Thursday, November 23, 2006

Caste based crimes in Indian villages

For all those who claim that caste based discrimination has gone away from Indian villages, or that women have a much better status, here is yet another case that demonstrates how difficult it is reconcile these theories with facts. Read the full article here.
The case revolves around a 15 year old dalit girl, allegedly raped by a Rajput youth in Madhya Pradesh. The girl refused to drop the complaint inspite of pressure, and subsequently, before she and her family could go to a safe place, in the night, the accused poured kerosene on her as she was sleeping and condemned her to a fiery death.
The case is barbarous enough, but what makes it even more bad is the happenings after the alleged rape. The rapist is not in custody and is able to threaten the girl and her family. The village supports the guy, with some people claiming that the barbarous act was just a regrettable incident (implying that all should be forgiven), committed in the heat of youth. Further, after the girl got burnt, inspite of upper caste families having vehicles, not one vehicle could be quickly obtained to get the girl to hospital.
Hopefully, given that the girl in her dying declaration has named the boy as her killer (which is a valid legal statement), and with the facts of the case being as they are, the killer would be sentenced to the punishment that he deserves. But, this kind of situation exists in a large number of Indian villages, what can be done to prevent this kind of caste based anti-women attitudes. There are no quick-fix solutions. A long term education policy that empowers all the weaker sections, along with an unrelenting attitude to punish such wrong-doing speedily is the only solution.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 8:32 PM