On 20th March 2018, the Supreme Court through a ruling had allegedly diluted the Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989, which protects the marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities.
It had issued a slew of guidelines banning automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 without conducting a preliminary enquiry.
This means that the arrest of an accused under the aforementioned Act is not mandatory and action would take place only after preliminary inquiry and sanction by the competent authority has taken place.
This verdict of the highest court had triggered widespread criticism from the Dalit community which fears that this order will lead to more discrimination and atrocities against the backward communities. Dalit organisations called for a Bharat Bandh today to protest against the alleged dilution of the act.
In support of the ‘bandh’, the All India Students’ Association (AISA) burnt the effigy of the Modi Government in front of the Arts Faculty on Monday. President of AISA (DU unit) Kawalpreet Kaur remarked, “The Modi government is the biggest anti-Dalit government to come to power.”
Speaking to the crowd which had gathered to witness the effigy burning, she asserted, “We know that the Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 was in itself a weak act. Neither was it ever implemented properly. But the new ruling of the Apex Court which dilutes the already weak provisions of the 1989 Act would render the disadvantaged communities completely vulnerable to discrimination and atrocities.”
The protesters raised slogans such as, “Minority Pe Atyachaar Bandh Karo” (Stop atrocities against minorities), “SC-ST Kanoon Mein Badlav Nahi Chalega” (We will not allow changes in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act) and “Modi Sarkar Murdabad” (Down with the Modi government). Members of the AISA also burnt effigies of the government at Aurobindo College, Satyawati College, and Jamia Milia Islamia.
Feature Image Credits: Kawalpreet Kaur
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak