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Dalit attack case ends with settlement

Six men pay $630 in damages after allegations they beat and urinated on the face of a dalit man

  • ucanews.com reporter, Chandigarh
  • India
  • June 4, 2012
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Six men accused of beating and urinating on the face of a dalit man (or untouchable) in Haryana in northern India in an incident that put the man in hospital have settled out of court, a dalit rights group said.

Following a village council meeting yesterday involving 1,000 upper-caste men and a number of dalits, the accused men paid 31,000 rupees (US$620) to end the case.

The settlement follows an argument in Rohtak district on May 28 in which the men urinated on Ashok Kumar’s face during a dispute over eggs and money and then beat the 23-year-old.

Kumar spent five days in a local hospital before filing charges, but the men urged him to settle the case without the involvement of authorities, said dalit rights activist Udit Raj.

“In most cases, pressure is put on people of low-caste ancestry to give up the fight against injustice, and eventually dalits are forced to compromise,” he said.

The incident comes after a 70-year-old member of India’s lowest caste and his disabled daughter were set on fire, also in Haryana, in April.

A dalit was lynched on Friday for drawing water from a well in Patna, eastern India, and in January a dalit woman in western Maharashtra was paraded around naked following her marriage to an upper-caste man in two high-profile cases among scores of others across the country, said Raj.

“The mindset of the society is yet to change,” he said. “Dalits are handicapped due to poverty, non-cooperation of police in filing cases, inaction by the government and biased judges.”

Data by the National Crime Records Bureau showed 32,712 cases of crimes perpetrated against India’s lowest caste in 2010.

A recent report by the National Coalition for Strengthening Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes Act found 34,127 cases in 2010 that fall under legislation designed to protect dalits, of which only 11,682 were registered with the authorities.

The report added that police “discourage” dalits from registering cases and the conviction rate remains low.

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