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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 16, April 6, 2013

Dalit and Tribal Representatives in Chains: A Gift of Joint Electorate

Friday 12 April 2013, by A K Biswas

In the winter session of Parliament, the Government of India introduced the 117th Constitution Amendment Bill on December 20, 2012 that would entitle the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe government employees for promotion in services. The Samajwadi Party, beforehand, had declared its anti-reservation stance. The Bill was earlier passed by the Rajya Sabha. When the Union Minister of State for Personnel and Administrative Reforms tried to introduce the Bill, Yashvir Singh, a Dhobi by caste and Samajwadi Party MP, snatched it from the Minister. His behaviour has earned condemnation of many within and outside Parliament. However, the underlying impli-cations of the MP’s action merited a critical look, which strangely our elite media, though apt in hairsplitting even on frivolous issues, shied away from doing so.

Yashvir Singh, 40, holds a degree of Bachelor of Technology. So he is fully aware of the import of his action. He attempted to sabotage a constitutional safeguard calculated to yield benefits to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and promoted the objectives of his party. This amounts to self-abnegation. His party and the anti-reservationists have lustily cheered him. His (mis)behaviour, caught on camera, was flashed across all television channels as ‘breaking news’ throughout the day. The MP, on the other hand, might have been subjected to bitter condem-nation by his own Dhobi community in particular and 300 million SCs and STs in general across India. The Dhobi, Dhoba, Dhupi, Dhopa—implying one and the same—are Scheduled Caste in many States, for example, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, besides UP. He represents Nagina, a constituency reserved for SCs in UP.

The Dhobis along with other Scheduled Castes and Tribes are exposed to deprivation if reservation in promotion is not there on the statute book. During the debate in the Rajya Sabha, one MP said that only one out of 80 officers (from the IAS and Central services) holding Secretary-level offices in the Union Government, is SC but none yet from the STs although these two categories account for 22.5 per cent of the cadres of the All-India Services and Central Services.1 The total strength of officers in the All-India Services (Indian Administrative, Indian Police and Indian Forests Service) and Central Services should approximately be about 14,000, a little less than one-fourth of whom are SCs and STs. And except one, all of them have been found unfit to hold the charge of Secretary to the Government of India.

With his analytical and sharp understanding of the Hindu society, Dr B.R. Ambedkar foresaw this. “The woes of the untouchables are due not so much to bad laws as to the hostility of the administration, which is controlled by the Hindus who import into administration their age-old prejudices against the untouchables. The untouchables can never hope to get protection from the police, justice from the judiciary or the benefit of a statutory law from the administration as long as the Public Services continued to be manned by the Hindus. The only hope of making Public Services less malevolent and more responsible is to have members of untouchables in the higher Executive.”2 Malevolence is ingrained in them to systematically ensure that all avenues for upward movement of SC and/or ST officers are blocked ab initio. Seniors start this with writing adverse remarks in their Annual Confidential Reports, which form the sole basis of promotion, and this explains why the SCs/STs are unavailable in high offices.

Indians lacked administrative qualities, incorruptible character, etc. for high offices
by colonial standards which their historians bemoaned as discrimination. After six decades of freedom even the Dalit and tribal have none to bemoan the same colonial logic and yardstick the Indian social aristocrats use against them to deprive. Anger, heart-burning and/or protests by the victims against imperial discrimination, however, have been eulogised by historians as the burning spirit of patriotism. But when descendants of the same class of sufferers as rulers prevent the SCs, STs and OBCs from reaching higher executive offices, they are routinely taunted as mediocre. They brand the SCs and STs as undeserving, incompetent and meritless, who have been trying to crawl up the ladder by using the caste-crutches through reservation. The elites overlook this bureaucratic hostility of their own class towards the SCs and STs. They mouth the same logic and language their colonial masters used for discrimination of the socially inferior.

Prahlads of Indian Politics

The Dhobis are likely to face social flak from the entire array of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The Census of 2001 returned 21,84,212 Dhobis, representing six per cent of the Scheduled Castes, who numbered 35,148,377 in Uttar Pradesh. They were the third largest SC, second in strength being the Pasi (16 per cent) and Chamar (56 per cent), the most populous. A pan-Indian caste, the Dhobis in 1881 totalled 13,31,190.3 and rose to 20,16,914 in the Census of 1901.4 In eleven decades their strength must have trebled, if not more.

According to the Census of 1911, the untouchable castes suffered marks of 10-fold disabilities. The Dhobi
(1) “did not receive the mantra from a Brahman guru or other recognised Hindu guru;
(2) “was not served by good Brahmans as family priests;
(3) “had no priests at all;
(4) “was denied access to the interior of ordinary Hindu temples; and
(5) “caused pollution by certain distance or proximity.”5

To the anti-reservationists, Yashvir is their modern Prahlad who, according to the Hindu mythology, blindly worshipped the very killer of his father! The immorality underneath this move, sadly, has not been condemned by any-body. And this underlines that the Samajwadi Party might not be alone in the political profligacy to use a Dalit MP as Prahlad.

The Nagina MP has metamorphosed into a fiendish traitor of his own community, not to speak of the entire 300 million underdogs. Incidentally, the Dhobis are the most literate among the Dalits and the educated ones in government jobs would suffer grudgingly. However, Yashvir Singh’s helpless submission to political rape merits probe. A political animal captive in the cage of his party, he perhaps had no option and may not be alone. No political party considers and treats the Scheduled Caste and Tribe elected leaders anything more than bonded labourers who neither enjoy nor deserve freedom of thought and action. Their indepen-dence is ruthlessly curtailed, if not totally denied, in all matters aimed at promoting and enhancing the interests of the community they are elected to represent. The entire electoral ethics and democratic principles are thus violated. There is perhaps not a solitary constituency—parlia-mentary or Assembly— capable of returning an SC or an ST, as the case may be, on the strength of their respective votes anywhere in India. Each of the reserved constituencies account for general voters far in excess to the SCs or STs. So general voters hold the key to victory or defeat of the candidates from reserved constituencies without exception.

In this caste-ridden country, the Dalit or tribal people are victims without remedies. They are massacred, their women violated, children exploited. In natural calamities, they receive discriminatory treatment in rescue and relief operations. In rehabilitation also their luck is no different. Their educational backwardness is attributable to bureaucratic apathy coupled with political connivance. Nonetheless, the SC or ST elected political representatives never raise their voices out of fear of inviting the wrath of the party and antagonising the general caste voters. Their complete submissiveness as a political class is cherished as a great asset by all political parties.

The helplessness of MPs or MLAs of reserved constituencies is starkly demonstrated in their inability over decades to stand by them in times of massacres of Dalits, for instance, in Bihar where gruesome atrocities were committed by the feudal forces including the Ranvir Sena or upper caste private militia. No SC/ST MLA or MP had ever taken any public stand to demand strong and preventive measures against the savage perpetrators. A vocal MP or MLA of a reserved constituency is his own nemesis. Haryana has earned notoriety as ‘the rape State’ because of repetitive incidences of rape and sexual offence against SC women. Their MPs and MLAs never mastered courage to protest these acts or agitate for prompt action to put an end to the shame. A political party, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), is engaged in running feuds with the Dalits in Tamil Nadu against all norms of propriety but nobody, including the Election Commission, has paid attention to it.

No benefits can be secured to the Scheduled Caste and/or Tribe communities without inviting antagonism of the upper castes. Their representatives can rarely take any public stand on issues involving welfare or wellbeing, safety, security of their respective communities. The Hindu mind is scripturally, culturally and socially so shaped and conditioned that no government policy to uplift the SCs or STs is met without raising eyebrows. Their efforts for self-reliance and liberation from dependence on the rich and dominant are deeply resented. Never has a Dalit or tribal dominated area seen installation of a public hand-pump/tubewell for drinking water, shallow/deep tubewells for irrigation, a public road, a school or a college, community centre, a water channel for irrigation or a health centre. These facilities have invariably come up in areas inhabited by socially dominant castes, even though they are numerically inferior. Instances to the contrary are exceptions. Upward mobilisation in their life and status is utterly disliked and disapproved. Leave alone public utilities, even private initiatives for self-help are disfavoured. In the survey and settlement report for Faridpur district (now in Bangladesh), to cite one instance from the official records of 1914, J.C. Jack, ICS, observed: “It is unfortunate that landlords prevent the erection of masonry plinths, as they would soon become as popular as tin roofs. The landlords have an equal objection to the cutting of a tank or the re-excavation of an old tank. This is more unfortunate in the north of the district since water for drinking and other purposes has become very scarce. The objection appears to be traditional but the fact that the landlord has expected for so long a substantial fine in both cases is likely to make the disappearance of the objection very slow, unless vigorous action is taken by the district authorities to encourage these improvements.”6 The Muslim dominated Faridpur had the highest concentration of Namasudras, an untouchable caste. They were mostly ryots and suffered feudal oppression and exploitation. When private initiatives are met with strong objections, it is daydream to expect public utilities or facilities to come up in underprivileged quarters unopposed from them or their posterity.

Elastic Dalit/Tribal Docility: A Political Capital

A prominent Congress leader (Delhi), Asaf Ali, while speaking on a resolution, focused his party’s social perspective: “It seemed a cruel irony of fate that those who were vociferously clamouring for attainment or preservation of human rights themselves were so little mindful of the legitimate rights of others under them.”7 If this was too innocuously stated, another leader, Rama Iyer (Malabar) was more focused: “You cannot be a political democrat and at the same time a social autocrat. Remember a man, a social slave, cannot be a politically free man [.............] let those of us, who are Brahmans, who belong to the higher castes, go to our villages and shatter the shackles of the low castes, people who are struggling against our own men—the social bureaucrats of our own land.”8 Iyer identified the evil that blocked India’s march to freedom and prosperity. The end of colonial rule and achievement of freedom in 1947 notwithstanding, slavery of the underdogs continues.

Sir Surendra Nath Banerjea, as the President, Indian National Congress, on the contrary, audaciously declared in 1895: “Ours is a political and not a social movement; and it cannot be made a matter of complaint against us that we are not a social organisation any more than it can be urged against any of my lawyer friends that they are not doctors.”9 The President was scornful of the social agenda of his party. Paeans for the prominent leader’s patriotism are too loud; rarely is his attitudinal hostility to social issues a matter of public discourse. Many leaders were on the same page with Banerjea in political perception. Politics without social objectives is actually a manifesto of the leaders’ brazen greed for power.

The idea of separate representation for the Backward Classes indeed had encountered tall antagonists. In 1918, Bal Gangadhar Tilak at Sholapur declared that he did not “understand why the oil pressers, tobacco shopkeepers, washer-men, etc. [.....] should want to go to the Legislature.”10 To make his government more popular in the war efforts, Lord Linlithgo, the Viceroy of India, invited 52 prominent Indians, including those belonging to the Scheduled Castes, and discussed steps in 1942 to enlist sympathy and cooperation of Indians. Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel, at a public meeting in Ahmedabad, taunted: “The Viceroy sent for the leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha, he sent for the leaders of the Muslim League, and he sent for the Ghancies (oil pressers), Mochis (cobblers), and the rest.”11 According to Dr B.R. Ambedkar, although Patel in his stinging words referred to Ghancies and Mochis only, his speech is indicative of the contempt in which the governing class and members of the Congress High Command generally held the servile classes of the country. After 1919 the Congress launched a campaign to instil hatred in the public mind towards the Legislature. In various provinces the party campaigned with placards displaying slogans: “Who will go to the Legislatures? Only barbers, cobblers, potters and sweepers.”12 It was a calculated ploy to kill political aspirations in the minds of barbers, potters, sweepers and the like to enter the legislatures. But who actually reaped the political harvest in the end?13

Two of India’s most towering leaders bring out the accurate socio-political ambiance obtaining in India prior to the Communal Award that ultimately led to the Poona Pact. The edifice of Gandhiji’s policy to the untouchables was a glossy tower of deception. He opposed separate electorates for the untouchables. The Round Table Conference, that addressed the interests of various minorities of India, unmasked the Mahatma’s glaring double-standard. He declared: “Muslims and Sikhs are well organised. The untouchables are not. There is very little political consciousness among them and they are so horribly treated that I want to save them against themselves. If they have separate electorates their lives would be miserable in villages which are the strongholds of Hindu orthodoxy. It is the superior class of Hindus who have to do penance for having neglected the untouchables for ages. I am certain that the question of separate electorates for the untouchables is a modern manufacture of government. […..................] Separate electorates to the untouchables will ensure them bondage in perpetuity [.............] Do you want the untouchables to remain untouch-ables for ever? What is needed is the destruction of untouchability and when you have done it, bar-sinister which has been imposed by an insolent superior class upon an inferior class will be destroyed.”14 Pious pretensions of the political saint! “I want to save them against themselves”—what did he mean? The modern, independent and vibrant India has proved that Gandhi’s joint electorate is the foundation of political slavery for the Dalits and tribals. The social aristocrats have become political masters too of 300 million Dalits and tribals by an arrangement born out of political debauchery and expediency.

The Mahatma was totally deceitful when he said that the “superior class of Hindus who have to do penance for having neglected the untouchables”. Decades ago, the same Gandhi had loudly declared: “The Shudras who only serves (the higher caste) as a matter of religious duty, and who will never own any property, who indeed has not even the ambition to own anything, is deserving of thousand obeisance........ The very Gods will shower down flowers on him.” It befits a fascist, not a humanist, to speak such language. Such pleadings for untouchables had endeared him overnight to the upper-caste Hindus. By invoking divine blessings he deployed his skill to send the depressed classes to political comatose. The same Gandhi forgot his own prescription and now wanted their tormentors to do penance for neglecting the untouchables for ages. His unalloyed insinuation came out gushingly when he said that “separate electorates for the untouchables is a modern manufacture of government”. One fails to agree with him when he says: “Separate electorates to the untouchables will ensure them bondage in perpetuity.” How many of the superior class of Hindus has ever done penance for what they have done to the untouchables? Their attitude and disdain towards the untouchables stands unchanged. To say that the untouchables’ demand for separate electorate was a ‘British manufacture’ is tantamount to denigration of the political thought, ideal or vision of the depressed classes. Anything that does not bear the marks of Hindu flavour and/or stamp of hegemony was despicable in their perception and estimation. The entire architecture of Ambedkar’s movement was to politically empower the untouchables and liberate them from the abyss of degradation and deprivation. But the Mahatma did not find any harm if the cat was allowed custody of the fish; nor was he alarmed if the fox had free access of the poultry farm—though a perfect recipe for disaster.

The power-hungry were restless and aggressive. In the RTC, Dr Ambedkar observed: “[….......] if the British Government is unable to resist the forces that have been set up in the country which do clamour for transference of political power—and we know the Depressed Classes in their present circumstances are not in a position to resist that—then our submission is that if you make that transfer, that transfer will be accompanied by such conditions and by such provisions that the power shall not fall into the hands of a clique, into the hands of an oligarchy or into the hands of a group of people, whether Muhammadans or Hindus; but that solution shall be such that the power shall be shared by all communities in their respective proportions.”15 Did the superior Hindus allow separate electorates that would amount to the penance Gandhi wished for them? He shocked everybody by chanting: “Let this Committee and let the whole world know that today there is a body of Hindu reformers who are pledged to remove this blot of untouchability.” What worth did the Hindu reformers’ pledge carry? Nothing, just nothing. His outlandish declaration —“I will not bargain away their (untouchables) rights for the kingdom of whole world. [….......] It (separate electorate] will create a division of Hinduism which I cannot possibly look forward to with any satisfaction […..........] Those who speak of the political rights of the untouchables do not know how Indian society is today structured, and therefore I want to say with all the emphasis that I can command that if I was the only person to resist this thing I would resist it with my life”16—had no bearing on the untou-chables. So he threatened to end his life if separate electorate for the untouchables was granted. In a letter from the Yeravada Central Prison, Gandhi told the British Prime Minister to withdraw “their scheme of communal electorates for the Depressed Classes, whose representatives should be elected by the general election under the common franchise........”17 Here lies the story of political slavery of the Dalit and tribals. The Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsees—all got freedom and were politically empowered. The Dalit and tribal liberation is still a far cry. Gandhi used his Mahatmic image to keep the untouchables chained to their exploiters and tormentors in free India. His logic was perverse and justification deceitful. He arrived as the new avatar on the Hindus horizon. When he launched his satyagraha at Poona Central Prison, Dr Ambedkar declared his determi-nation: “I, however, trust that the Mahatma will not drive to the necessity of making a choice between his life and the rights of my people. For I can never consent to deliver my people bound hand and foot to the caste Hindus for generations to come.”18 But he was terrorised to submit to the blackmail. “Bound hand and foot” they were left under the feet of the upper castes to secure their superior and sublime life.

Victims of Political Profligacy

When I asked about his experience of political empowerment of Dalits and tribals under India’s parliamentary democratic polity, Speaker of the Bihar Assembly Uday Narayan Chowdhry, himself a Dalit, pointed his finger to the joint electorates and expressed his dismay and dissatisfaction. He rued that the Dalit and tribal MLAs and MPs are used as mere puppets who rarely agitate and articulate the causes of the people they represent either within or outside the legislatures. Their elected representatives are chained to political parties and cannot ever go against it. The socially dominant have captured the entire political space, leaving no room for the underdogs. A veteran in Bihar politics, the Speaker noted that when Bihar witnessed massacre after massacre claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent Dalits and tribals ever since the 1970s—particularly during the 1980s and 1990s—their elected representatives never raised their voice. They neither dared to stand by their victimised brethren and sisters in their critical hours.

In contrast, when the Ranvir Sena founder and chief, Brahmeshwar Singh, was murdered in his own den, his caste-men unleashed a reign of terror: they first targeted a government welfare hostel for Dalit students,19 destroyed government properties and created anarchy in Bihar. The ‘butcher of Bathanitola’, along with 23 accused, was sentenced to death for massacring 21 Dalits and Muslims including infants, women and old. On July 11, 1966, a mob comprising Bhumihars and Rajputs attacked the Dalits in Bathanitola in Ara district. Justice Navneeti Prasad Singh and Justice Ashwani Kumar Singh, Patna High Court judges, acquitted the convicts citing “defective evidence”20 in conformity with the prophecy Ambedkar had made decades ago. No Dalit MLA or MP, though deeply shaken, had raised his/her voice against the perverse verdict of the High Court. The same merchants of death had carried out massacres killing more than 60 Dalits at Laxmanpur-Bathe, besides many other places in Bihar. The acquittal of the savage Ranvir Sena chief and other convicts is shocking. Injustice to Dalit, though routine, is a non-issue for the Indian authorities. Their enigmatic silence raises many questions.

The fallen dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, was sentenced to death by Iraq’s Apex Court presided by a Shia, Chief Judge Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman. No Sunni judge would sentence him to death. Virtually no Dalit or tribal expects justice from the judiciary in any case of atrocities if the offenders are upper-caste men. Long records of injustice may drive them to demand judges of their own caste/tribe for redressal of grievances.

This is glaringly true in the context of the Allahabad High Court’s “uncle judge” syndrome. On December 10, 2010, the Supreme Court, referring to the Allahabad High Court, observed that several judges there suffered from the ‘uncle judge’ syndrome, which referred to judges passing favourable orders for parties represented by lawyers known to them. This underlines a deadly nexus. The Apex Court also noted: “Some judges have their kith and kin practising in the same court” which has promoted the rampant ‘uncle judge’ syndrome.21 To a common man, the syndrome includes also “auntie judges” though the Apex Court was not explicit as such. Justice in India, therefore, seems to be under siege thanks to extraneous influences beyond the reach of the masses. It is naive to believe the cancer has not spread to district and sub-divisional courts. Caste, money, pressure etc. also play a blighting role. Dalits and tribals do not boast of uncles and aunties on those Benches. In this context, Jawaharlal Nehru’s insightful observation illuminates the reasons for political, administrative and judicial depravity: “No individual can wholly rid himself of his racial outlook and cultural limitations.”22 The “uncle judges” and their blessed or privileged nephews furnish the instance of direct ethnic affiliation. Such nexus might not be confined to the Allahabad High Court only. The Apex Court would lay the poor and ignorant litigants—particularly millions of Dalits and tribals—under deep layers of gratitude, if the swipe of the broom is widened to cover the indulgent “uncles” and “aunties” in all other High Courts and lower courts. Transfer of the “incorrigibles” is no punishment as goes the administrative parlance.

Remedy, What?

The Bihar Speaker has been telling his audience in seminars, conferences etc. of Dalit and tribal students, youths, social or political workers/activists that the joint electorate had choked the avenues for political empowerment. Their representatives in elective bodies should be more active and assertive to fulfil their aspirations. That is possible if and only when separate electorates are re-introduced. Until Dalits and tribals are politically empowered, the lion’s share of benefits accruing out of all development policies will flow to the privileged or they will siphon it off midway. Elected representatives have to be taken off the party leash and freed to agitate the causes for the communities they represent. Joint electorates is the breeding ground of nincompoop Dalit and tribal political representatives under the party system. MP Yashvir Singh has been ravished by his party, perhaps much against his will, in a blatant attempt to block the avenues for elevation of government employees from the very hinterland he belongs. He is a hack for his party. Ambedkar used to say: lambs are sacrificed, not the lions. Dalit and tribal MPs and MLAs are sacrificed at the altar of political convenience or strategy. The countrymen have to prove they want the SC/ ST representatives to represent the genuine causes of the community without fear or favour. Their representatives must be assertive, spirited and vibrant, ready to face whatever challenges and risks. The Dalits and tribals should not be befooled for all time with the present form of democratic representation. The demand for separate electorates is bound to become inevitably louder and wider against the onslaughts from the opponents who are social supremacists.

Give the Dalit and tribal actual democratic freedom so that their faith and confidence is restored in democracy. Bring them to life from political comatose. Else Indian democracy will continue in its present shape to cheat and exploit the weak and ignorant. The result would disgrace the democracy. Political orphans cannot translate the hopes and aspirations of their constituencies in the teeth of the Himalayan prejudice in operation against the Dalit and tribal people. It’s a matter of time only that they would voice their disaffection and displeasure about the joint electorates and demand separate electorates. It only exposes the country to disaster. Let Indians take lessons from history.

Footnotes

1. Since the late 1970s the UPSC annual reports claimed that they have succeeded in recommending the full complement of candidates for appointment to vacancies reserved for SCs and STs, requiring educational qualifications other than science or technology.
2. B.R. Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Maharashtra Government, 1990, Vol. 9, p. 95.
3. W. Chichele Plowden, (1883), The Indian Empire Census of 1881 Statistics of Population, Vol. II., Superintendent of Government Printing India, Calcutta, p. 30.
4. Census of India 1901, Vol. IA, India, Part II-Tables, p. 282.
5. Census of India 1911, Vol. V, Report Part I, p. 232.
6. J.C. Jack, ICS, Final Report on the Survey and Settlement Operations in the Fardipur District, 1904 to 1914, The Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, Calcutta, 1916, paragraph 82, p. 36.
7. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables?, Vol. 9, Government of Maharashtra, 1990, p. 3.
8. Ibid., p. 2.
9. Ibid., p. 10.
10. Ibid., p. 209.
11. Ibid. Tilak and Patel did not live longer to see a Ghanchy making Gujaratis proud by his political sagacity and tireless drive for development.
12. Ibid., pp. 209-210. Tilak and others established a Hindu Plague Hospital in Poona after the black death spread to the city in 1897 from Bombay. The first annual report on the fearful disease says that the rules did not allow admission of low castes afflicted with plague in the Hindu Hospital!
13. Rafique Zakaria, in an article captioned “Backwardness marches on” in The Statesman, Calcutta, December 18, 1983 shows who actually were hungry for political power. “Take the case of Lok Sabha in 1952 there were 173 Brahmins in a House of 499 (35 per cent); in 1957, 210 out of 510 (41 per cent); in 1967, 192 out of 523 (37 per cent), in 1971 178 out of 542 (34 per cent); in 1977 156 out of 542 (25 per cent); in 1980 190 out of 530 (30 per cent).”
14. Ibid., p. 70.
15. What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables?, Vol. 9, p. 66.
16. Ibid., pp. 68-69.
17. Ibid., p. 82.
18. Ibid., p. 317.
19. None of the accused arrested for the murder of the Ranvir Sena chief seem to be Dalits. Their names suggest they are the upper-caste men.
20. The Hindu, April 17, 2012, report by Shoumojit Baneerjee captioned “All accused in 1996 Bihar Dalit carnage acquitted”.
21. The Hindu, December 10, 2010 news item under caption, “Supreme Court upholds ‘rotten’ remark against Allahabad High Court”.
22. Jahawarlal Nehru, Discovery of India, p. 289.

The author is a retired IAS officer and former Vice-Chancellor, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Univrsity, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. For comments and observations, if any, he may be contacted at atul.biswas@gmail.com

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