A heap of mud | Day-24 | Women’s Day Month Series

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According to the 2011 census, 16.68% is dalit women population out of 58.7 crore women population in India. Dalit women are subjected to a threefold dicrimination- Gender, Caste and Class, which means they placed the lowest in the social hierarchy. Most dalit women are married off as child brides, over burdened with too many number of child births and suffer with vitamin deficiences. They are mostly landless wage labourers. They work on lease on lands of rich landlords. They are often sexually exploited by landlords. The irony here is dalits are treated as untouchables, considered as impure. The Manusmriti, an ancient legal text deams killing a dalit woman is not a very serious crime. According to the census report 2011, on studying a sample of 500 dalit women, it was evident that they are subjected to violence in different forms- physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, domestic violence, dowry harrassment, rape, assault, public shaming, naked parading and even burning alive. The perpetrators are higher caste males, husbands and their relatives and most unfortunately even state actors such as the police. Dalit women approaching police for help ends them in unspeakable human rights violations in the police station. A dalit woman who owns a land is forced to give it up, those who refuse to work in the fields of big landlords are kidnapped, raped and subjected to forced bonded labour. They are not allowed to access water from wells present in non dalit areas, if they do, they are attacked. At the panchayat level 33% seats are reserved for women, but they end up being only proxy while their husbands take over power. They are not allowed to sit on the chair or raise their voice. Their lives are most unfair.

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