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Dalit hostel attack: India is a casteist and inhuman nation, says Kancha Ilaiah
Calling the recent attack on Dalit students at Bihar's Bhimrao Ambedkar welfare Hostel of Patna University 'a normal story', Kancha Ilaiah, prominent social activist and former head of the Department of Political Science at Hyderabad's Osmania University, claimed that 'India is a very casteist and inhuman country' where some political and religious leaders 'want to treat human beings as untouchables.'

The Dalit students of Patna University were even asked to leave the hostel, failing which, they were told that they would face “a severe massacre”. They were beaten, attacked with stones, shots were also fired. But the Dalit students had nothing to defend themselves with, except some brick pieces.

Not a surprise

Professor Kaushal Kumar from Delhi University was not surprised with this kind of attack on the Dalit students, as such attacks, according to him, had happened in the past as well. “Such incidents happen in various universities. In the brain of the Upper caste people, they have already instilled a thought that they are superior and can dominate other Dalit,” Prof. Kumar told this citizen journalist .

Many people claim that such incidents are restricted to rural areas only, but proving them wrong is a report, according to which, three Dalit students were beaten up in 2002 in Delhi’s Hindu College. “The upper caste people of the country do not want others to live a civilised life. They do not want to treat others as human beings, leave alone treating them as equals. They also refer to Dalits as corrupt,” Mr. Ilaiah said.

Demanding action against the culprits who called Dalit students as ‘Harijans’, Prof. Kumar informed that the word has been condemned by the Indian constitution. “When such kinds of abuses take place, the case should be investigated under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Act. They (culprits) should be punished harshly so that it becomes a lesson for others in the society as well.”

According to various activists, the culprits, every time they attack Dalits, are let off on bail by courts. This emboldens them to carry out more attacks against the community, they said.

Solution

Mr. Ilaiah has one solution to put an end on such kind of atrocities against Dalits. “Something like the 1857 Civil war of the US can only help India to stop such kind of atrocities against the Dalits,” Mr. Ilaiah said. The 1857 civil war played an important role in the abolition of the practise of slavery. But, can anything change the attitude of the Indian upper castes, remains to be seen.

Mr. Ilaiah believes that the situation, although disturbing, is much better than it was during earlier days. “More and more attacks used to happen earlier, but there was less media (presence) during that time. But, now things have changed and there are more media personnel and people also protest against the atrocities,” Mr. Ilaiah said.

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