India

Lakshmipet Riots Against Dalits

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

Lakshmipet riots in Andhra Pradesh last month against Dalits resulted in five deaths and more than two dozen were injured. Unresolved land disputes led this to riots on 12 June morning when more than 100 people attacked the dalits of the Lakshmipet village of Srikakulum district. Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) of Andhra Pradesh has termed it as the result of Vote Bank Politics and CLMC asserts that due to strong Political background of BC Community, government has failed to take firm action against the criminals.

 

The CLMC press release is reproduced below

Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee expresses its deep anguish, grief and sorrow on the massacre of Dalits at Lakshmipet village of Vangara Mandal in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, India.  This committee states that this heinous crime is nothing but a crime against humanity. This committee also condemns the government stepmother attitude towards the Dalit community and also the Dalit political class who failed to protect their own community and neglected to restore the self respect of their community.

This incident is another blot on the face of Indian society where six people were brutally killed, 50 seriously injured in a planned attack by the strong BC community known as Kapu with the help of political leaders belonging to that district. It is a matter of concern that the APCC president and Minister Botsa Satyanarayana who belongs to the Kapu community, instead of protecting the dalits, provided the shelter and all kinds of support to the mass murderers. State and all the political parties are trying hard somehow to shield this incident due to involvement of BC community in this massacre. It is an open fact that major population of BC community is in the Hindutva fold and leading the Hindutva fascism. They have strong political force and deciding factor in state political affairs. Because of this, no political party is serious about this incident. It should also be noted that in this state BCs comprise of more than 50% of the population. So, for the sake of vote bank political benefits, this case is not given such attention as was in the case of Karamchedu and Chunduru. The government, all the political parties, leaders are not honest, they are looking at their larger interest, which is vote bank of BCs. Whatever the political parties are doing is nothing but eyewash only. It is high time for the dalit community to rethink on who their friends are and who their enemies are!

This incident was conspired in a well planned manner to take the revenge on the dalits, by taking into confidence the police officials, revenue officials and politicians. This heinous crime was done in the early hours of 12th June 2012, when the by-elections were going on. Hundreds of men and women of Kapu community from Lakshmipet village and other surrounding villages, along with dreaded weapons moved towards the dalit locality and started attacking one family after the other. While attacking they were saying that, ‘how dare you people register cases against us’, ‘you people want land, we will give you death’ and they were also saying, ‘killing one or killing many, the punishment is the same, no one can dare to take any action against us’. Even the Kapu women called the dalit women as prostitutes and said, ‘why didn’t you stop your men not to go against our men’.

This attack is not the sudden attack; in fact this was going on since two years in one or the other way. Some of the dalits even sensed that there would be major attack on them by the Kapus, so they had informed the revenue officials as well as police officials. Even after knowing very well about the possibility of the attack, and while the dalits were attacked, police officials did not provide any help and reached at the place of incident only after three hours; meanwhile the whole conspiracy was completed by the attackers.

This village was earlier on the banks of Swarnamukhi River, a dam was built there and this village was re-established besides the dam. 30 years back, dalits were given 20 acres of land under the Indiramma scheme. During the construction of dam, the land was taken by the government by paying meager compensation to the dalits and a good amount of compensation was paid to the Kapus. With this amount Kapus bought lands and built houses. But Dalits were given lands by the government. So there is only a lane difference between the Kapus and Dalits locality. There was also the land that does not belong to anyone, which was used by the Dalits for agriculture purpose. The Kapus were claiming this land. So, the reason for the clash is that the landless who earlier worked under the Kapu community now became the owners of the land, and this was not tolerated by the Kapu community. They were unable to digest as to how the agricultural labourer can become the owner of the land.

With this incident, we can say that Dalits are still not given the status of human beings. Under these circumstances they do not have any human rights. In this era of 21st century, where Human rights is the matter of universal issue, the dalits don’t have any right even the right to land and shelter. This reflects how the Indian society is behaving with the dalits even after the rights guaranteed by the fundamental rights and fundamental duties in the constitution of India. If justice has to be done to dalits, they first have to consider as human beings and their identity should be protected.

Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee appeals to the civil society all over the world, to protect the human rights and civil liberties of the dalit community and protect their identity as well. We appeal everyone to pressurize the Indian government to restore the right to life with human dignity of Dalit community. We demand Indian government to take firm action against the politically strong BC community people who are involved in the massacre of dalits. We demand the Chief Minister of AP to act decisively and should not compromise with the vote bank politics of the BC community. If the inaction continues the oppressed dalit community may resist in such a manner that may lead this country into a civil war like situation, we also demand Indian government to work honestly and see that no such incident takes place in future.

If such an incident had taken place at some other state, the government would have resigned taking moral responsibility. But, it is a matter of shame that, in the incident of Lakshmipet massacre, neither the AP government has taken moral responsibility nor a single minister has resigned. The government is not conducting free and fair investigation by an independent agency like CBI. This attitude of the government reflects the weakness of the people’s movement, who failed to pressurize the government. This committee believes that this act is crime against humanity and the criminals should be prosecuted accordingly.

CLMC pay homage to Dalit people who sacrificed their lives by resisting Hindutva caste hegemony. At this high time CLMC express its solidarity with Dalit community and appeal them to fight and liberate themselves from the clutches of Hindutva fascism and protect their identity.

Lateef Mohammed Khan

Gen. Secretary

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