Who owns Antidiscrimination Law? Caste Atrocities, Political Intimacies and Traumatic Silence in Rajasthan

04.05.2021, 16:15 - 17:45
Universität Luzern, Ethnologisches Seminar

Research Kolloquium, Spring Semester 2021


Sandhya Fuchs (University of Bern)

This paper shines the spotlight on the jurisdictional battle that unfolds when incidents of caste-based violence become official complaints under the 1989 Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act (PoA), one of India's most ambitious antidiscrimination and hate crime laws. The paper traces the story of Pinky, a teenage girl, who belongs to India's Dalit (ex-untouchable) community and was raped by upper caste boys from her native village in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Pinky's story shows how survivors of caste atrocities can experience forms of silencing at the hands of activists, political leaders and even their own families, who treat violence and law as productive sites of power and blur the lines between care and manipulation. Pinky’s story exposes how engagement with the law can exacerbate gendered vulnerabilities, when the post-traumatic moment exposes concerns about honour and female decency. Finally, it reveals how legal processes can exacerbate in-equalities between and within castes, as Pinky and her family are instructed how to use law the “right way” by influential actors from their own communities.


Meeting ID: 969 8041 0248
Passcode: 500274

Contact: nicole.ahoya(at)

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