On April 2nd, Dalit organisations protested against the relativization of anti-discrimination law. The government is up to mitigate legal protection against discrimination and violence. The nationwide protest was very strong in parts of North and West India. The demonstrators blocked roads and railroad tracks. In several parts of the country, police tried to prevent Dalit from participating in the protests.
The protesters were attacked in many places by the police with batons and also just private people of higher castes have shot at the Dalit. At total eleven protesters were shot!
People protested for the continued receipt of the law of “Prevention of Atrocities”. This provides for a stricter prosection of violence against Dalit and Adivasi. If a Dalit refers to this “PoA-law“, if he is a victim of violence, the accused must be arrested immediately. This measure should be protected against violence reactions by members of the higher castes.
In March, the supreme Court of India have made these arrests inadmissible. Accused persons should only be arrested after a preliminary investigation by police officers at district level. All this to prevent the misuse of the “PoA-law“.
But there is no evidence that these laws are misused. Also, only about two percent of convicted of “PoA-law“ are convicted, because the violence against Dalit are “tolerated” mainly. The investigations are bad and evidence is “lost”.
The successful protest forces the government to review the decision. But not for no reason. There are elections coming up next year and the Dalit make up about twenty percent of eligible voters.