Members of India's low-caste Dalit community hold wooden sticks and shout slogans in Ahmadabad, India, as they protest after four men belonging to the Dalit community were beaten while trying to skin a dead cow in western India. (Photo: AP)
Hyderabad: Dalits in Andhra Pradesh face more violence than in any other state in Southern India.
AP is the fourth state after Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that has the highest number of crimes committed against Dalits in India. A total of 4,415 cases were reported across the state in 2015, National Crime Records Bureau reveals. As per the NCRB data, 9.8 per cent of total cases reported in India occurred in AP.
A state with more than 84 lakh Dalits, AP has the second largest rate of violence against Scheduled Castes in the country after Rajasthan, as per the population ratio.
Telangana also saw an increase in crime against Dalits in the last year. As many as 1,678 cases in which Dalits were victims were reported in the state in 2015.
Human rights activists say that though organised violence against Dalits has decreased in the state, spontaneous attacks on lower castes have been on the rise.
The data shows that Dalit women face sexual harassment frequently in the state. More than 300 women faced various degrees of sexual assault. More than 100 women were raped, while others were molested. As many as 21 women were stripped by the perpetrators in various places in AP too last year.
According to Dalit Rights activists, the Right wing government is inactive when it comes to violence on Dalits. "Sangh Parivar’s own militant units target Dalits in the state, and the governments, in the Centre and state, are inactive because they are extreme Right wing in nature.
This has worsened the situation and made lower castes more vulnerable to violence," said Mr B. Laxmaiah, leader of Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi.
He said that only if governments followed democratic values and came forward to protect the weaker sections, the problem will be solved.
Activists pointed out how badly the Central government had handled the Rohith Vemula case and it’s failure to curb violence by hate groups and cow vigilantes.
Another activist suggested that each panchayat should have at least one Dalit member who should be deployed to report atrocities against SC/ST to the police.