People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 04

January 22, 2012

AIDWA Flays Attack on Dalit Woman


IN a statement issued on January 13, the All India Democratic Women’s Association said that it is deeply shocked at the stripping and beating of a dalit widow in Satara village by upper caste residents of the same village, because her son reportedly eloped with an upper caste girl from that village. It condemned this outrageous violation of human rights, and demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators.


AIDWA national secretary and president of the Maharashtra Janwadi Mahila Samity, Kiran Moghe, along with other AIDWA leaders from the state have visited the victim in hospital, and have demanded stringent action from the police authorities. The press release issued by the state leadership is below:


The Maharashtra unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana strongly condemns the severe assault on a dalit widow resident of Mulgaon village in Patan block of Satara district. This is one more incident in which a poor woman has become the target of feelings of revenge and resentment by upper castes. It is to be noted that the victim is the grand daughter of the revolutionary poet Comrade Annabhau Sathe, whose songs mobilised the people of the state in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. 


The woman has been a resident of the village for the past thirty years. Ever since her son married the daughter of her upper caste neighbour a month ago, she has been targeted with verbal casteist abuse. On January 9, 2012, members of the Desai family brutally assaulted her. When she managed to reach the Patan police station, the constable on duty refused to entertain her complaint. We strongly demand that the policemen on duty who failed to understand the gravity of the situation and turned her away should be suspended forthwith, and strong action be taken against them. Moreover, there have been earlier incidents of attacks on other members of her family, one of which has been registered with the Patan police station. We also demand that the village level Tanta Mukti Samiti at Mulgaon should be dissolved forthwith since it did not intervene to pre-empt this serious incident of assault.


A delegation of the Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA) consisting of state president Kiran Moghe, Satara district president Anandi Avghade, alongwith Satara district CPI(M) secretary Manik Avghade, Saleem Attar, J S Patil and others met the victim at Karad late in the evening on January 11,  2012 and spoke to her at length. It is shocking that the district SP and collector have not even bothered to visit her and make enquiries about her situation. It appears that the state government has learnt nothing from the Khairlanjee incident and the state administration and police department remains as insensitive and discriminatory when it comes to atrocities against dalits. The latest crime statistics for the state of Maharashtra reveals that the number of crimes recorded under the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act increased by 9.62 per cent in 2010 as compared to 2009. Of these the maximum number have been in the districts of western Maharashtra. It appears that the law is no longer deterrent for crimes against dalits and women because rarely anyone is punished.


The delegation also went to meet the deputy SP Patan, F A Nayakawadi at the Patan police station late last night and enquired about the progress in the investigation. He immediately agreed to their demand to give police protection to the victim while she is in the hospital. They also demanded that the police independently verify the age of the young girl and not rely on the parents’ version. They also asked for police protection to the couple. A memorandum of demands has been submitted to the SP and collector.