Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 12.06.15
Gangraped victim climbs water tank for justice- The Hindustan Times
10 Held for Abusing Minor Girl – The New Indian Express
N’pada Dalits stage stir, seek B’ngir girl killers’ arrest- The Pioneer
Yatra against caste violence- The Hindu
Maharashtra’s poor record- Frontline
Transgender rights bill next session- Asian Age
Dalits slam Govt for not ensuring their safety- The Pioneer
Odisha SC sub-plan fund use far from satisfactory- The Pioneer
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Ensure Land distribution to the Dalits
The Hindustan Times
Gangraped victim climbs water tank for justice
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Lucknow, Updated: Jun 12, 2015 10:14 IST
In a bid to demand justice, a 20-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly gangraped, climbed on the overhead tank of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hospital. Alleging that local police were helping the accused and had even manipulated the names in her complaint, she threatened to end her life.
The girl remained at the tank for over three hours and came down only after police officials promised to provide her justice and initiate an inquiry against the erring cops. Meanwhile, a large crowd gathered on the spot and work at the hospital remained disrupted for some time following the incident.
The girl was upset as she had been repeatedly travelling 240 kilometres from her native village in Ambedkarnagar to Lucknow for a month but failed to persuade the cops to initiate action against the culprits.
The girl is three months pregnant after being allegedly raped and held hostage by three persons for several months.
According to the victim, three persons, Vinod Dubey, Ranjeet Verma alias Lallu Verma and Govind, had kidnapped her from her house and held her captive in a room for over three months, during which time she became pregnant.
Around a month back, the victim escaped and tried to register an FIR against the trio at Mahrua police station of Ambedkarnagar, but the cops there did not entertain her compliant.
It was only when she approached the SC/ST Commission, Human Rights Commission and DGP AK Jain in Lucknow that the FIR was registered but the girl claimed the local police manipulated the content of her complaint. She said she had accused Dubey, Verma and Govind in her complaint but the police while registering the FIR named Govind Kumar, his brother Bahadur and his parents and floated a false story about her having had a love affair with Govind.
“Cops said I had married Govind against my family’s will and was abandoned by his family when he left for Punjab to take up a job. However, I did not marry anybody. The three accused kidnapped me and raped me for months,” she said and added that she had climbed the tank, as even senior police officials were not ready to believe her.
Meanwhile, Ambedkarnagar superintendent of police Pankaj Kumar told HT on phone that the FIR had been lodged as per the application submitted by the girl and proper action had been initiated in the matter but then the girl had suddenly started telling another story of being gangraped by three persons.
Kumar said the police probe so far suggested that Dubey and Verma had no involvement in the matter but detailed investigation was still going on.
The New Indian Express
10 Held for Abusing Minor Girl
By Express News Service
Last Updated: 12th June 2015 08:30 AM
IDUKKI: Four persons, including an ITI student, were arrested in Kattappana here on Thursday in connection with the sexual abuse case of a 16-year-old, Scheduled Caste, Plus-II student.
With the earlier arrests of six, total number of arrests till date makes 10, according to reports.
Pulikkal Sudheesh, 20, an ITI student from Anakkara, Pallipparambil Arun, 20, of Vallakkadavu Thoonkuzhy, Kanappallil, and Sanumon alias Manikkuttan, 24, of Pezhumkavala area, belonging to Kattappana village, and Edasseril Somarajan, 51, of Kizhakkekavala of Parathod village were the suspects arrested on Thursday.
However, Pattarukandathil Jins, 22, his brother Prince, 20, of Nariampara, Kattappana, Palatharayil Robin, 25, of Nariyampara in Kanchiyar, Karukkancheriyil Santhosh, 32, of Upputhara Mathaipara, Vadakkemandapathil Jomon, 27, of Sagara Theatre junction, Kattappana, and Kakkaravayalil Vijayakumar, 30, of Kalkoonthal, Nedunkandam, were reportedly arrested late Wednesday.
Three auto rickshaws used to take the victim to various places were also taken into custody by the police.
According to DySP Lal A G, the girl has identified all the ten accused and cases were registered under IPC sections 363, 364 A, 366 A, 376 A and 376 D, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Sections 5(g), 5 (l), 6 and 8, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 Section 3 (XI).
After taking the victim for medical examination, the police have reportedly taken statement from the girl in the presence of the Kattappana Judicial First Class Magistrate.
N’pada Dalits stage stir, seek B’ngir girl killers’ arrest
The Dom Gana Samaj, a Dalit association of Nuapada district, on Wednesday organised a protest meeting at Khariar against the Government failure to nab culprits, who had raped and killed a 15-year-old girl of Sargipali village under Balangir district’s Khaprakhol block a fortnight ago.
Snehalata (15), a student of local school, was spearheading a movement against the local liquor mafias. Some miscreants raped and murdered her on May 22.
The agitators demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. They submitted a memorandum, addressed to the Chief Minister, to the BDO, demanding a CBI probe into the case, compensation of `20 lakh to the deceased girl’s family and a thorough inquiry into all atrocity cases happened in the last 10 years in Balangir district.
The rally was led by youth leader Kamal Lochan Tandib and former NAC Chairman Nimai Charan Tandi. Dalit leaders Ghanashyam Bhitria, Khuturam Sunani and Goriamani Sagaria spoke at the meeting.
Yatra against caste violence
The All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch embarked on the ‘Dalit Adivasi Mahila Swabhiman’ yatra on Thursday.
They covered 3,000 km across 11 districts of Odisha, alleging that the State police were indifferent to the sufferings of victims belonging to the lower caste.
“I have come across full spectrum of caste violence. The women have particularly been at the receiving end in Odisha in the last 10 days. To my utter shock, I have met survivors and victims of every type of violence, including kidnap, rape, murder, sexual assault, stripping, beating, verbal abuse, untouchability and discrimination,” said Asha Kowtal, General Secretary of AIDMAM, addressing a press conference here.
Ms Kowtal said, “In a recent chilling and inhuman crime, no headway has been made to apprehend perpetrators of the alleged rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Sargipally village of Bolangir district. The rape was as barbaric as the Nirbhaya case in New Delhi. But the police are silent and soft on perpetrators of caste-based violence.”
AIDMAM members, who have travelled to 11 districts in the past 10 days, observed that violence against Dalit women is often a tool in the hands of the dominant caste to instil fear, maintain status quo, control access to resources and reinforce the caste hegemony.
“We have observed this in Zabara village of Jajpur district where women are fighting hard to save the common grazing land. Many of the women complained to us that instead of arresting the accused, the police have filed false cases against them,” said AIDMAM general secretary.
The manch demanded that government should strengthen the institutional mechanism (exclusive special courts) for the protection and security of dalit and tribal women in the State by making special budgetary provisions.
The State government should amend the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Government officers found neglecting their duty and responsibility wilfully in cases concerning caste-based gender violence should be taken to task.
Maharashtra’s poor record
By Lyla Bavadam
Interview with Anand Teltumbde, writer and civil rights activist. By LYLA BAVADAM
ANAND TELTUMBDE, writer and civil rights activist with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights in Mumbai, has written extensively on Dalit issues. He is unsparing in his analysis even if it means highlighting the ills in the Dalit community. Excerpts from an interview he gave Frontline:
In the past 12 months there have been at least seven recorded incidents of the killing of Dalits in Maharashtra that are clearly caste-related. What does this say about the liberal State of Maharashtra?
Maharashtra has falsely acquired an image of a liberal and progressive State. Its record in repressiveness is rather infamous. It is the land that produced Hindutva ideology; most of its proponents have been born here. The very fact that [Jyotirao] Phule and [B.R.] Ambedkar were born in Maharashtra could also be construed as a response to this innate repressiveness. Even the birth of the Dalit Panthers in the 1970s was tangibly in response to the caste atrocities that happened in the previous year. As regards caste atrocities, Maharashtra is at best a middling State.
What is the rate of conviction in cases of atrocities against Dalits in the State?
I am not aware, but it has to be extremely low. There are no authentic figures; the available figures vary widely. In any case, the so-called conviction rate needs to be defined. For instance, the lower court may punish the culprits, but they may be acquitted by the High Court.
Firstly, the dynamics of caste atrocities need to be understood. Only cases that ignited a public hue and cry are discussed. My analysis of Khairlanji tells me that invariably the real culprits are sheltered and some dummy people are projected as criminals. If there is public attention, the lower court invariably awards them harsh punishments, which may not be warranted in law based on the facts of the investigation. When the case goes in appeal to the higher court, the punishment is usually annulled. Khairlanji illustrates certain aspects of this process, but the recent judgments of the Patna High Court acquitting all the Ranvir Sena criminals in the ghastly massacres of Dalits [in Bathani Tola] in Bihar that took place in the 1990s do it far better. Actually, right from the first case of this new genre of atrocity, Keezhvenmani in Tamil Nadu in December 1968, there is no justice done to Dalits in atrocity cases despite the legal facade raised with the so-called Atrocity Act. This Act with teeth also is rendered toothless by the system.
All the assailants in the seven cases mentioned are either Maratha or OBC. Can you explain this trend please? In the caste structure they are just one step ‘higher’ than Dalits and so some degree of empathy would naturally be expected, but this does not seem to be the case. Can this anger be linked to the fact that Dalits are making a successful effort to improve themselves?
It is always the B.C./OBC who has been perpetrating violence against Dalits. It is not just one step being higher than Dalits. That one step defines the kink in caste hierarchy, which divides caste and non-caste, touchable and untouchable. B.Cs/OBCs that interface Dalits in villages matter more than the so-called upper castes like Brahmins. Even in Phule’s days, the combination of Shudras and Ati-Shudras that he carved out did not work. It is the basic reason that a separate Dalit movement had to spring up. During the post-Independence decades, the political-economic changes that befell the agrarian sector aggravated this divide and brought Shudras in material contradiction vis-a-vis Dalits.
I have amply explained this process in my writings and explained what caused Keezhvenmani and all the atrocities thereafter. The land reforms, for instance, were implemented to carve out a class of rich farmers in villages as an ally of the central ruling class, and the Green Revolution, a capitalist strategy in agriculture, on the one hand enriches this class and, on the other, denudes Dalits of the traditional safeguard of the jajmani system inherent in the caste system. The class contradictions between Dalits and the Shudra-caste rich farmers begin manifesting through the familiar fault lines of castes. Every incident of caste atrocity may not explicitly expose these equations but they will be at the root in some way. In fact, the entire gamut of politics after the 1960s is explainable within this framework of political economy.
Transgender rights bill next session
Jun 12, 2015 |
A bill giving rights to transgenders will be tabled during the next session of Parliament, Union minister of social justice and empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot said Thursday.
“We have proposed bringing an act for welfare of transgenders. A special committee constituted for looking into this issue, has completed four meetings in which several matters were discussed. We will be introducing a bill for transgenders in the upcoming Monsoon Session,” Mr Gehlot said addressing a press conference highlighting his ministry’s achievements in the last one year.
The ministry is creating an umbrella scheme for the educational, economic and social empowerment of transgender community.
Noting that the Centre has filed a review petition seeking clarifications on the Supreme Court order on creating third category for transgenders, Mr Gehlot said a private member bill, which was passed in Rajya Sabha, would be taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha in the upcoming Parliament session.
After 36 years, a private member bill seeking to protect the rights of transgenders was passed despite government’s initial resistance in the Rajya Sabha in April.
Mr Gehlot also said that the Government would bring the Rights to Persons with Disabilities Bill, which was sent to the standing committee in the upcoming monsoon session.
Though the bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2014, it was sent to the standing committee for further consultations.
The standing committee submitted its report to Parliament last month.
This apart, a draft bill titled Persons in Destitution (Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill has been circulated to state governments in April this year for comments to prepare a central legislation on the subject.
A historical building in Britain, in which dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar had stayed, would be acquired for converting into a memorial, Mr Gehlot said.
“When Ambedkar was studying in Britain, he stayed in a house between 1921-22. The house owner is ready to sell the property for around `40 crore,” he said.
Dalits slam Govt for not ensuring their safety
Coming down heavily on the State Government for turning a blind eye to the severe caste atrocities on ST, SC and Dalit people, the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM) on Thursday appealed to all stakeholders to ensure that Dalit and tribal girls and women are safe in the State.
Manch national coordinator Anju Singh told reporters here, “During our visit to 45 villages in 11 districts in the State recently, we found brutal and heinous crimes particularly against Dalit and tribal women. The utter failure of the police and administration in securing justice to the victims of caste violence is highly condemnable.”
Odisha Forum for Social Action convenor Ajaya Kumar Singh maintained that there is an overarching fear and insecurity not just among the atrocity survivors but also among the Dalit Adivasi communities as the perpetrators of caste-based gender violence make a mockery of the criminal justice delivery system.
They urged the Government to strengthen institutional mechanism and demanded that provision of a special budgetary package for them be made.
“We demand stringent action against the offenders, adequate compensation and proper rehabilitation to the atrocity victims along with Government jobs as per Rules 12(4) of SCs & STs (PoA), provision of special Component Plan, amendment to the PoA Act and stringent punishment for Government officials for negligence,” said Singh.
The Manch also demanded that Dalit and tribal communities be represented in the State Commission for Women, the Commission for Child Rights Protection, a strong monitoring mechanism to check pregnancy cases in SC/ST Ashram schools and hostels for Dalit and Muslim students in every block with proportionate pre- and post-metric scholarships.
Odisha SC sub-plan fund use far from satisfactory
Dr BR Ambedkar’s 125th birth centenary year has been celebrated by political parties in Delhi and his birth place at Mhow of Madhya Pradesh. Lots of discussions are happening over vision of Ambedkar on annihilation of caste towards achieving social democracy in India. The vision of building a democracy is not possible without addressing social inequality that has been continuing in our social structure.
The Constitution of India has made a number of provisions in terms of protection and development leading to social equality. In spite of efforts of last 65 years by the Government, it has been identified by a number of studies that Scheduled Castes (SC) are lagging behind in every aspect of human development in comparison to other caste Hindu social groups. In order to bridge the socio-economic gap, along with other measures, Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) was introduced in 1979 by the Central Government. There has been provision that the annual budgets of the Central and State Governments must have allocation of funds exclusively for SCs as per the percentage of their population at State and national level.
These funds have to be allocated by each ministry and department in the State and the funds cannot be diverted for other purposes. The spending of the funds should target individual household, communities and areas having large concentration of SCs. There has been special Central assistance to the SC sub plan received from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment by the State. But unfortunately, the Government of Odisha has not been following any of the guideline in spending of SCSP in the State. It is a crime against 17.13 per cent of the population of the State which has been victims of historical injustice and continued State apathy. There is not a single scheme being implemented out of State fund, mostly all the Central Government schemes are being implemented by the State.
There has been no attempt by the State to develop specific schemes out of own fund like other States in India. The State Scheduled Caste Welfare Advisory Board headed by the Chief Minister with SC MPs and MLAs as its members is virtually non-functional. Even the routine annual seating is not being conducted. The meeting of State Vigilance and Monitoring Committee headed by the Chief Minister under the provisions of SCs and STs (PoA) Act, 1989 and Rules, 1995, is also not being conducted regularly to discuss the matters relating to atrocities against SCs and STs in the State. The enforcement of PCR Act against untouchability is equally weak in the State due to lack political commitments for social cause.
There are 25 SC MLAs in the Odisha Assembly with 23 of them representing BJD. Two of them only two are Ministers, including one in Cabinet rank and the other in State rank. The SC/ST Development Department is with a State Minister which shows an attitude of less importance to the development of the Dalits by the BJD Government. The elected MPs and MLAs form SC reserve constituencies, chosen by the ruling parties, are made voiceless by the party boss with threat of denial of party ticket for next election. The Congress and BJP have one SC MLA each.
The SCSP funds should ideally be spent on education, employment and livelihood development of SCs towards achieving equality. There has been no initiative by the Government to develop innovative schemes and programmes for the all round development of SCs based on information and research feedback from academics, policy makers and CSOs. As such the State has not yet developed a Scheduled Caste Development Policy or Vision Document for SCs development integrating it with the overall development of the State. The SCs and STs Research and Training Institute(SCSTRTI) ever since its existence in 1952 has done no research on SC development, except organizing few training camps and workshops by the help of nonprofit organizations. The critical information and inputs on SC development based on research has been callously neglected.
The SC and ST Finance Development Cooperative Corporation Ltd since its inception in 1979, while SCSP was introduced, with its declared objective of SC development along with focus on scavengers has been depending on the assistance of National Scheduled Caste Finance Development Corporation. The placement linked skill development training programme by OSCFDC for last five years from 2011 to 2015 shows that less than 50 per cent of its target has been achieved with about only 20 per cent placement. In spite of Supreme Court’s directives there has been non implementation of Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 in the State. The Central Government grants and schemes for SCs and specially scavengers are not being implemented properly and criminally delayed and non-utilized by the bureaucracy.
There has been no innovation in the schemes and caste-based non-viable traditional occupations are routinely encouraged by the department. SC development is more linked to education, as a vast majority of SCs are illiterate and depending on physical labour for livelihood. Education also is one of the most important means of social change and in order to bring change in socio–economic life of scheduled caste, there have been provisions of reservation in educational institutions and other supports such as scholarship to SC students.
A majority of SC students mostly depend on Government run schools as day scholar and very few on residential schools run by the SSD Department. The primary education is the foundation for every child based on which the future education can be built up but unfortunately primary education system is not encouraging for SC children due to lack of Government initiative in addressing poverty and social discrimination in primary schools. The SC day scholar students of class 6th and 7th get Rs150 per year and class 8th get Rs200 per year as pre-matric scholarship.
It is declared that the parents of such students should not be income tax payee. The SSD Department report revealed that from 2014 to 2015 there were 6, 25,590 SC students who got Rs6,811 lakh as pre matric scholarship. Many States like Karala, AP, TN and Telangana have been spending much more on pre matric scholarship. Even they pay it from class one for the day scholars.
SC population’s livelihood is closely connected to land but unfortunately there has been no land distribution programme and the protective laws for the share croppers. A vast majority of rural SC households are engaged as share croppers in agriculture. There are lakhs of homestead less household living over unauthorized habitations without homestead land patta and possession to securely construct a house. A vast majority of SC farmers have small holdings and mostly depend on share cropping but there has been no protection for the share croppers who suffer all kinds of loss during manmade and natural disasters and undergoes exploitations since generations in the absence of State protection.
The SC families in forest area are facing problem to get reorganization as other traditional forest dwellers to get forest land under FRA Act and the Government is knowingly showing discriminatory attitude towards the land less forest dwellers. The Government of Telangana has allocated Rs3,321 crore for SC development out of which Rs1,000 crore has been allocated for purchase of land for land less SC families in the State. The Telangana Government has spent Rs94.45 crore for distributing 2,524 acres of land among 959 SC families in the year 2014-2015. Though there is a land purchase scheme for land less household but this has not been implemented by Government of Odisha.
The State Government should prepare a vision document involving all concerned for the development of the historically marginalized social groups in order to ensure their development at par with others. The Government must have the commitment in implementing all the protective legislations and development plans such as SCSP as an integral part of the overall development of the State towards achieving inclusive growth.
(The writer is a researcher and rights activist who can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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