Ahead of the assembly elections, over 500 dalit leaders met in Gandhinagar on Thursday to protest against the increasing incidents of police atrocities on dalits and demand amendments in the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The dalit leaders also announced a huge national campaign in Delhi on November 23 where 60,000 dalits will participate. The protest was organised by Navsarjan Trust – a group addressing dalit issues since 1989. Many victims of atrocities shared their experiences. Executive director, Navsarjan Trust, Manjula Pradeep said firmly fighting with the system with the help of the Act will curb atrocities on dalits.
A woman from Talod taluka of Sabarkantha district alleged that an attempt had been made on Monday to rape her. “I filed a police complaint and the accused were arrested. But they will soon be released on bail and are threatening to kill my brothers,” she said. She urged the leaders to protect her.
Dalit activist, Martin Macwan, said that discrimination among the dalit communities should also come under the purview of the act. “There are many dalit communities who discriminate against other dalit communities,” he said. If an upper class member discriminates against a dalit he is prosecuted. Then why should a dalit not come under the purview of the Act, he asked.