According to the HRW report, approximately 44 people have been killed by extremist cow protection vigilante groups. In many instances, the lynch mobs have received the protection of right-wing Hindu local politicians while law enforcement agencies have turned a blind eye. The HRW report claims: “Between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people—36 of them Muslims—were killed across 12 Indian states. Over that same period, around 280 people were injured in over 100 different incidents across 20 states”.
The term Dalit cannot die with one circular. It is an evolution of identity out of years of sufferance. No matter how hard the government tries to snap the associations of all suppressed classes, it will only emerge out louder, stronger and clearer.
The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by a social activist and practising lawyer from Sambalpur district of Odisha, Mohammed Mustaq Ansari. In his petition, he highlighted the practice of ostracism/social boycott in the state of Odisha and pointed out the blatant failure of State mechanisms in wiping out the inhumane practice.
In January this year, a plea was filed in the Delhi High Court by one such inmate, Rajeev Kumar, seeking rehabilitation of the leprosy patients rendered homeless after its August judgment. Post the judgment, Kumar, along with 40 other inmates, was back to begging on the road. A week later, the Court granted the inmates temporary relief by ordering the Delhi government to accommodate everyone back in the premises of the HLTB. However, the inmates say that nothing has happened till now.
The question arises whether the rationale behind prohibiting manual scavenging under the Act of 2013 and then permitting the same under the garb of providing protective gears as per Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers Rehabilitation Rules, 2013, yet again amounts to colourable legislation. We need to ask why the actual number of direct and incidental deaths arising out of manual scavenging in the last 26 years have not been brought to light? Are we inching towards a society with a notional belief that rights and justice devolve not as a birthright but depend on the socio-economic status?