Q1: List two fundamental rights in the Constitution that Dalits can draw upon to insist that they be treated with dignity and as equals.
Answer: The fundamental rights which Dalits can draw upon to be treated with dignity and as equals are listed below:
Right to equality - according to this all persons are equal before the law. No citizen can be discriminated against on the basis of his or her socio-economical background, caste, religion etc. Every person has equal right of access to all public places.
Right against exploitation - According to this the Constitution prohibits trafficking, forced labour and children working under 14 years of age. One can not be exploited forced to do any particular job because of one’s poor resources etc.
Q2: Re-read the story on Rathnam as well as the provisions of the 1989 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Now list one reason why you think he used this law to file a complaint.
Answer: The 1989 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was formed in response to the demands made by Dalits and others that the Government take seriously to protect them against the ill-treatment and humiliation faced by Dalits and tribal groups in their everyday life. Rathnam’s hut was burnt and he was forced to leave the village along with his mother and other members of his family as they continued to be ostracized by the powerful castes in the village.
So Rathnam used the above law to file a complaint to protest against the domination and violence of the powerful castes in his village.
Q3: Why do Adivasi activists, including C.K. Janu, believe that Adivasis can also use this 1989 Act to fight against dispossession? Is there anything specific in the provisions of the act that allows her to believe this?
Answer: The Adivasi activists including C.K. Janu believe that Adivasis can also use this 1989 Act to fight against dispossession because this Act guarantees the tribals not to be dispossessed from the land resources forcibly. They pointed specifically that this Act merely confirms what has already been promised to the tribal people in the Constitution - that their land can not be sold to or bought by non-tribal people. In cases where this has happened, the constitution also guarantees that the right of the tribal people to repossess their land.