Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dalit killings: 2 held

SRIKAKULAM: Sixteen days after five dalits were killed in Lakshmipet in Srikakulam's Vangara mandal, the CID cops on Thursday arrested the two prime accused in the infamous case amidst public outcry over the government's slow reaction in nabbing the accused. In all, 76 persons have been named as accused in the case and 64 of them have been arrested till now.
The main accused and former ZPTC member Botsa Vasudeva Naidu was arrested in Hyderabad where he was taking shelter at his relatives' house. Another prime member behind the attack on dalits, Avula Srinivasa Rao, a Congress worker was nabbed by Srikakulam cops in Visakhapatnam district. Five dalits were killed and 18 others were injured in a clash between two rival groups who hurled country-made bombs and attacked each other with sharp weapons in Lakshmipet on June 12 over a land dispute.
One held for assault on Dalit woman
KENDRAPADA: Police made a breakthrough in the Dalit woman assault and parading naked case by arresting one of the accused on Friday. He is Rabi Mallick. Four others, Pabitra Mallick, Netrananda Mallick, Chabi Mallick and Gangadhar Mallick, are on the run.

The incident took place in Jagatsinghpur's Mangarajpur village within Kujang police limits on last Thursday when the victim, Sasmita Mallick (29), protested against the accused defecating in her field near the house. She suffered serious head injuries and is battling for life at a private nursing home in Cuttack. "Her husband, Satyananda Mallick, had filed an FIR in which he had stated that the five had attacked his wife with iron rods," said Gupteswar Bhoi, the police officer of Kujang police station.

"We filed a case against the five under Sections 354,323, 307,294, 506 and 34 of the IPC. All the accused have fled the village. On Friday, we arrested Rabi Mallick. Police are carrying out raids to arrest the others," the police officer said. The victim was first admitted to Kujang community health centre (CHC) and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital. But she was admitted to a private hospital in Cuttack after doctors at SCB allegedly failed to treat her.

On Thursday, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) directed the Jagatsinghpur superintendent of police to submit a detailed report about this case within two weeks. The OHRC chairman also directed the head of department of SCB's orthopaedic department to submit a report about her treatment in the hospital.
The victim's husband has alleged that some ruling party leaders in a clear nexus with police are trying to shield the accused. He has moved the Jagatsinghpur SP to take action against the accused. Contacted Bhoi denied all allegations against the police and stated that the police are investigating the case. All the accused will be arrested soon, he added.
60 Dalit farmers booked for 'stealing' own crop
Nearly 60 Dalit farmers of Baja Khana have been charged with the theft of their own crop that they harvested in the presence of the district police. Amid fears of arrest, the poor men guard their produce round the clock, and see political vendetta in their harassment. 

The fight for justice is costing them their daily wages and jobs. The tillers are wary of the police taking away the yield as recovered.
On April 26, on the complaint of Prog Singh, who claims to be sole cultivator of the land, the Baja Khana police had charged the 60 men with stealing wheat crop. on records, the land belongs to the state government and the Dalits have been tilling it for the past many years.

The farmers want the police to cancel the first-information report against them and register a case against Prog Singh instead on a charge of making a false claim. The police officers, including the then station house officer Gurpreet Singh and ASI Baldev Singh, who were present when the farmers collected their harvest, made a case against 60 persons a day after.

The suspects included 35 charged under Sections 379 (theft), 447 (criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing a petty amount of damage), and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Complainant Prog Singh claims to have won the land-ownership case in the high court in July 2002. However, the judgment (COCP 1721, 1998) states only that "the contempt petition is dismissed as withdrawn". In April 2009, a lower court passed a verdict that the Dalits owned the land.
ASI Baldev Singh, who was investigating officer when the Dalit farmers harvested the crop in his presence, terminated the call when HT reached him on phone for comments. He took no further calls from the reporter.
Gurcharan Singh, station house officer of Baja Khana, appealed over telephone to ask his munshi about the case. "Complainant Prog Singh told us he had won the case in the high court, while the matter is pending in the court of civil judge Sushma Devi," said investigating officer ASI Daljit Singh.
"On April 26, we charged nearly 60 people in the case and a long time ago, have released on bail the four men we had arrested. We are looking forward to the cancellation of the FIR against all suspects."
"Our harassment is because of political vendetta," said farmer Veeru Singh. "Prog Singh has strong links with local leaders of the state's ruling party, so the police acted on his complaint without caring to see any proof of him winning the case. Besides compensation, we want the false FIR cancelled and the erring police officials punished."
In batches, the farmers guard their crop. "The harvest is almost damaged," said Veeru Singh. "The vigil has kept us from earning our daily bread."
Capacity-building classes for Dalit panchayat presidents stressed 

Government has to strengthen Dalits’ capabilities for independent thinking and empower them to achieve the twin objectives of economic development and social justice.

The State Government must revive the practice of conducting capacity-building classes for Dalit Panchayat presidents if it really believed in further empowerment of elected Panchayat functionaries and facilitating the under privileged to fulfil their commitments to the peoples, felt the Gowthami Foundation, working for Dalits welfare in the north coastal Andhra.
Government has to strengthen Dalits’ capabilities for independent thinking and for standing up to their oppressors. They must be empowered to achieve the twin objectives of economic development and social justice. Only education and knowledge, and proactive interventions by socio-political movements could help achieve this, said founder of Gowthami Foundation Ch. Das on the Lakshmipeta incident in which five Dalits were allegedly killed in an attack people of a higher caste on June 12. The Lakshmipeta incident was one of the frequent and brutal attacks against poor and landless Dalits. The dominant upper caste people were have been reported more intensely and frequently in North Andhra Pradesh. The dominant caste at Lakshmipeta was not willing to see the poor Dalits to till the land along with them.
Women who are easy targets in every act of violence and suppression, were not spared at Lakshmipeta too and one of the reasons for the attack on the Dalits was that the former president of the village Panchayat was a Dalit woman Chitri Simhalamma, who had never been allowed to sit in the chair during the Panchayat meetings. Recent studies by the Gowthami Foundation revealed that the Dalit Panchayat presidents were facing a lot of discrimination. Providing reservation for Dalits in the Panchayat bodies as a method to remove untouchability in due course of time had not been successful and it was also found that majority of the Panchayat presidents were ignorant of the need to fight untouchability.
He also recalled the statement made by senior advocate of High Court Bojja Tarakam and other Dalit activists that Lakshmipeta incident proved once again that enacting laws alone could not be the solution to end the power-driven caste system.
Dalit killed after 4 yrs of marriage to upper caste girl

KURUKSHETRA: A dalit youth, who had married an upper caste girl inn the face of strong opposition from her family four years back, was killed in Sector 8 of Kurukshetra.
The youth, Rohtas Kumar, 32, was missing since January 16 and his body was recovered from the house of a local BJP leader on Tuesday, where Kumar had been staying as a tenant after his marriage in 2008. Police believe that he was killed few months back.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Upper caste youths stop dalit's ghurchari
ROHTAK: A dalit groom was barred from carrying out the marriage ritual of ghurchari by a group of upper caste youths in Baniyani village of Rohtak district on Monday night.
Police booked around 10 persons and arrested one of them on Tuesday. A police team also took stock of the situation in the village.
Meham DSP Prithvi Singh said that the situation is under control now and the police were trying to nab the remaining accused of which six had been identified.
Ghurchari is a pre-nuptial ritual in which the groom rides a mare to the village temple.
The complainant, Patlu, told the police that they were carrying out the marriage procession of his son Rajesh Kumar. When the procession reached near the house of Ram Pal, he objected and denied entry to the street. He was supported by youths identified as Bhagate, Madan, Kale, Devender, Raju and some others.
The complainant said they tried to argue with them but the youths refused to let the ghurchari march on. "We had to divert our route to return home. We informed the police about the incident," the groom's father said.
Police sources said that on Tuesday, both the groups had a confrontation on the issue again. However, it was resolved by the police. The DSP said police has been deployed in the village and the situation. "One person has been rounded up for questioning," he said.
India's Dalits still fighting untouchability
Dalit sweeper woman walks by a pig at a dumpDalits in India still do the most menial jobs

Dalits are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system and despite laws to protect them, they still face widespread discrimination in India, writes Natalia Antelava.

As the glass flew across the room and straight into the wall, a dozen or so men stopped drinking their tea.
Dr Vinod Sonkar threw money on the counter - enough for the tea he drank and the glass he had smashed - and walked out.
Dr Sonkar's soft voice turns angry as he describes the scene.
For years, he says, he worked hard to leave behind his childhood of poverty, abuse at school and teasing at university.
By the time he had walked into the Rajasthan teashop, he had turned his life into a success story.
He had a PhD in law and a teaching position at a Delhi university.

Start Quote

Amit a Dalit Video Volunteer correspondent
Its like you are born with a stamp on your forehead and you can never get rid of it”
AmitDalit Video Volunteer
Yet, as the shop owner handed him his tea, he asked him what caste he belonged to.
"I am a Dalit," Dr Sonkar said.
"In that case, wash your glass when you are done," the shop owner said.
"He didn't want to touch whatever I had touched. I made it impure. I am an untouchable," says Dr Sonkar.
Margins of society
India is well known for its caste system, but not many associate the world's biggest democracy with what Dr Sonkar, and many other Dalits, call an apartheid-style state.
"Unfortunately the Indian government, made up of the upper castes, has successfully convinced the international community that caste discrimination is an internal, cultural issue. But the truth is, it affects the very way this country is run," Dr Sonkar says.
Dr Sonkar, who in his thesis compared affirmative actions in India with those of post-apartheid South Africa and the United States, argues that in India despite all legal provisions, 15% of the population is still kept on the very margins of society because of untouchability.
India's constitution banned the practice of untouchability - in which members of India's higher castes will not touch anything that has come in physical contact with the Dalits, the lowest caste.
Recently, an organisation called Video Volunteers, which runs a network of community correspondents throughout India, launched a campaign called Article 17, named after the constitutional provision that banned untouchability.
Dalit leader Mayawati There have been several Dalit chief ministers in India
They are now preparing to file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court and ask the government to take steps to stop untouchability practices.
The campaign and the lawsuit are based on video evidence gathered by Dalits themselves.
The short clips that come from all over India include a man who complains that a local barber refuses to cut his hair, a group of children who are forced to eat lunch separately from their classmates and women who walk for hours to fetch water because they are not allowed to use the public tap in their village.
None of the footage on its own is particularly dramatic, but the persistent, systematic discrimination that it documents is deeply disturbing.
'Slowly changing'
"It's like you are born with a stamp on your forehead and you can never get rid of it," says Amit, one of the community correspondents.
Amit's village in the northern state of Haryana is just a three-hour bumpy drive away from the capital, and yet Dalits here are not allowed to enter temples or visit houses of the upper castes.
"Today, here in Haryana, we the Dalits are still being tied to trees and beaten by upper caste people. Police do nothing because none of the policemen are Dalit," Amit says.

Start Quote

We are still Dalit, still broken, still suppressed.”
Dr Vinod SonkarDalit
Amit and his neighbours admit that things are slowly changing.
There are now laws protecting Dalits and affirmative action programmes. And Dalits have worked hard to increase their political power - several states have even elected Dalit chief ministers.
But, only a very few manage to break out of the cycle of poverty and caste that they are born into.
Untouchability helps to lock Dalits, who traditionally do the dirtiest manual jobs, in their occupations.
Even if a Dalit scavenger can afford to buy a cow and sell milk or open a shop, for example, upper caste customers are unlikely to buy any of the produce.
In Amit's village Ladwa, like in most of India, no Dalits own land although his friend Vimal has moved into a house he bought from the upper caste members.
It's a spacious, solid building but the neighbourhood has changed.
"As Dalits moved in, all upper caste neighbours moved out, so the prices have really come down," Vimal says.
But, he admits that discrimination is not limited to the upper caste, within the Dalit community there are many sub-castes and hierarchies.
A Video Volunteer Dalit community correspondent interviewing a girlVideo Volunteers is planning to file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court
"We also need to stop discriminating against each other and to be more united as we fight for our rights," adds Vimal.
'Still broken'
For many Dalits education is the only way out of poverty, but that isn't easy.
Dr Vinod Sonkar completed one of his degrees via a correspondence course because he found teasing in the classroom unbearable.
Today, Dr Sonkar is the only Dalit professor in his university.
I ask him to name an influential Dalit academic. He can't. A big name journalist? There isn't one, he says. A Supreme Court judge? Two out of hundreds appointed in the last 65 years.
In Sanskrit, the word Dalit means suppressed, smashed, broken to pieces.
Sixty-five years after Indian independence, Vinod Sonkar tells me: "We are still Dalit, still broken, still suppressed."
Dalit youth attacked, wife 'abducted'
Hisar, Jun 25 (PTI) Over a dozen assailants allegedly attacked one Kuldeep Dhanak at his residence on Kaimri road here last night and injured him seriously and kidnapped his wife Shalu Sharma. The complainant, a Dalit youth, alleged that the kin of his wife had attacked him and abducted his wife, police said here. Police even conducted raids at various places to recover Shalu but in vain. Shalu had married Kuldeep Dhanak against the wishes of her family in the month of March this year. Both actually belonged to Ratia town in Fatehabad district and fell in love. When the parents of the girl opposed their proposal of marriage, they ran away and married in the court and sought protection from the police. A gunman was provided to the newly-wedded couple and they shifted to Fatehabad. After some days they returned the police security and shifted to Hisar. Kuldeep Dhanak, a labourer, who is admitted in Civil Hospital in Hisar told newsmen that his father-in-law Purushottam Lal and brother-in-law Dhiraj Sharma led about a dozen miscreants with covered faces, who allegedly attacked him and abducted Shalu in a jeep. "I was being threatened and was under pressure to break the wedlock," he alleged.
Mayawati spent Rs 5000 crore on dalit memorials
LUCKNOW: The previous Bahujan Samaj Party government led by chief minister Mayawatihad sanctioned more than Rs 5,000 crore for construction of parks and memorials in the name of dalit icons and installation of statues between 2008 to 2012.
The information was given in a written reply in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) legislative council on a question raised by Congress member Naseeb Pathan on year-wise fund allocation for parks and statues between January 2008 to May 2012. The government, however, evaded query on whether the expenditure on dalit memorials "unnecessary" and "obstructed development"" of the state. The government said that since the matter related to expenditure on dalit memorials is subjudice, it will not comment on it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New guidelines to check discrimination of SC/ST students
New Delhi, June 2, 2012,DHNS
UGC moots equal opportunity cells and anti-discrimination officers

In response to the alleged profiling of North-Eastern and Scheduled Caste  and Scheduled Tribes students in various higher educational institutions, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended creating equal opportunity cells and appointing anti-discrimination officers  in institutions across the country. The UGC’s new guidelines defines ragging, derogatory remarks and calling their names in a derogatory manner and other forms of “unfavourable” treatments to SC/ST students as acts of discrimination. Demanding fees from SC/ST students in excess of the amount mentioned in their declared admission policy or denial/limiting of access to benefits arising from enrolment in the institution will also be considered discrimination. 

The higher educational institution –universities, colleges and deemed universities—must ensure that SC/ST or North-Eastern students are not   segregated in common facilities or subjected to discriminatory treatment in academic or sports infrastructure.  The regulation also underlines the need to prevent the breach of reservation policy during admission and discrimination of accepting, processing or handling of the SC/ST students. Following a suggestion from the HRD Ministry, the UGC has also proposed to create an ombudsman position in each higher educational institution to look into the grievances of students including those belonging to SC and ST.

The education watchdog will be established in every central university and higher educational institution including the elite Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had said in January referring to a decision. The ombudsman will either be a judge not below the rank of a district judge or a retired professor who has at least 10 years experience in student grievance redressal. Setting up of the ombudsman would ensure transparency in admissions and to prevent unfair practices in higher educational institutions, while also serving as a redressal mechanism. 

An ombudsman will be the appellate authority in the case of discrimination against SC and ST students. It will also be an appellate authority in the case of grievances of other students, which will first be examined by a grievance redressal committee, to be set up in each higher educational institution under the proposed UGC (Establishment of Mechanism for Grievance Redressal) Regulations, 2012. The committee will comprise three senior teachers and a student representative based on academic merit. Among various grievances, It will look into complaints on delay in holding examinations or declaration of results beyond the time specified in academic calendar and also denial of quality education promised during admission or required to be provided.

The new regulations and guidelines for checking discrimination against SC and ST students will be presented to the State Education Ministers at a meeting here on June 5.
Panchayati raj and untouchability

June 5,2012: This year, India celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 73rd amendment. One of the most striking aspects of the modern Panchayati Raj defined by the amendment is the systematic reservation of political positions (pradhans, sarpanchs, and ward members) for villagers from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes (SC/ST). In spite of strong initial opposition from traditionally dominant caste groups, these reservations have now been implemented during several electoral cycles in most Indian states and have guaranteed the election of tens of thousands of SC/ST candidates that would not have been elected otherwise.
While Dalit voters have gained importance as a force in national and state and federal elections, the election of SC candidates to local posts would have been unlikely without the intervention of the Indian state. Village institutions, and more generally speaking, rural India, remain centers of caste conservatism. In spite of slow but notable progress, recent empirical studies have shown that major discriminations persist. A 2006 nation-wide independent study designed by leading Indian sociologists, titled “Untouchability in Rural India,” suggests that members of the scheduled castes remain discriminated against in most of their interactions with others. Among dozens of other instances of daily discrimination, members of the SCs remain barred from entry into places of worship in more than 50 percent of the surveyed villages. They are denied access to water facilities in more than 45 percent of the villages, and denied seating among other villagers in 30 percent of the villages. Atrocities and physical violence against SC/STs also remain disturbingly common, including towards those SC/ST villagers serving in political office.
In this context, these elections in villages across the country constitute an achievement of Indian democracy in and of themselves. That a state bureaucracy successfully managed to implement such an unlikely reform on the ground is, after all, no small deed.
But while these reservations are witness to the might of a state administration, their ability to trigger meaningful social transformations on the ground remains difficult to evaluate. How, if at all, has mandated access to local-level political representation benefited SC/ST villagers on the ground?
For the past three years, I have gathered data in Rajasthan focusing on reservations for members of the SCs for the key position of sarpanch (village council head). Interviews with several dozen sarpanches, both from the SCs and from other groups, as well as several large-scale surveys of villagers from all groups, have led me to a simple conclusion: while members of the SCs on average do not materially benefit in a significant way from an experience with an SC sarpanch, these reservations lay the ground for what may be an equally important kind of social change.
Why do we find the material gains made by villagers from the SCs to be minimal under an SC sarpanch? Although the reason for this may seem to be intrinsically budgetary – the resources disbursed by gram panchayats are not large, and SC sarpanchs may not have the resources necessary to improve the lot of members of their castes – the reasons are more complex. While the resources of gram panchayats are indeed not immense, they are sizable enough that they can potentially make a big difference in the lives of a village’s most deprived citizens. Would gram panchayat elections be so harshly contested if voters were not aware of this fact?
A mix of factors explains why SC sarpanches are unable to significantly improve the lot of SC villagers. First, to the degree that Untouchability persists, SC sarpanches are often not provided with the authority and respect that is traditionally accorded the sarpanch. Second, the sarpanch’s ability to aid SC villagers is limited by the local political context. Electorally speaking, successful SC sarpanches depend on a multi-caste coalition, and do not have a free hand in making decisions favorable to their own group. Indeed, SC sarpanches may become indebted to other groups, in extreme cases behaving as proxies for influential local strongmen. The most significant constraint faced by SC sarpanches may be the institutional structure of the panchayat system itself, in which ward members may play an outsized role, especially in the face of a sarpanch perceived as weak or “illegitimate.” Finally, the potential for redistribution generated by the presence in office of an SC villager is limited by embezzlement and personal gains; there is no reason to expect this new breed of politician to depart from the norm in this regard. Incidentally, many of the villagers I interacted with described these gains for the family of the sarpanch as a positive aspect of reservation, implying that a rotation in corruption was preferable to entrenched corruption.
If common SC villagers do not receive any tangible advantages from reservation, why are these reservations valuable? This newfound access to political representation opens the door to profound changes in the way Untouchability is practiced and perpetuated in India’s villages.
Even in the case of weak, incompetent, or manipulated SC sarpanches, reservation has two automatic consequences: it increases contact between villagers and at least one member of the village’s main Dalit caste, and it provides members of that Dalit caste with a degree of linkage with local authorities. These structural changes, often dismissed as unimportant by villagers themselves, have the potential to impact two types of beliefs related to members of the scheduled castes: beliefs about the norms of interaction with members of the scheduled castes and beliefs about the level of protection enjoyed by villagers of the SCs.
According to responses to two audio surveys (one survey of members of the SCs and one survey of non-SC villagers), the experience of an SC sarpanch changes the psychology of caste relations among members of both groups. This psychological impact is subtle and specific: while villagers that experienced reservation retain overwhelmingly negative stereotypes about members of the SCs, they nonetheless perceive the emergence of new social and legal norms. In spite of persistent prejudice, the daily experience of a visible SC sarpanch increases the perception that society is evolving towards more tolerant norms, and that openly hostile behaviors towards members of the SCs will not go unpunished.
Why are these rather limited psychological changes so important when thinking about the evolution of Untouchability? Specifically, why does the perception that norms are evolving matter? Untouchability-related behaviors are often explained away as expression of Brahminical ideology or as expressions of socio-economic rivalries between groups. But these motivations constitute only partial explanations for the extraordinary stickiness of Untouchability. As scores of social-psychological studies have shown, it is often a simple desire to conform to societal norms – in this case, a pernicious norm of domination of one group by another – that really drives hostile or discriminatory behaviors at the individual level. With this in mind, it is reasonable to hypothesize that the perception that social and legal norms are changing will have a far-reaching effect on the propensity with which individuals choose to reproduce Untouchability-related behaviors. Upper-caste villagers that experienced an SC sarpanch were significantly less likely to self-report in a confidential interview that they would engage in an openly hostile act towards an SC villager. SC villagers that experienced an SC sarpanch were more likely to self-report that they would behave in a more assertive or counter-stereotypical way in front of an upper-caste villager. These changes, although small in size, exist among members of all ages, education, and caste groups.
Whether or not a generalized policy of “reservations” constitutes India’s best strategy to redress past injustices remains unclear. More empirical research into the material, psychological, and interpersonal impact of reservation policies is needed. If there is value to be gained from these policies, it may emanate not from its impact on redistribution, but from subtle and indirect changes in perceptions. By fostering a perception that Untouchability-related behaviors are changing, relatively modest local-level reservations may have far-reaching consequences for interpersonal relations among castes in India’s villages.
Simon Chauchard is an Assistant Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. He is currently working on a book exploring the connection between political reservations and the practice of Untouchability in rural India.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Minor dalit girl raped, murdered
PRATAPGARH (UP): A 12-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered by four men at Esthan village under Nawabganj police station area here yesterday. 
The girl was abducted last evening when she was going to meet her mother working in a nearby field, police said. The accused took her to a secluded place and allegedly raped her and before strangulating her, they said. 
Another girl of the same village, who was passing by, heard the cries of the victim but chose to remain silent out of fear, police said adding that this morning however when the dead body was discovered, she gave out the names of the perpetrators of the crime. 

An FIR has been lodged and efforts were on to arrest the culprits.

Pipili victim's family refuse to cremate body, Gov seeks report
The family of Pipili rape victim today refused to cremate the body of the dalit girl who died yesterday after remaining in coma for over six months, leading Governor MC Bhandre to seek a status report from the Odisha government on the matter. The governor also asked the Puri district police to 'respect the wishes' of the parents of the 19-year-old Dalit girl for the last rites, sources said.
A delegation of Dalit Adhkar Sangathan led by Haladhar Sethi met the governor and sought his intervention. "The governor has assured that the victim's family will be given opportunity to cremate the body," Sethi said. The father of the victim, Babuli Behera, alleged that the police forcibly took away the body to Pipili last night while the family wanted to take it to Ghatika for a last 'darshan' by their community.
"The police took the ambulance carrying the body and we were left behind here. Since they took the body against our wishes, let the police do whatever it wants," Behera said. "We have decided not to participate in cremation protesting the role of police," he said. Puri sub-collector Udhab Charan Das said a medical team from district headquarters hospital at Puri had certified that the body was decomposing, therefore, it was shifted to the morgue. "Our people waited for the family members to take back the body. But, none of them turn up at Arjungada village. We will wait till arrival of the family members for the cremation," Das said.

Dalit RTI activist stabbed to death in Andhra Pradesh
A dalit RTI activist was stabbed to death by unknown assailants in broad day light in Chilaluripet town of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh on Friday. A dalit was stabbed to death by unknown assailants in broad day light in Chilaluripet town of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.Perumalla Suryanarayana, 30, was eating breakfast at a road-side restaurant near Tahsildar Office in the town when three men attacked him with knives and stabbed him indiscriminately. Suryanarayana died on the spot, while the miscreants fled the spot on motorcycles.

According to Chilakaluripet town circle inspector A Srinivas, the victim had several enemies as he had filed petitions with the officials under the Right to Information Act to seek information about land dealings and other property details of several people in the town.The police said there were a couple of cases against Suryanarayana too, such as blackmailing the people using the documents obtained under the RTI Act and indulging in settlement of land disputes."Being a dalit, Suryanarayana had also filed cases against several influential people under SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act. May be it was also one of the reasons for his murder. We have booked a murder case and are investigating," the inspector said.

This is the second murder of an RTI activist in the state in the last two years. In April 2010, RTI activist Sola Ranga Rao of Krishna district was murdered after he exposed the irregularities in funding of a drainage system in the village."Though the awareness levels among the people about RTI in Andhra Pradesh are not very high, the activists are facing attacks now and then for bringing out the irregularities in the society," said P Pavan, an RTI activist from Vijayawada.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

न्यायपालिकाएवं पत्रकारिता में आरक्षण जरूरी क्यों?
आरक्षण एक ऐसा शब्द जिसे कभी दलित एवं पिछडों के सामाजिक और राजनीतिक  प्रतिनिधित्वसे जोड़कर पारिभाषित किया था हमारे समाज के महापुरुषों ने, पर क्या आज हम उस मुकाम को हासिल कर पाए हैं जो उन सभी महापुरुषों का सपना था? ये प्रश्न आज भी मेरे अंदर उठता है और शायद आपके भी मन में उठता हो. मैं आज सरकारी विभागों में आरक्षण कि बात नहीं कर रहा (जिसकी बात अगले लेख में करूँगा) बल्कि संविधान के दो प्रमुख स्तंभों न्यायपालिकाएवं पत्रकारिता के बारे में बात कर रहा हूँ जिसमें दलितों और पिछडों के लिए पर्याप्त आरक्षण (माफ कीजियेगा कहना चाहिए प्रतिनिधित्व) का प्रावधान अभी तक नहीं हो पाया है. आज भी हमारे समाज का प्रतिनिधित्व इन क्षेत्रों में बहुत कम है. इसके तमाम कारण, जो आज तक मैंने सुने या पढ़े हैं उनमें ज्यादातर यही कहा गया है कि इन क्षेत्रों में आने वाले दलितों एवं पिछडों में पर्याप्त योग्यता नहीं है. क्या ये पूरा सच है या फिर हमारे समाज को आगे बढ़ने से रोकने के लिए किया गया कोई षड़यंत्र? इसका उत्तर तो भविष्य के गर्भ में है पर जो तथ्य हमारे सामने हैं मैं उनकी तरफ आप सभी का ध्यान जरूर आकर्षित करना चाहूँगा. पिछले लेख में मैंने बहुत से दलित और पिछड़े वर्ग के सक्षम एवं विद्वान लोगों का एक सारांश इन्टरनेट से निकला था. ये सारांश अगर दलितों एवं पिछडों कि योग्यता को प्रमाणित नहीं करता तो ये कम भी नहीं हैं इस बात का अहसास दिलाने के लिए कि दलित एवं पिछड़े वर्ग के लोग अब पर्याप्त योग्य हैं इन क्षेत्रों में अपनी भूमिका निभाने के लिए.

दलितों एवं पिछडों की इन क्षेत्रों में भागेदारी न के बराबर होना ये दर्शाता है कि कहीं न कहीं दलितों और पिछडों की इन क्षेत्रों में भागेदारी का मार्ग अवरुद्ध हो रहा है (या किया जा रहा है). मैं किसी व्यक्ति या समाज विशेष को इसका दोष नहीं दे रहा बल्कि भारतीय समाज के सभी अंगों को ये अवगत कराना चाहता हूँ कि भले ही वो कोई भी तर्क दें पर ये प्रत्यक्ष सत्य है कि बिना दलितों एवं पिछडों को साथ लिए भारतीय संविधान के तीनों स्तंभ अधूरे हैं और रहेंगे.

सवर्णों कि कथनी और करनी पर बड़ा अफ़सोस होता है जब मैं ये देखता हूँ कि एक तरफ तो वे  घोषित आरक्षण (सरकारी) का विरोध करते हैं पर उसके साथ ही अपने हर कार्यक्षेत्र (प्राइवेट) में उन्होंने एक अघोषित ९५% का आरक्षण लागू कर रखा है. जिसमें हमारे दलित व पिछडों के बच्चे पीछे रह जाते हैं और उनके पास सिर्फ सरकारी आरक्षण का ही एक सहारा रह जाता है. बड़ी बात ये है कि प्राइवेट संस्थानों एवं उद्यमों में ९५% से ज्यादा का अघोषित आरक्षण की बात वो कभी करना नहीं चाहते बल्कि हमारे दलित एवं पिछड़े वर्ग के गरीबों के कुछ एक खुले रास्तों को भी बंद करना चाहते हैं. क्या यहीं हमारे संविधान का उद्देश्य है?

आज भी इन दो क्षेत्रों में पर्याप्त भागेदारी न होने से पीडितों पर होने वाले अत्याचार ना तो पूरी तरह से सामने आ पाते हैं और कोर्ट में भी उनके ऊपर होने वाले अत्याचारों को प्रमाणित नहीं किया जा पाता है. ध्यान रखे ये हाईकोर्ट एवं लोवर कोर्ट के न्यायाधीशों की नियुक्ति के लिए नियम विधान सभा से पारित होते हैं जिसके लिए राज्य सरकारें जिम्मेदार हैं. अगर आप दलितों एवं पिछडों की इन दो क्षेत्रों में भागेदारी के लिए सहमत हैं तो जब भी राज्यों के चुनाव हों तो ये मुद्दे अपने प्रत्याशियों के सामने रखें और उनसे ये आश्वाशन लें कि उनकी सरकार दलितों एवं पिछडों के लिए इन क्षेत्रों में आरक्षण का प्रावधान जरूर करेगी. चर्चा करें और ये बातें अपने समाज को जरूर बताये जिससे अपना समाज सुरक्षित एवं सक्षम हो सके.  

                             ---- जय भीम

New fees reimbursement rules upset Dalit outfits
PUNE: The Aarakshan Hakka Sanrakshan Samiti (committee for protection of reservation rights') is up in arms over the State cabinet's move to modify the reimbursement for professional course fees scheme for socially backward and economically weaker section students from 2012-13.
The samiti is a collective of Dalit Ambedkar movement, Left and socialist organisations. Its convenor Sanjay Dabadhe told TOI on Monday, "The modifications are unfair and unjust. The government always finds it convenient to curtail the constitutionally mandated expenditure for the socially and economically weaker sections under the garb of a financial crunch."
On Monday, the samiti met at Ambedkar cultural hall near Pune railway station to chalk out an action plan of protests and demonstrations against the decision.
According to the modifications cleared by the cabinet on June 13, an income ceiling of Rs 2 lakh per annum has been introduced for the beneficiaries from the scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), VJNT (denotified tribes), other backward class (OBC) and special backward class (SBC) students.
Earlier, there was no such ceiling for the SC/ST students while the same for the VJNT, OBC and SBC students was Rs 1 lakh per annum.
While the benefit of 100% reimbursement of fees will be extended to the SC/ST students, the government has now prescribed a fixed amount of reimbursement to the VJNT, OBC and SBC students for various professional courses.
These students would earlier get 50% reimbursement of their tuition fees but now, they will get a fixed amount, which need not necessarily work out to 50%.
The new scheme restricts the benefit to only two children from an eligible family as against no such restriction earlier. Moreover, if a family has two sons then the benefit will be restricted to one but, if a family has a son and a daughter then the benefit will be extended to both,and in case of a family having two girls, the benefit will be given to both.
Dabadhe and other members met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday, and pointed out the widespread resentment in the community.
"He justified the decision on the grounds that the government does not have sufficient funds to continue with the scheme in its present form and that has safeguarded the interest of students below Rs 2 lakh annual income. However, the CM's stance is highly objectionable," said Dabadhe.
He said, "The Constitution mandates a special component plan by each state government for the SC/ST communities and a sub-plan for the tribal communities. An expenditure directly proportionate to the percentage of population of these communities in the state has been provided under these plans."
"However, successive governments in the state have consistently resorted to under-provisioning of financial outlay for these plans and under-utilisation of money. There is no political will and the state administration is apathetic to these issues," he said.
Dabadhe said, "The CM has cited situations like drought in the state but, the government can seek funds from the central government to address drought instead of curtailing expenses mandated for the socially and economically weaker sections."
The tweaks
* Income ceiling of Rs 2 lakh per annum introduced for SC/ST, VJNT, OBC and SBC students
* No such income ceiling existed earlier for SC/ST students
* Income ceiling for VJNT, OBC and SBC was Rs 1 lakh per annum prior to modification
* 100% reimbursement of fees for SC/ST students
* Fixed amount of reimbursement for VJNT, OBC, SBC students as against 50% of course fees earlier
* Reimbursement benefit only for two children per eligible family
* Benefit restricted to only one son in case of a family having two sons
* Family with one son and one daughter to get reimbursement for both
* Family with two daughters to get benefit for both.
Dalit found dead in Hisar village
HISAR: Tension gripped Bhagana village of Hisar district after a 45-year-old dalit Rajkumar was on Monday found dead in mysterious circumstances in his room, which was locked from outside.
Police have been deployed in the village in view of the recent caste conflict that has taken place in the area.
The cops have ruled out any foul play and termed the dalit's death as a natural one. However, investigation into the matter is on.
Rajkumar belongs to a Punjab village but a few years back, he shifted to Bhagana village with his wife. The man had also joined the dalits in their protest against the upper caste members in front of the district headquarters at Hisar. Around a month back, about 70 families had staged a dharna at Hisar following a dispute over free residential plots of 100 square yards under Mahatma Gandhi Gramin Basti Yojana (MNREGA).
SHO of sadar police station, Hisar, Sulochana Gajraj, said, "We have recovered a bottle of celphos in the deceased's room though no suicide note has been recovered from the spot. We are waiting for the autopsy report."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dalits meet SC panel on Jats' wage rule

PHAGWARA: Dalit residents of Mahan Singh Wala village in Sangrur district working as farm labourers have approached the Punjab Scheduled Caste Commission after jats not only passed a resolution imposing wages for various menial jobs but also warned them of social boycott if the rules are breached.
The resolution, which reeks of caste-based discrimination, has been passed under the name of the village panchayat. Pamphlets spelling out the rules have been pasted on the walls in the village.
A delegation of dalits led by Dalit Dastaan Virodhi Andolan patron Jai Singh met Punjab SC Commission member Dalip Singh Pandhi here on Sunday. "The commission will issue a notice to Sangrur deputy commissioner seeking a detailed report on the issue. Prima facie it is an objectionable act violating various provisions of the Constitution and a suitable action would be taken soon," Pandhi told TOI.
Daily wages of women labourers have been fixed at rates lower than men and 10 hours' work a day has been set for the fair sex. It has also been mandated that if some seeri (permanent labour working for a family for generations) works outside the village, he would face social boycott and will not be given any help during crisis. Even if a seeri meets with an accident or suffers from poisonous inhalation while spraying pesticide/insecticide, he wouldn't be given any compensation.
"If a seeri is employed on a monthly basis, he would be paid a minimum Rs 5,000 and maximum Rs 6,000 wage and would have to stay at the farmer's place in the night till the employer wishes," a condition reads.
Wages for paddy transplantation has been fixed at Rs 1,500 per acre. Notably, even the migrant labourers are charging Rs 2,500 to 3,000 per acre due to shortage of workers.
The resolution points out that that if there is a death in the family of a laagi (lower caste people who do petty jobs), he/she can collect milk door to door but no farmer (read Jat) would take milk to his/her house.
Jai Singh, who led the delegation, said that this resolution was not only seeking to perpetuate caste-based bias but was also a desperate attempt to keep the wages under strict control by using social and economic domination.
Former village Sarpanch Pal Singh and current panchayat member Sukhwinder Singh said this resolution was passed by a group of land owners, and not the elected panchayat.
When contacted, Mahan Singh Wala Numberdar Gurdeep Singh, one of the members who scripted the resolution, admitted that this has been implemented in the village. He revealed that in the neighbouring Khokhar village, such a rule has been enforced.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Prominent Personalities of SC/STs Community
·         Guru Ravidas, North Indian Sant mystic of the bhakti movement
·         Khusro Khan, or Khusru or Khusraw Khan was a medieval Indian military leader, and ruler of Delhi, as Sultan Nasir-ud-din, for a short period of time.He was a Dalit (Parwari-Mahar) caste from Gujrat. He converted to Islam from Hinduism at the time of his capture.[9] He was a untouchable in his own religion, but became a first Hindu to sit on the throne of Delhi.
·         K. R. Narayanan, tenth President of India
·         Ch. Dalbir Singh, Former Minister, Govt. of India
·         Babu Jagjivan Ram, former Deputy Prime Minister of India
·         B. R. Ambedkar, jurist, political leader, writer, father of Indian Constitution
·         K. G. Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India, chairman of national human rights commission
·         Sushilkumar Shinde, Current Cabinet Minister for Power
·         Prof. Nibaran Chandra Laskar, MP, Indian Parliament, was a dalit leader in Bengal and Assam.
·         Mayavati, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
·         Birsa Munda, Indian independence advocate, tribal leader and folk hero
·         Damodaram Sanjivayya (1921–1972) (First dalit Chief Minister of a state in India and first dalit President of Indian National Congress party)
·         Kanshi Ram, founder of Bahujan Samaj Party
·         Dr. Mahendra Chandra Patni, a dalit leader and prominent scientist who has got the gold medal in LMP (the then MBBS) in 1923-24 batch from Berry-White School of Medicine, Dibrugarh, Assam, British India.
·         Shri Mukul Wasnik, Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India
·         D.Raja, Member of Rajyasabha,National Secratory for Communist Party of India
·         G. M. C. Balayogi, dalit speaker, Lok Sabha,
·         Ajit Jogi, first chief minister of the state of Chhattisgarh, India
·         Shibu Soren, Ex Chief Minister of Jharkhand state in India
·         Meira Kumar, Indian politician and Member of Parliament, Speaker of Lok Sabha
·         S. Ashok Kumar, Judge Madras High Court and High Court of Andhra Pradesh
·         Ram Vilas Paswan, the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, political party
·         Bangaru Laxman, former President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
·         Lala Ram Ken, Member of Parliament (7th and 8th), India
·         Vinod Kambli, Indian cricketer
·         Vinoo Mankad, Indian cricketer, He played in 44 Tests for India
·         Thol. Thirumavalavan, Member of Parliament, The founder president of Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi, Tamil Nadu
·         Ilaiyaraaja, a noted music director and composer, Ilaiyaraaja is also a instrumentalist, conductor, and a songwriter
·         Kumari Shelja, Minister for Culture, Govt. of India
·         E. Ponnuswamy, former M.O.S. Petroleum India.
·         M.E.Loganathan, Municipal Commissioner, Government of Tamil Nadu.
·         Damodar Raja Narasimha - Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
·         Dr. J. Geeta Reddy - Leader of the House in the Legislative Assembly AP
·         Amarjeet Bhagat MLA Sitapur
·         Faguni Ram, Member of Parliament and Minister of State
·         K. S. R. Murthy IAS, Former MP, Lok Sabha
·         Prem Singh - MLA
·         Late Lahori Ram Economic Development Commissioner California State and Founder member Guru Ravidass Sikh Gurdwara, Pittusburg
·         Ram Lakha Former Mayor of Coventry
·         Sardar Lakhbir Singh First Sikh Mayor Of Luton
·         Giani Ditt Singh Ji Founder of Singh Sabha Movement
·         Dr. Baldev Singh Sher First Dalit (Ravidasia/Ramdasia Sikh) Medical Graduate from Glasgow in 1910 and son of Giani Ditt Singh Ji
·         Shaeed Baba Sangat Singh Ji Martyr in the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib
·         Johnny Lever (Janumala John Prakasa Rao) - Famous Bollywood comedian, born in Vusullapalli near Kanigiri, Prakasm dt, AP.
·         Betha Sudhakar ("Pichha kottudu sudhakar") - Popular Comedian & Character Artist in Tollywood
·         Lankapalli Bullayya(1918–1992), former VC Andhra University(1968–74); first dalit to become the Vice-Chancellor of a university in India
·         Late Shri Ram Ratan Ram— Member of Parliament (1984–1989)
·         Dr.M.Velusamy (1973) is well known Social Science Scholar from Tamil Nadu. First Dalit Scholar Who has awarded his PhD at Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Chennai. His thesis entitled on Indian Constitution and Dalit Welfare : A Study of Tamil Nadu, 1950-2005. Published books on topic related to Dalits Periyar Dravidian Politics in Tamil Nadu.
·         Jwala Prasad Kureel- MP of 6th Lok Sabha, Affiliated to Janata Party serving Ghatampur (UP) Lok Sabha Constituency
·         Arun Anand- Former Scholar BTech Mech, MBA IIT Delhi, Social Worker, Running NGO for Dalit and poor in bangalore
·         Late Ustad Bismillah Khan-shenai maestro, bharatna awardee
·         Late Divya Bharati-famous bollywood actress
·         Archana-famous telegu actress, two times national award winner
·         Late Suraj Bhan-former UP governor
·         Namdeo Dhasal-famous poet, awarded padma shri in 1999
·         Mata Prasad-former chief secretary UP, former chairman UPSC, awarded padma shri in 2012
·         P L Punia-chairman of national commission for sc/st
·         Kancha Illya-dalit activist and writer
·         Prof B L Mungekar-former VC of Mumbai University, former member of planning commission
·         Sh. Naresh Selwal, MLA (Haryana)
·         Khushi Ram, Social worker in the Kumaun Region of Uttarakhand State
·         Munshi Hari Prasad Tamta, Dalit Leader from Kumaon