Taking a note of complaints of alleged atrocities on Dalits in Bundelkhand’s Lalitpur district, the national human rights commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the state government.
The commission has also asked its director general (investigation) to send a factfinding team to Lalitpur to probe into the matter.
The issue of alleged harassment of Dalits in the form of caste-based discrimination, sexual exploitation and untouchability in the region was brought to the notice of the NHRC by an NGO - People’s Vigilance Committee of Human Rights (PVCHR) - working in Bundelkhand.
“The situation is alarming. Dalits are not allowed to wear shoes in front of upper caste people in rural areas of Lalitpur,” alleged Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi, chairman, PVCHR.
Talking to Hindustan Times on Friday, Raghuvanshi said the government had failed to improve the situation of Dalits in the region.
Another Lalitpur-based activist Ajai Srivastav, who is running an NGO Sai Jyoti, said: “Atrocities against the members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes were on for the last several years and is not restricted to Lalitpur alone.”
“This is not a new phenomenon. Dalit women cannot dare to wear chappal (footwear) while moving around in village,” he claimed while talking about a report prepared by Sahariya Jan Adhikar Manch.
“Dalits are being stopped from joining literacy centre,” said Srivastav while claiming that last month five womenMeena, Kusum, Gyasi, Nirmal and Urmila of village Digwara (Lalitpur) who were going to inaugurate adult literacy centre for dalit women were attacked allegedly by members of upper caste people.
District magistrate Lalitpur OP Verma refuted reports of atrocities against Dalits in the district. Talking to HT over phone, he said he had not received any notice from the commission.
The commission in its notice to chief secretary Jawed Usmani has cited incidents quoted by the complainant and asked the government to look into the issue.
The notice also talks about rise in number of Sati deaths reported from the region.
There had been cases of selling of daughters or wives to repay debts even as the sex ratio was very adverse in the area, the commission said.
The child sex ratio as per the census 2011 (age group 0 to 6 years) in Bundelkhand was 899.53. It is far lower than the state average of 912 and country’s 914.23.
Known for extreme backwardness, Bundelkhand’s large population comprised of other backward castes (53%), scheduled castes/dalits (25%), tribals (10%) and remaining 12%, mainly landowners Thakurs, Brahmins and others, said Raghuvanshi.