A training and empowerment session for Dalit women
The project's 'Flying Squad' which deals with caste-based incidents of violence against women has been in action in the past weeks.
The Flying Squad supported Kontabai Vishnu Mujmule, from Morwad village to file a complaint against Maratha landlords for beating up and parading her son naked in the village. A case of Atrocity against Dalits has been registered.
The details are that Kontabai, a widow surviving with her son by working as a labourer, had been harassed by local youths from the upper caste Maratha community. Her son was beaten when drawing water from the village community well.
One of the practices of Untouchability that still continues today is that Dalit people are prevented from drawing water from the same well as higher caste people because it was considered in doing so they polluted the water. This is now against the law, but such practices continue and are enforced by threats and actual violence against Dalits who dare to 'step out of line'.
The Flying Squad helped Kontabai to stand up against the domination of the Maratha youth. With its support, she filed a police complaint. Earlier, her complaint had not even been entertained by the police station. (Institutionalised caste discrimination is also commonplace in the police and other government officials).
She was also fearful of being harmed again in the isolation of her home, but with support from us and the women's group in the village, she has been able to withstand the pressure and stand up for her rights. A case of atrocity has been registered against the offenders.