Maharashtra: Dalit Youth Lynched by Mob for Celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti

The crime statistics demonstrate a trend of rising violence, with a high percentage of crimes committed against Dalits and Adivasi women and children.
Dalit Youth Lynched by Mob for Celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti
Dalit Youth Lynched by Mob for Celebrating Ambedkar JayantiPic- Internet

Maharashtra— India is grappling with a distressing surge in caste-based atrocities against Dalits, shedding light on an alarming trend of violence and discrimination. Recent incidents in Maharashtra have once again brought attention to the plight of Dalits, as they face brutal attacks and oppression in both rural and urban areas. 

On June 1, a barbaric attack unfolded in Maharashtra's Nanded district, as a mob armed with sticks and daggers targeted Akshay Bhalerao, a young Dalit.

Akshay, who is a well-known Ambedkarite activist, had been actively involved in overseeing the celebrations of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's birth anniversary, known as Ambedkar Jayanti. This event, aimed at commemorating the renowned social reformer and World icon, has been a recurring source of conflicts in the village for several years.

The incident occurred when Akshay and his older brother, Akash, were on their way to a local grocery shop in the evening. The assailants, part of a Maratha wedding procession, verbally abused the brothers with casteist slurs before initiating the violent assault. 

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One of the accused began throwing casteist insults at Akshay and Akash at the grocery store when he saw them there and said, "These two must be killed, you dare to celebrate Bhim Jayanti?"

The attackers, brandishing swords, clubs, and daggers, mercilessly beat Akshay and fatally stabbed him, while others restrained his limbs. Akash and their mother, who rushed to the scene, were also subjected to physical harm.

Seven persons apprehended

In response to Akash's complaint, the Nanded Rural police station registered a First Information Report (FIR) detailing the incident. The FIR has been registered under various provisions  including The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act's sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s), and 3(2)(va), as well as sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 302, 307, 324, 323, 294, and 504 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 4, 25 and 27 of the Arms Act have all been the subject of a police report.

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The police have apprehended seven individuals, including Santosh Tidke, Datta Tidke, Krishna Tidke, Nilkanth Tidke, Narayan Tidke, Shivaji Tidke, Mahadu Tidke, Baburao Tidke, and Balaji Mungal, as suspects in this shocking crime.

A series of caste-based atrocities

Recently in Gujarat's Banaskantha district, Jigarbhai Kanubhai Shekhaliya, a 21-year-old Dalit youth, and his mother were attacked allegedly because he was dressed nicely and was wearing sunglasses. Seven individuals are named in the police complaint in connection with this assault. One of the accused allegedly threatened to kill Jigarbhai for "flying too high" a few hours prior to the assault.

In another incident , a dalit minor boy was paraded naked and assaulted in Khadakpada of Kalyan in Thane district of Maharashtra on May 19. The boy had asked an Instagram user to delete objectionable video that had triggered comments against Lord Buddha and Baba Saheb Ambedkar. He was later abducted, stripped and assaulted by a mob of some 50 men. The outraged dalit community is demanding to constitute a SIT to investigate the case. 

Hard-hitting NCRB data

According to recently revealed NCRB data, the suffering of Dalit and Adivasi people in India continues to be the worst despite specific constitutional provisions and directives.

Statistics on crimes committed against Dalits and Adivasis reveal a clear pattern of overlap between rural and urban areas. The National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) most recent data set also reveals several peculiarities and intriguing tendencies. Atrocities committed against Dalits and Adivasis rise yearly. Even the crime statistics from 2021 demonstrate a similar trend of rising violence, with a high percentage of crimes committed against Dalits and Adivasi women and children.

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When compared to 2020 (50,291 cases), atrocities and crimes against Scheduled Castes increased by 1.2% in 2021 (50900).

The biggest percentage of Scheduled Caste (SC) atrocity cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh (13,146 cases), accounting for 25.82%, followed by Rajasthan (14.7%, 7524 cases), and Madhya Pradesh (14.1%, 7214 cases). Bihar and Odisha are the next two states on the list, each contributing 11.4% (5842) and 4.5% (2327) of the total.

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