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Monday, February 1, 2016

Upper castes commit atrocities, force SCs to commit suicide: P L Punia - INDIAN EXPRESS

He also demanded that Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya should be tried for abetment of suicide.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Published:January 27, 2016 12:38 am

Stating that the Scheduled Castes face all kinds of atrocities by upper castes who drive them to commit suicide, SC Commission chairperson P L Punia has said the only way to improve the condition of the community is through quality education. 

Commenting on the suicide of Dalit Scholar Rohith Vemula, Punia said he had already sought an action taken report from the Telangana administration. He also demanded that Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya should be tried for abetment of suicide.

“This society is represented by the upper castes. They commit atrocities (on SCs). Their behaviour, their treatment…they force them to commit suicide,” he told The Indian Express. “In the last 10 years, 11 students from Hyderabad committed suicide. Besides, you find such suicides at AIIMs, IIT-Kanpur,” he said, asking why only Dalits commit suicide.

Demanding action against Dattatreya, he said the SC students of Hyderabad Central University “were suspended under political pressure from ABVP, supported by Mr Dattatreya”.

“I don’t agree with his statement that he just forwarded the letter he had received. He wrote that the Hyderabad university campus had become a den of casteist, extremist and anti-national activities. He also complained to the HRD ministry, which wrote four successive letters to the university,” said the SC panel chief.

Punia, who visited Hyderabad a day after the incident, has sought prompt investigation of the FIR against Dattatreya, V-C and three others. “Besides abetment to suicide, the FIR also has charges under SC/ST Act,” he said, that this “investigation should be over within 30 days”.

Pointing at Dattatreya’s letter in which he termed activities of ASA anti-national, Punia said: “See the mindset, the mentality. This government has an agenda which is not supportive of SC/ST.”

Noting that SCs have little land or business, he said: “The only avenue for them is to educate themselves and try for government jobs, where there is a reservation. What do they do? They are treated as second rate citizens. They (upper castes) treat them shabbily, like animals,” he said.
He pointed out that lack of education is the biggest problem faced by the community. “Baba Saheb (Ambedkar) said educate, organise and then agitate,” Punia said, adding that “less than 4 four per cent of the total SC population complete their graduation”.

“There is a sudden drop in the dropout ratio as you go from secondary to higher education. There is a gap of 9 per cent between total literary and literacy among SCs. SC woman literacy rate is around 59 per cent, in some districts less than 20 per cent.”
He said that the caste divide will end only when there is a “concerted effort, which is missing now”.

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