Atrocities on Dalit communities is one of the ugly realities of India that refuses to decrease. In fact the number of registered cases of atrocities on Dalits in last 1 decade (1981-2000) was 31171.
According to a National Human Rights Commission report, the conviction rate under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, which was introduced to curb violence and crime against Dalits, is only 15.71% and pendency rate (cases filed, but not yet dealt with) is as high as 85.37%. By contrast, conviction rate under Indian Penal Code is over 40%.
Discrimination against students, both in schools and in colleges is very common too. According to statistics, 37.8% of students in govt run schools are made to eat their lunch/mid-day meal separately, sitting away from upper caste students. Physical torture, beatings are rampant in schools, especially in the rural areas.
Haryana has been one of the states with a history of high crime rate against Dalits. The National Crime Records Bureau records show that on an average 374 cases of crimes against children are registered in the state, including 38 murder cases, 131 rape cases, 101 kidnapping cases.
Amit Kumar, our correspondent is a Valmiki – one of the most oppressed Dalit communities – and has personally experienced discrimination and injustice. As he says in the video, as a school student, he was often beaten up by upper caste teachers, but such beatings are then played down as minor incidents. But such physical assaults leave a deep mark on the child’s mind, slowly pushing him to trauma.
Education can’t be free and fair, until children are not freed of such traumatic experiences of caste discrimination and violence, feels Amit.