Stories by Shareen Joshi

Expert Voices

Deadly week of caste violence could portend Indian election upheaval

Dalit members stage protest in New Delhi
Dalits protest the alleged dilution of the Prevention of Atrocities Act in New Delhi on April 2, 2018. Photo: K Asif/India Today Group via Getty Images

Since last week, thousands of Dalits — a broad category of India’s most marginalized populations — have protested a Supreme Court ruling that dilutes the Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1989, a critical piece of anti-discrimination legislation. Multiple clashes between protesters, police and upper-caste groups across 10 states have led to curfews, property damage and more than 10 deaths.

Why it matters: Dalits account for a fifth of India’s population, and so will play a critical role in state elections this year and national elections in 2019. With more protests scheduled this week, and more groups joining in to express discontent with government policies, the fight between the BJP and its opposition parties to win Dalit support is intensifying.