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The litany of Social Class and Dalits
The recent demands for the amendment, dilution, or even repeal of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (PoAA), 1989 is driven by a sense of impunity which is at the heart of discrimination against Dalits. The Constitution deal with caste is its many articles and sections. It makes its entry through Article 15. Article 17 explicitly forbids Untouchability and sought its abolishment. The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (PoAA), 1989 and its older sibling, Protection of Civil Rights, 1955, both aim at addressing the substantive reality of inequality in the country. Although all citizens may not be equally at risk of being forced to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance, having excreta, waste matter or any other obnoxious substance thrown in their premises and surroundings or being paraded naked or with painted face or body etc. , such groups of people who are repeatedly subjected to such atrocities exist because of social relations promoted by caste. While Dalits are forced to experience social vulnerability, dominant castes take their socially sanctioned sense of superiority with respect to Dalits for granted. Higher dominant castes are also disinclined towards accepting social mobility for Dalits as any reduction in social distance is seen as loss or decline of their own status. State is simultaneously linked to both law and society as also acting as a link between the two. But now, states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are experiencing re-emergence of Dalit assertion accompanied by their upward social mobility. And this has enraged the higher castes who are claiming misuse of PoAA. Meanwhile atrocities against Dalts have continued as is evident in Dadri lynching, and other cases.

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