Do read yesterday's op-ed in the Hindu by Sainath on the burning of 50 Dalit houses in Gohana, Haryana, exactly a week ago. He gives you a glimpse of the long and horrible history of crimes that are committed on Dalits all over the country: Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and on, and on.
Sainath quotes Chunni Lal Jatav, a survivor of the Kumher massacre in Rajasthan:
"All the judges of the Supreme Court do not have the power of a single police constable. That constable makes or breaks us. The judges can't re-write the laws and have to listen to learned lawyers of both sides. A constable here simply makes his own laws. He can do almost anything.
Yesterday, ToI also carried an op-ed, this one by Chandra Bhan Prasad, about the same incident. He draws several eerie parallels between the Gohana atrocity and another that was perpetrated in a far away country (Tulsa, Okhlahoma in the US) a long time ago (1921).
In his piece, Sainath says parenthetically:
But I'm still sure you'll see editorials that tell us these things are wrong because `they send bad signals to investors'.
I am not sure if editorials will say it (though they have used similar arguments in the past), but I am sure lots of individuals -- even ones who should know better -- will say it. If you have any doubt, I just wish to remind you of this.
Thanks to reader Anant for the e-mail alert about Sainath's article.