DALITS 3 TIMES OVER-REPRESENTED IN GUJARAT PRISONS

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Police detain members of Dalit Community who were staging a protest in Ahmedabad against the assault on Dalit members by cow protectors in Rajkot district, Gujarat. — File photo

The proportion of the underprivileged community in Gujarat’s prisons is nearly three times as high as their percentage in the total population of the state, according to national prison data

Caravan News

AHMEDABAD — A little over one year, Dalits had come out on the streets of Gujarat after youths from their community had been flogged for allegedly skinning a dead cow in Una. The flogging perhaps triggered a reaction from the Dalits, who had been feeling excluded for various reasons. The community, has the least representation in the government and maximum in prisons.

Between 1998-2014, Gujarat was leading the country, with an over-representation of Dalits in its prisons, as per the national prison data. Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat for 13 out of 16 years, which has been considered for the research work.

The research article “Democracy In Jail” published in the latest issue of Economic & Political Weekly, indicates that the average population of the Scheduled Castes between 1998-2014 in Gujarat was 6.90 per cent while their presence in prison was 20.27 per cent during the same period.

“The SCs are most over-represented in prisons of Gujarat (three times as much), Maharashtra (two times), Assam (two times) and Tamil Nadu (two times),” states the article. 

Also See: At Mega Gujarat Rally, Dalits Send Out Stern Message to BJP; Vow Not to Lift Carcasses; Want Firearms

The revelation has come at a time when Gujarat is going to elect its new state government. Media reports indicate that the Dalit community is not much happy with the present ruling party of the state – BJP, which has been in power for two decades, without break.

The young Dalit lawyer and social activist Jignesh Mevani, who had played a vital role in the Dalit movement following the Una incident in July 2016, has made his political choice public. He has clearly indicated the Dalit choice by meeting Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and sharing the stage with him at an election rally, earlier this week. Thereby, indicating winds of change in Gujarat.

 

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