Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 08.06.15

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 08.06.15

IIT-Madras lifts ban on Dalit group Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle – India Today
Puttur: Dalit minor raped at Ramakunja – accused arrested – Daiji Warld
13 Dalit families denied food and water after FIR against upper caste youth – Mumbai Mirror
IIT-Madras Row: RSS mouthpiece backs action against Dalit students’ body – The Indian Express
Spl SC/ST Court Set up in Kollam – The New Indian Express
Barsana tense over temple ‘takeover’ | Agra NYOOOZ – Nyoooz
Monthly SC/ST meet will be videographed, says SP – The Times Of India
Dentist Held for Sexual Harassment – The New Indian Express
Dalit man lays claim to Radha Temple – Deccan Herald
Dalits released on bail after a month – The Tribune
Sense of unease prevails among Meghwals, Jats after the May 14 incident – The Hindustan Times

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India Today

IIT-Madras lifts ban on Dalit group Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle

E 08.06.15 - 1

PTI Chennai, June 7, 2015 | UPDATED 23:01 IST

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) on Sunday reinstated recognition of a student group, whose de-recogition had triggered a controversy, and appointed a professor as its faculty adviser, bringing an end to the more than a week-long standoff.

The re-instatement of recognition to Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) and appoinment of Professor Miland Brahme as adviser came after a meeting between the dean of students and representatives of APSC held on Sunday, ending the confrontation that had left the campus in turmoil.

“The Dean of Students reinstated the recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Professor Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor,” an official release from IIT-M said. “Professor Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for independent student bodies,” it said.

IIT-M found itself at the centre of a controversy after it recently derecognised APSC, many of whose members are Dalits, following a complaint that it was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Union HRD Minster Smriti Irani also came under fire from political parties including Congress and students bodies for the action against the APSC.

IIT-M had, however, maintained that “as per the guidelines in force, student bodies cannot use its name or its official entities in any capacity to publicise their activities or garner support without official permission.”

With students staging protests demanding withdrawal of the action, IIT-M had last week convened a meeting of the Board of Students.

Noting that the Board of Students met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications and suggestions for ensuring uniform guidelines for independent student bodies, the release said, some of the suggestions will be taken up in “due course”.

“Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure,” it said.

APSC and dean of students expressed satisfaction that the matter “has been closed”, the release said.

Daiji Warld

Puttur: Dalit minor raped at Ramakunja – accused arrested

Daijiworld Media Network – Puttur (SP)

Puttur, Jun 8: Police personnel from Kadaba station took into custody a youth named Ramesh (22) from the dalit colony in Ambedkar Nagar in Ramakunja village near Kadaba on the allegation of raping a ten-year-old dalit girl. He was arrested on Sunday June 7.

It is said that the girl belonging to the same colony was alone at her home when her parents were away working as coolies. On Friday, knowing well that the girl’s parents were not at home, Ramesh barged into the girl’s home, forcibly denuded the her and raped her, it is said.

In a complaint filed in the said police station, the mother of the victim said that Ramesh also took away with him the inner garments the girl was wearing at the time. Investigation is on.

Mumbai Mirror

13 Dalit families denied food and water after FIR against upper caste youth


By Chaitanya Marpakwar, Mumbai Mirror | Jun 8, 2015, 08.38 AM IST

Thirteen Dalit families in Ansurda village near Osmanabad, 450 km from Mumbai, have been ostracised by the villagers, majority of whom are from the Maratha community, after a flare up during Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebrations in April.

For more than a month now, these Dalit families in the village of 1,500 people are not allowed to fetch water from the community well, the grocers refuse to sell them even the day-to-day items, and they are being forced to travel to Osmanabad 20 km away to purchase the daily milk and vegetables.

While approaching the village, this correspondent spotted a police van and a couple of constables, stationed near the village temple. While the upper caste population is reluctant to discuss the matter, there is obvious tension as outsiders are looked at suspiciously.

The Dalit houses, easily identified by blue walls and flags, sport a weary look. A group of villagers could be seen gossiping under the shade of a large Mango tree, and it becomes obvious that a tiny village has been split right down the middle.

The Dalit families have submitted an application to the district collector, Dr Prashant Narnavre, saying they fear for their lives and they be provided accommodation in an urban area.

The villagers said that the trouble began on April 28 – fourteen days after Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary – when the families, who form the Dalit population in this Marathwada village, organised an event where songs dedicated to Dr Ambedkar were played on the loudspeaker.

One of the Dalits, Nishikant Humbe, 40, said that a few youngsters objected to the songs, and demanded that songs dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji be played instead. “We have been residing in this village for decades and didn’t want trouble. We immediately played songs dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji but the youths abused our women and desecrated Babasaheb Ambedkar’s poster,” Humbe alleged. The Dalits filed a police complaint against four people from the upper caste, who were released on bail the next day. A day later, the entire Dalit population of the village was socially boycotted.

“The villagers were offended because we filed a police complaint. They called for a meeting and issued a directive to boycott us,” said Bibhishan Avadhute, 54. For the last one month, several public places in the village sport saffron flags, which the Dalits said is a warning, asking them to stay away. One of the upper caste villagers, who didn’t want his name in print, called the families’ boycott a “spontaneous reaction”. He said, “They didn’t listen to us and there was a scuffle. The matter could have been resolved but they took it to the police, so we have stopped talking to them. We don’t want to get involved anymore.”

Reacting to the Dalits’ plea to the district collector, the villagers insist there hasn’t been an “official boycott” of the 13 families. Arun Mane, who heads the village’s peace committee, said a “few people had stopped talking” to the families. “There was a dispute between a few individuals and the entire village community didn’t get involved. The argument escalated into a heated debate and some people had stopped talking to these families. We held several meetings and have convinced everyone to maintain peace,” Mane said. Despite Mane’s all-is-well talk, there’s a police van parked 24×7 outside the village temple. Scores of residents and shops sport saffron flags, and district collector Narnavre admitted the village was tense at that time due to the boycott call.

“The social boycott of the Dalit families had created tension in the village and the neighbouring areas too. I visited the village and took a meeting in the Dalit enclave. The social boycott has been called off and the situation is under control now,” he said. “We have initiated several confidence-building measures to make the families feel a part of the community,” he added. The Dalit families insisted that the only way out was for them to leave their ancestral village and homes. One of them, Bibhishan Avadhute, said: “We have been told to not drink water from the public taps, and our cattle are barred from grazing in the village. Shopkeepers have been told to not sell groceries to us.”

Another villager, Sushma Sonawane, a widow, said the cops don’t wield much power in a village as small as Ansurda. “They have put out saffron flags all over the village to threaten us and the police only watch the proceedings. We want to shift out of this village,” she said.

A letter, written by the families to the district collector, lists the alleged atrocities. “From the time the upper caste families have boycotted us, we can’t use the flour mill, buy groceries, or even fetch water. Our cattle are not allowed to graze, nor are they allowed to drink water. The upper caste people abuse us,” said the letter, signed by 21 people.

The villagers have further alleged that the area Additional Superintendent of Police Balkrishna Bhange had threatened them to not pursue the matter. Superintendent of Police AB Trimukhe said that DSP Bhange has been transferred. “There was an incident in the village which escalated into a controversy. We have tried our best to resolve the issue peacefully and there is no tension in the village now,” Trimukhe said.

The villagers have a different version to narrate. “The villagers leave us alone when government officials come for an inspection. As soon as they leave, the abuses start again. The boycott has not ended,” Humbe alleged.

The Indian Express

IIT-Madras Row: RSS mouthpiece backs action against Dalit students’ body

E 08.06.15

Organisers said educational campuses are “afflicted with red ideology” and forums like Ambedkar Study Circle (APSC) in IIT-Madras are used for “propagating anti-Hindu and anti-Bharat divisive ideology”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2015 3:13 am

Even as IIT-Madras revoked the ban on the Dalit students’ body, the RSS mouthpiece justified last month’s crackdown on Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC), while accusing it of propagating “anti-Hindu” and “anti-Bharat” ideology.

Alleging that educational campuses in the country are “inflicted” with Marxist or “red ideology”, an editorial in the latest issue of the Organiser also attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his recent visit to the Ambedkar memorial in Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, calling it an attempt to play votebank politics.

“Recent issues of administrative disciplinary action against the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) in IIT-Madras and Rahul Gandhi visiting Ambedkar’s birth memorial are similar attempts to mask great nationalist reformers like Babasaheb with Communist garb of class divisions or the Congress’ way of votebank politics,” the editorial said.

Justifying the action against APSC, the editorial claimed that use of institutional space and symbols without permission amounted to “indiscipline” and the institution had every right to question its students.

“The educational campuses are inflicted with the wide range of ‘red’ ideology that has used forums such as APSC to propagate anti-Hindu and anti-Bharat divisive ideology, which Dr Ambedkar would have never approved of.”

Pointing out that nobody can and should support a ban on any student outfit for criticising government policies, it said the HRD Ministry had only forwarded a complaint by another section of students.

“The pet projects of Aryan invasion, inciting hatred, breaking democratic norms of discourse for political gains and then misrepresenting facts through media is the ultra-communist strategy, which is perfectly used in this case. Mentors like Arundhati Roy can happily use these forums to propagate anti-India ideology,” the Organiser said, while calling Ambedkar a “confirmed enemy of Communists.”

However, the RSS weekly favoured a dialogue to create an atmosphere of social harmony, instead of following the path of divisive ideologies.

The mouthpiece also accused the Congress of “always misusing national icons” and “appropriating anti-Brahminism movement” as a part of its strategy.

In a sharp attack on Rahul Gandhi, it said: “No Indian would believe that a person who took 10 years to understand his party will rightly address the complex issue of caste-based discrimination and untouchability.”

The weekly’s cover story titled ‘Poisoning Student Politics’ alleged that both APSC and Congress’s student wing, NSUI, were trying to spread message of “hatred and disorder.” While it accused the APSC of misrepresenting reformers for spreading hatred in student politics, it said the NSUI’s top leader, Rahul Gandhi, was preaching disorder and misrepresenting the facts about RSS.

Alleging that it was politics of attacking Hindu nationalism at play, the article warned: “This strategy of injecting divisive thinking can prove dangerous for respective organisations and poisonous for student politics.”

The New Indian Express

Spl SC/ST Court Set up in Kollam

By Express News Service
Last Updated: 08th June 2015 07:55 AM

KOLLAM: An SC/ST court that exclusively deals with cases pertaining to the deprived sections has been set up in the district. It was inaugurated by Kerala High Court judge Justice Antony Dominic here at Kottarakara the other day. It is the third such court in the state. Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Thiruvananthapuram districts fall under the jurisdictional ambit of the court.“The new court would help in speedier delivery of justice to the marginalised communities,“ he said. He also reminded the responsibility of judicial officers in achieving this goal. Special courts were set up under the decentralisation process to fast-track cases, he said.

The court was inaugurated on June 6 after a delay of almost three years. It was sanctioned in 2012, but was put on back burner after consensus could not be reached on a suitable location in the district.The Bar Associations of Kollam and Kottarakara had earlier got into a tug of war over the location of the special court.The chasm deepened with each association demanding the setting up of the court near their respective centres, citing proximity and convenience of its association members.

Kottarakara was finally zeroed in on as it was geographically closer to areas with higher SC/ST population, including Pathanapuram and Punalur. The region also tops the list for the highest number of cases being registered in connection with the SC/STs in the district.

Availability of a building also favoured Kottarakara. The court will function in a building near to the Kottarakkara police station, where the sub-court functioned earlier. As many as 40 cases from the district court will be transferred to the new special court. Another special court to deal with cases pertaining to dalits was also
sanctioned in Palakkad.


Barsana tense over temple ‘takeover’ | Agra NYOOOZ

BARSANA: Tension prevailed in the holy town for the third consecutive day on Sunday after rumours of a takeover of a temple by a section of Dalits made rounds on Friday. Police, however, dismissed the matter, saying it was a routine security upgrade and had nothing to do with the apparent caste conflict in the city. Barsana station officer Rajendra Singh Nagar downplayed the tension in the holy town, terming it a rumour.

Meanwhile, Dinesh Kumar Das, resident of Dhania village in Goverdhan, who filed a case in the Chata tehsil court against the management of the famous Radha Rani temple, said he had won a case on February 23, 2015 and the court has asked the administration to ensure that “possession is transferred to us”.

The Times Of India

Monthly SC/ST meet will be videographed, says SP

TNN | Jun 8, 2015, 04.32 AM IST

MANGALURU: The Dakshina Kannada district police top brass has decided to videograph the entire proceedings of the monthly meeting that it conducts with members and representatives of SC/ST communities and organizations.

The decision to do so comes after the accusation by Mukesh, a local dalit leader, that a senior police officer allegedly tried to assault him in one of the earlier meetings and that Mukesh had already complained to the chief minister and home minister in this regard.

When Mukesh demanded that the hall where the monthly meeting is held should have CCTVs, superintendent of police Sharnappa SD, who chaired the meeting, assured him that proceedings of this meeting from next month will be duly video graphed. The SP said this will give greater clarity to what transpired at the meeting and leave lesser scope for interpretations, remove ambiguities and also reduce chances of accusations and counter-accusations among stakeholders.

Taking umbrage to dalit activist L Shekar repeatedly raising the issue of what he said was illegal slaughter of pigs at Belthangady, the SP directed Belthangady CPI B R Lingappa to ensure that all authorities concerned are given notices to ensure that any such trade is carried out within the ambit of law and that police will take action if any person is found in contravention of law.

Lingappa said the Belthangady panchayat development officer has certified the trade as legal.

When Anantha Mundaje drew the SP’s attention that his wife could not contest the recently held gram panchayat polls due to apathy on part of revenue officials in Chikkamagaluru district in issuing her a caste certificate, Sharanappa asked him to send a petition to the deputy commissioner, seeking action against the officials concerned.

The SP empathized with Anantha that despite his repeated attempts, the authorities in Belthangady and Chikkamagaluru did not respond to his requirements.

The New Indian Express

Dentist Held for Sexual Harassment

By Express News Service
Last Updated: 08th June 2015 07:54 AM

KURNOOL:A dental doctor was arrested by three town police for sexual harassment of a female dentist at his clinic here Sunday.

According to police, Dr Praveen Kumar Reddy is running a dental hospital at C Camp circle and a female doctor was working there as his assistant.

Dr Praveen Kumar Reddy allegedly harassed her sexually several times, as a result of which she complained to police, who registered a case against on him for sexual harassment and also under SC, ST Atrocities Act.
Police arrested him Sunday, SC, ST wing DSP Vinod Kumar said.

They will produce him before the court Monday, he added.

Deccan Herald

Dalit man lays claim to Radha Temple

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow: June 8, 2015, DHNS
Tension prevailed in the town of Barasana, birthplace of Radha, Lord Krishna’s companion, after a man claimed ownership over scores of temples, properties and land worth thousands of crores, saying that a number of erstwhile kings across the country had bequeathed them to his ancestors.

The dalit man, identified as Dinesh Kumar Das, has written to authorities staking his claim over the properties, which included the world famous and historic Ladliji Temple, dedicated to Radha, at Barsana in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district, about 400 km from here.

The town is also famous for its “Lathmar Holi”, wherein women hit men with sticks during the festival of Holi.

The Ladliji and others temples are currently controlled by members of the Goswami community—an upper-caste Brahmin community that looks after temples and cow shelters in Mathura, Vrindavan and Barasana.

Many of the properties claimed by Das are in Nandgaon, close to Barasana.

The Ladliji Temple was built by Raja Bir Singh Judeo of Orcha in Madhya Pradesh in 1675.

According to sources, the Goswamis apprehended that members of the dalit community might make an effort to “capture” the temple after Das laid claim to it. As a result, a large number of security personnel has been deployed in and around the temple.

Das has claimed ownership of at least 10 temples, 16 “havelis” (mansions), hundreds of acres of land, palaces and hillocks, said sources.

Not taking any chances, the administration has deputed senior officials to monitor the situation and take measures to defuse the crisis.

The Tribune

Dalits released on bail after a month

Dehati Mazdoor Union demands cancellation of case
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, June 7

A number of Dalits of Hamirgarh village, who were arrested and lodged in jail for more than a month, were released on bail on Saturday night.

Demanding unconditional release and cancellation of cases against the arrested Dalits, the Dalit Mazdoor Union has been protesting against the arrest of these since the day the police had arrested them.

These were lodged in jail on May 1 during a clash between police and Dalits who were protesting to gain control over a piece of land measuring up to 1 acre at Hamirgarh village.

They were demanding possession of a piece of panchayati land for social obligations but the police resorted to lathicharge and teargas shells leaving many labourers, including women injured and hospitalised. Dalits then had also claimed that the police fired in air but, however, the police denied any firing and claimed that Dalits resorted to stone pelting.

Over 50 Dalits were booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including the murder charges as the police accused them of pelting stones during their agitation to get possession over one acre of panchayati land.
A number of politicians and leaders had also condemned the incident and the alleged atrocities done on Dalits.
Dehati Mazdoor Union state president Mahipal said, “A number of Dalits are still undergoing treatment. About 15 women were injured and are still hospitalised. The police cane-charged all the Dalits who were protesting peacefully on behest of village panchayat and those who don’t want to get the possession over the land for social obligations. The police have wrongly booked all Dalits of this village under sections of murder. On Saturday they were all out on bail from Bathinda jail.”

The Hindustan Times

Sense of unease prevails among Meghwals, Jats after the May 14 incident

E 08.06.15 - 3

Urvashi Dev Rawal, Hindustan Times, Dangawas
Updated: Jun 08, 2015 12:14 IST

Dangawas village in Nagaur district is calm. Three weeks after six people were killed when Jats brutally attacked Dalits over a decades – old land dispute, a police picket pitched in Meghwal mohalla is a stark reminder of the violence. Scratch the surface and social tensions in the village, 200 km west of Jaipur, are palpable.
There is a sense of unease among Meghwals or Dalits and the Jats, who are uncomfortable talking about the May 14 incident.

On that day, a group of 200 Jats on foot and riding tractors, armed with sticks and iron rods, attacked Ratnaram Meghwal’s family, which was camping on a piece of land about 4 km outside the village. According to the Jats, the Meghwal family had forcibly occupied their 23 bighas.

The police picket keeps an eye on the Meghwal area of Dangawas. Outside the house of Khemaram Meghwal, a small group of men sit on a dari to mark the 12-day mourning period for Khemaram’s son Ganesh, who died in an Ajmer hospital last week. Khemaram himself is still hospitalised.

Inside the modest brick home, Ganesh’s widow Malu Devi, 21, sits huddled in a corner. She cradles her four-month old daughter, her face covered with her pink odhni. Ganesh’s mother, Ram Kanwari Devi, sits next to her with other women around them, providing support and succour.

Ganesh’s wife met him only once in hospital before he died.

Asked if the Jats made any overtures or if the sarpanch took an initiative to hold talks, Ram Kanwari suddenly says in an angry tone, “The sarpanch stopped the police from coming to our aid on that day. What help was the sarpanch or the police? They are hand in glove.”

The Meghwals say the police, all of whom are Jats, deliberately arrived 45 minutes after the violence broke out even though the police station is just 5 km away.

Narendra, pursuing his graduation in nearby Merta city, says they are afraid the Jats might attack them again. “What will happen when they remove the police?” he asks. That seems to be the overriding concern.

Sugnaram Meghwal, another resident of the villages, too says they are still fearful: “We are anxious. We fear that the Jats might attack us again.”

According to a 2012 report of the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment, Rajasthan has the country’s highest number of cases of atrocities against Dalits, with 51.4 registered cases for every lakh people.

Dangawas is a reflection of the complex social and caste weave of India. There are around 500 to 600 Meghwals and about 1,800 Jats in the village. The Jats are the landlords while the Meghwals are farm workers.

The Jats provide employment and the money that the Meghwals are in desperate need of. Though the two groups are interdependent, it is not a relationship of equals. The Jats are socially, economically and politically dominant.

Near Ganesh’s house lives Hanuman Meghwal, whose younger son got married on May 25. The village’s former sarpanch, a Jat named Ramkaran Kamedia, proudly says he gave Rs 1 lakh for the marriage.

“Hanuman’s wife is the muh-boli behen of one of my nephews. Jats and Meghwals have (had) social relations since decades. We cannot survive without each other,” says Kamedia, sitting in his spacious house. His daughter-in-law is the current sarpanch.

Hanuman says Jat families traditionally give small sums of money to Dalit families for weddings. “He (Kamedia) sent money and gifts for the wedding. They would have also attended the wedding but we asked them not to as it would lead to more tension. Only one person came from their family,” he says.

But the ties are tenuous at best, and work as long as there is no challenge to the status quo or established social norms.

Hanuman denies any coercion by the Jats and says the two communities are interdependent, but his comment is telling: “Others (police, media and activists) will go. We have to live in this village only.”

Kamedia says, “Jats and Meghwals have lived together for ages. We can’t survive without each other. We are ashamed of the incident. But why did the Meghwals get aggressive and forcibly occupy the land when the matter is in court?”

The police and administration have faced stark criticism for mishandling the situation. Villagers, rights activists and Dalit groups question why police delayed in reaching the site of the clashes, and why superintendent of police Raghvendra Suhasa and collector Rajan Vishal did not act to prevent the violence or visit Dangawas after the violence.

Chief functionary of the Centre for Dalit Rights, PL Mimroth, says the state government attempted to downplay the incident under pressure from the police, local administration and Jat politicians.

“The collector visited only the day the National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairperson, PL Punia, visited Dangawas and questioned the administration’s laxity,” said Mimroth.

It was only after Punia’s visit and protests by activists that the state government suspended police officials in Merta and wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the probe. A 25-member CBI team is now in Dangawas to investigate.

News monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET


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