Dalits struggle during lockdown

By Kush Ambedkarwadi

Kush Ambedkarwadi

New Delhi: At the time of national disaster, our identity as a country is tested, whenever there is an external attack or natural disaster, we have to forget the differences and unite and face them as one nation.

This is the fantasy of a nation when the whole country shows unity, today not only the country, the whole world is struggling with the Corona epidemic.

Fight against coronavirus pandemic

All countries across the globe are united and fighting against it, forgetting mutual differences, India has also suffered a bad outbreak of this epidemic, more than 45 thousand people have been infected, in such a time, we should have been presenting a strong image of the country by introducing social and political unity. Many times, disasters are helpful in ending internal differences in the country.

India is a socially and economically divided country, any disaster or epidemic, the weakest part of the country has to pay for it, and dalit society stands at the lowest level socially and economically in our country.

When we should have shown solidarity as a human being by forgetting all differences against the epidemic, at such a time you are hearing story of discrimination that will embarrass your humanitarian identity, you will be forced to think that even in an epidemic like Corona we haven’t recovered from the caste discrimination mentality.

Baba Saheb wrote the constitution of the country in such a way that every citizen gets equal rights, but even today, after so many years, Dalits have not got equal rights!

Untouchability

Even after so long after the independence of our country, Dalits still have to face untouchability in some form or the other.

Corona virus is a disease, soon we will be able to find a cure of this virus, but we have so far failed to find a cure for the virus that has spread caste discrimination over the centuries, when in the crisis like the corona epidemic, when lockdown was to be imposed all over the country, at this time caste oppression should have been reduced but unfortunately caste oppression has increased even more during this period.

Today, when the corona epidemic is continuously taking people’s lives, even in this time, people of Manuwadi mentality are not able to give up their casteist mentality.

In the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, due to not having a kitchen in the segregation center built for corona virus infected and suspected patients, the Pradhan, chosen from the Dalit community, prepared and cooked food on humanitarian ground so that the patients would not have
any problem of eating. But when the people who were quarantined were asked to have that meal, two of them refused to eat, saying that they will not eat food prepared by a dalit.

From this you can get a fair idea of their mentality, that means dying is acceptable but will not change their hateful mindset.

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It was just a matter of not eating food, in Madhya Pradesh, a couple was quarantined in the toilet and food was given there, after the news came out from the media, they were taken to the school building.

Migrant laborers

Today, the people who are the worst affected in this lockdown in the whole country are the migrant laborers of the country who do not have land, so leave their village for wages and go to other states and feed themselves.

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Most of the Dalits in the country do not have land, so it should be understood that the maximum number of these migrant laborers are Dalits and in this difficult time when all factories and other work places are closed, people are forced to go to walk miles to their homes empty stomach.

While the government is bringing rich migrants from abroad to India by flight, the poor working migrant is feeling like a foreigner in his country, for whom the government is not even providing buses, these poor people are walking hundreds of kilometres to reach the village somehow.

In these, people of Dalit society are being kept in even toilets in government schools, while the upper caste people are being coronated in their homes, what can be the greater caste discrimination?

The feudal people are constantly attacking the Dalits by taking advantage of the lockdown and at this time it is more unfortunate for the government to give indirect protection to the criminals.

Vikram, who marries a Savarna caste girl in Bihar, is killed under suspicious circumstances and when Santosh demands for an inquiry into his death, even he is beaten to death.

Double standard

The collusion of police with criminals is further promoting atrocities. To end casteism, on the one hand, the government announces incentives to inter-caste marriages, on the other hand, people who go for inter-caste marriages are being killed. What is this double standard?

In Haryana, the Dalits was attacked for not following the PM’s call to turn off the lights.

At the same time, the suspicious death of a person named Raman of the Valmiki Samaj, who was jailed in Yamunanagar, also forced the Dalits to go on the streets in the lockdown to protest for justice, then the Haryana government had to give orders for investigation

The incident of rape of a Dalit girl in Tonk, Rajasthan and Ram Meghwal, the dungar of the Dalit community in Jodhpur, was killed by the Rajputs in broad daylight, reports of attacks are coming from every corner of the country.

Gajraj Jatav of Dalit community was killed in Shivpuri of Madhya Pradesh on May 9 for celebrating Buddhapurnima. Local SDMs in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, order that Dalits will have to inform the police three days before their wedding. Though this order has to be cancelled after the protest.

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Even during epidemics like Corona virus, atrocities on Dalits have not reduced but have increased.

This is the same from North India to South India.There were 25 cases of atrocities on Dalits in Tamil Nadu in a month, an increase of 40% in such
cases. According to a study by an NGO, the first nationwide bandh started since March 25, there have been at least 30 major incidents of caste-based violence in every state.

At some places, the police themselves have been involved in this harassment. Dalits have been inhumanly beaten under the cover of lockdown. If they have violated the police notification, then
legal action should be taken against them. Such inhuman use of force is utterly wrong and there should be no such vandalism at all.

This is the country’s common fight against the Corona epidemic, in which everyone is contributing, some are contributing by staying at home, while some are directly fighting in front of them, in which there is an important link sanitation workers who mostly belong to Dalit society Because India is the only country where businesses are divided on the basis of caste.

Appreciating the contribution of the doctors and the police, we forget the contribution of the sanitation workers. No plate is played for them or there is no flower rain. The sanitation workers working in the hospital have got safety kit but quarantined in the village countryside. The sanitation workers who carry the garbage of people are forced to fight on the front without safety equipment, which does not even get minimum salary. In return, dozens of reports of attacks on sweepers have come across the country.

A sweeper at Rampur in UP who had gone to the village to spray sanitizer was forced to drink a sanitizer by the overbearing which resulted in his subsequent death in a hospital. Five people have been charged for this heinous crime.

Such incidents are heart-wrenching that weaken this fight against Corona. The incidents of attacks on doctors attract the attention of all the media while complaining without risking their lives, at least in the fight against the corona. The Valmiki (Dalit) society is being treated half-way.

You cannot even expect a fight against the corona epidemic without the support of the cleaning workers. If the cleaning worker stops cooperating, then the whole country will be respected and the country should respect the Corona warriors without making any discrimination.

The incidence of Dalit oppression in India shows that we are still living in medieval era

Kush Ambedkarwadi

By Kush Ambedkarwadi (Convener of the All India Bahujan Committee and knowledgeable about Bahujan movements)

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