Mitras Ethics Case Study

You are recently posted as district development officer for Shivamogga district, Karnataka. Shortly thereafter you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of communalism.

Dalits and indigenous people (Scheduled Tribes or adivasis) face discrimination, exclusion, and acts of communal violence.

Laws and policies adopted by the Indian government to provide a strong basis for protection are not being faithfully implemented by local authorities.

On December 25, 1992 a group of 44 striking Dalit village labourers were murdered by a gang, allegedly sent by their landlords, as they were demanding higher wages.

On 11 July 1997, a statue of B.R. Ambedkar in the Dalit colony of Sugur village was dishonoured by unknown individuals. An initially peaceful protest was fired on by the police, killing ten people.

Commentators suggested that the arbitrarily violent response from the police had been the result of caste based prejudice, as the leader of the team stood accused in multiple cases involving caste-based discrimination.

One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. The members of the Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS) were protesting over refusal to allow a Dalit to be cremated on the land allotted by the district administration.

In April, 2016 the district administration sanctioned 32 guntas of gomala land on the outskirts of Sugur village to develop a cremation ground.

But those who were engaged in the cultivation of this land brought an injunction order against outsiders entering it. On Thursday, Ramaswamy (60), a Dalit resident of the village, died.

When his body was taken for cremation, those cultivating the land refused to allow it. A verbal duel ensued between them and a few DSS members. Following this, the DSS members staged a protest.

(a) What steps would you take to ensure safety of the Dalit community without disrupting their daily life?

(b) How would you manage and mould discriminatory attitude of the villagers to ensure harmony?  

20 marks / 250 words.

 

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