Gujarat: For Not Letting A Dalit Girl Fetch Water From Well, Six Upper Caste People Jailed
On July 21, a special court in Gujarat, hearing a case of atrocity against people of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe, convicted six people belonging to the upper caste, for not allowing a Dalit woman to get water from the village well and assaulting her.
According to Times of India, On November 25, 2010, 19-year-old Sadhna Manubhai Vaja, a resident of Sugala village in Gir-Somnath district of Gujarat had gone to fetch water from a village well. It was then that a 33-year-old woman, identified as Gita Dhirubhai Khasia stopped her and made casteist remarks on her. She shouted, “The water will get impure if you fetch from it before us. Let me fetch it first.” However, when Sadhna objected to it, Khasia, her husband and four other men grabbed her by her hair and thrashed her. Following this incident, Sadhna filed an FIR at Kodinar police station.
While the main accused, Gita Dhirubhai Khasia was convicted under IPC Section 304 and 504 and Section 3(1) 5 of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and was awarded two-and-a-half year’s imprisonment, the five others were convicted under Section 147 of IPC and were sentenced to one year in prison. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on all the six convicts.
S L Thakkar, Special Judge (atrocity) who was hearing the case, refused to give any benefit of probation to offenders because he believes that it is against the fundamental purpose of the atrocity act. (Giving probation to offenders means giving relaxation in the sentence to first-time offenders.)
“The court noted in the order that to curb such kind of incidents it is necessary to create fear of law among the people having an attitude of discrimination,” assistant public prosecutor Mohan Gohel told Times of India. The Court also noted that it has become very important to bring social awareness about caste-based discrimination in the society. “Despite government’s efforts, cases of atrocity against people of scheduled caste have not decreased,” the court observed.
Also published on Medium.