Microcredit Incites Caste Violence

A local moneylender vengefully attacks a Dalit woman from a microfinance group Varsha founded Parivantan Janandolan Kendra some years ago. One of the programs her NGO is running aims at implementing self help groups, to help women become self sufficient. In this framework, a microfinance organisation was formed in Chakfateh village, in Vashali district, Bihar. Women, in particular from the Dalit community, have greatly benefited from it. “Before they used to borrow money from the money lenders, the interest rate was high, and borrowing was only making things worse for them. But now, the money from microfinance group actually enable them to go out of poverty,” Varsha explained. But empowerment means that some people have to let their former privilege and dominance go. This is what the local moneylender refused to accept. Thus, on March 16th, he violently attacked Sunita Devi, during one of her microfinance group meetings. She was slapped, insulted and hit with a stone. To this date, the police have still not arrested the culprit, although Sunita Devi registered a case against him. On a positive note, it seems that this violence did not frighten the women’s group. They are determined to support Sunita Devi. Varsha is also strongly backing up their fight. Her video is her main weapon, and she wishes people will respond to it.

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