NEW DELHI: A crime is committed against Dalits every 15 minutes in India. And six Dalit women are raped every day, according to official statistics that register a 66% hike in atrocities in the past ten years 2007-2017. The situation has worsened, with a further spike in anti-Dalit violence, over the past four years.

The timeline for 2017 till date is a matter of shame for democratic India that has still not come to terms with its repressive caste system:

May 5- Mass attack on Dalits in Shabbipur village, Saharanpur. 1 person killed and 15 people injured in clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs.

May 7- Dalit groom allegedly beaten up for "daring" to take a decorated car to his wedding venue, in Chhatarpur District, Madhya Pradesh. The groom and 6 others of the wedding party were thrashed.

May 2017- People belonging to Scheduled Castes in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar District given soap and shampoo by the local administration to clean themselves ahead of a visit by CM Yogi Adityanath.

July 3 2017- 31 Dalit activists who had called a press conference in Lucknow to talk about past atrocities against Dalits arrested- as they had planned to march later towards Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's house - which then did not have permission for.

July- Maharashtra's Marathwada district- Dalits denied dignity even in death - no place given for cremation and burial grounds- on account of failure of the state government.

July 2 – A report by National Commision for Scheduled Castes reported that atrocities against Dalits have been on the rise in Kerala. 883 cases of atrocities between June 2016 and April 2017

September 25 - Piyush Parmar, 25 years old, allegedly thrashed by the members of the Rajput community - Gujarat

September 29- Krunal Magheria, 30 years old, thrashed for sporting a moustache in a Gujarat village.

September 30- 5 Dalits assaulted in a Vijaya Dashami procession in Belur Taluk, Karnataka

October 1- 21 year old Dalit man allegedly beaten to death by a group of men belonging to the upper caste Patel community for attending a garba event

October 3- 17 year old Dighant Magheria attacked by two bike borne men in a Gujarat village who slashed his back with a blade.

Broad trends:

Over the last ten years (2007-2017), there has been a 66% growth in crimes against Dalits. Further, data from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) shows that the rape of Dalit women has doubled in the last 10 years.

(Source: India Exclusion Report 2013-14)

In 2006 the total number of crimes against dalits was 27,070, which became 33,719 in 2011. While in the period 2008 to 2012, the figures were mostly static -in the last five years (2013-2017) nearly 33,659 average number of cases of crime against dalits were registered.

Among last 10 years, this number is highest in 2014, which is nearly 47,064 followed by 2015 and 2013. According to the data, in every 15 minutes one crime against dalit takes place in India. Clearly such a statistic indicates that the change in government has not contributed to a decline in Dalit atrocities. Furthermore, the figures are on the rise.

(Source: National Crime Records Bureau 2014)

Crimes against Dalits rise by 19% in 2014 on top of a 17% rise in 2013. To illustrate further, in 2014 - 744 Dalits murdered and in 2013- 676 Dalits were murdered. Rates of crimes against Dalits have surpassed the national average in as many as 10 states in 2013 and 2014.

Data from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) shows that the rape of Dalit women has doubled in the last 10 years. According to the NCRB data from 2015, every day, six dalit women are raped in India. This is starkly different from 2006 when nearly three rapes of dalit women were registered a day. This shows that in last 10 years rape of dalit women doubled.

Further, it is important to remember that these figures should not be taken at face value. The number of cases registered is but a fraction of actual number of crimes that take place. In many instances, these crimes do not get reported due to non cooperative police and judicial machinery, shame and social stigma, and the fear of retaliation by the upper castes.

(Source: The Hindu)

In terms of atrocities against Dalits, Uttar Pradesh is in the lead, accounting for 17% of the crimes against the 20% of India’s Dalit population that it houses. In Rajasthan, more than half of the total crimes in the state have a Dalit victim. Bihar too has abysmal record, where 2 out of every 5 crimes committed are targeted towards Dalits.

The numbers reveal a mindset that is deeply entrenched in the caste system; a mindset revels in a sense of superiority arbitrarily granted at birth. They reveal an India that remains deeply regressive in is thinking and capable of unthinkable acts of barbarism and savagery. To these figures and to the countless other unreported stories of torture and oppression faced by the Dalits on a regular basis, it is difficult to reconcile the image of India as a progressive nation that sends satellites to space and engineers bullet trains. So much for unity in diversity.

(Cover Photograph: Dalits being beaten for skinning cow carcass in Una, Gujarat last year)