Saturday, January 21, 2012

[ZESTCaste] AIDWA Flays Attack on Dalit Woman

January 22, 2012

AIDWA Flays Attack on Dalit Woman

IN a statement issued on January 13, the All India Democratic Women's
Association said that it is deeply shocked at the stripping and
beating of a dalit widow in Satara village by upper caste residents of
the same village, because her son reportedly eloped with an upper
caste girl from that village. It condemned this outrageous violation
of human rights, and demanded exemplary punishment for the

AIDWA national secretary and president of the Maharashtra Janwadi
Mahila Samity, Kiran Moghe, along with other AIDWA leaders from the
state have visited the victim in hospital, and have demanded stringent
action from the police authorities. The press release issued by the
state leadership is below:

The Maharashtra unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana
strongly condemns the severe assault on a dalit widow resident of
Mulgaon village in Patan block of Satara district. This is one more
incident in which a poor woman has become the target of feelings of
revenge and resentment by upper castes. It is to be noted that the
victim is the grand daughter of the revolutionary poet Comrade
Annabhau Sathe, whose songs mobilised the people of the state in the
Samyukta Maharashtra movement.

The woman has been a resident of the village for the past thirty
years. Ever since her son married the daughter of her upper caste
neighbour a month ago, she has been targeted with verbal casteist
abuse. On January 9, 2012, members of the Desai family brutally
assaulted her. When she managed to reach the Patan police station, the
constable on duty refused to entertain her complaint. We strongly
demand that the policemen on duty who failed to understand the gravity
of the situation and turned her away should be suspended forthwith,
and strong action be taken against them. Moreover, there have been
earlier incidents of attacks on other members of her family, one of
which has been registered with the Patan police station. We also
demand that the village level Tanta Mukti Samiti at Mulgaon should be
dissolved forthwith since it did not intervene to pre-empt this
serious incident of assault.

A delegation of the Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA)
consisting of state president Kiran Moghe, Satara district president
Anandi Avghade, alongwith Satara district CPI(M) secretary Manik
Avghade, Saleem Attar, J S Patil and others met the victim at Karad
late in the evening on January 11, 2012 and spoke to her at length.
It is shocking that the district SP and collector have not even
bothered to visit her and make enquiries about her situation. It
appears that the state government has learnt nothing from the
Khairlanjee incident and the state administration and police
department remains as insensitive and discriminatory when it comes to
atrocities against dalits. The latest crime statistics for the state
of Maharashtra reveals that the number of crimes recorded under the
Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act increased by 9.62 per cent
in 2010 as compared to 2009. Of these the maximum number have been in
the districts of western Maharashtra. It appears that the law is no
longer deterrent for crimes against dalits and women because rarely
anyone is punished.

The delegation also went to meet the deputy SP Patan, F A Nayakawadi
at the Patan police station late last night and enquired about the
progress in the investigation. He immediately agreed to their demand
to give police protection to the victim while she is in the hospital.
They also demanded that the police independently verify the age of the
young girl and not rely on the parents' version. They also asked for
police protection to the couple. A memorandum of demands has been
submitted to the SP and collector.


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