//Website to help victims of Dalit violence

Website to help victims of Dalit violence

Tejas Mehta, NDTV.COm

Thursday, December 7, 2006 (Mumbai):

There's been unrest in the Dalit community in Maharashtra ever since upper caste villagers killed an entire family in Khairlanji over road disputes.

The disturbing aspect about that case is that for a long time, no case was registered and the community's protest went unheard.

There's help now in the form of a website where people can call to register their problems.

"We were untouchables and were shunt by all. We were poor. Dr Ambedkar improved our condition and that is why we have come here to pay homage," said H D Khobragade, Buddhist scholar.

Paying homage

In the midst of the vast gathering of Dalits in Mumbai, there was a sudden outpouring of grief.

Khobragade was in Mumbai to mark Dr Ambedkar's death anniversary – an annual ritual.

But this time he is also here to be a part of an initiative started after the Khairlanji killings – to unite people against caste violence.

From now, victims of caste violence can register a complaint with the group, which has started help-line and a website called www.stopatrocity.com .

Members of the group will inform the police and government officials also provide legal aid.

"We have two advocates at home. We know the law and we shall help those who need help," said Khobragade.

Many of those who gathered in Mumbai came from deep inside the interiors of India.

Though they are not educated, they recognize that this is a time for the community to get together and fight back.

The website they believe will offer an opportunity to do that.