Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dalit panchayat president insulted at I-Day meet in Pudukkottai

MADURAI: A dalit panchayat president was allegedly humiliated while hoisting the national flag on the eve of the country's 66th Independence Day in Kattathi village in Pudukkottai district.
Although Jeyanthi was elected panchayat president from the Kattathi reserved constituency in 2011, it is alleged that the non-dalit vice-president Balasubramanian and some other members were not happy with a dalit holding the superior post.
Police inspector among 5 arrested for rape of Dalit girl
A police station in-charge and four others were arrested today in connection with alleged rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl. Cheechli Police Station In-charge Sandeep Ayache and others were arrested today, Narsinghpur Superintendent of Police GG Pandey told reporters. 

Inspector Ayache had been suspended on , following the rape complaint.
The victim was allegedly lured by a woman identified as Parvatibai, who promised her a job and introduced her to Ayache on May 7.
The police officer allegedly raped the Dalit girl, while Parvatibai threatened her of dire consequences if she spoke of the incident.
Next day, she was taken to a crusher owner at Barman by Omprakash and Amzad. The owner, Arun Jain and his associate, allegedly raped her. The inspector raped her again when she was in Jain's captivity, police said.
After escaping from captivity, she lodged complaint with the police on Tuesday.
Police then arrested Ayache, Parvatibai, Omprakash, Arun Jain and Amzad. Further probe is on.

Dalit woman assaulted, stripped by sons in Bihar

A middle-aged Dalit woman was assaulted and stripped before being paraded through the streets of her village by her sons and other relatives in Gaya district of Bihar.

Sonma Devi, who happens to be a ward member of Ladu panchayat under Mohanpur police station of the district, has been admitted to Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College Hospital in Gaya with injuries all over her body. An FIR has been lodged in this connection against nine persons of the village, including three of her sons, who had allegedly tortured her. The district SP has ordered probe into the incident by Sherghati DSP.

Sonma, who is a resident of Lalganj village, told police that she was beaten up with sticks and stripped by her tormentors who paraded her through the village on Wednesday. They also abused her and snipped her hair.

Sonma, who happens to be a widow, said that her sons and other relatives were trying to usurp her property. She said that none of her villagers came forward to rescue her while she was being humiliated and harassed by her sons and others. In her complaint, the poor woman named three of her sons - Dilip Paswan, Chhotu Paswan and Sandeep Paswan - along with six others - Ramji Paswan, Pintu Paswan, Gautam Paswan, Munni Kumari, Muniya devi and Kamla Devi - for their involvement in her assault and humiliation.

The matter came to light when the Women's Helpline under the Social Welfare department of the state government received her complaint. It subsequently asked the women's police station to lodge an FIR and take necessary action on the basis of Sonma's statement.

Local police officials said that the matter was being investigated and stern action would be taken against those, including her sons, who had perpetrated atrocities on Sonma.

Villagers said that Sonma was a poor woman who was eking out her livelihood by preparing meal for school children under the mid-day meal project. They said that her sons had also cast aspersion on her character and driven her out of their house.

They said one of her sons who lived in Surat in Gujarat had come to the village recently. His relatives had complained to him about his mother's character, saying they had ostracised her because of her behaviour. This angered her son who joined hands with his brothers and relatives 'to teach her a lesson'.

Sonma, however, said that they had all ganged up to usurp her property and had levelled baseless allegations against her. She sought help and protection from the district administration.

Bihar has witnessed a slew of incidents of crime against women in recent times. At a meeting, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday had asked all the SPs and DIGs to quickly respond to all the crime cases, especially those against women, in their respective areas.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dalit women walk bare foot to show respect to 'upper caste' villagers in Rajasthan

The district administration in Karauli has undertaken steps to ban the practice after's Video Volunteers brought the discriminatory practice into light. 

When 39-year-old Sunita Kasera, a journalist for Video Volunteers, was sipping tea one hot afternoon in Dangariya village, eastern Rajasthan, she noticed something peculiar. Many women, who left their houses with their footwear on, would abruptly remove them in the middle of the road and wear them again after a few yards of walking bare foot.
After asking a few women about the curious practice, Kasera quickly recorded the practice of caste discrimination on her handycam. The women of Dangariya, Karauli, were forbidden from wearing their footwear when they walked past the dwellings of “upper caste” residents. “I was shocked to see it,” says Kasera. 
An online petition was posted by Video Volunteers based on Kasera’s story calling for administrative action to put an end to this discriminatory practice. They received more than 5000 signatures within 48 hours.
Bowing to the civil society outcry on this issue, the district administration of Karauli called for a public hearing in the village. “Everyone in the village was present,” says Kasera, “they all promised to stop this discriminatory act against the Dalits".
District Magistrate M Bishnu Charan Mallick then sent a press release to all police stations and village heads in District Karauli detailing how untouchability is a punishable offence under Article 17 of the Indian Constitution.
Video Volunteers has been monitoring the village on a daily basis, and finds that from the time the administration has come down heavily on the villagers, there has not been a single incident of caste discrimination in the village. “This is just our first victory,” says Siddharth P, Communications Manager, Video Volunteers. “Change in the mindset of the administration is the first step to enforce law. We are confident that there will soon be a marked change in the mindset of the people.”