Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Apr 2018 11:28:51


THE eruption of violence in response to the honourable Supreme Court’s verdict on SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in several States was quite unnecessary, to say the least. For, violence per se does not solve any problem, nor does it improve social harmony. At best, or at worst, it only creates a sense of disturbance, particularly in a democratic society. The best way to sort out such issues is what the Government has done -- approach the Supreme Court again questioning the wisdom in the verdict under discussion.

There is no doubt that the Supreme Court would hear the Government’s argument and deliver a reconsidered judgement on the issue. When such an amicable and cultured way out is available to the larger society, there is no need to resort to widespread violence. And this is true for every violence that the society witnesses every now and then on issues that can actually be sorted out through discussion and debate and even considered disagreement. Our appeal to abhor violence is not related to the issue involved -- about the honourable Supreme Court’s verdict about a potential abuse of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act; it is universal in its application and beyond politics and beyond certain interests.

Of course, it is obvious that the honourable Supreme Court gave a reasoned verdict in favour of truly judicious use of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The nation has seen over the years some misuse of certain provisions of the said Act. The honourable judges also realised that the Act did not provide for any scope for the accused to state his side of the story as he is arrested the moment a complaint is received. Let alone the violent response of the Dalit community to the verdict, the Government also had thought of approaching the Supreme Court to raise a question on the issue. In its appeal, as the media reports have us believe, the Government has argued that a possibility of abuse should not impede the presence of certain provision in a certain law.

This is a reasonable approach and the Supreme Court may give a heed to the point the Government is raising. This is the most democratic and cultured way to sort out things in a modern society. Violence may seem to attract national attention to an issue, but per se it does not solve a single problem or sort out a single issue. Much to the contrary, it complicates matters all the more. Violence also leaves in its wake embittered minds and unbridgable social divides.
Unfortunately, the leaders of social groups or political parties or special-interest organisations do not realise the damage violence causes to the weave of the larger social fabric. In case of the issues related to Dalit community and social equality, the nation has witnessed unfortunate resort to violence as the first and foremost tool to sound a warning. Against this background, we have a simple question to ask to the whole nation and not just to the leaders of the Dalit community or any other organisation: Would Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar have suported violence? And we have the answer as well: As the man who masterminded the Constitution of India would never have supported any violence whatsoever. He would have insisted upon use of constitutional and legal tools to sort out issues.

There is no doubt that there are many complicated issues involving the Dalit community in the country. We believe that all those can be sorted out through constitutional channels. We also recognise that the Dalit community has seen tremendous social transformation and elevation. With those positive factors in mind, the Dalits should approach the remainder of issues through constitutional and legal channels. Violence will only spoil their social image.