externment of the persons likely to commit offence under the Act in any area included in ‘Scheduled Areas’ or ‘Tribal areas’ as referred to in Article 244 of the Constitution.
We urge everyone to stand up and resist, protect constitutional rights of Dalit-Adivasi and participate in the protests. Who says the act is misused? Let’s resist the regressive judgement of the Supreme Court.
Use the hashtag #DalitsAdivasisResist while posting on social media!