(Report) Dalits In U.P. Face Hunger Deaths And Suicides By S.R. Darapuri
Dalits In U.P. Face Hunger Deaths And Suicides By S.R.Darapuri
09 May, 2008
When George Bush is admonishing India for eating too much, Dalits in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh face hunger deaths and suicides
The state of
Uttarpradesh (U.P) in India has the distinction of having 3.51 crores of Dalits
at 2001 census constituting 21.1 % of the total population (16.6 crores) of the
state. U.P. holds 1st rank and the 4th rank in terms of absolute number of SC
population and its proportion to total population respectively among all the
States and Union Territories. The state has a total of sixty six (66) Schedules
Castes. U.P. has also got the distinction of having a dalit lady Miss Mayawati
as Chief Minister for the fourth time. U.P. has also won the distinction of
being one the most under developed states of India. It has got the largest
number of illiterate, malnourished persons, polio, leprosy and TB cases.
The SCs in U.P. are predominantly rural as 87.7 % of them live in villages. Their literacy rate is 46.3 % which is much lower than the national average (54.7 %) aggregated for all SCs. Male and female literacy rates (60.3 % and 30.5 % respectively) among the SCs is also lower than those recorded for all SCs at he national level (66.6 % and 41.9% respectively ).
Among the SCs
literates, 38 % are either without any educational level or have attained
education below primary level. The proportion of literates who have attained
education up to primary and middle levels are 27..1 % and 18.5 % respectively.
Literates who are educated up to matric/higher secondary constitute 13.3 %.
Graduated & above are just 3. 5%. The non-technical and technical diploma
holders constitute a meager 0.1 % only.
Out of the total 133 lakhs SC children in the age group 5-14 years, 58.3 lakhs only have been attending school constituting 56.4 percent. As many as 45.1 lakh (44.6%) children in the corresponding age group have not been going to the school.
Work participation rate (WPR) of the SC population is 34.7 % which is lower than that of all SCs at the national level (40.4 %). Among the total workers, 65.2 % are main workers, which is lower than that recorded for all SCs at the national level (73 %).
"Agriculture Labourers" constitute the highest proportion (42.5 %) among the total SCs workers. This is lower than the national average 45.6 % recorded by all SCs in this category. 'Cultivators' constitute 30.9 % which is significantly higher than the national average (20.0 %). 'Other Workers' account for 22.2 % against the national average of 30.5 percent. Workers in House Hold Industry (HHI) constitute 4.3 %, which is higher than the national average (3.9 %).
Hinduism is the
predominant religion of the state (80.6 %). The SCs profess Hinduism account for
99.3 %. Remaining SCs follow Buddhism (0.6 %) and Sikhism (0.1 %).
From the above statistics of 2001 census, it is clear that U.P. Dalits are quite backward as compared with Dalits at the national level. This is not withstanding the fact that a dalit Chief Minister is ruling this state for the fourth time since1995 till date with some gaps in between.
So the question arises as to what has happened during all these years of so called 'Dalit Rule'. It is a serious question which needs to be discussed in detail and depth at some later stage.
The main question which needs immediate attention of all concerned with dalits' plight in U.P. is the ever increasing number of suicides and hunger deaths among dalits as well as other weaker sections of society especially in the BundelKhand region consisting of Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Jalaun, Lalitpr, Mahoba and Banda districts. The main reason for this situation is the rain failure for the last five years resulting in loss of crops and wages for the agriculture labourers who are predominantly Dalits of Kol and Sahriya castes. Not only higher caste farmers but even dalit farmers are committing suicides due to crop failure and indebtedness. The agriculture labourers are dying of hunger, malnutrition and unemployment. This region has been identified with Vidharba region of Maharashtra where as many as 4,453 farmers have committed suicides during 2006. It is reported that as many 200 farmers had committed suicides and an other 250 had died of hunger deaths in Bundelkhand during the last five years. Out of this dalits' share is about 30 % among suicides and 70 % among hunger deaths. 80 % Dalits are on the verge of hunger deaths. As many as 12 dalits in Bundelkhand and 11 dalits in other districts of U.P. committed suicide and as many 25 dalits died of hunger deaths during the year 2007 only.
In the face of this
horrifying calamity the so called dalit Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati had the
temerity to claim that not a single man had died neither of hunger death nor had
committed suicide in U.P. She also declared that she will scrap the National
Rural Employment Guarantee Programme which aims at providing 100 days' assured
employment to rural labour families. Her claim of zero death and declaration of
scrapping NREGP at this juncture are shocking. The need of the hour is to save
dalits, other poor families and farmers by providing succor and relief but she
has totally denied the existence such situation. In response to her claim of 'No
Death', Social Organization like Dalit Mukti Morcha; P.U.C.L; Asha Parivar;
Shudra Mahaabha and Ayodhya Ki Awaz have come out with the list of the Dalits
who had died of hunger deaths and had committed suicides during 2007 i.e. during
Mayawati's tenure as Chief Minister. This list has been published in a Hindi
news paper "Daily News Activist" on 3.2.08 published from Lucknow. The
interested persons may like to have a look at it. These social organizations had
also arranged a Dharna (Protest) before U.P. Assembly on 2.2.08 against
Mayawati's apathy towards U.P. Dalits' misery. They also submitted a memorandum
to the Governor of U.P; National Commission for Scheduled Castes; National
Commission for Human Rights; Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment (Govt.
of India) and Minister for Rural Development (Govt. of India) requesting them to
get the whole matter enquired by some Independent Enquiry Commission as the
State Govt. has refused to take notice of this catastrophe. They have also
demanded the honest implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee
Programme; Public Distribution System and Pension Schemes for widows,
handicapped and old age persons as these schemes have fallen prey to corruption
under Mayawati's misrule.
S.R.Darapuri I.P.S. (Retd)
Organiser, Dalit Mukti Morcha