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Will there be any end to caste violence?

The gruesome murder of P Pranay Kumar who was hacked to death in front of his pregnant wife Amrutha Varshini in Nalgonda district, Telangana, raises questions about the caste-based discrimination and violence prevalent in India. Even though 71 years have passed ever since India has gained independence but the country is yet to get rid of the decade-old caste system. Pranay Kumar’s death had grabbed headlines in the media and a bandh was also called to protest against the incident on Saturday by the Dalit groups.

AAP spokesperson Shyam Sonar said, “The main thought behind honour killing is caste supremacy. Such incidents are contradictory against the Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution specifies equality in the society and regards the mutual concern of the adult couple. Such cases generally happen in the northern belt of India but it is now happening in the southern states too.”

“Caste system exists in the conscious and sub-conscious mind of people. So, when it comes to marriage, it becomes a big barrier. Such incidents create caste hierarchy in the system. Our social system, judicial, and government administration should take serious note of such incidents for bringing change in our society,” he added.

Discussions were held in media and netizens condemned the incident on the social media. However, after a few days, everything will be forgotten and it will be business as usual. Violence against the Dalits has been rising in India over the last few years but no action has been taken by the government to prevent these incidents. Whenever attacks against Dalits happen, huge hue and cry are raised by the politicians as they try to derive mileage out of these incidents.

BJP leader Shivray Kulkarni said, “For eradication of caste rivalry, there is a need to promote inter-caste marriages in the country. Whosoever wants reforms in our society should come forward to bring socio changes for promoting equality. The adult couples, who have mutual feelings for each other, are eligible to marry without being worried about the stringent rules of the society. Caste violence, corruption, domination of supremacy are the thoughts that come forward when concerned people do not follow principles, regulations, laws, and articles of the Constitution. Irrespective of whichever government at the centre, it is necessary to bring reforms and change people’s mentality towards the caste system.”

Opposition parties come forward to attack the government and blame them for the violence against lower castes and break down in law and order system. Everyone is trying to gain mileage out of this issue but nobody is really bothered to resolve the problems faced by lower castes. The government has always considered lower castes as vote banks and has failed to work for their development. BJP had coined the slogan ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ while campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Dalits had huge expectations from BJP and voted for it but no steps have been taken by the government to bring Dalits out of their economic deprivation. Will politicians ever try to eliminate the caste system or politicise this issue for narrow political gains? The caste system is a major hindrance for India’s economic and social development.

Congress MLC Anant Gadgil said, “It is necessary to provide guidance and counselling to change people’s mentality. There is a need to generate awareness to eradicate caste inequality and stop discrimination. Rajdeep Sardesai had written a book where he has mentioned about my father who had gone to Bihar as a party observer during the election. When he returned, people asked him about the difference between Bihar and India. He replied that we say cast your vote in entire India but in Bihar, it is to vote your caste. This sentence specifies everything.”

Pranay had got married to Amrutha Varshini six months ago despite facing stiff opposition from the latter’s parents. The couple was in love since their school days. Ever since Pranay had got married to Amrutha, he was facing threats to his life. Police have arrested Amrutha’s father Maruthi Rao, his brother Shravan Kumar, and three others. Maruthi Rao allegedly paid Rs 10 lakh to the hired killer. Rao informed the police that honour is more important for him than his daughter. Amrutha has refused to return to her house and said that she will stay with Pranay’s parents. Murder in the name of caste has shocked the state and Dalit activists have condemned the incident. A similar incident had occurred in Tamil Nadu in 2016 when 22-year-old Sankar was hacked to death in front of his wife Kaushalya. The girl’s father and other relatives were convicted in the case.

Bhim Army spokesperson Vijay Kamble said, “Modern generation needs to understand about the impact of globalisation. Caste violence is all about caste supremacy. When an upper caste boy gets married to a lower caste girl then nobody raises any objection but when an upper caste girl marries a lower caste boy then they have to face opposition from the society. This only exposes the double standards of the society. Unless and until we don’t restore communal harmony, such incidents will occur. Politicians don’t want to abolish the caste system as if it gets eradicated, then the focus will be on financial inequality and people will start agitation against it. So no one wants to remove the caste system.”

 

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