After being on the sidelines of Dalit and feminist movements for long, Dalit women are now standing up for their rights
New Delhi: In 2008, seven women, aged 19-24, walked into a police station in Haryana’s Indri village in Kurukshetra district. Dressed in salwar-kameez with dupattas draped around their necks, they looked tired but confident, angry and brimming with questions. They wanted to meet the SHO and ask why no FIR had been filed in the rape and murder of a 13-year-old Dalit girl, although two days had passed since her body was found in the village. At first, the in-charge of the police station insisted no such incident had happened but later asked if the victim was related to the women. “She is one of us. If it is her today, it could be us tomorrow," replied Manisha Mashaal, 29, a grassroots anti-caste activist, and part of Swabhimaan Society, an NGO working for the rights of Dalit women. “But," said the man, “our women don’t walk into police stations like this. They don’t talk so much. Chalo now really tell me who has sent you."