• Rajasthan

    1. Overview.. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces. 2
    3. Violations of the rights of the Dalits. 3
    a. Violence against Dalit women. 4

    1. Overview

    Ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rajasthan continued to witness serious violations of the rights of the Dalits and the tribals. According to the State Government, 2,941 cases of atrocity against the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 719 cases of atrocity against the Scheduled Tribes (STs) were registered during 2006. However, the State Government even failed to fully utilize the Central grants of Rs. 2 crores in 2005 and Rs. 2.10 crores in 2006 for taking measures to prevent atrocities against the STs and the SCs.[1]

    There were reports of violation of the right to life by the police in custody and extrajudicial executions in indiscriminate firing.

    There were also reports of arbitrary arrest and detention. According to Param Navdeep Singh, the spokesperson of Pradesh Congress Committee, 39 Adivasis were arrested in Dungarpur and 25 others were arrested in Simalwara on 26 April 2006 when they tried to protest peacefully against the non-fulfillment of promises made by the BJP in its election manifesto.[2]

    Dalit and tribal women suffered from atrocities. On the night of 22 June 2006, a tribal woman was allegedly gang raped at gun point by two persons identified as Kanhia and Chintamani in the presence of her husband at her house at Bindayka village under Jhalawar district. The men also torched their hut.[3]

    The girl inmates in children homes were vulnerable to sexual abuse. In July 2006, the National Commission for Women sought a report from the Rajasthan Government on the alleged attempt at molestation of girls and the police harassment of the inmates at the Emmanuel Mission-run orphanage in Kota being run in the first week of July 2006.[4]

    The judiciary suffered from the lack of adequate judges. By the end of December 2006, there were 9 vacancies in the Rajasthan High Court while there were 116 vacancies in the District and Subordinate Courts as on 30 September 2006. There were huge backlog cases. As many as 2,09,592 cases were pending with the High Court and a total of 10,56,964 cases were pending with the District and Subordinate Courts as on 30 September 2006.[5]

    The fears of the minorities aggravated after adoption of the “Rajasthan Dharma Swatantraya Bill, 2006” (Religious Freedom Bill) on 7 April 2006. The Bill has a provision for re-conversion to Hinduism.[6]

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    The security forces especially the police were responsible for violation of the right to life. Custodial killing continued to occur. According to a report on the status of human rights in Rajasthan prepared by two NGOs — Pairvi and Development Coordination Network Committee Trust, 218 cases of custodial deaths had taken place in the State between 2001 and 2005.[7]

    On 27 September 2006, Shyamul Biswas from Krishnagar district in West Bengal allegedly died of torture at Ashok Nagar police station in Jaipur city. He had been on seven day's police remand since 22 September 2006. His body had bloodstains and marks of injuries in the face and swelling in the genetalia.[8] Police claimed that the deceased committed suicide. Constable Harish Kumar was suspended, while Duty Officer Sanwalram and Head Constable Lalchand were sent to the Police Lines in connection with the incident.[9]

    Earlier, on 1 June 2006, a Dalit woman identified as Kamla allegedly died of torture in police custody at Chomu in Jaipur district after she was brought to the police station to meet her son Amit who was in police custody on a charge of murder.[10] The police allegedly did not register the First Information Report lodged by the deceased's son.[11]

    There were deaths in judicial custody too. In October 2006, Hans Raj, a student and resident of Basokala village in Swaimadhopur district, allegedly poisoned to death in jail after he was arrested in connection with a theft case. The forensic report revealed that he died of poisoning. The State Government removed 25 policemen in the custodial death and a judicial inquiry was ordered.[12]

    Earlier, on 11 September 2006 Junej, a Pakistani prisoner, who was admitted to the mental hospital in Jaipur, had allegedly died in custody.[13] But no inquiry was ordered.

    Police brutally enforced the law. On 24 October 2006, Chanduram Jat, a farmer from Ten LM village in Ghadsana area, reportedly died of injuries sustained during police baton-charge on agitating farmers who were demanding adequate water to irrigate crops at Ghadsana in Sriganganagar district on 16 October 2006.[14]

    There was also allegations of fake encounters. In October 2006, one Dhara Singh was killed by police in an alleged fake encounter in Jaipur.[15]

    3. Violations of the rights of the Dalits

    The Dalits faced serious human rights violations including torture and rape. Denial of access to public places was reported widely. Major areas of violations of human rights of the Dalits in Rajasthan included: not allowing Dalit grooms to ride on horses in their marriage processions; denial to sit on cots in villages; denial to drink water from hand pumps or draw water from community tanks; harassment of Dalit women at work, etc.[16]

    According to the State Government, the number of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes was 2,941, while the number was 719 for Scheduled Tribes during 2006. However, the Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR) disputed the government figures and claimed that the actual number of atrocities against Dalits was much higher with the majority of cases not registered by the police. Even the registered cases were weakened by poor investigations and defective prosecution in courts. The state government even failed to fully utilize the Central grants of Rs. 2 crores in 2005 and Rs. 2.10 crores in 2006 for taking measures to prevent atrocities.[17]

    Dalit bridegrooms riding on horses were targeted and faced social boycott for daring to seek police help. On 19 May 2006, Mangilal Nayak of Samsia village under Kotri police station in Bhilwara district was beaten up by upper caste people when his grandson rode a horse in his marriage procession. On 28 April 2006, a Dalit bridegroom was unseated from his horse and the members of the wedding procession were beaten up in Pakhand village in Rajsamand district. Similarly, on 14 May 2006, upper caste people attacked a marriage party and unseated the bridegrooms riding horses at Akoda village under Hindoli police station in Bundi district.[18] The Dalits were denied provisions from shops and access to water from common sources in Udaipur district.[19]

    The Dalits were not allowed to enjoy their democratic rights even after being elected to public offices. According to the Centre for Dalit Rights, a Dalit sarpanch identified as Dhapa of Bewai village under Dausa district was not allowed to hoist the National Flag by upper caste people on 15 August 2006 during the Independence Day celebration.[20]

    Instead, the Dalit elected leaders were prone to violence. Sumitra Devi, female Sarpanch (village head) of Jankidalwala village in Sriganganagar district, in her complaint to the police alleged that she was abducted by a group of about 12 upper caste people led by former sarpanch Girdhari Lal and taken to a field where she was tortured and her clothes tore off after tying her to a tree in September 2006.[21]

    On 2 October 2006, a Dalit priest, Hajari Balai of Goddess Chanunda temple at Sulia village in Bhilwara district was allegedly beaten up by members of the Gujjar community.[22]

    Even children were not spared. On 20 September 2006, a 15-year-old Nemaram, a Dalit, was abducted by influential people and was allegedly tortured for three days at Beetan village in Nagaur district as he refused to confess to a theft case. He was allegedly forced to drink urine when pleaded for water, and chilly was put into his anus.[23]

    Upper caste persons forcibly grabbed the lands belonging to the Dalits. Such cases were said to be maximum in Jodhpur district. The State Government reportedly launched a drive in September 2006. According to Centre for Dalit Rights, land issues accounted for as many as 238 out of the total of 863 cases registered in Rajasthan during the past two-and-a-half years.[24]

    a. Violence against Dalit women

    Dalit women were specially targeted and they often became victims of sexual abuse. In 2005, the National Crime Records Bureau recorded 136 cases of rape of Dalit women in the State.

    In October 2006, a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped by three people identified as Banwari Jat, Mahipal Jat and Rajesh Jat in the presence of her brother while they were waiting at the bus stand in Karad village of Sikar district. The police arrested all the three accused.[25]

    On the night of 17 November 2006, a Dalit woman was allegedly raped by one Vinay Pratap Singh at her house in presence of her husband and children at Pratap Nagar in Jaipur. The police arrested the accused.[26]

    On the night of 16 November 2006, a Dalit girl of Class 9th standard was allegedly gang raped by two youths in Ajmer. A medical report confirmed rape and the police arrested one of the accused.[27]

    [1]. Dalits dispute Minister's claim, The Hindu, 17 December 2006 

    [2]. I am on fact-finding mission, says Raje, The Hindu, 27 April 2006

    [3]. Rajasthan woman raped at gunpoint, The Asian Age, 26 June 2006

    [4]. NCW seeks report on orphanage issue, The Hindu, 13 July 2006

    [5]. Court News, October-December 2006, The Supreme Court of India

    [6]. Rajasthan passes Anti-conversion Bill, The Hindu, 8 April 2006 

    [7]. Civil liberty a `severe casualty' in Rajasthan, 218 cases of custodial deaths in five years, The Hindu, 11 September 2006

    [8]. Custody death: Action sought against cops, The Hindu, 30 September 2006

    [9]. A case of suicide, say police, The Hindu, 30 September 2006 

    [10]. Death in police station, probe sought, The Hindu, 5 June 2006

    [11]. Cong demands action in Dalit woman's custodial death case, The Kashmir Times, 15 June 2006

    [12]. 25 policemen punished for custody death, The Hindustan Times, 4 December 2006 

    [13]. Custody death: Action sought against cops, The Hindu, 30 September 2006

    [14]. Rajasthan town is tense after death of a farmer, The Asian Age, 26 October 2006 

    [15]. Tension in 2 towns over farmer death, The Telegraph, 27 October 2006

    [16]. Dalits resolve to reclaim land, The Hindu, 26 October 2006

    [17]. Dalits dispute Minister's claim, The Hindu, 17 December 2006 

    [18]. Dalit grooms on horses are stoned, The Asian Age, 31 May 2006

    [19]. Dalits in Udaipur district face social boycott, The Asian Age, 9 June 2006

    [20]. Female sarpanch assaulted by upper caste men, The Asian Age, 20 September 2006

    [21]. Female sarpanch assaulted by upper caste men, The Asian Age, 20 September 2006 

    [22]. Minister, dalits enter temple in Rajasthan, The Asian Age, 27 November 2006 

    [23]. Dalit boy is forced to drink urine, The Asian Age, 28 October 2006

    [24]. Dalits resolve to reclaim land, The Hindu, 26 October 2006 

    [25]. Dalit girl raped in district, The Asian Age, 14 October 2006

    [26]. Dalit woman raped in Jaipur, The Asian Age, 20 November 2006 

    [27]. Dalit woman raped in Jaipur, The Asian Age, 20 November 2006

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