Editor's note: Elections to the Karnataka Assembly are scheduled for 12 May and they come at a time when caste is a major topic of debate across the country. The following is the third of a five-part series on prominent Dalit activists who have a deep influence on the politics of the state. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 4 and Part 5 of the series.
After a Supreme Court ruling diluted stringent provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to protect people, including public officials and private individuals, from immediate arrest, minority organisations across the country hit the streets in protest. Nine people lost their lives in protests that erupted immediately after the Supreme Court order. With Karnataka elections scheduled for 12 May, the issue of Dalit rights has taken prominence among all political parties.
Indudhara Honnapura, the first editor of Shoshita, a magazine dedicated to Dalit issues, which led to the foundation of Panchanama, providing an intellectual base for the formation of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS), says that people from the Dalit community should support any political party that is not linked to or is a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Honnapura, who also founded the magazine Samvaada in 2002 as a forum for intellectual debates and currently serves as its editor, feels that the only way to uphold Dalit rights is by having a secular party in power, “and that is definitely not the BJP”.
Talking about the Supreme Court’s justification of its ruling on the SC/ST (POA) Act, Honnapura pointed out that almost every act is misused in some way or the other in this country and that it is a lack of proper implementation of laws and a proper mechanism to monitor it that leads to its misuse.
In an interview with Firstpost, the Dalit activist lamented at an ‘uncivilised’ structure in which he feels the country is growing. Honnapura feels that the BJP’s ascent to power has turned religion into a political tool for organised crime. He laments at the lack of conviction in cases registered under the SC/ST (POA) Act and talks about what can be done to change the situation.
The Video was created by Swetha Gowda. The authors are members of The NewsCart, a Bengaluru-based media startup.
Updated Date: Apr 28, 2018 16:30 PM