Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 10.06.15
Nine Dalits injured in attack in Sikar – Zee News
Dalits, Vanniyars Clash over Crackers During Temple Fest – The New Indian Express
Two Dalit families face social boycott – The Hindu
Six Injured as Row over Land Triggers Fight – The New Indian Express
Caste scars gender reality in K’shetra village – The Tribune
India’s First Transgender College Principal Starts Work – NDTV
Safai workers’ panel warns against manual scavenging – Deccan Herald
The easy way – The Telegraph
Dalit braveheart fights male chauvinism
Nine Dalits injured in attack in Sikar
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 – 22:11
Sikar: Nine Dalit people were on Tuesday injured after members of an OBC community attacked them over a land-related old dispute in Sikar district of Rajasthan.
The assailants also set on fire a thatched house belonging to Dalit families in Gandakya ki Dhani in Dantaramgarh area here, police said.
“Several members of a caste attacked Dalit people following a land related dispute which left nine people injured. Two of them were referred to SMS hospital in Jaipur for treatment,” police said.
Both the dalits and Kumawats (an OBC community) stake claim on the land and the matter is sub judice.
Dalit families have their houses on the land.
Mularam Kumawat along with 50-60 others attacked the Dalit members and injured them, police said.
After the incident, Additional SP Rakesh Kachwal and others rushed to the spot and additional policemen were deployed in the area.
A case has been registered and seven persons have been arrested, SP Sikar Dr Ravi said.
Meanwhile, a delegation of CPI(M) met the SP to demand security for the Dalit families.
Former CPI(M) MLAs Amra Ram, Pemaram and others also demanded stern action against the accused involved.
This is the second such incident in Rajasthan within less than a month after the incident of Dangawas, Nagaur where a clash left six persons including five Dalits dead.
Cause of the clash in Dangawas village was also a land dispute.
CBI has taken over the investigation of the Dangawas incident. PTI
The New Indian Express
Dalits, Vanniyars Clash over Crackers During Temple Fest
By Express News Service
Published: 10th June 2015 06:03 AM
VILLUPURAM: Six people got injured in a clash between Vanniyars and Adi Dravidars over bursting of fire-crackers during an ongoing temple festival near Tindivanam on Monday night.
Police registered a case against eight Vanniyars and 17 Adi Dravidars. A total of 15 people from both the communities was arrested.
Police have launched a search for several others, who are reportedly absconding. since the fight broke out.
It all began when one member of the community raised objections to the bursting of a fire-cracker by a member of the other community. The trivial issue cropped up when the temple car procession was taken out from the lake near the village and was passing through the streets in the interior areas.
The celebrations peaked and fire-crackers were burst and accidentally sparks fell on some Adi Dravidar people.
They asked the person lighting up the fire- crackers to stop, but the festival organisers, all Vanniyars, refused to do so.
This led to an argument between the two groups and it degenerated into a free-for-all and there was violence unleashed by both groups.
In the melee, six from both the communities got injured and had to be taken to the government hospital in Tindivanam.
On being informed, Kiliyanur police rushed to the spot and dispersed the groups. The car procession was stopped and the car was taken back to the temple.
The clash created tension in Tindivanam region and police patrolling was tightened in the surrounding villages, where there is huge population of Vanniyars and Adi Dravidars.
The festival was on in the Ochiyamman temple located in Omandhur village for the past one week and the celebration was an annual affair, which was organised by the Vanniyars, in which the Adi Dravidar community people too take part.
Two Dalit families face social boycott
Two Dalit families of Vaddarahalli in Chikkamagaluru taluk have allegedly been socially boycotted by the people of Kuruba and other communities for refusing to continue the duties performed by their ancestors.
As per the decisiontaken at a village meeting, the residents should not interact with Siddaiah and Rangaiah, brothers, and their families. Grocery and milk shops have been told to not sell anything to them. All this, according to Siddaiah, was because his brother and he refused to continue the duties they were forced to do all these years.
“During Ugadi celebrations, they (“upper” caste) asked us to spread the message of the festival by going around the village beating the drums. My brother refused to do it. Since then, they have been angry with us,” he said. The matter was raked up again on May 29, when Ninge Gowda, a resident belonging to the “upper” caste, picked up an argument with Siddaiah on the same issue.
Both had a heated argument, following which Ninge Gowda convened a meeting of other residents. The meeting, held on May 30, resolved to impose a penalty of Rs. 2,001 each on Siddaiah and his brother, he said.
As both refused to pay the penalty, the village residents asked others to boycott the two families.
Siddaiah has filed a complaint against Ninge Gowda, Channe Gowda, Jayanna, Basavaraju, Dharmachari, Krishnamurthy, and Krishne Gowda, all local residents, with the Chikkamagaluru Rural police.
The New Indian Express
Six Injured as Row over Land Triggers Fight
By Express News Services
Published: 10th June 2015 06:04 AM
KARUR: Six persons were injured in a clash between Dalits and caste Hindus that broke out at a village on Sunday night.
Sources said that a majority of the people who live in Sinnamanayakanpatti bound to Velliyanai police limit are caste Hindus. However, a few Dalit families also reside in the same hamlet. A dispute over utilising the government land for functions has been raging on between the two communities for long and presently, the matter is sub-judice.
Sources said that a few Dalit youth had cleaned the disputed part of land on Sunday night, ahead of a temple festival and an argument broke out when people from the dominant caste went on to prevent them. They exchanged heated arguments which led to fist fights, and later turned into a full fledged caste clash. Residents from both communities squatted and pelted stones against each other, sources added.
A Dalit woman alleged that some miscreants tured off the power supply and beat them black and blue with wooden logs. They submitted a petition with Collector S Jayandhi on Monday to ensure safety and security for them in the hamlet. In the melee, six persons including a Dalit woman were reportedly injured and were admitted to Karur government hospital. A contingent of police personnel were pressed into action.
Based on the complaint lodged by Mayavan (30) from the Dalit community, Velliyanai police booked a case against 14 persons including Palanisamy, Sakthivel, Raju, Ponnusamy and Sekar under relevant sections of SC/ST Act.
Meanwhile, acting on the complaint by Raju (62) from the dominant caste, police booked cases including attempt to murder charges.
Caste scars gender reality in K’shetra village
Tribune News Service
Kurukshetra, June 9
Upper caste families of Mangoli Jattan village — having the worst gender ratio in the district with 308 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2014 — feel “blessed” for God has been “very kind” in filling almost every mother’s lap with a boy. The same, however, is not true for those belonging to the lower castes.
Jaipal (70), a landlord with four sons and seven grandsons, insists: “We have never got any tests done to ascertain the gender of the unborn child in our family. God has been kind.”
“It is a fact that while a boy’s father sleeps in peace, a daughter’s father has sleepless nights. He has to worry for her security, a match for her, dowry. It’s endless responsibility,” he says.
Village sarpanch Satpal, belonging to the Backward Class, is not convinced by the argument.
“I have told the villagers that our village has made it to the number one position.
“I have told the villagers that our village has made it to the number one position. It is for the worst gender ratio. And, soon the government will ‘honour’ me in Delhi for all the boys they are bringing into this world,” he says with sarcasm. It’s clear that something is amiss given the birth of an “alarming number” of boys in a village where joint families have one or two girls against eight boys.
Satpal explains: “The Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes have the right mix of boy-girl ratio, which is askew in ‘swaran jaatis’ (upper castes). We can’t say what is going on because we have never heard of sex determination tests around our village. But money makes the mare go.” While Parmeshwari Devi (80), who belongs to the lower caste, spells out the one-son norm the “zamindars” (landlords) of the village have voluntarily adopted, Mamta Rani, another member of her community, says the disequilibrium hasn’t touched their settlement.
“We are the lower castes of the village. We have barely enough to feed our families. These tests are the prerogative of the upper castes. We don’t know where and how the tests are done, but it comes as a surprise that most firstborns to the upper castes are boys,” she Rani.
Sham Chand, the village plumber with two daughters, explains the social pressure involved in having daughters. “I didn’t want a second child but villagers built pressure on me to try for a boy. I ended up with another girl,” he says.
Among the landlord families, Santosh, a mother of four married sons, sums up the sentiment in favour of the boys: “A girl means loss of our land while a boy brings in prosperity. My daughters-in-law have given me grandsons and I can die easy.”
• There are cases where joint families have one or two girls against eight boys
• The village anganwadi has four girls against 12 boys
“The lower castes have the right mix of boy-girl ratio, which is askew in ‘swaran jaatis’ (upper castes). We can’t say what is going on. But money makes the mare go” Satpal, A BC sarpanch
Male child boom in upper caste families as girls’ ratio stands at 308
India’s First Transgender College Principal Starts Work
All India | Indo-Asian News Service | Updated: June 10, 2015 02:23 IST
olkata: India’s first transgender college principal took on the reins of her new job in West Bengal on Tuesday amid good wishes and gifts.
Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay was welcomed with flower bouquets and sweets on her first day as the head of the Krishnagar Women’s College in Nadia district.
Students and colleagues showered praises on her for braving odds to assume such an important position.
The 50-year-old educationist maintains the appointment was more about human rights and individual freedom than communities.
She considers this new post a very normal thing for an individual.
“I don’t believe in communities. As an individual, I feel my responsibilities have increased with this office,” Dr Bandopadhyay said.
Previously, an associate professor in Bengali at Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya, Dr Bandopadhyay has also been roped in by the West Bengal government as the vice chairperson of the state’s transgender development board on a new policy for the third gender in the state.
Dr Bandopadhyay was born Somnath, in a traditional middle class Bengali family in Naihati in the outskirts of Kolkata.
Convinced that she was a woman trapped in a man’s body, Dr Bandopadhyay underwent a sex change operation a decade ago.
Described as an able administrator by her peers, Dr Bandopadhyay was a participant in the Bengali version of the hit reality TV show “Bigg Boss” in 2013.
She has an adopted son named Debashish.
Her elevation to the post of a college principal by the Bengal government’s College Service Commission comes at a time when institutes like Presidency University and Jadavpur University have introduced separate criteria in admission forms for inclusion of the third gender.
At the national level, the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was passed by the Rajya Sabha last month.
For the first time in 45 years, the Rajya Sabha unanimously passed a private member’s bill. It envisages creation of a national commission for transgender communities and state level commissions.
Safai workers’ panel warns against manual scavenging
Bengaluru: June 10, 2015, DHNS
The Karnataka State Safai Karmachari Commission has issued directions to the officials of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board to not allow any person to clean the soak pits generally used in the areas newly brought under Palike limits.
Following a review meeting on Tuesday, the Commission said that criminal cases would be registered and non-bailable warrant issued against anyone indulging in manual scavenging.
Commission president Narayan said that at least six sanitary workers have died after inhaling poisons gases in manholes. He said that the members of the deceased workers’ family should be paid a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, according to the Supreme Court directions.He said that of the 462 sanitary workers with BWSSB, nearly 292 work on contract and they had not been given the benefits of ESI and PF. These workers have also been denied of minimum wages and are not issued uniforms and identity cards.
The easy way
– Inequalities, affirmative action and growth
– S.L. Rao
The debate on how to improve socio-economic conditions of the people in the lowest rungs of society has pitted welfare benefits from governments against the effects of economic growth. The argument is exaggerated. Nobody can sensibly argue that just one or the other is enough in a society with as much socio-economic disparity as India.
Reservations in favour of Backward Classes were accepted even before independence. They covered the presidency areas and the princely states south of the Vindhyas. The Constitution of independent India empowers the State to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. The State was to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people. They would be protected from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. Reservations for representation in legislatures were one method. Out of 543 seats in India’s Parliament, 84 (15.47 per cent) are reserved for SC and 47 (8.66 per cent) for ST. This was extended to government employment. There is pressure to extend it to the private sector as well. In 1982, 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutes as a quota were reserved for the SC and ST candidates respectively. This was to be reviewed after five years. It was extended by the succeeding governments. The Supreme Court of India put a cap on reservations at 50 per cent. In 1993, a constitutional amendment called for a random one third of panchayat pradhans in gram panchayats to be reserved for women. Reservation has also been extended to religious minorities; for example, Tamil Nadu has allotted 3.5 per cent of assembly seats each to Muslims and Christians.
The principle behind reservations is of affirmative action to improve the capabilities and opportunities for deprived and marginalized sections of society. These were mainly scheduled castes and tribes, Muslims and, in some places, Christians and women. They were given preference in legislative representation, educational opportunities and in jobs in institutions controlled by governments. Similarly, traditional patriarchal Indian attitudes to women had placed them inferior to males. Particularly in North India (the BIMARU states), females were neglected, infants and foetuses were killed. Girls were a curse, not a blessing, mainly because of the cost of getting them married.
A powerful anti-Brahmin movement in Tamil Nadu, since the early years of the last century, led to the rise of political parties representing these lower castes – the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in 1949 and, as a splinter, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in 1972. Affirmative action in favour of scheduled castes and other backward classes led to their dominating Tamil Nadu politics, educational opportunities and job preferences in government. Caste is not a dominant factor any more in Tamil Nadu politics. It remains so in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In much of the rest of India and especially the North, caste groupings are dominant.
Over the years, the status of these groups in terms of poverty, consumption expenditures, life expectancy, literacy, higher education, and nutritional status, has improved. However, the extreme disparities with the higher social groups remain. The reservation of posts of pradhans in gram panchayats has also brought many women to the fore, though there continue to be many that are only a front for the males in their households. Anecdotal evidence suggests that villages run by women make better use of funds available than others.
Other means were also adopted by governments to improve the lives of marginalized groups. One way was to bring down the levels of living of the high income/wealth groups though confiscatory taxation. This was tried till the 1980s, but with little effect in reducing inequalities in real incomes and living standards (primarily because of large-scale tax evasion). Instead, confiscatory taxation had a strong negative effect on enterprise and economic growth. Those were the years when growth was around 3 per cent per annum, derisively described by Raj Krishna as the “Hindu” rate of growth.
The more persistent method to improve the status of the deprived was through reservations in government jobs, admissions to schools and higher education. It is difficult to attribute the improvements in their condition only to reservations. Years of faster economic growth seem to have also been the periods of maximum improvement in the status of the marginalized groups. The debate on the reality of “trickle down” of growth to such marginalized groups continues. But reservations and growth do seem to have made a difference. However, income inequalities in society have increased, although the levels of living at the bottom may have improved. Rural-urban migration and rapid urbanization also may have helped not only in improving living standards (however measly they may still be), but in improving social equality.
Another major factor that affected the lowest societal rungs was the very considerable social welfare expenditures by governments on enhancing livelihoods, guaranteeing employment, health and education schemes and other social welfare schemes. Expenditures on these ballooned in the late 1980s and thereafter. They caused considerable macroeconomic imbalances, growing government deficits, inflation, etc. But they certainly must have helped, even despite the considerable leakages, wrong targeting leading to many undeserving being benefited and theft from such schemes. Various surveys show that around half the expenditures on schemes like the public distribution system, employment guarantee scheme, subsidized kerosene (to name the most expensive government welfare schemes) do not reach those they are meant for.
It is also not as if reservations have been an unmixed blessing. They have been gradually extended to higher education, to medical specializations, automatic promotions to top academic positions and top government jobs and are now being argued for judicial appointments. Some years ago a major students’ agitation in one state was triggered by extending reservation in seats in medical colleges to specializations as well. Many argued that this would adversely affect quality since merit was not the consideration. Many PhD programmes admit reserved students on such considerations. So do many senior government appointments. These have been said to have had an adverse impact on quality of researchers and teachers, and of administration. The curse of automatic promotions to higher positions of academic faculties has already reduced the quality of higher education. It is made more so by the reservation of even professorial vacancies. A professor is supposed to be an outstanding scholar in a subject whose reputation attracts other scholars, funding and students. His scholarship sets the pace for work on his subject. It is not surprising that there is a serious deterioration in the quality of Indian education and that its practitioners do not at all compare with any of the best in the world. Instead of automatic admission and promotions based on social status, it would have been advisable to give special intensive training to marginalized groups. They can thus be helped to compete for such positions on merit. Governments and politicians, instead, take the easy way of reservations, not based on merit.
I am not suggesting that the poor, deprived, discriminated and marginalized groups should be ignored. But there has been no dramatic change. They have also been wasteful. These schemes must be made more cost-beneficial. At the same time, we must do everything to ensure that economic growth accelerates and that tax collection improves so that inequalities reduce to more reasonable levels. This will provide funds for more affirmative action to accelerate the improvement of the lowest sections of our society to combine with the positive effects of economic growth.
The author is former director-general, National Council of Applied Economic Research
News monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET