India
25.11.02
Urgent Interventions

India: raid against a Dalit village

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONCERN
Case IND251102. ESCRC


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in India.


Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a member of the OMCT network about a raid carried out against a whole Dalit village in the Karnataka, India, with police protection.

According to the information received, on November 6 2002, in Ujjani village of Huliyurdurga hobli in Kunigal taluk, Tumkur District, Karnataka, 94 Dalit homes were damaged, irrigation destroyed, cattle stolen and the few goods of this impoverished community looted in an attack carried out by a dominant caste group. It is reported that the local police sub-inspector Mr. Mallesh, who is belonging to the dominant caste group (Vokkaliga) has been implicated as supporting and guiding the attack for the purpose of preventing the Dalits from achieving the access to land, an essential element to their empowerment.

It is also reported that when one of the Dalits, Mr. Sreenivas, went to Mr. Mallesh to complain of being attacked by the dominant caste group, instead of registering the case or making further inquiries Mr. Mallesh beat up Mr. Sreenivas and retained him in the station until the evening. After his release some leaders of the Dalit community allegedly went to complain to Mr. Mallesh and resolved to take the matter to his superior.

Following these events, a Vokkaliga Forum was allegedly created and circulated a pamphlet announcing a protest march against the Dalits in Kunigal. On the day of the procession, it is reported that about 300 people assembled in Kunigal, shouted slogans against the Dalit community and made inflammatory public speeches. The orators allegedly warned that Ujjani would be turned into another Kampalapalli (a village in Karnataka where 7 Dalits were burnt alive by the same Vokkaliga community on March 11 2000).

In the evening of the same day, the information received relates that before the Dalit men could return home from their work a group from the dominant caste entered the Dalit area and began to attack the people, mostly women and children, and to damage their houses. They allegedly broke all the lights and disconnected power and encountered no resistance to their vandalism, as most Dalit men were not present on the scene. It is also reported that the two policemen who were posted there for protection had left duty exactly at the time of the attack.

According to the information received, after complaints from the Rural Education for Development Society (REDS), the Superintendent of Police and Inspector General visited the area on the following two days. It is reported that they talked to the Dalits, assessed the damages, ordered for compensation and placed the two policemen under suspension. Moreover, Kunne Gowda (who made one of the inflammatory speeches) and three others were allegedly arrested but were released on bail. It is reported that they have frequently returned to the Dalit villages since their release and threatened the Dalits with further violence. According to the information received, Mr. Mallesh also filed questionable cases against two of the local Dalit leaders named Mr. Dalit and Mr. Sreenivas and no action has been taken against Mr. Mallesh himself by the authorities.

On 12 November, it is reported that the Dalit community went ahead with a mass protest in all parts of Tumkur district and peacefully delivered a Memorandum to the authorities, in which they asked them (1) to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated against the Dalits; (2) to suspend or dismiss Mr. Mallesh and to arrest him under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act; (3) to arrest Kunne Gowda, Putturamu Teacher, Ramalingaiah, Ramesh, Kunthur Thammanna Gowda and Ramakrishna who made the inflammatory speeches; (4) to guarantee immediate and enhanced compensation for the destroyed properties; (5) to carry out an investigation regarding the role of local politicians in the Ujjani attack; (6) to maintain a close watch on the Vokkaliga forum where plans for further action would be prepared; (7) to withdraw the two non-bailable cases filed by Mr. Mallesh against Mr Dalit and Mr. Sreenivas.


Action Requested

Please write to the Indian authorities urging them to:

i. guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of these events, identify those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

ii. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the Dalits and guarantee adequate reparation to all victims and their families;

iii. drop the cases filed against Mr Dalit and Mr. Sreenivas;

iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discriminations.


Addresses

· H.E. President Abdul Kalam, Office of the President, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi 110 004, INDIA Fax: 91-11-301 7290 / 7824; E-mail: Pressecy@Sansad.nic.in

· H.E. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India-110 011 Fax: 91-11-3019545 / 91-11-3016857; E-mail: eindun@undp.org;

· Justice J. S. Verma, Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHR), Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi 11001, India, Fax: 91-11-334 0016; E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

· Hon. Sri. S.M. Krishna, Chief Minister of Kartnataka, Kumarakupa Road, Bangalore – 560 001, INDIA, E-mail: cm@ar.nic.in, Fax: 91-80-2281021, Tel: 91-80-22502572/73/74

· Hon. Sri. Mallikarjuna Kharge, Home Minister of Kartnataka, INDIA, Fax: 91-80-2251798, Tel: 91-80-2251798

· Shri Dilip Singh Bhuria, Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes, Floor 5, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi-110003, INDIA, Tel: 91-11-4623959, Fax: 91-11-4625378


Please also write to the embassies of India in your respective country

Geneva, November 25th, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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