Why did the Indian state go to the exceptional lengths of planting false pieces of evidence – as we now know from the Arsenal Foresensic's investigation in the case of Rona Wilson – to incriminate Dalit leaders in the Bhima Koregaon case? They picked the stalwarts of the Dalit movement who are renowned lawyers, poets, academics, activists, journalists, and turned them into 'terrorists' overnight. What does the Indian state, economy, and society achieve by creating fear around Dalit Human Rights work?
The current regime often knits baseless stories around various resistance movements, as if Dalit folx cannot protest another way except through unlawfulness and non-constructive violence. More heartbreaking for Dalit folx is how easily the public opinion was swayed against the resistance movement. The state didn't have to work very hard and the judiciary, media, and civil society worked in connivance with the state to build this monolith of lies.
Join us for a panel discussion featuring Nihalsing Rathod, Siddhesh Gautam, Santvana Kumar, Buffalo Intellectual, and moderated by Meena Kandasamy, as they voice their anger and heartbreak over the Indian state’s ploy to criminalize dissent and its impact on the future of the Dalit movement.
Why is it important for the savarna masters to invoke 'criminality' in relation to Dalit dissent?
March 3, 2021
Meena Kandasamy is a poet, novelist and anti-caste activist. She has translated the writings and speeches of Tamil Dalit leader and MP, Thol. Thirumavalavan (Uproot Hindutva: The Fiery Voice of the Liberation Panthers, 2004) and the radical anti-caste ideologue Periyar EV Ramasamy. Her debut novel The Gypsy Goddess fictionalised the Kilvenmani massacre of 1968, where 44 landless Dalit men, women and children were burnt alive in Tanjore, India because they were striking for higher wages. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Guardian and The White Review among other places. Her latest book is The Orders Were to Rape You: Tigresses in the Tamil Eelam Struggle.
Nihalsing Rathod is an Ambedkarite, practicing law in Nagpur and the Joint Secretary of Adv. Surendra Fadling Defence Committee.
Buffalo Intellectual is a social science professor whose research looks at the intersections of caste, gender, and urban studies. He has a background in media studies and currently runs an Ambedkarite social media handle. He prefers to remain anonymous.
Santvana Kumar is a Senior Research Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is a Dalit legal scholar with a specialisation in Human Rights Law.
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