Petition by Concerned Citizens
Kiran Bedi, Ex IAS officer, an active member of a political party and Puducherry Lt Governor, has insulted and condemned de-notified tribes by tweeting on 2ndAugust: ”Ex-criminal tribes are known to be very cruel. They are hardcore professionals in committing crimes. Rarely caught and/or convicted”.
These words of Kiran Bedi have seriously hurt tribal and nomadic communities who were labeled criminals by the British and treated atrociously by both the British and the Indian government. No one with the least common decency would utter these words. As per the constitution of India discrimination is not allowed based on caste, religion, gender or language but Kiran Bedi has gone against the constitution by calling tribal people criminals. Kiran Bedi’s words are not just a petty unjustified statement. It is very clear that there are casteist and racist hatred behind this statement. We strongly condemn the insulting casteist words of the Ex Police officer and current politician, Kiran Bedi. We demand that Kiran Bedi apologises immediately to these communities and retract her words. Also as a servant of a Government’s constitutional body, her words have violated SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act section 3(1) and Section 4(2)(g) which is a punishable offence with 5 years of imprisonment.
A recent rape incident in Bulandshahr has been used to spread the prejudiced views of denotified communities. We would like to ask a question here. Ashok Mishra hacked a dalit couple to death with an axe for owing Rs 15 in the Mainpuri district of Uttarpradesh. Do we call anyone with a surname Mishra as a murderer? Would that not be foolish?
The colonial administration listed a few communities as criminal tribes and enacted the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871. This was an inhumane and colonial spirited act passed during the colonial administration. This act was brought in to control the nomadic, adivasi and artistic communities who were the relational binders with the farming communities. In order to target the adivasi who were rebelling against the colonisers and were difficult to control as they didn’t have a sedentary life style, a criminal Tribe Act was formulated. Using this act and also using violence the colonial army controlled these communities.
During colonial times these tribes were denied the minimum basic civil rights and were considered born criminals. Sadly, after the handover of the government to India, even though the Criminal Tribal Act was repealed and ‘criminal tribes’ denotifed in 1952 it never left the police training manuals. Independent India also taught the police that these communities should be identified under the Habitual Offender Act, which replaced the Criminal Tribes Act. This Act had been formed to identify an individual or a community during the colonial administration, however, it has continued in independent India and has targeted the people from 127 denotified communities. This act has considered crime a disease and offenders as diseased.
What is clear to us here is that on the verge of celebrating the 70th anniversary of India’s independence the Indian Government and police system has not left behind the influence of the dreadful laws enacted during the British rule. It is an irony that we have been talking about involving backward, adivasi and nomadic communities into the mainstream and being involved in development and hear ex Police officer and a Lt Governor saying these words.
Whether it is Kiran Bedi, Uttar Pradesh Police or anyone else we strongly condemn insulting the communities who have suffered historically and who are trying to work with modern society being called ‘Criminal Tribes’.
- Kiran Bedi should immediately apologise in writing to the denotified communities and give a statement to the English and local newspapers. Also she should delete the tweet.
- TheHonorable President should dismiss Kiran Bedi, Lt Gov. Of Puducheri, who has violated the law and constitution.
Dr C S Dwarakanath, President, Alemaari Budakattu Mahasabha
Dr T N Chandrakanth, Retired Professor, Representative of Denotified communities
B Gopal, National Secretary, Bahujan Social Foundation
Harshakumar Kugwe, Talasthara Vedike member
Dr Krishnaraj, Professor, ISEC, Bangalore
Kaveri Kodagu, Member of Talastahara Vedike
Satya S, Member Talastahara Vedike
Lohitaksha, Representative of Sudugaadu Sidda community.