INDIA: Human rights activist facing death threats for working with Dalit and Backward Community
I want to draw your attention to village Belwa under Badagaon Block in district Varanasi of UP, India. There is a serious crisis of rule of law in the village because feudal practices are still going on: which is mockery of democracy in India.
For the last 27 years the dalits and the backward community in Belwa Village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India was not able to cast their vote in any election. The upper caste dominated village in Varanasi District of Utter Pradesh never allowed the lower caste community to enjoy their right to vote. The reasons are manifold. The lower caste and the backward community is a source of free labour and faced all sought of exploitation. The caste Hindus were afraid that if their slaves were allowed to vote, they would capture power, which might eventually put an end to their exploitation.
For the Village Panchayath election, which just concluded on 17 August 2005, Mr. S. N. Giri, an accepted figure and human rights activist working for the dalits and the backward community filed his nomination as a candidate. Mr. Rajendra Tiwari, the former Village Headman who held the post unchallenged for about 25 years immediately realized the threat to his unchallenged power. He had contested the election formerly through his wife when the seat was reserved for a woman candidate. Mr. Tiwari and his men threatened Mr. Giri and told him that if he did not withdraw his nomination he and his colleague Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi of People’s Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR) and their family members would be assassinated.
On receipt of the threat Mr. Lenin of PVCHR contacted the AHRC seeking for help to intervene in the situation. The AHRC immediately issued an Urgent Appeal through its urgent appeals network and also contacted various other local and international organisations, including the UN bodies calling for immediate protection of Mr. Giri and Mr. Lenin. The UN responded through its Special Procedures Branch for Human Rights Defenders. The AHRC also contacted various government bodies and foreign consulates in India seeking support.
Due to the immense pressure from various corners, including from local and international organisations there was a response from the state government. The person who called Mr. Lenin and threatened him was arrested and later released on bail. There was a huge police presence during the immediate days prior to election and during the day of election. The following statement by Mr. Lenin itself would show how elections were held in the past and how it was held on 17 August 2005.
The police did something, which never happened in the past. They came with public address systems and announced at the upper caste Hindu areas that if anyone would create confusion and commotion preventing the dalits and the lower caste from casting their vote they would be immediately taken into custody according to law. Similarly they went to the lower caste houses and announced that they are free to cast their vote and that every protection would be given for them to exercise their right. This continued for two days immediately prior to the election.
The day of poling was interesting. The dalits and the backward community started pouring in from the morning. But initially many stood behind and watched and once they were sure that no one would attack them as in the past they formed long queues and cast their vote. One another interesting element is that the women from the upper caste also came in huge numbers. Probably Mr. Tiwari was convinced that unless he let their women to exercise their right he would fail the election. The District magistrate also came to the place early in the morning and announced that anyone who disrupts the election proceeding would be immediately taken into custody and those who attempt armed attack would be shot.
At about 1 pm some people, whom we suspect are the aides of Mr. Tiwari tried to cast vote on false names and tried playing fraud. To our surprise they were arrested and taken into custody. To my memory, but for this election, never was there an election here, which could be anywhere called as an election. On the election day people employed by the upper caste candidate would come, take all the ballot papers, fix the seal of the candidate of their choice and the put it back in the ballot box and the entire election would be over within a matter of few hours and those who challenged this never could live in Belwa anymore.
But this time it was different. I do not know how to thank all those who made this possible for us. Now the question is to maintain the same calm and peace for the counting, which is coming up next week. I hope things will go smoothly. This is the result of a collective work.
After the instruction of SSP Varanasi a FIR was lodged under section 504,506 IPC of crime number 117/2005 at Phoolpur police station on 7 August 2005 against Mr. Ramashray Singh, but FIR was not registered to commit the offence of making disturbance in election process. It should be noted that FIR under crime no. 117/2005 was registered due to the intervention of AHRC. After issuing action alert by AHRC, many protest letters and email were sent from many corner of the world to NHRC, Chief minister of UP, SSP and DM of Varanasi. One of the protest letters in this respect sent by INSEC, Nepal to NHRC, India was treated as a petition (case no.: 14004/24/05-06/UC) and NHRC issued notice to SSP, Varanasi. Then responding to this SSP, Varanasi appointed to SPRa (Superintendent of Police: rural area) for the in-depth enquiry. On a letter from FIAN international, Chief Minister of UP gave an order to SSP, Varanasi to make an enquiry in this case of death threatening.
The feudal forces or upper caste do not want to loose their hold from village, so they try ruthlessly again and again to capture the power anyhow. They are not habitual to tolerate the equality of dalit and backward communities. You can see that on 14 October 2005 during the next voting for block development committee and district panchayat election. They (upper caste) captured the booth for fake voting, as they were very well aware of my absence from the area during election period. Again by booth capturing and giving threatening to dalit and backwards, they knowingly wanted to demoralize the dalit and backwards community. This is the common practice of upper caste people and feudal forces that they know very well that they can maintain their unequal and exploitative social, economic and political privilege by demoralizing dalit and backwards communities. For that purpose they can make threatening, insulting, luring and even killing.
According to the complaint made by villagers of Belwa to District Magistrate of Varanasi on 14.10.2005 during voting two persons named Guddu Tiwari son of Rajendra Tiwari and Dabloo Singh (Muscle man of Rajendra Tiwari) captured force fully booth number 119,120,121,123 and snatched the voting paper from voters and got it stamped for their own candidate and dropped this fake voting papers in ballot box. Till now neither any action was taken against culprits nor the election was cancelled of above-mentioned booths, because Mr. Aparajita Singh, who is Chief election commissioner of UP, is a resident of same village and he played a biased role in this respect to not cancel the election.
Since 2001 Dalit and backward castes children and their parents have been making demand for opening the primary School in dalit ghetto of Belwa village. On 21 October 2005,children from these communities of Belwa village organized a protest before District Magistrate of Varanasi and submitted a petition for opening of primary school under the fundamental right of education. Recently elected members of Local self-Governance signed petition cum resolution and handed it over to the district magistrate, Varanasi on 1 Dec. 2005. Local Self – Governance (LSG) of UP, India has been set up right from village level to District level consisted of three level bodies. The following members of different level of LSG have signed the resolution for opening the Government Primary School at Badepur of Belwa for children of Dalit and Backward Community. Among the signatories all members of Jila Panchayat and BDC of this area have signed the resolution and eight members out of fifteen of Village Panchayat have also signed the said resolution.
Rajesh Kumar Patel (Member-Jila Panchayat/District Council, ward No. 14),Ajit Kumar Singh (Member –Block development Committee),Dinesh Kumar Patel (Member –Block development Committee),Bali Ram (Member –Block development Committee),Shyam Lal (Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa),Vikrama Prasad (Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa), Tara Devi(Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa) ,Hori Lal(Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa) ,Udal Prasad Verma (Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa),Geeta Devi (Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa) ,Girja Devi (Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa),Kishuna Devi(Member –Village Panchayat,Belwa).
In this respect it should also be taken in to account that aforesaid signatories of resolution have expressed their serious apprehension of death threatening from Mr. Rajendra Tiwari, Village Pradhan (head man).
On 13 December 2005, circle officer (police), Cholapur of Varanasi called for to note down the statements of Lenin, SNGiri and Anupam in the case of death threatening given to Lenin, Anupam and SN Giri. In this respect a letter from office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva signed by three respective official (Letter is attached).
In this whole episode it should be noted that no FIR has yet been lodged against the perpetrators in relation to threatening given to a woman activist Anupam. ( An urgent appeal to this effect is attached).
Therefore it is requested that the rule of law should be established and administration should be made accountable to open school in village Belwa to ensure education for Dalit and backward children.
Hkkjr dk LFkk;h fe’ku] tsusok
PERMANENT MISSION OF INDIA
Pankaj Saran TO THE UNITED NATION OFFICES
Minister (Political) 9, RUE DU VALAIS,
Tel # 0041-22-9068686 1202 GENEVA
Fax # 0041-22-9068696
To: Foreign New Delhi Date: August 17,2005
Rpt: Shri. Kirthy Kumar, Director (HR) MHA, N. Delhi No. of pages: 4
JS (UNES) from Minister (Pol.) Reptd: Director (UNES-II)
Subject: Communication No. G/SO/214 (67-13), G/SO/214 (107-5)
G/SO/214 (78-11) IND 14/2005 dated 16 August 2005 received from
The above mentioned communication (copy attached), jointly signed
by three Special Rapporteurs addressed to EAM, has been received by us yesterday. The case relates to two incidents (on 5 and 10 August 2005) of alleged ill-treatment by high-casts Villagers in District Varanasi (U.P.) to one Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and two of his associates who are stated to be running an NGO for the welfare of Dalits.
2. Grateful for facts for reply.
NATION UNIES UNITED NATIONS
Haut COMMISSARIAT AUX DROITS DE L’HOMME HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Telefax: (41-22)-9179006 Address:
Telegrams: UNATIONS, GENEVE Palaldos Nations
Telex: 41 29 62 CH-1211 GENEVE 10
REFERENCE: UA G/SO 214 (67-13) G/SO 214 (107-5) G/SO 214(78-11)
16 August 2005
We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rappoteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance, Special Rappoteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Representative of the Secretary- General on the situation of human rights defenders pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolutions 2002/68, 2002/48 and 2002/64.
In this connection, we would like to draw the attention of your Government to information we have received concerning Dr. Lenin Raghuvanashi, a Human Rights Defender with the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR), an organization working for Dalit and ‘lower caste’ communities in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, focusing on education for children, including the setting up of a local school, and the right to self determination for these communities members, his associate Mr. S.N. Giri and Ms. Anupam Naghvanshi, field coordinator for PVCHR.
According to the information received, on 5 August 2005, at approximate 8:00 Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi allegedly received a phone-call, on his mobile phone, from a man linked to the village authorities (the identify of whom is known to the Special Representative) demanding that Mr. S.N. Giri withdraw his nomination from an election due to be held in Belwa village on 17 August 2005. Furthermore, on 7 August 2005, at approximately 20:35, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi allegedly received another phone-call from the same person threatening that if his associate did not withdraw his nomination, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, his family and Mr. S.N. Giri would be shot dead. Dr. Lenin recorded the phone conversation and has lodged a complaint with the Senior Superintendent of the Police and District Magistrate. He has reportedly also fixed a complaint to the Chief Minister of the State. Moreover, previously on 26 August 2003, Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi had been arrested and detained for 4 hours for organizing a protest before Sub Divisional Magistrate in Varanasi.
It is reported that on 10 August 2005, at approximate 16:00, Ms. Anupam Naghvanshi, was surrounded by a number of people connected to the village authorities (the identity of whom is known to the Special Representative) who asked her why she was encouraging the Dalits and ‘lower caste’ community to cast their vote in the upcoming election. Ms. Anupam Naghvanshi was allegedly threatened with murder if she returned to Belwa village. Ms. Anupam telephoned the police at approximate 18:00 on 10 August 2005 but no officer was dispatched. She then sent a written complain by registered post to Phoolpur police station. It is reported that no action has been taken in this case by Phoolpur police.
Mr. K. Natwar Singh
The Minister for Foreign Affairs
New Delhi, India
In light of fact that the Belwa village and its surrounding areas are reportedly known for booth capturing and election related fraud, and that during the February 2002 elections, people from these communities were allegedly assaulted when they turned out to vote, these threats could constitute an attempt to intimidate Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Mr. S.N. Giri and Ms. Anupam Naghvashi and prevent them from carrying out their human rights work with the Dalit and ‘lower caste’ in Varanasi.
Without in any way implying and determination on the facts of the case, we would like to refer Your Excellency’s Government to the fundamental principles set forth in the Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom, and in particular article 1 and 2 which state that everyone has the right individually or in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom at the National and International levels” and that “each State has prime responsibility and duty to protect, promote and implement all human rights and fundamental freedom, inter alia, by adopting such step as may be necessary to create all conditions, necessary in the social, economic, political and other fields, as well as the legal guarantees required to ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction, individually and in association with others, are able to enjoy all those rights and freedoms in practice”.
We should like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary steps to secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression of the above mentioned persons, in accordance with fundamental principles as set forth article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reiterated in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right which provide that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right include freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.
Furthermore, we should like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to guarantee the right to equality and non-discrimination of these persons in accordance in article 1 and 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as article 2.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by your country on 10 July 1979, where State undertake to ensure to all individuals within their territory, without discrimination, the rights enunciated in the Convention, including right to vote (article 25 b), and article 2.2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by your country on 10 July 1979, where States undertake to guarantee to all without discrimination the rights enunciated in the convention, including the right to education (article 13).
We urge your Government to take necessary measure to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the aforementioned persons are respected. We also request that your Government adopt effective measure to prevent the recurrence of these acts.
In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial step taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard and rights of above mentioned persons in compliance with the International instruments.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Commission on Human Rights and reinforced by the appropriate resolutions of General Assembly, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Commission, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the fallowing matters, when relevant to the case under consideration.
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of these cases accurate?
2. Has a complained been lodged by or on behalf of the alleged victims?
3. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any investigation and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to this case. If no inquires have taken place or if they have been inconclusive please explain why.
4. In the event that the alleged perpetrators are identified, please provide the full details of any prosecution which have been undertake; Have penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions been imposed on the alleged perpetrators?
We undertake to ensure that your Government’s response to each of these questions is accurately reflected in the reports we will submit to the Commission on Human Rights for its consideration.
Accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration.
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination,
Xenophobia and related intolerance
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of
Opinion and expression
Special representative of the Secretary-General on the situation
Of human rights defenders
UPDATE (India): Another human rights activist threatened for working with Dalits in Uttar Pradesh
UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM
Update on Urgent Appeal
11 August 2005
[UA-138-2005: INDIA: Human rights activist facing death threats for working with Dalit and Backward Community]
UP-95-2005: INDIA: Another human rights activist threatened for working with Dalits in Uttar Pradesh
INDIA: Human rights defenders; Threats and intimidation; Government and police inaction
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you that further threats have been made to a colleague of Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, who we reported on only two days ago as having received death threats (See further UA-138-2005).
The AHRC has confirmed information that further to this earlier threat to Dr. Lenin and his colleague Mr. S. N. Giri, the same people have now threatened Ms. Anupam Nagvanshi, who likewise works in Belwa Village for the dalits and backward people. On 10 August 2005, Ms. Anupam was surrounded by Mr. Ranjendra Thiwari, his son Mr. Gudu Thiwari and their men, while she was talking to the villagers in Belwa. The following is Ms. Anupam’s statement of what happened:
“I work with Dr. Lenin at the PVCHR. Yesterday while I was working with the villagers in Belwa, I was surrounded by Mr. Rajendra Thiwari, his son Mr. Gudu Thiwari and their men. Then Mr. Ranjendra Thiwari asked me why I was telling the daliths and the backward people in the village that they can also cast their vote in the coming election? He further said why I should worry about the local body election in the village and why I should educate the daliths and the backward community in the village? He said that my work and that of my orgnaisation and my colleagues result in loss of free manpower in the village. They said that the daliths and the members of the backward community do not have a right to be educated and to participate in any election.
They threatened me that they would murder me if I ever dared to come to this village and that they are not happy of outsiders like me and my colleagues coming and talking to the daliths and the backward community in Belwa village. I am scared that these people will murder me even if I am not in Belwa village. Later Mr. Baba Singh, the elected Block Development Head came and met me and said that I am like a daughter to her and that I should never enter Belwa village. I said that I would complain to the police regarding all these to which he said that the police and the administration is only to serve Mr. Thiwari and himself and they would not take any action upon my complaint.”
The situation in Belwa and neighbouring villages is such that the might of the upper caste is prevailing over those working for human rights in the area. Human rights activists are fearful for their lives, particularly since the local administration has not yet extended their support in preserving law and order in the region. The immediate retaliation of the caste Hindus with the support of the local civil administration is to suppress any act that might liberate the dalits and backward community from their servitude.
Despite this incident having been brought to the attention of the state and central administration, no action has been taken by the government agencies to safeguard life and preserve law and order in Varanassi and the surrounding villages, where human rights activists are engaged in working with the lower caste community.
In light of this, we request that you write to the relevant authorities listed below seeking their intervention in this case. The state and central government must take immediate action in this case, including affording protection to Ms. Anupam, Dr. Lenin and Mr. S. N. Giri in particular, and human rights activists in general.
INDIA: Human rights activist facing death threats for working with Dalit and Backward Community
URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION URGENT ACTION
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM
9 Aug 2005
UA-138-2005: INDIA: Human rights activist facing death threats for working with Dalit and Backward Community
INDIA: Human rights defenders;
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to bring to your immediate attention the situation faced by Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, a human rights activist working for the Dalits and the backward class in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Dr Lenin and his colleagues have been subjected to death threats from the upper castes to stop working for the dalit and backward classes.
Dr Lenin has been working in Belwa village, largely to provide education to children from the dalit and backward class who have been denied this right by the upper castes. The state government has not provided schooling for this community despite their long-standing demand.
The backward classes and the dalits have also been denied the right to vote. Belwa village and its surrounding areas are known for booth capturing and election related fraud. During the February 2002 election, people from these communities were brutally assaulted when they went to vote. Belwa will hold another election on 17 August 2005. Mr Giri, Dr Lenin's associate has filed his nomination and is expected to be a strong contender due to his popularity amongst the backward community.
On August 5, Mr.Rama Sharay Singh called Dr Lenin on his mobile phone (No: 9415810955) and demanded that Mr. Giri withdraw his nomination. Around the same time, Mr.Giri also received death threats in the village where he was working. Once again, on August 7, Mr Singh called up Dr. Lenin and said that if the nomination was not withdrawn, Mr Giri and his family would be shot dead.
Dr. Lenin recorded the conversation, made copies of it and is now meeting the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr. Brij Bushan and the District Magistrate, Mr. Gokaran to lodge his complaint. Dr. Lenin has also faxed a complaint to the Chief Minister of the state regarding the incident.
In this context, the AHRC requests you to intervene and call upon the Government of India and the State Administration of Uttar Pradesh in particular, to provide full protection to Dr. Lenin, Mr. S. N. Giri and their families. An impartial inquiry into the incident must also be conducted immediately. Please also urge the State Human Rights Commission to conduct an independent inquiry into the incident and make public its report and findings. The district administration should immediately consider the long pending request of the Dalit and backward community of Belwa to open a public school for the children. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Backward Community should also look into the incident, conduct an inquiry into the situation of Dalits and backward community in Uttar Pradesh and recommend effective measures to the State as well as the Central Government in order to put an end to the existing caste based oppression and discrimination. And finally, the State as well as National Election Commission should inquire into the incident and take appropriate action against those who are threatening Mr. S. N. Giri to withdraw his candidature.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Since 2000, Dr. Lenin has been working with the dalits and the backward community in Belwa village, under the jurisdiction of the Phoolpur police station in Varanasi. One of the issues Dr. Lenin focuses on is education for children from the Dalit and backward community and the right to self determination for these community members. Dr. Lenin’s colleague, Mr. S. N. Giri is also involved in this work. Mr. Giri is an accepted person among the Dalits and the backward community in the village.
To provide education to the children from these communities, Dr. Lenin with the help of the benefactor families and with financial assistance from CRY, an international organisation, has started a local school where approximately 200 children receive primary education. It is alleged that the local village head Mr. Ranjedra Thiwari, who has held this position for the last 27 years, is opposed to the presence of this school. Since the post of the village head has been reserved for a woman, Mr. Thiwari’s wife is holding the post. It is also alleged that Mr. Thiwari in the past has publicly declared that the children from the Dalit and backward community do not have a right to education and that no one from this community has the right to cast their vote in any election. Mr. Thiwari comes from the upper Brahmin caste.
It is alleged that owing allegiance to the pressure from the upper caste community, the state government has not provided any school for the lower caste and backward community in this village despite their long pending demand. These children are also not permitted to attend other schools. On 26 August 2003, Dr. Lenin and his colleagues, together with the support from the local lower caste and backward community, organised a protest before the Sub Divisional Magistrate in Varanasi. Dr. Lenin was immediately arrested and detained by the authorities. The Sub Divisional Magistrate also comes from the same caste as Mr. Thiwari. Dr. Lenin was released after four hours of detention following a huge outcry from individuals and groups within the national and international community.
This village and its surrounding places are known for booth capturing and election fraud. In 2001, a people’s tribunal headed by Mr. Justice Sukumaran concluded after a public hearing that there is a clear denial of the right to vote for Dalits and the backward community. The tribunal in its report categorically stated that the police, administration and even the judiciary is biased against the Dalits and the backward community. Belwa was also in the news when there was rampant booth capturing during the 21 February 2002 election in which Mr. Ajay Rai was declared elected to the state legislative assembly. During this election, many people from the Dalit and backward community were brutally assaulted when they came to cast their vote. It is alleged that Mr. Rai is known for his involvement in numerous criminal activities.
Belwa will hold another election on 17 August 2005. Mr. Giri, Dr. Lenin’s associate has filed a nomination from Belwa and it is expected that he will be a strong contender in the election owing to his popularity amongst the poor, Dalits and the backward community. On August 5 at about 8 am, a Mr. Rama Sharay Singh called Dr. Lenin on his mobile phone (number 9415810955) and demanded that Mr. Giri withdraw his nomination. Dr. Lenin responded that to file the nomination and to stand for election is Mr. Giri’s right and that no one can object to that. Around the same time, Mr. Giri also received threats in the village where he was working and therefore immediately went to Dr. Lenin’s office in Varanasi. At about 8.35 p.m. on August 7, Mr. Singh again called Dr. Lenin on the same number and threatened that if Mr. Giri did not withdraw his nomination, Dr. Lenin and his family and Mr. Giri will be shot dead.
This is not the first time that Dr. Lenin and his colleagues have come under the line of fire of the upper castes. On 13 November 2001, Mrs. Durga, an activist associated with Dr. Lenin’s organisation and her husband Mr. Adya Prasad were attacked by Mr. Thiwari and his armed men. A month ago, on October 23, Dr. Lenin and his wife Mrs. Shruti were attacked by Mr. Thiwari’s men for organising an educational campaign. Immediately after the incident, Mr. Thiwari called Dr. Lenin and informed him that he would be murdered along with his family if he continued his work. Mr. Thiwari has also threatened that he would kill Ms. Asha Devi, a teacher in the local school for educating Dalit children.
This incident is yet another glaring example of how the upper caste dominates the lower caste and the backward community in India and exposes the poor defence that the Government of India continues to use when challenged on caste issues.
Varanasi and the surrounding region was, in the past, known for Lord Buddha’s work and his early activities. However, this region is now known for hardcore and often fanatic upper caste Hindu religious activities and propaganda. The region is infamous for upper caste atrocities against the lower and backward castes such as bonded labour, systematic oppression, feudal systems of punishment where the entire village is punished in the most inhuman way for alleged acts of disrespect by the members of lower caste and also for destruction of statues of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in Dalit and backward class villages.
For centuries, education has been denied to the children from the Dalit and the backward community. Even political leaders who have been elected in this region have publicly stated that the children from these communities must not be provided education and members from this community should not be allowed to participate in elections. It is within this environment that Dr. Lenin and his colleagues are working for the Dalits and the backward class.