Jan 5, 2021

We have heard many times of Dalits being oppressed, Dalits being attacked, but why are they being attacked? What are the reasons? A Dalit man killed for eating in front of upper-caste men. A Dalit man burned alive at the caste altar for daring to love, Dalit boys were beaten, paraded naked for swimming in well, Dalit teen attacked in Gujarat allegedly by upper caste men for sporting moustache, a Dalit man stripped, beaten up for allegedly touching upper caste person’s motorcycle, Dalit boy beaten up for wearing a chain, mojris and jeans, Dalit teen killed by upper caste men after entering a temple, three Dalits killed for sitting cross-legged by a group of upper-caste men, Dalit groom on horse dragged down, beaten. These are some of the reasons for being attacked that has been highlighted in numbers of newspapers how a Dalit can show resistance when the very Dalit is being killed for just eating or touching someone’s vehicle. But with time, we have seen how members of Dalit communities come together to fight against the oppression they have suffered and still suffering.

There are only numbers of instances where we have seen the resistance of Dalits in the form of protests and strikes because the media don’t cover most of the cases and because the atrocities on Dalits have normalized. If somehow a Dalit group started to combat with the oppression or demand their basic rights, they somehow got muted by the so-called upper caste people of India. But regardless of that, some Dalits were successful in showing their resistance. In July 2016, Hindu cow protection vigilantes stripped and flagged four Dalit youths for several hours in the town of Una in the state of Gujarat. They were stripped and tethered to a car and paraded publicly in Una even as they walloped for almost five hours. One woman, too, was assaulted. And all the while, despite being approached, the police failed to act.. Their crime was skinning a dead cow. They were flogged because they were doing their jobs. Many Dalits earn their livelihood from skinning dead animals and selling their hides to leather traders rose in protests across Gujarat because of this incidence. Dalits went on strike following the attack in Una, leaving hundreds of dead cows rotting in the streets. The singular act of defiance was mocked by the caste system, which ascribes simple chores to the Dalits. "If the cow is your mother, why don't you bury her?" they asked.

Thousands of Dalits gathered in 2018 in Bhima-Koregaon, a village in Maharashtra, to commemorate the historic battle when the British Army's Dalit soldiers defeated an army of the Peshwa dynasty's dominant caste that enforced untouchability. A mob carrying saffron flags linked to Hindu nationalist groups attacked them with stones as the Dalits assembled. The government has failed to act against the culprits. By going on strike, Dalit workers in Maharashtra responded. The government of Maharashtra reacted by criminalizing the demonstrators and alleging that the strikes were a conspiracy by India's outlawed Communist Party (Maoist). There have been arrests of many activists and lawyers, but the repressive tactics have not prevented Dalits from mobilizing to pursue justice.. In March 2018, under the Prohibition of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, a law dealing with crimes against Dalits and indigenous tribes of India, the Supreme Court of India diluted legal rights for Dalits bypassing orders requesting additional procedural standards for arrests. The Supreme Court held that in cases under the Atrocities Act, where no prima facie argument is made or where the allegation is found to be prima facie mala fide by judicial review, there was no absolute bar against the grant of anticipatory bail. The Dalits didn’t welcome the decision of the Supreme Court, forcing Dalits to organize nationwide strikes to demand a legislative reversal. The government eventually passed an amendment bill through the Parliament to reverse the court order to stop the unrest. The Supreme Court in 2020 upheld the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018, which nullified its own controversial March 20, 2018 judgment diluting the stringent provisions of the Dalit protection law.

In 2019, Dalits amongst the nation of India participated in the protest against NRC CAA NPR act. The primary concern is that the government is calling for evidence to establish that an individual is a citizen of India. In the Indian sense, the new legislation is discriminatory because it seeks citizens' birth certificates and even those of their ancestors or parents at least, and Brahmins alone have been granted the right to write janam kundli or birth memo at the level of the village and mufassil under the traditional framework. Such dependence on a single caste for the basic birth document is so discriminatory that a Dalit cannot be expected to have it easy. Where the state has been fighting shy of giving them their rights for decades and, thus, as victims of long systemic discrimination and apathy in the government set up, they already stand dispossessed.

In India, we have The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 that prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, to provide for Special Courts and the Exclusive Special Courts for the trial of such offences and the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences and matters connected in addition to that or incidental to it. but with the law intact as well the Dalits are being oppressed and for how long a person can handle such situations. According to consensus 2011, Dalits suicide rate was 9.4, resistance in such matters so to be heard is indispensable.