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  • Rajasthan

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Human rights violations by the security forces 2
    3. Violence against women. 3
    4. Violations of the rights of the Dalits 4
    Caste-based discrimination: 4
    Violence against Dalit women: 5
    5. Violations of the rights of indigenous/tribal peoples 5


     1. Overview

    Ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajasthan faced no internal armed conflicts but witnessed gross human rights violations by the law enforcement personnel during 2005.

    Killings by disproportionate use of firearms were commonplace. At least five farmers including a pregnant woman[1] were killed and about 12 others were injured after the police fired at a gathering of farmers who turned violent while agitating for irrigation water at Pipli village, 60 km from Jaipur on 13 June 2005.[2] On 6 June 2005, a 14-year-old Devendra Gujjar of Gangri village was killed outside the Kanchanpur police station in Dholpur district when police opened 14 rounds of fire to disperse an angry mob of about 700-800 persons protesting against the death of a person in police custody.[3]

    In a rarest case, on 21 December 2005, Additional District Judge Mr Chandra Sekhar Sharma of Fast Track Court, Barmer awarded life sentence to constable Kishore Singh and 10 and 5 years' rigorous imprisonment respectively to Assistant Sub-Inspector Sumer Dan and Sohan Singh, then SHO of the Barmer police station for severing the private part of Jugta Ram, an employee in a local shop in Barmer and subjecting him to torture under illegal custody.[4]

    While women continued to be victims of sexual abuse by the police, other forms of societal cruelties including witch killing were reported in 2005. The State government owned Rajasthan Tourism Development patronized the evil practice of Sati. In its latest guidebook titled “Popular Deities of Rajasthan” released on 30 May 2005, Rajasthan Tourism Development glorified Sati and described Rajasthan as “best-known for various Sati Matas”.[5]

    The conditions of Dalits remained deplorable. Accountability for violations of the rights of the Dalits was seldom established. The findings of the Justice K S Lodha Commisson which probed the Kumher massacre in Rajasthan in which 17 Dalits were burnt alive in June 1992 was not made public by the state government despite a High Court order to place the report in the State Assembly.[6] The Dalits were dispossessed of their lands either by the influential upper caste people who illegally occupied it or by the government who declared the land as Government property under Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955.[7] 

    In January 2005, the Rajasthan government started granting citizenship to the Hindu refugees from Pakistan residing in the State following approval from the Centre. On 4 January 2005, more than 30 refugees were granted Indian citizenship in Barmer district.[8]

    Unofficial estimates put the number of Hindu refugees from Pakistan at about 20,000 who had been living in half-a-dozen districts of northwestern Rajasthan. They had migrated to Rajasthan at various stages after the 1965 war due to ill treatment in Pakistan.[9]

    The state government of Rajasthan failed to fully rehabilitate the oustees of the Bilaspur dam project in Tonk district as of September 2005.[10] The government also failed to give any compensation to the villagers affected by the Rajasthan State Mines & Minerals Limited (RSMML)'s projects in Jaisalmer district as on September 2005.[11]

    2. Human rights violations by the security forces

    The police were responsible for arbitrary deprivation of right to life including custodial death and killing in disproportionate use of firearms. The National Crime Records Bureau reported five custodial deaths and eight deaths in police firing during 2005.[12] The NHRC had recorded 50 deaths in judicial custody and 1 death in the custody of the army/paramilitary forces during 2004-2005.[13]

    On 2 June 2005, Rambabu, son of Harbilas Thakur of Darbisha village under Baseri police station who was taken into custody along with four brothers on the charge of brewing illicit liquor was allegedly tortured to death by the police. However, the police maintained that it was a case of suicide. The Chief Minister ordered compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the family of the deceased. According to official sources, all the policemen at the Kanchanpur police station were sent to the lines as punishment.[14]

    On the night of 12 August 2005, Jitendra Agarwal of Sastri Nagar area reportedly died after being taken into custody of Brahmpuri police station for questioning in a case of murderous assault on one Kanhaiya Gujjar on 11 August 2005. He was among the five persons to be taken into custody in connection with the case. According to police authorities, Jitendra died of heart attack after he was rushed to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The police authorities have ordered an enquiry led by Additional Superintendent of Police, Ashok Kumar into the incident.[15]

    The police used disproportionate force to suppress public protest. On 13 June 2005, five farmers including a pregnant woman[16] were killed and at least 12 others injured after the police fired at a gathering of farmers who turned violent while agitating for irrigation water at Pipli village, 60 km from capital Jaipur. The state government ordered a judicial probe into the incident.[17] The police filed FIR against as many as 49 farmers under Sections 147, 148, 149 (carrying fatal weapons), Sections 151, 152, 153 (conspiracy) and still more serious Sections like 307 (attempt to murder) and 395 (Armed dacoity) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, when the state unit of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties  team tried to get FIRs registered on behalf of the victims at Baroni police station under the provision of Section 154 of IPC, they were turned back by the station house officer and the Deputy Superintendent of Police.[18]

    3. Violence against women

    Women continued to be target of sexual violence by the security forces and they also suffered from cultural cruelties. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 11,657 incidents of crime against women were reported during 2005. Of these, 993 were incidents of rape, 1,549 were incidents of kidnapping/abduction, 361 incidents of dowry deaths, 5,997 incidents of cruelty by husband/relatives and 1 Sati incident, among others.[19]

    The State government continued to glorify evil social practice like Sati. The Rajasthan Tourism Development in its guidebook, Popular Deities of Rajasthan, released on 30 May 2005 glorified Sati and described Rajasthan as “best-known for various Sati Matas”.[20]

    Although police arrested 11 persons including a 42-year-old woman, Basanti Devi, who allegedly attempted to commit Sati at a temple at Sumel village in Rajasthan's Pali district on 20 March 2005 in front of over 10,000 villagers from Pali, Ajmer and Nagaur districts in Rajasthan,[21] all the 18 cases relating to Sati glorification in the state resulted in acquittal when tried in court. All the 38 accused including PWD minister Rajendar Singh Rathore were acquitted. When women's groups demanded for an appeal against the order of acquittal by the trial court, the state government rejected it. The cases were registered after Roop Kanwar was forced to commit sati on the funeral pyre of her husband on 4 September 1987 in Deoral village of Sikar district.[22]

    Women were also victimized after being branded as witch. In early July 2005, a Dalit woman, Badam Bai was reportedly beaten to death by four men inside her house at Bhunein village in Sultanpur in Kota district suspecting her to be a witch and using her witchcraft on their family.[23]

    In yet another incident in November 2005, a 55-year-old woman Mani Ben was reportedly stripped, tied to a pole and set on fire in full public view on the suspicion of being a witch by the villagers in Dungarpur district. She was admitted to a hospital with serious injuries. Seven persons including four women were arrested in connection with the case.[24]

    4. Violations of the rights of the Dalits

     

    The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 3,795 cases of violations against the Dalits in Rajasthan which amounted to 14.5% of all the violations committed against the Dalits in the country during 2005.[25] However, the conviction rate under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was abysmally low because of an “inherent bias” against the Dalits. It often led to weakening of cases by the prosecution.[26]

    The State government of Rajasthan even failed to make public the findings of the Justice K S Lodha Commisson which probed the Kumher massacre in Rajasthan in which 17 Dalits were burnt alive in June 1992 despite a High Court order to place the report in the State Assembly.[27]

    Dalits faced violence for exercising their right to franchise. On 10 February 2005, Sosar Devi Raigar, Dalit woman member of Deoli Panchayat in Tonk district was dragged into the mustard fields and beaten allegedly by the Bharatiya Janata Party workers to prevent her from voting against the party candidate during the elections for local bodies. The police had arrested many of the accused on the basis of the FIR registered on the victim's complaint.[28]

    Many Dalits were murdered. On 1 March 2005, a group of persons including a former Congress MLA reportedly killed a Dalit youth identified as Mohanlal Meghwal in broad daylight in Bedkalan village in Pali district. The deceased was first stabbed with a dagger and later a tractor was run over his body in broad daylight. The accused was arrested with his two accomplices.[29]

    On 17 May 2005, a Dalit youth identified as Ghewa Ram of Dhira village under Barmer district was reportedly murdered by dominant Rajputs and thrown out into a well to make out as a suicide case. The police failed to arrest any of the accused named in the FIR as on September 2005. No assistance or relief was provided to the victim's family.[30]

    The Dalits were subjected to inhuman torture and degrading treatment. On 10 October 2005, the nose of Babulal Jatava, a Dalit, of Rampur village under Gadhi Bajna Police station in Bharatpur district was allegedly punctured with a needle by Kalua Gujar and others belonging to powerful farming community.[31]

    Caste-based discrimination:

    Dalits in Rajasthan continue to be discriminated on the basis of their caste and were dispossessed of their land. Land of Dalits were illegally encroached upon and occupied by the upper caste people. In southern Rajasthan, agricultural land of Dalits and tribals were either transferred to the influential people of higher caste allegedly by subterfuge or declared as government property by misusing the legal provisions under the Rajasthan Tenancy Act over the past two decades.[32] Vacancies in government services reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were allegedly filled up with the general candidates through “back door methods”.[33]

    Dalit children were discriminated even in respect of the nutrition programme in schools.[34]

    There were reports of instances of Dalits lawyers practicing in the district and sub-divisional courts being subjected to ridicule by their colleagues and judges for their caste.[35]

    The Dalits were not only denied entry into the temples but also assaulted for worshipping on their own land. In September 2005, a Dalit family of Krishna Gopal Dhanaka in Nimora village near Jaipur reportedly threatened to commit suicide due to continued harassment by upper caste people in collusion with the police over the last two years. The family was subjected to assault by Brahmins for building a Hanuman temple and worshipping the deity on its own land. In addition, a fine of Rs 21,000 was imposed on them. The police were uncooperative as their names were mentioned in the FIR being lodged.[36]

    Violence against Dalit women:

    The Dalit women were victims of sexual abuses. On 19 June 2005, a 32 year old Dalit woman labourer of a crusher unit at Todaraisingh in Tonk district was reportedly gang raped and later killed by two employees of the factory. The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights in a memorandum to the State Women's Commission alleged that the duo after calling her on the pretext of paying her wages repeatedly raped her and later threw her into the crusher in order to destroy the evidence and to make out a case of accident. Although, an FIR in the case was registered under Sections 302 and 376 of Indian Penal Code and under 3(i)(xii), 3(i)(ii) and 3(i)(v) of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, police failed to arrest the suspects citing lack of evidence as it was an accident case.[37]

    On 5 October 2005, a Dalit woman sarpanch of Rojhana village in Jhalawar district reportedly accused the Station House Officer, Fateh Singh Chouhan of the Gangdhar police station, an assistant sub-inspector Ganga Ram and two local BJP leaders of raping her on the night of 22 September 2005 when she had gone to the police station to complain against the corporal punishment meted out to the students of local school by two teachers. According to the victim, when she went to the police station the policemen present there first scolded her by her caste names and then raped her inside the police station. No case was registered on her complaint and no medical examination was done.[38]

    5. Violations of the rights of indigenous/tribal peoples

    Endemic hunger and food insecurity were rampant especially in tribal dominated areas of Rajasthan. In October 2005, the New Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) in its survey report revealed that 99 per cent of Adivasi households had lived with one or another level of endemic hunger and food insecurity throughout 2004 in the tribal dominated areas under Udaipur and Dungarpur districts.[39]

    According to reports, about 80 persons belonging to the Sahariya tribe and other backward classes had allegedly died of starvation and malnutrition in Baran district in September 2005. They had been allegedly deprived of employment and basic amenities including proper medical facilities.[40] However, a Supreme Court fact-finding committee had concluded that the deaths took place due to lack of proper health service in the area.[41]

    Tribal women were specifically targeted for sexual violence. On 2 June 2005, a 25-year-old tribal woman was allegedly raped by two police constables after taking her to a river bank in Sanganer in Subhash Nagar area in Bhilwara district. On the basis of a complaint by the victim, a case was registered.[42] On 1 October 2005, another tribal woman of Basni was allegedly gang raped by four men in the outer periphery of Ranchordas temple in Jodhpur. Police arrested two persons in connection with the case. The National Commission for Women urged the Rajasthan government to set up a fast track court to try the case.[43] On the night of 30 December 2005, a 25-year-old woman, wife of Ramniwas Meena, an Aanganwadi worker with the Women and Child Development Department, was allegedly gang raped by her seniors in a room during a training programme in Karauli district.[44]


    [1]. Raje promised dialogue; offered firing in Tonk, The Hindu, 21 June 2005

    [2]. 5 farmers killed over water, The Hindustan Times, 14 June 2005

    [3]. 14-year-old killed in police firing, The Hindu, 7 June 2005

    [4]. 3 cops jailed for bobbytising man, The Tribune, 23 December 2005

    [5]. Rajasthan tourism's new line: welcome to the state of Sati, The Indian Express, 31 May 2005

    [6]. Dalits still being denied basic rights, The Hindu, 4 June 2005

    [7]. Give back our land, demand tribals, The Hindu, 6 January 2005

    [8]. Hindus from Pak get Indian citizenship, The Asian Age, 8 January 2005

    [9]. Displaced from Pakistan to get Indian Citizenship to get Indian citizenship, The Hindu, 2 January 2005

    [10]. ‘Bisalpur dam oustees to be rehabilitated', The Hindu, 12 September 2005

    [11]. State Pulse: Rajasthan: Villagers bear consequences of mining, The Central Chronicle, 15 September 2005

    [12]. 2005-Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [13]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC of India

    [14]. 14-year-old killed in police firing, The Hindu, 7 June 2005

    [15]. Congress panel to probe Pink City custodial death, The Hindu, 14 August 2005

    [16]. Raje promised dialogue; offered firing in Tonk, The Hindu, 21 June 2005

    [17]. 5 farmers killed over water, The Hindustan Times, 14 June 2005

    [18]. Police action in Tonk unprovoked, says PUCL , The Hindu, 13 July 2005

    [19]. 2005-Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    [20]. Rajasthan tourism's new line: welcome to the state of Sati, The Indian Express, 31 May 2005

    [21]. Sati rumour leaves many hurt in Rajasthan village, The Hindu, 22 March 2005

    [22]. 18 sati cases, no convictions in Rajasthan, The Asian Age, 27 January 2005

    [23]. Dalit killed, The Statesman, 6 July 2005

    [24]. Villagers try to set woman ablaze, The Deccan Herald, 6 November 2005

    [25]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [26]. Dalit lawyers highlight discrimination in judicial system, The Hindu 7 February 2005

    [27]. Dalits still being denied basic rights, The Hindu, 4 June 2005

    [28]. Dalit woman alleges minister role in stripping, The Indian Express, 17 February 2005

    [29]. Dalit youth's murder sparks off tension in Pali district, The Hindu, 20 March 2005

    [30]. A long wait for justice - No headway in probe into alleged murder of Dalit on May 17, The Hindu, 6 October 2005

    [31]. Upper-caste villagers puncture dalit's nose, The Asian Age, 13 October 2005

    [32]. Give back our land, demand tribals, The Hindu, 6 January 2005

    [33]. Call to protect basic rights of Dalits in Rajasthan, The Hindu, 9 January 2005

    [34]. Atrocities on Dalits highest in Rajasthan, The Tribune, 28 February 2005

    [35]. Dalit lawyers highlight discrimination in judicial system, The Hindu 7 February 2005

    [36]. Long wait for Justice, The Hindu, 18 September 2005

    [37]. Dalit groups demand arrest of rapists, The Hindu, 6 July 2005

    [38]. Dalit Sarpanch accuses cops of rape in Rajasthan, The Hindu, 6 October 2005

    [39]. Hunger pangs in Adivasi houses, The Hindu, 19 October 2005

    [40]. 80 tribesmen die of malnutrition, alleges Cong, The Tribune, 18 September 2005

    [41]. ‘No starvation deaths among Sahariya tribals', The Pioneer, 23 September 2005

    [42]. Tribal woman raped by tow police constables, The Free Press Journal, 6 June 2005

    [43]. Tribal woman raped in Rajasthan, The Statesman, 3 October 2005

    [44]. Women groups up in arms over `gang rape', The Hindu, 27 January 2006

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