Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 02.06.15
Dalit gang-raped at home for 3 days in Shivpuri- Web India
Acid attack victim struggles for justice- The Hindu
Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi over atrocities on Dalits, urges to bring bill in Parliament- Zee News
IIT Madras row: DMK Members Protest In Chennai, Detained- Focus News
Preventing Group Discrimination: No more ghettoes!– Kashmir Times
Gujarat government hikes aid for SC, ST victims- Nyoooz
Land purchase scheme a big hit among SC community members- The Hindu
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Excerpt from” The Die Is Caste”
Dalit gang-raped at home for 3 days in Shivpuri
A dalit woman was gang-raped and tortured with hot iron rods over a period of three days by some people in Kemara village after being suspected of witchcraft.
The woman who was living alone with her child was confined at their dwelling both were rescued by us last night and admitted, in critical condition, to the District Hospital from where she was referred to Gwalior, Superintendent of Police Mohammad Yusuf Qureshi said today.
The kid managed to give the accused the slip and alerted a watchman who immediately approached police.
Omkar, Janved, Pappu, Ramdayal and Sowliya are under arrest.
Acid attack victim struggles for justice
A 28-year-old Dalit woman who was subjected to acid attack by four men in the remote Mogallur village in Prakasam district four years ago is still knocking on the doors of courts at different levels including the Supreme Court.
She was given a permanent job as Junior Assistant in the Revenue Department, thanks to the intervention of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu after the A.P. Dalit Mahasabha Chirala unit general secretary N. Babu Rao took up her cause. But she wants more than a job.
“I want justice,” said P. Asha Jyothi after she received her appointment order from Prakasam District Collector Sujatha Sharma.
Daughter of a postman, Asha Jyothi was a contract physical education teacher in the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya at Veligandla. After her father passed away, her mother Vijayamma was given the job of a postwoman.
On her daily journey to her college and back, four men began sexually harassing Asha Jyoti. She put up with it. Then her marriage was fixed, and her piqued tormentors decided to go a step ahead. On September 6, 2011, they threw acid on her.
Treated in Chennai
Badly burnt, she was referred to the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai, where doctors took it as a medical challenge to save her. “I returned from the jaws of death after battling for life for several months,” says Asha Jyothi.
Bouts of depression
In the years since her ordeal, the woman experienced severe bouts of depression and needed treatment by a psychotherapist. The scars remain, however.
She has been seeking justice for 45 months. Dissatisfied with the probe conducted by the local police, she moved first the Andhra Pradesh High Court and then the Supreme Court. She wants a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The courts, however, turned down her plea on grounds that it was the State Government which should recommend a CBI probe to the Centre and asked her to approach the district-level court dealing with SC/ST atrocities cases.
Vexed with frequent adjournments at the instance of the defence counsel, the woman wants the State government to ensure justice for her.
Even the job came to her after a lot of trouble. Asha Jyothi was forced to run from pillar to post before getting a permanent government job as rules relating to acid attack cases made it difficult.
Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi over atrocities on Dalits, urges to bring bill in Parliament
New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to bring in a bill in the monsoon session of the Parliament which can prevent atrocities on Dalit community.
Drawing PM’s attention towards the issue, Gandhi wrote, “It’s important for the ends of justice to ensure that a fair and impartial inquiry is conducted and guilty are punished as per law.”
Referring to the incidents of Dalit atrocities in two-BJP ruled states Rajasthan and Maharashtra, the Congress president also alleged that the NDA government had “allowed” an ordinance, brought by UPA, to lapse and slammed it for not bringing a bill to replace it in the last budget session of parliament.
Gandhi’s letter to the Prime Minister comes a day before Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi visits Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s birthplace Mhow in Madhya Pradesh tomorrow to inaugurate the national launch of the year-long 125th birth anniversary celebrations of one of the architects of the Constitution.
The celeberations are being seen as an attempt by Congress to reach out to Dalits after its debacle in last Lok Sabha polls, which saw BJP making inroads among SC/ST voters in Hindi heartland.
“I want to bring to your attention the distressing rise in the incidents of atrocities against Dalits across the country. In Nagour district of Rajasthan, 17 Dalits were mowed down by a tractor by members of another community over a long-standing land dispute. Four Dalits have died while another is critical. Three months earlier, three Dallits were burnt alive in the same district.”
“Rajasthan is not isolated state. Other states have witnsessed brutal assaults on Dalits such as the shocking instance of a Dalit youth being murdered in Shirdi Maharashtra, a stone’s throw away from the local police statation for having an Ambedkar ringtone on his mobile phone,” she said in the letter.
Holding that it is important for the ends of justice to ensure that a fair and an impartial inquiry is conducted in these cases and the guilty are punished as per law, she said that it is also equally important to ensure that the institutional machinery charged with the welfare and protection of Dalits is strengthened and made accountable so that all Dalits are able to access justice as a matter of right.
“It is with this intention that the UPA-2 government brought in an ordinance which, among other things, sought to strengthen the implementation of the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989,” she recalled.
Gandhi said that it was a “matter of disappointment” that NDA government “allowed the ordinance to lapse” by sending it to the Standing Committee.
“Even though the Standing Committee submitted its report in December 2014, government did not bring it to Parliament for passage in the budget session.
“I would, therefore, urge you to bring the bill for passage in the upcoming monsoon session,” the Congress President said.
(With PTI inputs)
IIT Madras row: DMK Members Protest In Chennai, Detained
DMK and Dalit outfit VCK on Monday staged protests against the de-recognition of a students’ body at theIndian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras after a complaint that it was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
About 200 volunteers of DMK’s student wing, who protested under its Secretary Ela Pugazhenthi, were detained, police said.
The protestors demanded that the de-recognition be rolled back immediately and sought Modi’s intervention for the same.
Similarly, VCK founder Tho Thirumavalavan, who had led a protest separately, was also detained, police said.
The parties were protesting against the de-recognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle at IIT, Madras, for allegedly inciting hatred against Modi.
The incident has landed the institute in a raging row with Congress and AAP, besides the Left parties, criticising the move.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi had on Sunday sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in withdrawing the derecognition of the students body.
“Though it seems that Prime Minister Modi doesn’t place importance on needless issues like banning a democratic group, his Ministers interfering unilaterally and in an authoritarian manner in such issues will impede youth’s thought process and affect the nation’s peace,” he had said in an apparent reference to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
IIT, Madras had however maintained that “as per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use the name of IIT Madras or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission.”
“This group has violated the guidelines while conducting their meeting,” Prof Ramamurthy, Acting Director, had said last week.
By Praful Bidwai
Meet Rahul, a journalist with long experience of working for the Indian and foreign media, who now runs Medianet, a small print-TV-radio setup. During his long years in Delhi’s market for rented housing, easy-going Rahul was a welcome prospective tenant for many landlords, particularly in the well-appointed colonies of South Delhi.
Welcome, that is, until he returned with a contract on the agreed terms, which revealed his surname, Jalali.
On seeing it, most landlords would freeze and invent excuses about why the flat in question couldn’t be rented to him: it was already promised to someone else; they are vegetarians; although they don’t live next door, the idea of a meat-eating tenant doesn’t appeal to them; whatever…
It made no difference that Jalali is a proper Kashmiri Brahmin surname, a title probably derived from a past ruling clan-and an expression of the syncretic culture of the Kashmir Valley, just as not-so-uncommon Muslim surnames like Pandit still are.
Such anti-Muslim prejudice was recently revealed twice, and even more blatantly, in Mumbai. First, Zeeshan Ali Khan, a 22-year-old management graduate, was refused a marketing job with a big diamond-polishing firm on the ground “that we hire only non-Muslim candidates”. And second, Misbah Quadri, a 25-year-old communications professional, was evicted from a flat she had rented in Wadala in north-central Mumbai only because she’s a Muslim.
When the email reply to Zeeshan went viral, the company, Hari Krishna Exports (HKE), hastily disowned the human-resources manager who wrote it, claiming she was “new” and unfamiliar with company policy.
Although HKE’s story stretches credulity, it’s clear that the HR manager probably internalised what has become part of normalised discourse or deep-rooted commonsense in many sections of this society under the sway of Hindutva over the past quarter-century: stereotypes about who’s educated and what kinds of jobs go to whom. In her three months of training at HKE, she says, she hadn’t come across any Muslim recruits.
Zeeshan’s case is one of those rare instances where virulent prejudices get expressed so openly. It’s even rarer that the police booked HKE under Section 153-B of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with hurting religious sentiments or denying persons their rights because of their religion. More remarkably, two of Zeeshan’s classmates, both Hindu, decided not to take up a job with HKE.
Misbah was told by the apartment builder’s representative that it was company “policy” not to have Muslim tenants. She then tried to live with two other Hindu women in the same flat as a “guest”. All three were thrown out. This is obviously a fit case for bringing serious charges against and arresting the builder. But it’s not yet clear if and how the police will proceed against him.
Past experience in such cases isn’t particularly inspiring. In October 2013, another revolting instance of religion-based discrimination came to light. Real estate portal “99 acres” carried an advertisement by a broker named Vishal D’Souza for the sale of a flat in Dadar: “Excellent brand new 2BHK fully furnished flat with cross ventilation, natural light. Cosmopolitan society, no Muslims, with car parking on immediate sale, fifth floor interested please call…”
This caused an uproar. In response, the wording of the notice was modified. The portal apologised but maintained that it couldn’t scrutinise all the 400,000 listings it carries. It promised to introduce checks and balances. But there was no criminal or civil prosecution.
The wide prevalence of exclusion of Muslims from cooperative housing societies in Indian cities, and impunity from prosecution for doing so, has produced perversities: even Muslim property brokers recommend flats to prospective Hindu clients in “good” buildings where there are “nice” people and “no Muslims”. I personally know of one such instance in Mumbai.
Gujarat-Hindutva’s laboratory, it still bears recalling-has predictably carried religion-based discrimination to further, terrible extremes. Muslims have fled or been evicted from Ahmedabad’s inner-city areas affected by the communal butchery of 2002, and moved into Juhapura, a faraway western suburb. Juhapura’s population has doubled to 4 lakhs, but it has abysmally poor municipal facilities and bus services. It has become a ghastly ghetto.
The segregation process is being carried right into primary schools in Ahmedabad. Of the 456 schools run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, only two are English-medium schools: Shahpur Public School and Dani Limda Public School. At Shahpur, where most students are Hindus, the uniform is saffron-coloured. At Dani Limda, where students are predominantly Muslim, the uniform is green-coloured.
Segregation and sordid forms of ghettoisation of Muslims are now common in virtually every Indian city, as documented disturbingly in a 2012 book edited by Christopher Jaffrelot and Laurent Gayer entitled Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalisation. Many other studies, including the Sachar committee report, also show that these ghettoes are starved of schools, milk booths, government dispensaries, banks, municipal amenities and civic infrastructure. Chemists, pizza-delivery boys and grocers won’t deliver there.
Segregation excludes Muslims from civic life, and effectively, from citizenship altogether. This is as unacceptable and egregious as segregation in the American South until the 1960s, which disenfranchised and discriminated against Blacks in countless ways. Segregation meant that White children saw Black children as inferior and half-slaves. They grew up loathing Blacks, not understanding them as human beings.
Dr Martin Luther King and the civil liberties movement had to wage a prolonged and bitter struggle to achieve de-segregation. Coercive means had to be used to compel the White mayors of Southern cities to have common schools and common buses for all children. Many kinds of anti-discrimination laws had to be enacted and enforced to achieve a modicum of equality of rights.
India too needs a similar struggle, itself part of a social reform movement and fight for civil and political rights, to stop and reverse growing segregation, which breeds all kinds of false, stereotyped and negative perceptions of Muslims and tarnishes them with the taint of “terrorism”.
Fortunately, we have some excellent observations and recommendations pertaining to these issues in the Sachar report (2006) and its follow-up committee under Amitabh Kundu. The Kundu report was submitted last September to the government, which has still not made it public. But parts of it are available. They contain many thoughtful suggestions.
For instance, the Kundu committee builds on the Sachar idea of a “diversity index”, which measures the representation in institutions of groups of diverse social, gender, religious, caste, ethnic and linguistic orientation, and covers education, employment, housing, healthcare and access to development schemes.
Public and private institutions with higher diversity are to be given larger grants, incentives and preferential treatment through corporate social responsibility funds.
The committee notes that communal violence, and state inaction against it, “harms the bedrock of constitutional equality and ruptures the social fabric. It … fuels a deep sense of insecurity … subdues the democratic voice, and discourages active citizenship among minorities…” Therefore, the state must encourage educational and cultural programmes to promote equity and diversity in all spheres; and counter efforts to “segregate social and cultural spaces” and “arrest the play of deeply entrenched prejudices”.
Equally important is the enactment of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation to prohibit and punish discrimination based on disability, sex, caste, religion and other criteria, in state and non-state spheres. The law must “provide a statutory definition of discrimination”, specify “a legal threshold” for recognising its manifestations, and provide “legally mandated civil remedies.”
India has only two laws that punish discrimination: against disabled people, and against abuse of Dalits, namely, the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Their logic must be extended to other categories including religious, ethnic-social and sexual-minority groups. India is one of the world’s few democracies with immense diversity, difference and inequalities, but one that doesn’t have a proper anti-discrimination law or equal opportunities commission. This void must be quickly filled.
Reservations for SC-STs and OBCs are only one of several tools to address widespread, systemic discrimination. A diversity index and anti-discrimination legislation together “can help build a more equitable society and a deeper and more widespread notion of equality” that goes beyond “group-specific quotas and accompanying quota politics”.
However, this won’t happen under the deeply communal Modi government without a special effort. The government’s minority affairs ministry is headed by Najma Heptullah who started her innings by saying that Indian Muslims are too numerous to be called “a minority”. Her deputy Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi doesn’t understand the difference between killing cows and bulls/buffaloes, and recently said that those who want to eat beef should go to Pakistan.
A special initiative must be launched by civil liberties groups, and conscientious citizens cutting across religion, to file criminal complaints against companies like HKE and the Wadala builder. They should also petition the Supreme Court to seek clarification that the spirit of the Constitution’s anti-discrimination and equal-treatment-of-citizens articles applies to non-state institutions too. That will help prepare the ground for the legislation India sorely needs.
(The author can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The wide prevalence of exclusion of Muslims from cooperative housing societies in Indian cities, and impunity from prosecution for doing so, has produced perversities: even Muslim property brokers recommend flats to prospective Hindu clients in “good” buildings where there are “nice” people and “no Muslims”.
Gujarat government hikes aid for SC, ST victims
Social Justice and Empowerment Department of Gujarat Government has increased the compensation amount for members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) who have allegedly faced atrocities under the provisions of SCs & STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, commonly known as Atrocity Act. As per the latest decision of the state government, family of a murdered bread-winner Dalit or tribal will get compensation up to Rs 7.5 lakh — an increase of 50 per cent.
A decision has also been taken to similarly increase the compensation for many such categories of offences significantly. The Atrocity Act and its rules cast a duty on the state government to provide compensation to the members of SC and ST communities in case they face any atrocity and register an FIR in this regard. RelatedPoll-bound UPA eyes another law,plans more bite for SC/ST ActRelief to SC/ST women victims set to be doubledEnsure SC/ST rape victims get pension: Nitish to DMs The Social Justice and Empowerment Department of Gujarat has recently issued a fresh resolution while announcing increase in the compensation amount of various atrocities on the lines of an ordinance — The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014 — promulgated by the central government in 2014.
The resolution lists 22 kinds of atrocities for which compensation has been increased. For the most serious among the atrocities — murder, the government has increased the compensation in two categories. The compensation for the murder of earning member of the family will be up to Rs 7.
5 lakh. The compensation for the murder of non-earning member of the family will be up to Rs 3.75 lakh.
The family of the deceased is mandated to get 75 per cent of the compensation amount — around Rs 5.62 lakh — after the post-morterm whereas, the remaining 25 per cent amount is given if and when the case is proved in the court of law.
Land purchase scheme a big hit among SC community members
Corporation to seek more funds from NSFDC for purchase of land in 2015-16
As land prices skyrocket, there is rise in demand for ownership of land from members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) under the land purchase scheme of the State-run Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Development Corporation.
More than 3,000 SC people have sought financial aid from the corporation to buy dry or wetland under the scheme since 2010-11.
Only the landless agricultural labourers from the Scheduled Caste are eligible to purchase land from non-SC/ST landholders.
As much as 1,630 acres have been distributed to 888 SC beneficiaries in 2014-15 under the scheme while in 2013-14, 975.66 acres were allotted to 733 beneficiaries, officials in the corporation told The Hindu.
Though the corporation receives applications from all districts, it is difficult to purchase land from non-SC/ST landholders in Bengaluru Urban, Rural, Ramanagaram districts and the Malnad region owing to steady rise in land prices. The cost per acre of dry land in north Karnataka districts is about Rs. 3 to Rs. 4 lakh as against Rs. 5 to Rs. 6 lakh in rural areas of southern districts of Tumakuru, Kolar and Chickballapur districts, officials said.
A committee headed by an MLA identifies beneficiaries. The land identified should be within five-km radius from beneficiary’s residence. Beneficiary gets financial aid without much difficulty if land identified is located near the road besides having potential for growing commercial crops and being used for commercial purposes, officials said.
The next step
The corporation has planned to seek more financial assistance from the National Scheduled Caste Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) for purchase of land in 2015-16. Owing to procedural delays, it received Rs. 40 crore from NSFDC in 2014-15.
Under the scheme, since its inception in 1990-91, two acres of dry land or one acre of wetland is purchased and registered in the name of woman beneficiary of the family. Fifty per cent of the subsidy and 50 per cernt term loan with six per cent rate of interest is given to the beneficiary, who has to repay the loan in 20 annual instalments.
A study conducted to assess the relevance of the scheme revealed that 97 per cent of beneficiaries utilised land effectively for agricultural purposes and improved their standard of living, officials said.
News Monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET