Caste-based atrocities and communal violence have divided the nation in the last few years. The recent judgement of Hon'ble Supreme Court on Prevention of Atrocities Act has generated insecurity and aggression in Dalits and minorities across the country. To address this recent issue, The Atrocity Victims' Council was convened at the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh on 7th of April 2018. Victims and Activists shared their stories and experiences with the press and the public.
When the Photography Promotion Trust team photo documented the cases from all over Maharashtra, it became clear that in most of the cases the victims were ready to fight but there was io mechanism to help them holistically. The activists are working relentlessly, but they are not aware of the mechanism to help them for strengthening their capacity. On the other hand, there are experts in the society but are unwilling to support because of lack of the initial contact with the victims.
At an individual level, the struggle of every atrocity victim begins with delay in lodging of the FIR, hesitance in incorporating the sections of Atrocity Act and expecting fair investigation in the case. Lack of legal knowledge, structural inequalities combined with castiest institutions exacerbates the struggle of the victim for justice. If you look at the rural pockets, the entire system apparently is trying to defend the accused through different mechanisms. In this context, the recent Supreme Court judgment contends that the police officer or the government officer and other employees should not be arrested directly without prior investigation dilutes the law further. The bench further argued that they were no restrictions on the anticipatory bail in the Atrocity Act. This judgment has diluted the new amendment of the POA Act 2016 which came with new provisions and empowered the victim.
“How can one register a fake atrocity case when I have personally seen several poor and starving victims refusing money offered to them to withdraw cases! And in situations when the victims have settled the cases, they have done so because of the necessity of living in the same village and lack of finance and not because they have been bribed.”
- Manisha Tokle, Human Rights Activist
In rural Maharashtra, where caste prejudice is deeply ingrained in the society, a Dalit trying to assert his or her right is normally perceived as an attempt to swim against the tide. Photojournalist Sudharak Olwe dives into the lives of victims of atrocities and uncovers painful stories of murder, rape and torture.
As a non-profit, all resources go towards funding workshops and other educational/documentation activities. You can donate any amount to support our different projects or invite us to conduct workshops for you or your institute. We are also looking for long-term funding to mount national projects in communities across the country.