In yet another brutal assault, hundreds of Dalit homes were burnt down in Nawada, Bihar. Around 150 homes were destroyed. This brazen attack comes close on the heels of weeks and months of threats, intimidation and attacks on this Dalit settlement.
In the Kajhiya village of Akbarpur block in Nawada, for years Dalits have been demanding their rights for lands and homesteads. They have been asking that the gair mazuarwa (common) land be distributed to the poor and the underprivileged so that they can build they homes on them. For the past one and half years, ever since Dalits built their homes on the common land, they have been facing the brunt of feudal assaults. Time and again, landed dominant castes have attacked the settlement, with the local administration taking absolutely no action. This inaction clearly emboldened the perpetrators, culminating in the latest act of arson burning down the entire settlement.
Feudal casteist attacks have been on the rise in Bihar for quite some time now, encouraged by the lackadaisical and indulgent role of the state administration. Recently, in the Baruhi village of Bhojpur, goons belonging to the Ranveer Sena shot at and killed Rajendra Mahato – a leader of farmers’ movements.
In Siwan, CPI(ML) leader Sanjay Chaurasia, who was a CPI(ML) candidate in the local panchayat elections, was killed. Yet, despite all these assaults, the perpetrators of violence are yet to be booked.
Across the country, such incidents of feudal and casteist violence continue unabated. In Madhya Pradesh a young student was not allowed to drink water from the common tap. Every single day, there is violence and discrimination.
As we in JNU fight a pitched battle against the saffron emergency in educational institutions, let us reiterate our resolve to expose and resist every single incident of institutionalised discrimination and violence. Let us say a firm NO: No to more Gohanas, more Nawadas, more deaths of Rohith Vemula.