Arrest Perpetrators Of Caste Atrocity At Kodavatipudi

Members of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) and the Jai Bheem Cultural and Welfare Association (JBCWA) visited Kodavatipudi village in Kotauratla mandal of Visakhapatnam district on Tuesday and met with Dalits in the SC Colony. The team spent over three hours in the colony examining the damage done to houses by a mob of non-Dalits of the village in the attack on the night of August 21 and spoke with victims of the atrocity.

A case has been registered under the SC and ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act, 1989, but till date only nine persons have been arrested while it was about 200 members of the kapu caste who perpetrated this heinous attack on the SC Colony.. Moreover, dozens of these attackers, including the principal instigator and leader of the mob Elamanchili Veera Venkata Suryaprakash (who is the sarpanch’s son), are openly roaming around in the village.

The Dalits have produced a list of 26 persons who took part in the atrocity and are confident they would be able to identify the remaining as well. The police must hold an identification parade of kapus in the village so that all those who participated in the attack causing injury and loss of property as well as indulged in filthy abuse of Dalits are arrested.

The Narispatnam ASI Kariyya who was at the time of the incident acting SHO incharge of Kotauratla and the Narispatnam CI Kiran Kumar must be forthwith arrested and charges brought against them under Section 4 of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities ) Act, 1989 for willful neglect and non-performance of their duties. Both officers deliberately tried to help the attackers by refusing to, first register complaints from the Dalits under the relevant sections, and then also taking a counter-complaint from the kapus to the effect that the Dalits had attacked one of the kapus. This tactic is frequently used in such cases so as to portray the crime as one of ‘clash between the two communities.’

It is a shame that the district administration has not thought it fit to provide any concrete relief to the Dalits even six days after the attack. Except for a single Dalit, all the other 65 households do not possess any land whatsoever. They work as agricultural labour on fields owned by the non-Dalits and during off-season migrate to other places in the State in search of work. Following the attack, the kapus, who are the predominant land-owning caste in the village, are enforcing a criminal social and economic boycott on the Dalits.

The administration has done virtually nothing. The DD social welfare visited the village on Monday and openly acknowledged the fact of atrocity against Dalits but no relief like supply of food grains, dal etc has come the way of Dalits. This is against the letter of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which clearly specifies that it is the duty of the government to ensure effective implementation of the Act by providing for the economic and social rehabilitation of the victims of atrocities. A delegation of Mala Mahanadu and the Kula Vivaksha Vythireka Porata Samithi have already met the Collector and sought his intervention in the matter but to no avail. The HRF strongly condemns this insensitivity of the administration. Apart from compensating the loss to houses completely and partially damaged as well as household utensils, one motorbike and cycles, essential supplies must be rushed to every household in the SC Colony at the earliest. The administration must take steps to ensure that all Dalit families are assigned land so that they might be economically empowered.

We have seen time and again how, in such cases, the police manage to bring about a ‘compromise’ or ‘truce’ between the two castes in due course. This must not be allowed to happen. Investigation must proceed forthwith, all perpetrators of this atrocity arrested and charge-sheet filed within 30 days so that the perpetrators of this terrible and inhuman attack on Dalits are punished.

VS Krishna
State secretary, Human Rights Forum

Kothapalli Venkata Ramana
General Secretary, Jai Bheem Cultural & Welfare Association


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