Monday, October 8, 2012

Concern over rising number of gang-rapes in Haryana

Terming the spate of gang-rapes reported in Haryana over the past month an “alarming situation”, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Sunday demanded that exemplary punishment be awarded to those who raped a teenaged girl in the State on Saturday.
The victim -- a teenaged Dalit girl – immolated herself after being gang-raped in Jind district of Haryana. She was allegedly raped by two youths in Narwana sub-division of the district and the shocked girl later poured kerosene and set herself ablaze.
Haryana has witnessed over 10 rapes in the past one month alone leading the National Commission for Women too to express its serious concern over the matter.
Meanwhile, NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha said: “We will take cognisance of the incident and are demanding that the State Government take up the issue of security for women in a serious manner. The State has one of the worst sex ratios in the country and there is an urgent need for an emergency awareness drive to bring the State and civil society together to work for the protection of girls.”
“We are very concerned over the spurt in incidents of rape of teenaged girls in Haryana and will seek an explanation from the State Government. Ten rapes in one month in one State is a shocking indication of the situation. There is an urgent need for a public awareness campaign in favour of the girl child. There should also be a fear amongst those who indulge in such activities. They should be punished so that the girls are safe,” added Ms. Sinha.

2014 Lok Sabha elections: Congress eyes Dalit votes with India Inc help

The Congress-led UPA government is leaning on India Inc to facilitate training and job opportunities for youths from the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

The urgency to reach out to the most underprivileged section of the society is not without reason. The 2014 general elections are just one and a half years away and Dalits form a sizeable chunk of the electorate.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has consulted industry leaders twice - in August and September - with its objective of meeting certain "meaningful targets involving training and employment of SC/ST youths in corporate sector".

A top government source said the target is to train one million youths in the next five years in 27 districts of five states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Orissa and Chhattisgarh - which have over 47 per cent SC/ST population.The proposed initiative is also aimed at not allowing other political parties, particularly the BSP and the Samajwadi Party, score over the Congress on the issue of welfare of backward communities, the source added.

A senior PMO official, however, said the government's affirmative action plan to "enroll SC/ST youths in corporate jobs" is nothing new. It has been executed earlier too but has failed to deliver the "desired results". He said the government and the industry seem to have different takes when it comes to "corporate quota for Dalits".

Officials confirmed that as a result of the last few meetings of the coordination committee on affirmative action convened by the PMO, a new target has been given to the industry for the next five years to work in the SC/ST dominated districts.

"The numbers achieved are disappointing and they need a firm push…The corporate sector needs to redefine the achievable targets and bring this affirmative action scheme as part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR)…It should reach out to the youths among the Dalits," the official said. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who is a Dalit leader, has also been pushing the affirmative action initiative. "A rejuvenated initiative will only achieve the growth involving an inclusive society," she said.

The last meeting in late September was chaired by Pulok Chatterjee, principal secretary to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and attended by senior members from the industry, including Sunil Kant Munjal of Hero group, Assocham vice-president Sunil Kanoria, Ficci director general Dr Arbind Prasad, and CII deputy director general Supriya Banerjee. Secretaries of labour, tribal affairs and department of industrial policy and promotion also attended the meeting, which resulted in some movement forward, claimed sources in the industry. Reacting to the meetings, Munjal told Mail Today: "A fair amount of advancement has certainly been made…(but) a lot needs to be done."

Added a top government source: "The government does not want a situation where political parties may put pressure on it for ensuring jobs to Dalits in the corporate sector… A safety valve is what we are looking at to give vent to the frustration building among the unemployed youths. The PMO feels that the CSR schemes will deliver for these target groups." The industry has sounded a positive note but is cautious about the "agenda set up by the government". Ficci secretary general Rajiv Kumar said: "The initiative launched cannot just be mandatory in nature, but voluntary to…We know that the Companies Bill has already made the provision to use 2 per cent of the net profit as 'mandatory' under the CSR, but the industry feels that it would amount to possible malpractices."

It is not that the industry is not working on such projects "voluntarily". There is one such project being worked out by Ficci in Sonbhadra district in UP, while the Assocham is meeting state officials in Bihar and Chhattisgarh with their 'train-and-employ' schemes.

The industry feels that a targeted beginning has been made with a string of meetings at regular intervals in the PMO, but there is still a "disconnect" between the government and the industry over skills and training offered to the Dalits and the possible jobs for them. The industry strongly feels that any scheme under the programme will not succeed until a clear "economic target is defined".

Assocham senior adviser G.P. Srivastava said: "The skills given to the target youths have to be in sync with the jobs in the market. It has to be in telecom, retail, hospitality, real estate and automobile sectors rather than the stereotyped sectors as fitter, welders and plumbers... If the employers will not get the desired skills in a particular candidate, the scheme will not achieve the desired results."

Tension after Dalit priests not included in church rituals

Tension prevailed at Tiruvadanai, Tamil Nadu, after some Dalit Christians reportedly indulged in violence, questioning the non-inclusion of six Dalit priests in special rituals in a church in connection with its silver jubilee celebrations, police said.
Susai Manickam, priest of Oriyur Punitha Arulanandhar church said about 200 priests and nuns coming in a procession to the church were blocked by Dalit Christians who questioned the motive for suspending the six priests and said they would not allow celebrations unless the priests were included in the ‘Tirupali’ pooja and special prayers.
Police said they then indulged in violence, breaking festoons and street lights.
Church officials decided to suspend the celebrations in order to hold talks with the Dalits as a tense situation prevailed, but negotiations with them had failed.
Meanwhile people in seven coastal hamlets in Rameswaram hoisted black flags in support of Dalit Christians and demanded that caste Christians allow Dalits to participate in the rituals. They also hoisted black flags at the Paraloka matha church in the island in protest, police said.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dalit woman sarpanch assaulted in Haryana

CHANDIGARH: A 37-year-old dalit woman sarpanch was assaulted on Sunday when she was presiding over a meeting to broker peace between two groups fighting over distribution of land for poor families at Aambwalan village in Haryana's Yamunanagar district.
The sarpanch, Rajrani, and two other villagers were seriously injured in the attack and were admitted to a government hospital.
Yamunanagar SP Mitesh Jain said the injured were not in a position to give a statement in this regard. "The police will take further action once the injured people give their statements," Jain added.
Dalit raped in Jind, 6th case in less than a month
A 30-year-old married dalit woman was allegedly raped by a man at Belrakha village in Narwana sub-division of Jind district on Tuesday. The accused has been identified as Dhanwa, 50, of Gurthali village. As per the details, the accused managed to take the victim to the fields with the help of a woman and another man of the same village and committed the crime.
The matter came to fore when some residents of the same village heard the  victim's cries and came to her rescue. The residents got hold of the accused while the accomplices managed to flee from the spot. The accused was beaten up by the residents and the matter was reported to the police, who immediately arrested the main accused and registered a rape case against him, and his other two accomplices.
The victim's husband is a labourer. Sources said that the victim is a mentally challenged woman. Talking to Hindustan Times, Narwana sadar station house officer, Suresh Kumar said "Both the victim and accused belong to dalit community, and on the complaint of victim, we have booked three persons including one woman of the same village".
It may be noted that this is the sixth incident in Haryana in last less than one month.