ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Apathy and the Atrocities Act

Confronting Casteism?

Legislation against discrimination like the Prevention of Atrocities Act can be as much a starting point as an outcome of campaigns against discrimination. A comment in the context of the acquittal of the convicted in the Laxmanpur Bathe and Bathani Tola cases.

In a recent issue of EPW, Kavita Krishnan (“Battle for Justice and Democracy: Laxmanpur-Bathe”, 16 November 2013: 12) argued that “the quest of the people of Bathe and Bathani for justice is an integral part of their broader struggle for social dignity and real democracy, and of their resistance to the forces of feudal and communal fascism”. Her voice was added to that of countless others seeking justice for the victims of the massacre. As the recent acquittal of those charged with the Bathani Tola massacre demonstrates, however, such justice often proves elusive.

Each incident of this nature invariably prompts much hand-wringing and many outcries of anguish, before it is inevitably displaced in the media news-cycle and gradually disappears off the agenda. The media thrives on spectacle and is not ideally suited to conducting long-drawn-out campaigns. In what follows, therefore, we reflect back on another massacre perpetrated against dalits and ask whether there are any lessons that might be learned from this case.

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