Uttar Pradesh sees the highest number of complaints of discrimination against students belonging to the scheduled castes and other backward classes, according to government data.
Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for about 17% of India’s total population, accounted for 57% of the total complaints regarding discrimination against students belonging to scheduled castes and other backward classes.
Sceduled castes and other backward classes are the so-called ‘lower caste’ groups of India who today receive a higher level of state protection through anti-discrimination laws. Insulting a person by calling him or her a ‘low caste’ or by calling him or her using her caste name in a derogatory sense is punishable by law in India.
The number of such complaints filed by students rose sharply from 2010 to 2011. In 2010, there were only 147 such cases in the country as a whole, while in 2011, the number of such complaints rose to 323.
It again rose to 351 in 2012 (see chart) and reached almost 300 by August 2013.
Out of the total 297 cases reported by August 22 for the year 2013, Uttar Pradesh accounted for 169 cases. UP was followed by Delhi, which saw 34 cases and by Tamil Nadu, which reported 23 cases.
Bihar, in comparison, reported only 6 cases in 2013, and 11 cases in 2012.
No such cases were reported from Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
It is not clear why the number for Uttar Pradesh is high. The state is home to Kumari Mayawati, India’s most power Dalit leader. It is one of the few states in India to be ruled by a chief minister who belongs to the scheduled castes and a party that espouses an aggressive counter-stance against upper caste domination.