The two Fundamental Rights that Dalits can draw upon to insist that they be treated with dignity and as equals are:
The Adivasi activists including C.K. Janu believe that Adivasis can also use the 1989 Act to fight against dispossession because this Act guarantees the tribals not to be dispossessed from the land resources forcibly. They pointed specifically that this Act merely confirms what has already been promised to the tribal people in the Constitution - that their land cannot be sold to or bought by non-tribal people. In cases where this has happened, the constitution also guarantees the right of the tribal people to repossess their land.
Rathnam used the 1989 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to file a complaint because it prescribed stringent punishment for those indulging in atrocities on Dalits.
On his refusal to perform a degrading ritual, Rathnam was ostracized from his community, his hut set on fire and he was forced to move out of his village. These were all atrocities committed on a caste bias and humiliation forced down upon the Dalits.