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Victims and Witnesses Strengthening Meeting

Victims &Witnesses strengthening meet for the victims of Ranga Reddy District was organized on 18th June 2016 at Ambedkar Bhavan in Chevella of Ranga Reddy District. 30 victims & witnesses belonging to 18 atrocity caseshave attended the meeting and expressed their agony. The dignitaries on the dais were Sonia Wazeed Programme Officer from CA, Jhansi Geddam National Convener, GDV Prakash National Programme Manager and K Sudhakar National Coordinator of Dalit Sthree Sakthi and the meeting was presided over by B. Bhagya Lakshmi State Coordinator of Telangana.State Coordinator addressing the participants has said about the objective of the conference and it was to instill confidence in the journey to access justice.

The victimsP. Lalitha (cheating in the name of love), Madhavi (sexual harassment & attack), MalaVenkataiah (attack), BegariLatha (cheating), AletiAnitha (rape), N. Chinnamma(gang rape and murder), M. Pavitra (cheating), Nandi Sandhya (cheating), B. Lakshmamma (attack)

Anjaneyulu (mass attack) , M Srikanth (suicide) have narrated the incidents and the pains they underwent while moving from pillar to post i.e., at every stage such as registration of case, medical assistance/tests, arrest of the accused, investigation and compensation. Similarly the harassment they faced from the perpetrators for forcible compromise. They also said that without the support and assistance of DSS they would have not come to this stage.

State Coordinator and the concerned Women Collective members detailed about the gaps/violations case wise, the present status of the case, penal & pecuniary action to be taken by the concerned duty bearers. They also detailed about the lethargic attitude and impunity of the Officials and the lenient attitude towards the perpetrators, etc.

National Convener of DSS responding to the agony of the victims has lamented on the state machinery and the other stake holders for denying justice to the victims. She said that one of the reasons for the atrocities is dalits themselves and some organizations. For instance the dominant communities don’t have any fear of us and commit any sort of crime against dalits and escape easily as they are well aware of the community weaknesses. Most of the dalit men in rural areas scold their wives in abusive language and beat terribly and similarly in intra community violence either sides will be very assertive and violent, whereas when it comes to atrocity, any person belonging to dominant community either scolds the dalits in vulgar language by taking the name of caste or beat them, they have been silent spectators. She also said that we need to be assertive and repurcating in same manner. Hence she has asked the community to think in these lines and develop repurcating strategies. On the other side some organizations are not working for the cause, taking the side of the perpetrators and forcing the victims & witnesses for compromise by luring for money and if they are not yielding for compromise threatening them of dire consequences, thus weakening the community and strengthening the hands of the dominant community and building the confidence levels of perpetrators saying that they can go scot free even after doing heinous crimes against the dalits.

She said that the ‘Peace Committees’formed after the incidents to restore peace in the villages. The peace committees should work continuously to avoid disputes and prevent atrocities. Therefore forming the peace committees after the incident is mere waste and gives an impression among the dalits that peace is required after beating them. We need to be cautious on the role of the peace committees as the perpetrators are using them as the forums for compromise. She said that we had high hopes on the new government formed in Telangana, whereas there is no change and the situation has become still worse. Atrocities have increased, the perpetrators are being let off, the ministers and the leaders belonging to the ruling government are directly intervening for forcible compromise and are even going to a stage of warning the victims of dire consequences. She said the government has failed in curtailing violence against the dalits, which means that the government is not keen in providing protection to the dalits. Concluding her response, the National Convener has assured that DSS will be always with the victims & witnesses until the case reaches to the logical conclusion.

Sonia responding to the victims has expressed grief over the incidents and said that it is great that the victims have stood for justice amidst the distress, dissatisfaction and against all odds. She appreciated the services of DSS and expressed her solidarity.

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