Backward Castes' discrimination with Dalits, an extension of casteism down the social ladder
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
BHOPAL: The horrific murder of two children who had gone out for defecation as there was no toilet in their house, shows the extent to which casteism has entrenched itself in the society.
Roshni and Avinash belonged to Dalit families and despite the claims of Open Defecation Free (ODF) panchayat, reality was that the families couldn't get toilets constructed at their homes due to caste discrimination.
Avinash's family said that there was caste discrimination with them, even other castes didn't interact with them, let alone allow physical closeness or touch. The divide is so deep that during last rites of the children, OBC community members stayed at a distance, not near the cremation spot.
They said that in the last rites of Balmikis, only the members of Balmiki community take part, not others as this is the 'tradition'. In school too, Dalit kids sit separately and bring their own utensils. Hakam Yadav and his brother Rameshwar, who allegedly attacked the children, are Yadavs, who are not Upper Castes or Savarnas.
Hakam had attacked the children with 'lathis', killing them on the spot. He said that God had commanded him to kill the 'demons' and hence he murdered them. The Dalit family had run from pillar to post but didn't get benefit of schemes. Not just toilet, they didn't get sanction for construction of their house under the PM Awas Yojana.
The sarpanch accepted that it was an 'ODF village' but Manoj's family couldn't get toilet sanctioned and hence had to go out to relieve himself. That's the harsh reality--apart from other castes, the dominant backwards also commit atrocities on those who are weaker or lower in hierarchy of the caste.
Several OBC castes in Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, are financially strong as well as own land. They are able to dominate the scheduled castes (SCs) or Dalits and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) or Adiwasis. Clearly, its twenty first century and casteism is not going anywhere--it stays and continues to hurt the poor and the weak.