According to the Constitution, India seeks to secure social, economic and political justice and equality for its people. But today, we see a lots of cases in the world’s largest democracy, where no respect is paid to the justice or equality of people.
People fights over religions. Castes are made to determine the superiority or inferiority of people. And many people do not cares if social justice is thrown into the fire of the discrimination targeting the so-called ‘inferior castes’.
Nitin Aage, a class 10 boy, was killed on April 28, 2014, at Kharda village of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, over a suspected friendship or affair with a girl. He was pulled out of his class in the morning, and beaten up brutally – allegedly by the girl’s brother and his friends.
A few days ago, a trial court at Ahmednagar acquitted all the people accused in the case. Nitin’s parents have demanded a re-trial of the case, but they are struggling hard to seek justice.
“If all accused have been declared not guilty, then who killed Nitin? Who are the real culprits? We were assured several things by the government. We shall strive to seek justice for our boy, no matter what,” said Rekha and Raju Aage, while speaking to media.
Nitin’s parents allege that all the witnesses were coerced to change their statements in the court. According to them , in their statements to the police, the peons and the teachers at the school, who were the prime witnesses, had said that accused had forcibly pulled Nitin out of the class and took him away on a bike. He was killed and then hung from a tree. But, in the court, the witnesses said that they hardly knew Nitin.
The public prosecutor said that even though there is a provision to prosecute hostile witnesses, it will need cooperation from the police. And, in Nitin’s case, if justice has to be done, the government has to demand a re-trial in the high court.
According to The Scheduled Castes And The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, special courts should be set up in each district to prevent injustices and atrocities against them. But, till date, the provision doesn’t seem to have been robustly implemented. Consequently, despite significant hardships faced by Nitin’s family, they haven’t got justice yet.
Though Maharashtra is the home of people like Phule and Ambedkar, the crime rate is not lesser here compared to other states. According to the National Crime Records Database (NCRD) 2015, 45 Dalits were killed while 238 Dalit women were raped. In total, 1896 criminal cases were registered in one year. In the Ramabai-Ambedkar Nagar gunfire, 10 Dalits lost their lives. But, the people responsible for this were not punished. In the Khairlanji case, four members of the Bhotmange family were murdered in front of the village. The Bombay High Court, however, did not consider this to be a caste-based crime.
It’s not surprising for analysts that Nitin Aage’s murderers were found not guilty – because from previous years, there have been many such cases of injustice.
1. In 1968, at Kilvenmani, Tamil Nadu, 44 Dalits were burned – most of them women and children.
2. In 1978, at Villupuram, 12 Dalits were killed in broad daylight.
3. In 1996, at Bathani Tola, 21 Dalits were brutally murdered.
4. In 1991, eight Dalits were killed in Tsundur in Andhra Pradesh.
5. In 1997, 58 Dalits were murdered at Lakshmanpur Bathe.
In all the above cases, the people accused were termed ‘not guilty’.