Justice for Saraswati Devi - Casteist Harassment #dignity4all
Physical assault on Dalit women by PDS dealer (retired from Armed Forces) in
Patan, Dist. Palamau, Jharkhand. According to Saraswati Devi “Despite using locally very respectable salutations like Babu Saheb and Gaunwa for the dealer, he abused us so badly and even used our caste names very insultingly. It was our right and an entitlement from the government that we were asking for. After this incident, we feel so terrorized that we wouldn’t be able to go to ask for our ration for a long time. He and his men are still threatening us. They tried to stop us from reporting to the police, the DC and SDO. They say that if we raise this issue, they would kill us! They freely roam around with fire-arms. ”
- Chief Minister Jharkhand
Shri Arjun Munda
- Chairman National Commission Schedule Castes
Dr P L Punia
- Chairperson NHRC
Hon'ble Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan
I've just signed the following petition addressed to: Chief Minister Jharkhand.
Justice for Saraswati Devi - Casteist Harassment
There has been Physical assault on Dalit women by PDS dealer (retired from Armed Forces) in Patan, Dist. Palamau, Jharkhand.Following is the fact finding report conducted by teams of People’s Union for Civil Liberties PUCL AND RTFC Palamau on 29.07.12 of the incident and I fully believe and trust the report.
On the morning of 26 th of July, 2012, around 9 am, a group of women (Saraswati Devi, Poona Devi, Pankaliya Devi and others) from the Jeervataan-Harijan tola (a Dalit hamlet in the village) in Gaharpatra went to the PDS shop whose dealer is Lalmani Singh, an ex-Armed Forces person. They had heard of ration being distributed at other places. They enquired about their ration which they are supposed to receive every month; it was pending since the last 4 months.
When the women asked Lalmani Singh as to why they aren’t getting the ration since 4 months, he shouted at them saying they won’t get any ration for the next six months as well. He dared them to go to any authority and do whatever but he won’t give them ration. When they again requested to the dealer that in this drought like condition, they need the ration to survive, he started abusing the women and asked them to get out of his place. He also took out his gun and said he would shoot them then and there.
The women asked him not to use abusive language and said that there are women in his family also and he should respect them. On this, Lalmani Singh, his son Azad Singh and his grandson, Regal Singh became very angry and said “You Chamarin (lower caste woman) want to match our women?”and started beating up whoever was caught.Out of his fear and guns, some of the women ran away from his place but Lalmani Singh and others caught Saraswati Devi and beat her with his gun, repeatedly slapping, punching and ramming her on
ground. She became unconscious because of the severe beating and was taken to the Primary Health Centre, Patan block with the help of some villagers where she was treated.
An FIR has been lodged against Rajmuni Singh and others by Saraswati devi with the help of other villagers and member of the Panchayat Samiti, Kamuda Devi at the Police Station in Patan. The Sub-divisional Officer, Daltonganj, Deputy Commissioner, Palamau and Superintendent of Police, Palamau have also been informed about the case and a copy has been submitted to them.
The receiving copy of the FIR says that the case has been registered under IPC 341, 323, 504, 34 and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.
According to Saraswati Devi “Despite using locally very respectable salutations like Babu Saheb and Gaunwa for the dealer, he abused us so badly and even used our caste names very insultingly. It was our right and an entitlement from the government that we were asking for. After this incident, we feel so terrorized that we wouldn’t be able to go to ask for our ration for a long time. He and his men
are still threatening us. They tried to stop us from reporting to the police, the DC and SDO. They say that if we raise this issue, they would kill us! They freely roam around with fire-arms. ”
Other than the women whom the dealer had assaulted, the people in the village inform that the dealer had been very irregular in giving rations. He had been filing false entries in the ration cards of the villagers. “If we go for buying kerosene, he would also fill in the entry for grains and give us none”, they said. The people in the village showed forged entries in their cards to the team. It was also reported that there is a significant number of poor people in the village who do not have ration cards.
Lalmani Singh belongs to the Rajput caste and is locally a feared man. He and his men carry guns openly in the village and as per the locals, his son Azad Singh has already been arrested before for various cases.
The most important part is that Lalmani Singh has retired from the Armed Forces. This clearly establishes that caste based discrimination and atrocities can be committed even by people who are considered to be heroes in our society.
Hence I demand ::
1. Immediate Arrest of Lalmani Singh, Azad Singh and Regal Singh
2. Cancellation of license for PDS shop of Lalmani Singh
3. Punishment to Lalmani Singh for irregularity in ration distribution
4. Immediate distribution of pending rations to all the card holders.
5. Compensation to Saraswati Devi and payment of legal expenses.
6. Issue of ration cards to eligible people in the village who currently do not have cards (a significant number of poor people in the village mostly from SC communities do not have ration cards while most of the upper caste people have it)
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