Violation of Civil Rights, Atrocities and Deprivation
The incidence of denial of basic rights to and atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) on account of the low caste identity has been a common phenomenon across the country. This clearly reflects on the convoluted connection between social identities and social relations. There are certain States that have a dubious distinction of being home to the highest number of such human rights violations. Given the changed socio-political context and caste dynamics of the State of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), over last two decades, the violation of civil rights and perpetration of caste-based atrocities against SCs have raised many questions on the role of state machinery. While it is important to promote an understanding of the linkages between sociopolitical conditions and enforcement of the laws on the issue of human rights in the state, it is also critical to explore the implications of human rights violations on the overall development of the SCs or lower caste groups. This article reflects on the patterns of violation of civil rights and atrocities against SCs in U.P. with a focus on the responses of state administration and its potential impact on socio-economic conditions of the groups. Evidence is drawn from various sources that include data of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), fact-finding reports of civil society organizations, media reports, state-level official documents, experiential account of human rights activists in the state and case studies. Results reveal a disturbing trend of commission of certain atrocities against SCs and perpetration of atrocities in a collective and organized manner. Another critical issue is that the political role of caste identity continues to define the social relationship amongst social groups in the state, and this very often creates a ground for confrontations between caste groups. While SCs start utilizing the public space due to the increasing social and political participation, these result in hostile attitudes amongst dominant caste groups towards them. The socio-economic power of dominant caste coupled with higher economic dependence among SC on them offer a disproportionate scope for perpetrating atrocities with impunity. Violation of civil rights and atrocities directly or indirectly restrict the opportunities for social and work participation. All these increase the feeling of social insecurity amongst SCs, making it difficult to realize many of their hopes.
KeywordsCivil rights Crimes Atrocities Deprivation PoA act Access to justice
The author would like to thank the DFID and Christian-Aid UK for the support to undertake the study on ‘Mapping Caste-based Atrocities in U.P.’. Thanks are also due to Sukhadeo Thorat, R.P. Mamgain, Anand Kumar, Sirivella Prasad, Ram Kumar, Ram Dular, and Abirami, and other officials and members of different organizations in U.P. who provided support in innumerable ways towards completion of the study.
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