PUCL Bulletin, September 2001
against dalits In Uttar Pradesh
The earlier Pradhan had been known for his corruption and as being a yes-man of the landlords and his defeat was considered a great moral victory by the villagers. When Nirmala arrived, the CDO started shouting at her saying "Who on earth made you a Pradhan? You only fit to cut the grass in landlords' fields". He then sent for her husband's younger brother, Jeetendra, a post-graduate who is a primary school teacher. He accused Jeetendra of corruption and taunted him saying "So you are an MA in English. So who was Shakespeare and what did he write?" When a terrified Jeetendra stammered out some facts about Shakespeare and the names of some of his plays, the CDO grew even more furious and, after abusing him, made him stand in the sun, holding his ears and bending up and down.
When this had gone
on for about 20 minutes in the hot sun, Jeetendra began to feel faint
and begged for water. The water was thrown in his face. By that time a
few villagers including Nirmala's husband, Mahendra, returned from their
fields and rushed to the scene. The CDO forced Mahendra and Jeetendra
into his jeep and took them to the Thana. Here he tried to lodge a false
case against them but the Station Officer protested saying that he knew
them and they were innocent people. The CDO then made them stand outside
the thana, holding their ears and bending up and down. Soon a large crowd
collected and insisted that the two men be released. Many upper-caste
people also remonstrated with the CDO and forced him to let them go.
A young landlord, Shiv Kumar Singh, came and told him in no uncertain terms that no baraat would be allowed to enter the village and that Ramjivan would have to take his daughter to his future son-in-law's home and solemnise the marriage there. When Ramjivan refused to accept this humiliation, Shiv Kumar Singh promised to teach him a lesson. That same afternoon, when Sonepati was looking after the few mango trees that her father owned, Shiv Kumar and his relative, Sattu, raped her and left her unconscious. A large crowd collected and took the unconscious girl to her home and, after she had recovered, her father took her to the Mal police station. The station officer, Prem Singh Raikwar who is well-known for his atrocities in the area, kept them sitting in the thana for 48 hours and then after having abused them to his heart's content, registered a case of 'attempt to rape' in Sec. 376/115. Ramjivan then took his daughter to the NFIW leaders in Lucknow and, after the SSP intervened, her medical examination took place only on the 14th May. After this, Shiv Kumar and Sattu were arrested but the villagers and the NFIW activists insisted that a case be registered against the SO. Demonstrations were held and on the 23rd the district administration announced that the SO had been transferred and that action was being taken against him.
The same evening,
some landlords of the area took out a procession, waving swords and guns,
demanding his reinstatement in the same thana and the administration surrendered
Satana's complaint was handed over to the Chairman of the SC/ST Commission and to the district police. So far no action has been taken against the criminals because of the political patronage that they enjoy and because of their own money and muscle-power.
of the SO and the administration's inaction in Satana's case enraged people
all over the district and a protest rally was planned for the 3rd June.
The district administration did everything in its power to stop the rally
from taking place and the local landlords gave them a much-needed trump
card by inviting the Chief Minister to inaugurate a "Uda Devi College"
in the area on the same day. Uda Devi is the name of a Pasi woman who
is believed to have been very active in opposing the British during the
Siege of the Residency in l857. Sonepati belongs to the same community.
The staging of this function on the same day as the rally was a shameless
bid by the landlords and the Chief Minister who belongs to their community
to divide the dalits whom they terrorised and abused with such impunity.
The people, however, were having none of this and they announced that
not only would they go ahead with their rally but they would hold black
flag demonstrations against the Chief Minister if he went ahead with his
programme. Their determination was so apparent that, on the night of the
2nd, the CM's programme was cancelled and permission for the rally was