Following the harrowing Hathras rape case, a group of DBAV womxn have filed an IA against caste-based violence in UP. This is what it means.
A community of Dalit, Bahujan, Adivasi, and Vimukta (DBAV) womxn recently filed an interim report (IA). It takes the Uttar Pradesh government and police and tasks them for the poor implementation of the law in the Hathras case, where a young Dalit woman was reported to be raped and murdered.
An IA or an Interim Report is a request that one makes to a court with a corresponding number which is then given to the judges to be ratified and validated.
DBAV womxn filing the IA is a collective is an autonomous group made up of Dalit, Bahujan, and Vimukta activists, scholars, professionals, lawyers, and artists. They are currently engaged in eliminating caste-based violence on both the national and regional levels through important grassroots work.
“IA states that the Hathras tragedy is indicative of systemic caste-based discrimination existing in State machineries & seeks to uphold rights of the SC/ST Community,’’ reported Live Law India.
Briefly describing the case, on September 14 a young Dalit girl was raped by four upper-caste men while she was on her way to a farm to collect cattle fodder. She succumbed to her injuries and passed away over two weeks later in Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
Her rape and death have resulted in widespread condemnation and media coverage. A slew of protests by activists and opposition erupted against the state government, demanding justice for both the victim and her family. The Balrampur gang gape that occurred on September 29 resulted in yet another rallying cry in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
“The state machinery, made of police personnel, politicians, and government officials, have not only failed to implement the rule of law, but it has also inflicted more violence against the victim’s family,” reported The Wire.
The IA filed by the DBAV Collective goes a step further as it demands an important re-examination of the case. Ones that specifically targets state institutions, politicians and law enforcement, and the importance of holding them accountable for caste-based injustices.
In the light of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, the IA highlights the systemic nature of caste-based violence. And also its entrenched nature in today’s society. The IA directly targets the government and police departments of Uttar Pradesh to take accountability for any and all cases of caste-based violence.
It calls for some of these major changes under the Schedules Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. This Act was enacted to prevent violence and atrocities committed against scheduled castes and tribes.
Overall, the case itself underlines some of the flaws in both our law enforcement systems and judiciary today. Especially when one considers the late registration of the case by the police, significant time lags in the collection of evidence. And the derailing of major legal proceedings as well as threats and intimidation against the girl’s family.
The demands mainly focus on preventive as well as restorative justice to monitor and prevent caste-based violence.
Some of the key and immediate demands of the IA include:
It also highlights other long-term solutions and plans such as the rehabilitation of victims of caste-based violence in the state. And the creation of safe spaces, as well as security in villages for Dalit families and workers. Preventive measures need to be taken in what are known as “atrocity- prone” districts in the country.
Most distinctly, it underscores the culpability of the state government in failing to convene committee meetings and state vigilance under the SC/SP PoA Act. Over the years, Uttar Pradesh has largely ignored criminal negligence and the lack of review on the status of caste-based atrocities and crimes committed in the state.
The horrific Hathras case has proven to also be a wake up call. It continues to alert us to the pervasive nature of caste-based violence today. The submission of this IA comes at a time when the need to address caste-based violence in this country has slowly morphed into a ticking bomb. This IA could lead to similar legal calls and proceedings for other caste-based crimes in the years to come.
The call for intersectional and inclusive social justice is essential. It is important that we realise the oppression that many face along the line of caste, gender and sexuality in our society today. The IA issued by the DBAV is a great testament to effective activism and teaches us what we can do and observe as allies.
Picture credits: Photo by Eric Goverde from Pexels
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Shivani is currently an undergraduate political science student who is passionate about human rights and
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