Crime against Dalits and Indigenous Peoples as an International Human Rights Issue

In Proceedings of National Seminar on Human Rights of Marginalised Groups: Understanding and Rethinking Strategies. Patiala: pp. 214-225 (2015)
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Abstract
In India, Dalits faced a centuries-old caste-based discrimination and nowadays indigenous people too are getting a threat from so called developed society. We can define these crimes with the term ‘atrocity’ means an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury. Caste-related violence has occurred and occurs in India in various forms. Though the Constitution of India has laid down certain safeguards to ensure welfare, protection and development, there is gross violation of their rights such as killing, murder, torture, burning, abduction, rape and molestation. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, “Dalits and indigenous peoples (known as Scheduled Tribes or adivasis) continue to face discrimination, exclusion, and acts of communal violence. Laws and policies adopted by the Indian government provide a strong basis for protection, but are not being faithfully implemented by local authorities.” Human rights issues are very often understood and analyzed from socio-political and cultural perspectives. Apart from such perspectives, the issue of human rights also can be analyzed from a strictly philosophical perspective, which implies that the idea of human rights is centered on the inspiration of human dignity. Several studies on the situation of human rights of Dalits in several parts of India show more reports on violation of human rights than on protection of them. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in degrading condition, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and higher-caste groups that enjoy state protection. For example, Dalit women are regularly subjected to sexual violence as a result of their lower caste status-often in response to their demands of basic rights. Hate crimes towards indigenous peoples is a daily reality in many countries across the globe. The challenge is to change such a dehumanized situation. The challenge is to each one of us that whether engaged in governance of the civil society or voluntarily engaged in social and economic development of society, one thing to remember is that leaving behind the vulnerable units of our society – Dalits and indigenous peoples – will not take us to a prosperous society. This paper is an attempt to study the situation of human rights of two most neglected segments of society namely, Dalits and STs as a serious international human rights issue.
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