“The taste of anything can be changed. But poison cannot be changed into nectar.” – BR Ambedkar
Caste has been a permanent speed-breaker in the progress of our country, and 29 years after a law to protect the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes from atrocities came into existence, the Supreme Court diluted one of its provisions.
On 20 March, the apex court issued a slew of guidelines that would protect public servants and private individuals from arbitrary and immediate arrest under the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
While the Central government urged the top court to seek recall of its judgment, nine people lost their lives and dozens were injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday, 2 April, snowballed into violent clashes.
Amid anger and outrage over the dilution of one of India’s most progressive laws, what effect will the judgment have on the growing number of atrocities that afflict the country’s lower castes?