Violence against Dalit student in Rajasthan: where the nation failed?

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    On Saturday, as the nation prepared to mark its 75th Independence Day, a nine-year-old Dalit child from Rajasthan’s Jalore district succumbed to injuries allegedly inflicted by someone who should have given wings to his dreams – his teacher .

    The FIR in the case should be read as a sobering reality check of the dire inequalities that continue to plague and debilitate the nation as it aims to become the “target” where Prime Minister Narendra Modi said from the ramparts of the Red Fort: “Wishes.” be fulfilled”.

    “Indra was a child. Little did he know that the matki (earthen pot) he drank from had been kept separately for the Savarna Jati (upper caste) teacher”… “the teacher abused him with casteist insults and beat him up, leading to internal injuries,” says the FIR. These words should stir the nation’s conscience and remind policymakers of unfulfilled promises and unfinished business as India begins the “Amrit Kaal” marking the centenary of its independence. Ashok Gehlot’s government must ensure that due process is implemented quickly and safely to ensure justice in this case.

    That caste violence is a grim lived reality for much of the country’s Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities – at odds with India’s constitutional principles – is confirmed by numerous reports and polls. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that in 2020, a crime was committed against a person from an SC community every 10 minutes.

    Rajasthan, along with Bihar, UP and Madhya Pradesh, accounts for two-thirds of these crimes, although these four states account for about 40 percent of the country’s population. Cases registered in Rajasthan under the Planned Castes and Planned Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act increased from around 6,000 in 2018 to more than 8,500 in 2020. Of concern is that the conviction rate in the state in such cases in these four years from 11 percent in 2016 to less than 8 percent in 2020.