Mumbai, Jul 9: The Maharashtra Government will involve village-level officials and prominent local residents to check atrocities on Dalits, a move that comes in the backdrop of cases of violence reported against Scheduled Caste members in Ahmednagar district.
Social Justice Department has started an initiative in this regard to maintain harmony and protect Dalit communities, which are vulnerable to caste violence. Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole today instructed his department officials to form a village level committee in districts to intervene and prevent cases of atrocities on Dalits.
Each committee will comprise talathis (revenue officials), sarpanch (village head) and gram sevaks (village development officers) besides members from all sections of society, he said, adding, the step will help reduce incidents of violence and harassment against Dalits.
The panel will be formed under the Government's 'Tanta Mukti' scheme which seeks to make villages free of disputes. Badole was presiding over a review meeting of his department at Mantralaya (Secretariat) on cases of Dalit atrocities reported from Ahmednagar district.
"The village level committee will submit its report after every 15 days to district officials. Later, District Collector and Superintendent of Police will submit a report to the Government based on gravity of such cases," he said.
The State Government will allocate sufficient funds to implement schemes for Dalit welfare, the Minister said. Elaborating on reasons for atrocities, Badole said, "Small issues like building a road to 'shamshan bhumi' (cremation ground), common water supply schemes and (taking out cultural or religious) processions hurt egos of some people. This results in differences between Dalits and other communities."
A few months ago, three members of a Dalit family were killed in Jawakhede Khalsa village of Ahmednagar district. In the past, two cases of violence against Dalits have been reported from this western Maharashtra district.