3 Dalits were set on fire as they slept in their kachhi jhopdi on February 18th. Shockingly despite the enormity of the attack, the incident has received no media coverage outside local district news and has seen little movement. In a moving testament to their courage, Babulal (survivor) and his community people have been on a dharna outside the Collectorate since Feb 27 demanding arrest of the accused. The locals are alleging political pressure to shield the accused from arrest. I wasn’t able to determine if this is true or not but I met with the Collector and the Addl SP (the SP was away) who agreed that there has been undue delay in the case.
On April 14th, the entire media will sing paeans to Dr Bhimrao Amedkar. However despite bringing this incident to the attention of all mainstream papers and channels (local reporter and editors), there’s been no coverage. Regional papers have covered the incident but only in the local district editions. Rajasthan Congress and Sachin Pilot issued two statements, the incident was raised in the Rajasthan Assembly by Govind Singh Dotasara, Congress Whip – yet there’s no coverage. Center for Dalit Rights, PUCL/MKSS and other civil society organizations issued statements but they weren’t covered. One national news channel sent a reporter but no story’s been aired yet. Only one news site (Scroll) has responded with alacrity (news report below). The incident is similar to Mirchpur which many papers put on Page 1 – however despite the remarkable courage and perseverance of this little Dalit group of 30 people sitting on the dharna for the last 40+ days, there have been no arrests or coverage. Some media people have said that the issue is too old now to be newsworthy! No wonder the political class can afford to remain complacent and/or indifferent since the news media has abdicated its primary role of raising public consciousness and being a watch dog on authority. All in all, reflects very poorly on the media and its priorities. Photographs, documents and phone numbers of local contacts below.
CDR Nagaur Statement and Letter to Nagaur Collector
Civil Society Statement on Nagaur Attack
Scroll news report: http://goo.gl/Lgyzo1
Contacts and Documents
Shravan Kataria Meghwal
He’s usually at the dharna and understands the developments. Can coordinate with him
9602244777 / 9001898001
SP Police, Nagaur
9414358460 / 9414006767
Congress President writes to the Prime Minister on the distressing rise in Dalit atrocities and urges him to bring PoA amendments for passage in the coming Monsoon session CP Letter to PM on Dalit Atrocities June 1