Rape in India: Why are there no mass protests for raped Dalit women?
Posted on December 26th, 2012

Shenali Waduge

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The question is very simple. While rape in any form is abhorred and should be severely punished by all nations what needs to be answered is what makes the recent gangrape by 6 men of a 23 year old on a bus in Delhi any different from the gangrape of a 16 year old Dalit women by 8 men who having taken photos of the crime had circulated it amongst the village leading to her father committing suicide out of shame? This Dalit girl was raped in 2011 and questions why there were no mass protests, no media attention for her or calls to arrest the perpetrators but the recent rape has turned into a national demonstration? In a country where Dalits are considered the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-UntouchablesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ 10million Dalit girls are raped annually and questions why non-Dalits have cared little for their justice ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” they may be Dalits but they are women as well!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Statistics revealed by the Government of India declares that every 20 minutes a woman is raped in India. IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Union Home Ministry says India is ranked third in rape after US and Africa.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s national crime records show that 228,650 of the 256,329 violent crimes recorded in 2011 were against women. The conviction rate for rape cases is just 26%.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ According to the NCRB records for registered rape cases Delhi tops the chart followed by Mumbai, Bhopal, Pune and Jaipur.

In term of states Madhya Pradesh tops list with 15,275 registered rapes following by Bengal (11,427), Uttar Pradesh (8834), Assam (8060) and Maharashtra (7703) ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Times of India report.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ National Crime Records Bureau – http://ncrb.nic.in/

Crime Statistics Against Women in India – http://www.indiastat.com/crimeandlaw/6/crimeagainstwomen/17911/rapevictimscases/477185/stats.aspx

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ There are 80 million Dalit women in India.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sexual violence is suffered by Dalit women systematically as a means of punishment, control and dominance by men of higher castes. Rape is an especially difficult situation to be dealt with. In addition to shame, women also face a stigma associated with that type of physical assault. A large number of rapes go unreported due to fear of ostracism and victims being threatened with further attacks if they come forward.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Most women do not report any form of violence because less than 1% cases actually filed end in convictions. If you are a poor woman who is raped, you cannot expect justice. If you are a poor woman and a Dalit the chances of justice are even slimmer. This is the sad fate for Dalit women in India.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Every 18minutes a crime is committed against a Dalit. Every day 3 Dalit women at least are raped. Every day 2 Dalits at least are murdered, 11 Dalits are beaten or 2 Dalit houses are burnt in India.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 37% of Dalits live far below the poverty line. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ More than 54% of Dalit children are undernourished, 83 per 1000 live birth children born to Dalits dye before their first birthday. 45% of Dalits cannot read or write. 1/3 of Dalit households do not have basic facilities. Public health workers refuse to visit Dalit homes. In 27.6% of villages Dalits are prevented from entering police stations. In 37.8% of Government schools Dalit children have to sit separately even while eating. In 23.5% of villages in India, Dalits do not even get mail delivered. In 48.4% of villages Dalits were denied access to water resources because they were ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-untouchablesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The treatment towards Dalits are horrifying – more than 1.3 million Dalits ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” mostly women ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” are employed as manual scavengers to clear human waste from dry pit latrines.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Haryana the state where the 16 year old Dalit girl was raped is a state famous for illegal practice of female infanticide and foeticide where there are 861 girls per 1000 boys. The preference for sons has created unprecedented problems. According to the most recent estimates, China and India account for nearly 80 per cent of all ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”missing womenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in the world.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Indian government reports reveal that between 1999 and 2001 as many as 89 percent of trials involving offenses against Dalits resulted in acquittals.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sadly 96.6% Dalits are Buddhists. There are 165million Dalits in India and 260m Dalits the world over.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ http://idsn.org/fileadmin/user_folder/pdf/New_files/Key_Issues/Dalit_Women/G0913456.pdf

2009 report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Dalit Women

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Rape, female foeticide, violence against women, gender discrimination, physical abuse are all problems that women in India have to go through and to this list honor killings have to also be added. Every year there are more than 1000 honor killings in India and now these murders are taking place abroad as well.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Davadasi system is still practiced in some parts of India where girls as young as 6 years old become ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-brides of GodsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and are raped by men of higher castes in temples. Young women are also later forced into prostitution through this system.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Violent atrocities occur regularly in the names of tradition and religion.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Where is the HUMAN RIGHTS for these DALITS and what are UN /INGOs/NGOs doing to help Dalits live with some means of dignity and respect?

Why are journalists and media silent about featuring these atrocities against Dalits nationally and forcing policy makers to change their attitude with stringent laws? Why do they not highlight the daily rapes and humiliations Dalits ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” men, women and children suffer from on a daily basisƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦. Are these people not Indian citizens worthy of protection by Indian laws and Indian society?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ While all these crimes are certainly appalling there is little nationwide concern to change the manner Indians treat the Dalits and that looked forward to justice is unlikely to happen whatever position India gains globally. The problem lies in the lack of political will while the Delhi gangrape has seen thousands congregate in protest demanding statements and actions from IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s PM, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” not a single voice was raised for the 16year old Dalit girl or for any of the thousands of Dalits who have been daily raped by Indian men over the years.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A rape is a rape and all women deserve the same justice ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the same mass protests ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the same media attention and the same political willƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.even the Dalits.

10 Responses to “Rape in India: Why are there no mass protests for raped Dalit women?”

  1. mjaya Says:

    Shenali you are spot on!

    But there is one lesson for Sri Lanka from these protests.

    We should protest for legal reform, self representation, regulation of lawyers (leeches) practice, against unnecessary delaying of court cases etc.

    (any Sharia advocates, this post should not be made an indirect point to advocate stone age, barbaric Sharia law. Sri Lanka doesn’t need a legal system where a women’s testimony is worth half that of a man and a rape victim needs four male witnesses to prove she was raped!)

  2. Christie Says:

    In Mauritirus rapng Creole womwn by Indians go unpunished.
    The same will happen in sri lanka before long.

  3. abc321 Says:

    Obama always called India is greatest democracy. I been to many part of India. India is Democratic Hypocrisy. Country with infested corruptions. Country running one direction rich only one day going to crash front of everybody.

  4. Voice123 Says:

    Christy, be logical and consistent with your statements about Indians. Which Indians are you speaking of? The Sinhalese, Tamils and Moors all trace origin to India and the Sinhalese also have a caste system imported from India as well as language and the Buddhist religion all imported from India perfectly intact. The only people who dont have a caste system are the Veddahs and the Yakka indigenous communities. The Yakkas were already gang raped and culturally genocided 2,000 years ago by the Vijayan Indian-Sinhalese so that few people know that they still exist today. Today most people with Yakka blood either dont know it or are ashamed of it and had Indian culture, language and religions forced on them. Such is the Indian brainwashing in the island. Also, most of the Creoles of Sri Lanka have left the island after independence. Are you a fellow Yakka by the way? With a name like Christie it suggests you have freely adopted a name of your choice, without being forced in any way to adopt an Indian name on the grounds of (false) “heritage” or some such nonsense.

  5. 4thaugust1932 Says:

    ‘Diverse society (USSR/India) is bound to fail’ –Putnam.
    Caste system seeds hatred among people in India.
    It’s only going to get worse in the future.

    Rape by FORWARD CASTE people to show off their hegemony (16 year SC girl was r.p.d by 12 FC men in Haryana)
    * High Court didn’t file Suo motu case.
    * Police didn’t register complaint till victim’s father committed suicide.
    * International media had to highlight the case.
    * Victims family had to agitate for justice.
    * Sonia Gandhi, Hooda, Manmohan, Shinde never visited the victim.

    Rape by BC/SC/ST/MC people to let off their hatred (23 year FC girl is r.p.d by 6 BC men in Delhi)
    * High Court filed Suo motu case.
    * Police caught accused within 24 hours.
    * National media and students agitate.
    * Protesters demand capital punishment for accused.
    * Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dixit, Manmohan, Shinde visit/assure justice to the victim.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dr Ambedkar (affectionately known as Babasahib) who was a highly educated Dalit person of India, wrote the Indian Constitution. The Indian Constitution forbids discrimination on caste base. What is going on now in India shows that the Indian Law is not adhered to.

    All educated Dalits of India should get together and request that each State in India has Dalit ONLY large area, where all their needs are met and they need not travel out of those areas unless they must. Then Dalits can maintain their own police force. They will be safe within those areas. They can create their own education & economies within those areas too.

    India has a great culture in the Hindu Four Great Yogas. We hope Indians will turn to the Yogas and uplift their entire country and gain true pride of place in the world again. Indians have to practice birth control & Family Planning.

    We wish India would tackle her problems with wisdom and courage. When India goes down in morality & ethics, so does the entire region.

    In Sri Lanka, the caste system is minimal due to Buddhism, the Free Education & Health Care systems. In fact, the caste system in Sri Lanka is virtually defunct due to Modernisation too. The Buddha said that a person is high born or low born according to ones action only, and not birth.

    Tamil Nadu has a long way to go to eradicate the Caste System there. Most of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Problems are due to the inherited Caste System from Tamil Nadu.

    Caste may have served a purpose in ancient times, but now defunct. It was man made to suit ancient needs, and not sacred
    (not God made) and therefore ought to be caste aside everywhere.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dalits of India should practice the Four Great Hindu Yogas (especially Raj Yoga akin to Budhism), and show the rest of India what real Hinduism is.

  8. Christie Says:

    Sri Lanka has no caste system like in Indian States. Ceylon the land of Sinhala has a trade and profession based social system. Farmers, Doctors, vets, weavers, potters, Smiths, Runners, entertainers, hunters andf so on. It was an interdependent social system.
    Rawana went to Indian sub continent and brought Sita or Sita eloped with Rawana. I am sure he did not just bring a woman for himself. Lots of women must have followed his troupes to Ceylon. This did not make all Sinhala people Indians or Hindus.
    The same apply to Wijaya. What Wijaya brought was a bit more writing, language. These migrants only enhanced the people who lived in Ceylon, be it from Indian subcontinent (Wijaya), middle east (Moors), europe (portugese and the Dutch).
    The arrival of British with Indians mainly from the south changed all that as in Fiji, Mauritius, Malaya, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Burma.
    Sinhal Language is not the Rjya Bhashawa that SWRD Bandaranayake made. Read some old Sinhala writings like the Sigiri wall inscriptions to get an idea of the Sihala.
    Dear Voice 123 thank you for your comments about me.

  9. Christie Says:

    Dear Shenali.
    Could you please post your article on
    Under comments “The silent feminism” by Savitri Prashwar.

  10. Voice123 Says:

    Krishtee, you are being contradictory. Rawana is a character of legend that pre-dates the establishment of the Sinhal identity on the island. Rawana most certainly didnt speak Sinhala, he was most probably a Yakka or Naga indigenous person with roots on the island 16,000 years or more. Tamils like to claim him as Tamil but that is not borne out by history either. (Refer contemporary findings on the human genome and prehistoric immigration). There is no evidence that Rawana was either Sinhalese or Dravidian. If you describe yourself as Sinhalese, you must accept that you have an ancestor of Indian origin because the consensus of folklore – which I suspect has been spread by the ruling classes and castes of Indian origin. If you speak Sinhala you are speaking an Indian derived language. Sorry pal, if you embrace a Sinhal identity you are not in the same boat as the Creoles of Mauritius, the native Fijians, the Zulus of KwaZulu Natal South Africa or the Malays of peninsular Malaysia. None of them claim any Indian connection. The only way you can consistently express solidarity with these people is to embrace your Yakka roots and jetison the Sinhal-Indian paraphanalia. Otherwise they will just think you’re another Indian hypocrite. Whats stopping you? While criticising descendants of other migrants on the island as being of foreign origin, the Sinhalese quite proudly (and perversely in my view) claim descent from Vijaya who they acknowledge was an Indian. There must be truth in the legend. Im not a linguist, but I believe that the indigenous languages around the Indian Ocean are remotely related which suggests a pattern of migration and they are not related to the Dravidian or Indo-European languages spoken on the subcontinent. Sinhala is a Prakrit derived language, which is Indo-European in origin with strong Dravidian influences on syntax and word origin. I’m not a historian but I believe the Mahawansa speaks about the destruction of the indigenous culture on the island by the Indian invaders. Earlier than that, the Ramayana speaks of the destruction of the indigenous culture by monkey worshipping Hindus. How can you say the invader and invaded are one and the same identity? That is like saying that Mexicans are the same as Spaniards. If you say that in Mexico, you would likely be deported the next day as they strongly recognise their native Aztec and Inca roots! Yet in Sri Lanka we have this myth that the majority of people are of (unmixed) Indian ancestry. This is despite the fact thatprehistoric seafarers have come and gone from Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and beyond for centuries. As for the caste system WHO ARE YOU KIDDING? The Sinhalese caste system is well known. It was modified firstly by Buddhism to some extent – although the Hindu hierarchical concepts continued. Then the much demonised European colonialists also helped to erode the heirarchical nature of the Hindu caste system amongst the Sinhalese especially the low country. Just like the Brahmins of India, High caste/upper class Sinhalese dont get their hands dirty. They send their children to separate private schools. They have servants from low castes to do every single thing for them, even to pour water. In other words without their working class “slaves” they are useless! There is no fraternising between the masses of working class people and the high caste Sinhalese. Any talk of marriage between them causes a heated reaction from the high castes often erupting into violence. So you still think there is no caste system among the Sinhalese?!! The late president Premadasa was often criticised solely for being a low caste Sinhalese. Incidentally Premadasa is the only Sinhalese politician I know that put the Indians in their place. When the Indians claimed him as Premdas, an Indian-Sinhalese, he denied it, saying he is descended from the indigenous Sri Lankans. I dont know how true this is, but he is reported to have said this. Krishtee, drop this Krishtee and be Christie again.

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