For centuries, India has practiced the caste system with untouchability its worst consequence. The very fact that one community has been at the receiving end from all others for such a long time deserves to be condemned.
Today, the Dalit community in India as a whole, and Haryana in particular, still faces caste discrimination in a big way. Very often, they are denied access to drinking water, electricity and drainage and other facilities that is available to higher castes in the same village. This collective denial to a particular community has gone against the values of our constitution that assures that all citizens are and will be treated equally and fairly.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to reform our society at the pace that we would have desired.
The Dalit women in the state have had to suffer the most from this discrimination. Dalit girls who attend school have to regularly face eve-teasing, taunts, verbal abuse and molestation on their way to school. In many cases, boys from various upper castes forcefully climb the buses that pick up these girls from school and prevent the drivers from picking up these girls or if the girls have been picked-up, they ensure that they get dropped at far away points from their usual stops. This offers an opportunity to these boys to further harass these poor girls on their way home. The families of these girls rarely speak out for fear of social boycott in the village. This is one of the reasons for girls dropping out of school despite wanting to continue their studies.
Repeated cases of rape, molestation, eve teasing, violence, and even murder against Dalit women are being reported frequently in the media, while it is a fact there are even higher number of cases that go unreported. The problem is greater in the villages where they also face social discrimination if they speak out against the perpetrators. The family of the Dalit woman who has been raped faces social boycott and is denied access to public water, school or even passage through land in the village just because the family spoke out against the abusers. The police are not very helpful either. Very often, they refuse to register FIR against the abusers and put pressure on the complainant to settle the matter with the abusers. In cases where the abuser is from a powerful family, the police file counter complaints against members of the victim's family. Usually, the father or brother of the rape victim gets arrested and falsely accused of some minor crime and their release is made conditional on the rape victim withdrawing the rape case against the abusers.
Captain Abhimanyu has always promoted the concept of Naya Haryana as a place that will offer an equal opportunity for all, where all sections get a fair chance to develop and contribute to making Naya Haryana a better place. This will only be possible when all forms of caste discrimination are ended in the state.
Under Naya Haryana, the following measures will be put in place:
Education curriculum for schools will be revised to emphasise the fact that all citizens are equal and must be treated fairly by all. It is important to promote caste and communal harmony amongst children, to ensure that they learn to respect all communities and their respective festivals. This will be seriously taken up at the school level, as it will be this generation that will form the core of Naya Haryana in future.
Ensure that there is adequate representation of all communities in various government departments, so that there is no domination by any one community.
Increase the percentage of women in government jobs and ensure an adequate representation from Dalit and other backward classes. This will ensure that women get better representation in the development of the state and also ensure that Dalit women get a fair opportunity to contribute their talent in developing the state.
Increase representation of Dalit men and women in the Police force and setting up a Special Cell that will look into all issues of Dalits. In addition, there will be at least one Dalit woman posted in every Police station in the state.
Each village will have a Community Development Group that will be funded by the state and will comprise of members from all communities. This Group will be responsible for organising community workshops, seminars and festival meets, to jointly celebrate all festivals together. The Community Development Group will also organise traditional sports activity like wrestling, Kabaddi and Kho-Kho in the villages. The objective of this Group will be to promote communal harmony within the village community by integrating participation from all communities. In addition it will closely support the village Panchayat in promoting development activities in the village, which will include participation from all villagers. The Block Development Officer (BDO) of the area will be mandated to provide all support and assistance to this Group, in promoting their activities in the village.
Each cluster of villages will have a dedicated Free Legal Cell that will provide free legal aid and advice to members of the Dalit community. Today, this support is lacking at the village level. The Dalit community will now have a clear address to go to in cases of abuse it faces without fearing any one. This cell will then provide all support from filing FIRs to taking further legal action. This will go a long way in giving confidence to the Dalit community that their voice will be heard and fair justice given.
Set up a Dalit Women's Group in every village that will facilitate and support Dalit women to come forward to become small scale entrepreneurs. This group will facilitate micro-finance lending programs, which will act as a support group for economic development of Dalit women at the village level. In addition, this Group will also ensure that all State and Central Government program and benefits available to Dalit women are made available at the grass root level.
For centuries, the Dalit community has suffered, but it is time for us to correct this and under Naya Haryana all will get an equal opportunity 0.to live and work together in communal harmony.