India’s Dalits at the mercy of Hindu Elite

India’s Dalit community – ‘the untouchables’ have been left at the mercy of Hindu Elite and caste divisions as evidently proven by Hathras gang rape and murder case.

On 14 September 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was ‘allegedly’ gang-raped in Hathras district, Uttar Pradesh, India, by four men from the ‘Thakur’ caste – an upper caste in Hinduism, the victim succumbed to her injures two weeks later.

Thakur Caste’s men named Sandip, Ramu, Lavkush and Ravi are accused of raping and assaulting the 19-year old Dalit victim – whose name has not been disclosed by the police. Apart from the rape, the physical assault caused injuries to victim’s spinal cord, whereas the suspects, fueled by their sense of superiority are also accused of cutting victim’s tongue.

Victim’s cremation was carried out on September 29th at around 2:30 am by Uttar Pradesh Police against her family’s will.

Hathras Rape Case has significantly unearthed the fault lines of discrimination and segregation of lower caste Hindus, especially Dalits by upper caste in India.

Following the arrest of the four accused suspects, the upper caste Hindus have responded with sheer audacity and brazen attitude claiming ‘innocence’ of the four men arrested from the Thakur Tribe.

Their sense of superiority asserting the ‘untouchability’ of Dalits is an attribute reflected in several physical and sexual assaults targeting Dalits and other lower caste Hindus across India.

Dalits and the Hindu Caste System in India

Hindu Caste System is based on principles of segregation and discrimination that are contradictory and in-fact a blatant violation of basic human rights in modern era.

It divides Hindus into four primary categories namely; Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras.

The Brahmins top the list and are essentially the Hindu Elite. They are believed to be created from Brahma’s head, whereas Shudras are at the bottom of the caste hierarchy and are significantly segregated and considered ‘untouchables’ by those from the upper caste

Almost all of the right-wing fascist Hindutva organizations in India are controlled by upper caste Hindus. Their workers and officials benefit from the unchallenged ‘superiority’ over Dalits and other lower caste Hindus, resulting in physical and sexual assaults incidents within the ‘world’s largest democracy’.

Dalit – meaning ‘broken/scattered’ in Sanskrit and Hindi, is used for people belonging to castes in India who have been subjected to untouchability.  They are believed to ‘impure’ by upper caste Hindus who even abstain from sharing their food with them.

Forced by the circumstance of their birth and near poverty. Dalits in India continue to work as sanitation workers – as manual scavengers, cleaners of drains, as garbage collectors and sweepers of roads.

Dalit population suffers extensive discrimination and segregation in the Indian society whether it be in political, social, educational, healthcare and other domains.