Human rights defenders and Dalit victims of the continuing police atrocities at Varkala staged a satyagraha outside the Kerala Secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram today.
The protest was called by the Dalit Aikyadardya Samiti, which was recently formed in solidarity with the Dalits who have been carrying on a peaceful agitation in Varkala since the police and anti-social elements operating under the banner of Shiv Sena let loose a reign of terror in late September alleging members of the Dalit Human Rights Movement were responsible for the murder of Sivaprasad, a morning stroller.
Representatives of several human rights organizations,the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Social Democratic Party addressed the gathering. Some women victims of atrocities, who had come from Varkala, narrated their terrible experiences.
A statement issued by the Samiti, of which I am the chairman, says: “Police does not act on any complaint lodged by Dalits about attacks on them. On the night of October 27 seven women of Thoduve colony were cruelly attacked. Although the names of 25 assailants were given to the police, five persons were arrested for form’s sake. The others, including the prime accused, are roaming in front of the police, threatening the Dalits. Police tried to prevent Subhadra, an old woman who is in a critical condition after being booted in the satomach by cops, from getting treatment at the
“Their homes having been destroyed and the men having fled fearing the police and anti-social elements, women and children in the Dalit colonies are in state of starvation or semi-starvation. Children are unable to attend schools. Even babes in arms are being subjected to atrocities. Kerala society’s urgent attention and intervention is absolutely necessary.”
The Samiti has raised the following demands:
Investigation of Sivaprasad’s murder must be handed over to the CBI.
Cases must be filed against the Superintendent of Police, Thiruvananthapuram Rural, the Deputy SP, Attingal and the Circle Inspector and Sub-Inspector of Varkala, who gave leadership to the atrocities, under the Prevention of Atrocities against SCs/STs and appropriate action taken.
Democratic rights of Dalits must be restored and favourable conditions be created for the return of all those who fled the colonies fearing the police and goons.
Suitable compensation must be paid to the victims of atrocities.