Saturday, March 3, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Dalit women give voice to their plight

Hyderabad | Updated Mar 03, 2012 at 10:55am IST
Dalit women give voice to their plight
indianexpressExpress News Service

HYDERABAD: "I was raped by a married man when I was 14 years old. I
tried to hang myself after the incident but my family stopped me,"
said a 16-year-old Dalit girl, who is mentally and physically
She is not the only victim who spoke about her plight on Thursday.
About 27 cases of exploitation and attacks on Dalit girls and women
were heard at a public hearing conducted here by Dalit Stree Shakti.
The 16-year-old also revealed she has not received the Rs 50,000
compensation promised by government officials.
"My attacker was arrested by policemen and released after a few
weeks," she said. Similarly, a 17-year-old girl spoke about how she
was beaten up by a middle-aged man and nearly stabbed to death in West
Godavari district in February last year. "A case was filed against him
but I was not given any compensation and the man was released two
months later," she said. "Hundreds of such cases have been brought to
our notice," said Dalit Stree Shakti convener, G Jhansi.
After hearing the cases, the panel members said that rights of Dalits
were under threat and that attackers, who often belonged to upper
castes, were able to escape as they control law and order. One of the
jury members, K Rama Swamy, a retired Supreme Court judge demanded the
government to take stringent actions against culprits and provide
reasonable compensation to victims. "Many cases of atrocities on
Dalits have not been registered at police stations because policemen
belonged to upper castes," said KR Venugopal, former secretary to the
Prime Minister. He appealed to victims to approach NGOs and government
officials for justice. The jury also felt that strict action should be
initiated against erring police officials and cases of attacks on
minors brought before the National Commission for Protection of Child
Rights. Former Union secretary, K Madhava Rao, National SC Commission
senior investigator, B Ajay Kumar were also present.


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