Appeal to Human Rights and Ambedkarite Organizations to participate in fact-finding on the atrocities on Scheduled Castes in Bargarh District of Odisha and support financially the campaign for justice
- On 14/04/2022, at a bike rally on the eve of Dr B. R. Ambedkar was attacked by Bajrang Dal activists with swords and knives. Scheduled Caste youth were injured, and Panchasheel Flags were urinated upon – the police did not register an FIR initially and pressurized them to compromise. When compromise was not agreed upon, they registered FIRs on the Scheduled Caste youth who are the victims and then on the culprits (https://youtu.be/ILmOmVQ9kFk )
- On 01/05/2022 evening at Nileswar village, which is 4 Km from district headquarters. Three Dalits were assaulted by Bajrang Dal activists over accusations of cow slaughter and skinning of carcasses. Four youth from the same village who were associated with the local unit of Bajrang Dal initially attacked them on the outskirts of the town and forcefully detained all victims, and called the Bajrang Dal Bargarh town president. At about 9.00 pm, around 25 to 30 youth gathered and started beating the Ambedkarite youth with sticks and an iron rod, within an hour. The attackers also hurled casteist abuses against them; when these victims helplessly asked for water, a couple of them urinated on them. (https://youtube.com/shorts/DOhUS3atOhE) (https://youtu.be/w6AKofH7IwU )
Bargarh district lies in the western part of Odisha, bordering Chhattisgarh. It borders the Mahasamund and Raigarh districts of Chhattisgarh in the Northwest. The total population of the district is about 15 lakhs. Out of 15 lakhs, Dalits (Scheduled Castes) comprise about 22 per cent of the total population. More than 95 per cent of this population is untouchable (Ganda, Ghasi, and Chamar). Even now, untouchability practices in rural villages are alive and kicking.
Bargarh district witnesses several atrocities against Dalits and Adivasi every month. If we see the police records of Bargarh district, there are several heinous crimes against Scheduled Castes – the Dalits. Very recently, two cases of atrocity by Bajrang Dal against Dalits were reported; this never happened in the history of Odisha.
First, on 14th April, the 131st birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, a bike rally was organised by Ambedkarite youth at Attabira, which is 20 km from Bargarh district headquarters, where local MLA also participated (Attabira constituency is reserved for SCs). Bajrang Dal carried out a horrendous assault on the bike rally taken out by the Ambedkarite youth. The attackers also tore and damaged Ambedkarite banners and Panchasheel flags and urinated on them. About 25 bikes were vandalised and broken, and the youth participants were attacked with knives and swords and used broken bottles and sticks, resulting in injuries to four Scheduled Caste youth. It was also witnessed that the police stood by silently while the attack occurred, and no action was taken to prevent it. On the evening of the same day, the Dalit youth victims complained against the Bajrang Dal members at Attabira police station, but the police refused to register an FIR. They called the other party to the police station forcing the former for a compromise; the police registered an FIR against both parties.
Another incident occurred on the evening of 01/05/2022 at Nileswar village, which is 4 Km from district headquarters. Three Dalits were assaulted by Bajrang Dal activists over accusations of cow slaughter and skinning of carcasses. Four youth from the same village who were associated with the local unit of Bajrang dal initially attacked them on the outskirts of the town and forcefully detained all victims, and called the Bajrang Dal Bargarh town president. At about 9.00 pm, around 25 to 30 youth gathered and started beating the Ambedkarite youth with sticks and an iron rod for an hour. The attackers also hurled casteist abuses against them; when these victims helplessly asked for water, a couple of them urinated on them. They beat them up until they fell unconscious. Fortunately, a police vehicle reached the spot but just watched until a village landlord arrived. Neither the police nor the landlord took them to the hospital for treatment. After discussion among Bajrang Dal and police, they disappeared, leaving behind the victims there. All victims escaped the spot and reached their village at 11.00 pm. Relatives called an ambulance and took them to Bargarh Hospital, where they underwent treatment. District President of the Bajrang Dal warned them to face the consequences if they filed a complaint with the police against them. On 4thMay, with the help of Ambedkarite Sangathan, they registered an FIR against the accused.
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Name- Degree Prasad Chouhan, Bank Account No.- 11356614696.State Bank Of India- Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. IFSC Code- SBIN0000460. Mob. No.- 8889326269.
Degree Prasad Chouhan,
Human Rights Activist,
Image: Bajranj Dal activists attacking Ambedkarite bike rally and vandalising their banner. Courtesy: the internet.
[via Karthik Navayan]