Jaipur, Feb 19 (IANS) In two Rajasthan villages, atrocities against Dalits take place over the flimsiest of reasons – a hen being run over, or a goat straying into the house of another community. The Dalits are now fleeing their homes.
Dalit families of Husheypura village in Alwar district and Chandpur in Bharatpur district fled enmasse when they were attacked by members of another community over petty disputes.
Rajasthan is tagged in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) as second in the country in terms of atrocities against Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.
While in Husheypura, violence erupted Jan 19 after a hen came under the wheels of a tractor being driven by a Dalit farmer, the houses of Dalit families were stoned in Chandpur after a goat strayed into the farm of another community member Wednesday.
Husheypura, with 800 Dalits, and Chandpur, with 700, are nearly 100 and 115 km, respectively, from the district headquarters in Alwar and Bharatpur.
“A team of National Human Rights Commission has visited Husheypura. Many families have fled the village, and despite our assurances to them only a few have returned,” a senior district administration official told IANS on condition of anonymity. He added that they are providing all possible assistance to the victims.
Ramsahay, a resident of Chandpur said: “They stoned my house for two hours. I sustained injuries on my head. I had to take shelter in my relative’s house in a nearby village. After I was assured of safety by the police, I returned on Thursday night. But many others have not returned.”
The two incidents have brought to the fore the pathetic condition of Dalits in the state which has reported maximum number of atrocities registered with the police surpassed by only Uttar Pradesh.
According to latest NCRB report, as many as 6,168 cases under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act were registered in Rajasthan in 2009.
During a recent visit to Jaipur, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik had said that the police are yet to complete investigations in 4,992 of the cases.
Wasnik announced the setting up of special courts for hearing SC/ST atrocity cases in eight districts including Bharatpur, Bundi, Barmer and Hanumangarh to speed up trials.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has also directed the police to identify the most atrocity-prone areas at the village and tehsil (block) level in the state, so that effective measures could be taken.