Dalit women face worst risk of rape, hunger in India

Research shows women from the marginalised community also die younger due to malnutrition

APP October 18, 2021
Dailts, formerly known as untouchables are commonly tasked with removing dead cows from streets. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


Dalits, the marginalised community of India, is facing a worst human rights crisis with its women being the prime victim of rape and hunger.

Dalits fall at the bottom of India’s complex caste system hierarchy permitted to live only in slums.

In India, which has been declared by experts as the most dangerous country in the world for women, Dalit women are at an additional risk of sexual violence and slave labour.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation in its 2018 survey of 550 experts on women’s issues, found India to be the “most dangerous nation for sexual violence against women, as well as human trafficking for domestic work, forced labour, forced marriage, and sexual slavery among other reasons”.

The survey said India is also the most dangerous country in the world for cultural traditions that impact women, citing acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and physical abuse. Also, India was termed the fourth most dangerous country for women in the same survey seven years ago.

More than 60 per cent of Indian women are anaemic as they eat last and the least, rising hunger levels hit the marginalised most. In 2020, India’s Covid-19 lockdown resulted in a tremendous collapse of livelihoods.

According to a study by the People’s Archive of Rural India, 50 per cent of the households in rural India during the pandemic were forced to reduce the number of meals ever since the lockdown was imposed. About 68 per cent of the households reduced the number of items in their meals.

Research shows that Dalit women die younger than dominant-caste women as nutrition and health has always been a struggle for them.

Also read: Minor girl's rape, murder in India highlights plight of Dalit community

Studies show that in India, 56 per cent Dalit and 59 per cent tribal women are anaemic, while the national average is 53 per cent.

In 2016, India ranked 170 out of 180 countries where women suffer from anaemia. Dalit women die 15 years younger than the dominant-caste women, a United Nations study (PDF) says.

The experts believe that the world has always turned a blind eye towards the dire situations of women from minority communities in India. This has contributed to the up-scaling of human rights violence to a catastrophic level transforming it into human tragedy.

Despite the numerous reports by the United Nations and other human rights watch organisations, India continues to deny the ground realities and abide by the international obligations in this regard.

The security analysts say that India has turned against its own masses and minorities by following the neo-Nazi agenda of RSS.

They stress that the international community must come forward to fulfil its responsibility towards the grave nature of human rights violations being committed by the Indian fascist regime against women.


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