Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 13.06.15
Two dalit youths shot dead in dispute over Rs 4- The Times Of India
14-year-old girl’s body found hanging from tree in Badaun- Hindustan Times
Dalit-Adivasi Women Rise Up: A Swabhiman Yatra Across Odisha- Counter Current
Two get life term for honour killing, judgment copy a week later- Hindustan Times
New mines law: Opportunities galore for local growth- The Pioneer
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Meeting on Dalit Reality-discrimination by caste in Delhi 2014 – Part 11
The Times Of India
Two dalit youths shot dead in dispute over Rs 4
GHOORPUR (Allahabad): A clash over payment of mere Rs 4 turned deadly when a group of brahmans fired at two dalits, killing them, and injuring three others in Mohddinpur village in Ghoorpur, 25 km from Allahabad on Friday.
In the backlash that followed, angry dalit mobs set fire to the flour mill and a portion of the house of the people who had shot and killed the dalits. Four people, including the main accused, Suresh Dubey, were arrested, and heavy police force was deployed in the village.
Rahul was a BSc student while Ashu had cleared his intermediate. Rajat and Vikas Bhartiya, and another youth injured in the attack, were admitted to a nursing home where their condition was said to be stable.
Trouble began when Rajat (22) reached the flour unit of Suresh and Rakesh Dubey and demanded 154kg of flour that he had given them for grinding on Thursday.
When Suresh told them the cost of grinding was Rs 154, Rajat paid him Rs 150 and said the remaining Rs 4 would follow. At this, Suresh began arguing with Rajat and allegedly made some coarse remarks. Rajat left and returned to the shop with Rs 20, and allegedly threw it at Suresh’s face, asking him to take his Rs 4 and return the rest.
Feeling insulted, Suresh and his brothers attacked Rajat with a sharp edged weapon, leaving him bleeding.
Suresh then ran to his cousins Rahul, Ashu, Gulab, Vikas and others, exhorting them for revenge. When the relatives and other villagers saw Rajat bleeding, they moved towards Dubey’s mill and surrounded the house and the shop.
Sensing danger, Suresh took out his licensed double barreled gun and fired from the terrace twice, killing Rahul and Shubham instantly. Hearing the gun shots, other villagers came out of their houses and attacked and flour unit and set the house of Dubeys on fire.
A case was lodged with Ghoorpur Police under relevant Sections. The licenced weapon used in the crime was seized.
Senior police officers including SP Ashutosh Mishra, rushed to the spot with heavy police force and brought the controlled the situation.
14-year-old girl’s body found hanging from tree in Badaun
A year after two Badaun cousins were found hanging from a tree in the village, the body of a 14-year-old Dalit girl was found hanging from an acasia tree in the Badaun region on Thursday evening, police said. The body had injury mark on the cheeks and neck, police said.
The girl’s father, however, did not want police action in the matter. Murder after rape was feared in the case, a source in the police department said.
Police said that action would be taken on the basis of a post-mortem examination.
A resident of Chichaita village, the girl went to a field near her house at around 3pm on Thursday. When she did not return till late evening, her family members searched for her.
The girl’s father later found the body and took it down without informing the police.
Police officer Satyadev Yadav said the girl’s father had denied any enmity with anyone and stressed that he did not want any action in the matter.
Dalit-Adivasi Women Rise Up: A Swabhiman Yatra Across Odisha
Dalit Adivasi Mahila Swabhiman Yatra travelled more than 3000 kms across 11 districts of Odisha, conducted more than 45 village/street meetings, several public rallies in towns and submitted memorandum at District Collectorate of all districts. The Yatra team comprising of Dalit leaders from Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, volunteers, leaders and cultural activists from Odisha and several Dalit Adivasi community women leaders who travelled from village to village, town to town, district to district are now witness to brutal and heinous crimes against Dalits & Adivasi’s and Dalit women in particular.
We have shed tears and shared pain with the victims – survivors and their family members. We have shared the grief of losing lives of young daughters, mothers and wives to the clutches of the evil caste system.
The team has also expressed their anger and anguish at the utter failure of the Odisha police and administration in securing justice to the victims of caste violence. From wilful negligence of duties to the complicit in the violence against the women and young girls; and the indifference by the investigation officers, doctors, administrative officials was observed in several cases. It is shocking to note that the team came across with uncooperative police and officers who were unwilling to listen to the pleas of the victims-survivors.
Asha Kowtal, Gen. Sec. All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch expressed her disgust saying, ‘ Past ten days in Odisha reveals the full spectrum of caste violence, particularly the women. To my utter shock, I have met survivors and victims of every sort of violence, including kidnap, rape, murder, sexual assault, stripping, naked parading, beating, verbal abuse, untouchability and discrimination.’
Gayatri, a 27 year old rape survivor in Kendrapada district explained, ‘ I have been running from pillar to post demanding the arrest of the accused but there is nobody in the administration to hear my cries of justice. The perpetrator is scot free and I am struggling by myself to maintain my life and dignity.’
Violence against Dalit women is often a tool in the hands of the dominant caste people to induce fear, maintain status quo, control access to resources and reinforce the caste hegemony. Bodies of Dalit women are often the sites on which caste wars are fought. We have observed this in Zabara village of Jajpur district in which women are fighting hard to to save the common grazing land. Many of the women said, ‘ Instead of arresting the accused, who created hell for us by beating our people, the police have filed false cases against us. How can we expect a safe, secure and dignified life, when the entire system is working against us?’
Police inaction and purposeful negligence in the investigations reveal severe lapses in the implementation of the SC/ST PoA Act. Absolute lack of relief, legal support, compensations, pyscho social support has left the community in deep trauma, fear and state of hopelessness.
Ms. Anju Singh, National Coordinator, AIDMAM exclaimed, ‘ Where should we Dalits and Adivasi’s go to seek justice? This is a utter shame of the Odisha Government for turning a blind eye to the severe caste atrocities.
What is the use of special legal provisions when none of them are of any meaning for me and my community?’
We note that several instances of caste based violence against women. There is an increasing insecurity and vulnerability among the women and young children in different corners of Odisha such as the issues in a village in Jajpur district, where a small altercation involving Dalit youth led to violent attack by dominant caste people on Dalit colony; destroying houses and brutally assaulting the women and children. Worse still, the culprits went even to the extent; one of the Dalit women was stripped and paraded naked. She said, ‘Not a single officer has visited us since the incident. In fact we are living in constant fear of the bullies. They have also imposed social boycott on us and we can’t even go to the nearby shops. The violence has shattered our lives adding to already stricken by poverty..’
Young wives and mothers of little children are battling alone in search of justice for their murdered and seriously injured husbands. Both in Kendrapada and Jajpur districts, we learnt that there is no financial compensation and relief, no legal support nor medical assistance provided while the perpetrators have impunity. It is sad to note the police have closed their eyes.
In the recent chilling and inhuman case, there is no head way into the 15 years girl of Sargipally village in Bolangir district.
Caste is not cultural, but criminal. The caste based gender violence perpetrators seem to think otherwise.
These few instances of caste violence represent only the tip of the iceberg ! This cross section of cases of violence committed against Dalits Adivasi historically is deep seated in Odisha. Untouchability practices of various forms including discrimination in schools, anganwadi’s, shops and hotels, access to water in public places, renting houses in villages and towns, entering places of worship are rampantly practised in many villages.
There is huge surge of trafficking of young girls to other states due to rising of drop outs and abject poverty.
Ajaya Kumar Singh, Convenor – Odisha Forum for Social Action said, ‘ For the last ten days, the Dalit Adivasi Mahila caravan that visited from villages to villages, towns to towns, meeting the victims survivors to community leaders; from civil society groups to district officials. There is an overarching fear and insecurity not just among the victims survivors but also among the dalit adivasi communities as the perpetrators of the caste based gender violence make mockery of criminal justice delivery system The executives and the police if not complicit remain indifference and callousness to the atrocities giving rise to untold sufferings and increased violences. The caste based gender violences could only be addressed if civil society and human rights groups come together to make the duty bearers accountable as well as right holders aware of the due rights and equality. Sure, the Yatra has brought in a new energy to carry on the struggles for equity and dignity.
This 10 days caravan that ended in candle Rally in Bhubaneswar and intense mobilisation of community on the ground leaves us with the hope of collective action in breaking impunity by calling out the authorities to take immediate action in curbing violence against Dalit women and monitor the policies meant to protect and deliver justice to the victims-survivors.
- Govt must strengthen the institutional mechanism (Exclusive Special Courts) for the protection and security of Dalit and Tribal women in the state through establishing the special cell through allocating special budgetary package for the same.
- As the number of rape cases in Odisha is increasing day by day in the State, hence police must take proactive steps to create an atmosphere and environment to ensure that Dalits /Tribal girls and women are safe.
- It is saddening to note that, there are no head ways for horrible inhuman tragedy to the Dalit young girls of Sargipali village of Bolangir. Hence we demand a stringent and urgent action against those perpetrators.
- Adequate compensation and proper rehabilitation must be ensuring to the Atrocity victims along with a Govt job as per Rules 12(4) of SCs & STs (PoA).
- Special Component Plan should be legislated in the State of Odisha. 50% budget should be reserved for women and direct schemes for their empowerment should be introduced.
- Govt should amend the PoA Act and strengthen the implementation of PoA Act in the state.
- Stringent punishment should be given to the Govt officers for their wilful negligence of their duties & responsibilities on deliver justice to the victims-survivors of caste based gender violences.
- There is no representation of Dalits and Adivasi communities in all the existing commissions including Women Commission, Children Commission and other bodies; thus these commissions become cover up bodies rather ensure justice for the victims survivors even though they communities constitute nearly half of the population in the state.
- The sexual violence and pregnancy cases against Dalit and Tribal minor girls in SC/ST Ashram schools are continuously increasing in different districts in the state. Hence we demand that Govt must set up a strong monitoring mechanism to ensure that, these children are safe and well protected.
- Govt should establish hostels for the minority children of Dalit and Muslim origin in every block with a proportionate pre and post metric scholarship.
- The officials purposefully interpreted wrongly in the FRA to deny the land rights to Dalits, who have been inhabitated in the same areas for centuries. Thus, we demand the land rights for the Dalits in the same.
- It is a very sad thing that, due to the caste system and untochability practice in the state, the rented houses are not being provided to Dalits and Tribals resulting huge exclusion. Therefore Govt should amend the PoA to give justice to these marginalised communities in the state.
Asha Kotwal, General Secretary, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, New Delhi
Ajaya kumar Singh, Convenor, Odisha Forum for Social Action, Bhubaneswar
Two get life term for honour killing, judgment copy a week later
A week ago, two middle-aged men were found guilty of honour killing and handed life terms by a city court. The court observed that the boy had been killed by the men because he was a different caste and had married one of their female relatives, despite objections.
The convicts, the father of the girl Satpal Singh and her uncle Neeraj, were also slapped with fines of Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000. Satpal was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and Neeraj was charged with murder and possession of an illegal firearm,” said advocate Suresh Sisodia who is representing two co-accused in the case.
The duo was sentenced by additional sessions judge Neena Bansal Krishna on June 6. The judge, however, till Friday had failed to supply a copy of the judgment and order to the accused, Sisodia said, delaying Neeraj and Satpal from filing an appeal.
“The accused have a right to get a copy of the judgment convicting and sentencing on the same day, as per the law,” says retired Delhi High Court Judge SN Dhingra.
The case involves two college students — a Thakur girl and a scheduled caste boy — who fell in love while they were in Meerut college. The girl, who had suffered from polio in her childhood, later defied her family to marry Ashok Kumar. The couple later had a baby girl.
Their happiness, however, was short lived.
The girl’s father Satpal and her uncle Neeraj tracked the couple down in late 2012. Once they had found their targets, the duo started making “threats to kill Ashok as he (Satpal) felt humiliated in his society due to this marriage,” the police told the court.
The couple then moved to Delhi’s East Sagarpur area to try and get away from Singh and Neeraj. The girl there started working as a clerk in a defence company; while the guy Ashok was still looking for employment. On January 16, 2013, five men cornered Ashok near a railway line in Sagarpur and shot him dead.
Neeraj was the first of the five gunmen to be identified and arrested. A gun was recovered from him, and ballistics matched its bullets to those found in Ashok’s corpse A manhunt was launched for one of Neeraj’s associates, 25-year-old Govind. The Delhi Police Commissioner had also declared a reward of Rs 30,000 for any information leading to his arrest .
Then, on January 12, 2015, the police received information about Govind’s whereabouts and located him in hiding in Uttam Nagar. A seven-member team lay in wait in the evening hours of the same day and apprehended him.
During the trial, the woman turned hostile and refused to identify her uncle’s accomplices. As a result, Govind and Neeraj’s other aide Rinku were acquitted for want of evidence.
Neeraj is currently in Tihar Jail, while his lawyers await a certified copy of the court’s order so they can prepare his appeal. The court is on its annual summer leave and is due to start working again in a fortnight.
New mines law: Opportunities galore for local growth
Saturday, 13 June 2015 | MANAS JENA | in Bhubaneswar
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 has brought a major institutional arrangement with the provision of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) as a nonprofit trust for ensuring welfare of the mining affected areas and the inhabitants.
DMF is created under the provision of the Act, by insertion of section 9B to the principal Act, to work for the interest and benefits of persons and areas affected by mining related operations. Any district affected by mining related operation will have a DMF as a nonprofit body to be created by the State Government by notification.
The State Government has to make rules regarding the composition and functioning of the trust. It is further said in the Act that while making rules, the Government has to be guided by the provisions of administration of scheduled area /tribal area and provisions of PESA 1996 and FRA 2006. The lease holders of major and minor minerals will have to pay to the DMF in the manner decided by both Centre in case of major minerals and by State in case of minor minerals.
This DMF is going to play a major role in the development of mines area as well as the affected people there.
The Government of Odisha has initiated the process to set up DMF in all mines bearing districts. As said by the Minister of Mines, it is decided by the State that Collectors of the respective district will be the Chairperson of the trust along with senior officials and representatives of the mining companies as its members but Government must include the local peoples representatives specially Adivasi, Dalit and women in such bodies to make it inclusive of all social groups in mining area.
With the Chief Minister’s order to the Rural Development Department to prepare a master plan for the development of mineral bearing districts such as Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Angul, Jajpur, Koraput, and Rayagda, the DMF has raises hopes high among the people in mines areas because this provision is created by law and a complete institutional mechanism is going to be established locally to address the interest of the people and the area which bears the impact of mining for last few decades. In the coming days, the mining operation will grow manifolds because the lease period has been extended to 50 years and the lease area will also be expanded. There are a number of mining companies including the MNCs with FDI are already operating in Odisha for mining and mineral based industries. Odisha, being a mineral bearing State, is a favorable destination for companies. The DMF is going to play a major role in the overall development of the State including the mines area.
Odisha has about 58 varieties of major minerals and 22 varieties of minor minerals with four major mineral belts.
The coal belt covers central Odisha on the bank of river Mahanadi which include districts of Angul, Sambalpur, Jharasuguda and Sundargarh where about one third of the coal deposit of the country is available. The Sukinda chrome valley having 98 per cent of the chrome deposits of the country on the bank of river Brahmani in Jajpur and the adjacent areas of Keonjhar district, parts of Mayurbhanj and major parts of Sundargarh district constitute the chrome, iron ore and manganese belt. The south west Odisha includes Malkanagiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Balangiri, Kandhamal, Kalahandi districts having 70 per cent of the bauxite deposit along with tin, graphite and other minerals. The coastal mineral belt includes Ganjam and Puri district with minerals of sand and rare earth.
Besides, natural gas, petroleum and metallic minerals have been identified in the Mahanadi delta and Puri –Brahamagiri belt. The Sundargarh district has highest number of mines followed by Keonjhar and Maurbhanj. Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Angul and Keonjahr are ahead of all districts in terms of displacement due to mining operation.
Odisha is home to 10 per cent of the tribals of the country and 44 per cent of the total geographical area of the State is declared as fifth scheduled area inhabited by 62 tribal communities. About 60 per cent of the mines are in scheduled area and these areas are home to tribals, Dalit and other farming communities. The last few decades of mining operation has impacted over life and livelihood of these communities who have been primarily depending on forest and agriculture base livelihood for survival. Along with displacement, they face huge loss of livelihood which resulted in landlessness, poverty, distress migration and unemployment.
Since independence, in spite of people’s movement and protest, a number of constitutional provisions such as PESA and TSP and protective laws for Adivasies are not being implemented by State and deliberately violated in many ways to benefit the mining companies operating in scheduled areas. In case of Samata Judgment, the Supreme Court order in the year 1997 to spend certain percentage of the profit for local area development, and similar provisions of periphery development, rehabilitation and resettlement are openly flouted. The funds earmarked for the purposes are not spent properly by any mining company in the absence of State monitoring of these provisions in the interest of the local people specially the Adivasies and other marginalised sections.
The impact of mining on people’s socio-economic and environmental condition, quality of life and standard of living in the State in general and mines areas in particular gives a negative picture as poverty and deprivation with environmental degradation are hallmarks in the mines bearing areas. Many studies have found that it is always the poor and marginalized mostly the Adivasis, Dalits, farmers, women and children are the worst sufferers. The majority of mining workers live in mining slums and their living condition has not been improved to a minimum standard. They have been deprived of getting basic minimum such as drinking water and housing in spite of organized trade unions intervention in mining areas. The majority of people in mining slums are Adivasies, who are mostly landless, homeless and depend on physical labour in mining. They have been made homeless in their own soil and face displacement directly and indirectly due to mining operation.
Mining has been a major cause of deforestation, soil and water pollution with improper implementation of all environmental protection and pollution control laws. The temperature in mining area has gone high and the ground water table has gone down as well as the water bodies getting dried up. The mining areas become inhabitable due to both underground and open cast mining. There has been no refilling of abundant mining in major mineral area which is a matter of concern as it is prone to underground eruption and such other serious problem. The DMF funds can be used for creation of land by refilling the abundant mining and regenerating the waste land with soil and water treatment. It will bring back the devastated area into a habitable climatic zone by restoring the ecosystem. The land can be given back to the landless and farmers still depending on agriculture for livelihood.
The State Government should use this opportunity to rebuild the mining areas by using such huge funds going to be available locally for the social and human development along with the eco system of the zone. The DMF should target basic things like health, education, communication and basic infrastructure focusing the most marginalized sections in mining area, and the affected core, buffer and periphery of the mining area. The district plans can be supported out of DMF funds for the overall development of the districts by integrating the development of the poor and mining areas of the districts. The districts like Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur can be integrated as a zone by linking the development of the whole region. Similarly, the coal areas of Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh can be combined into a common action plan. The undivided Koraput district can have a common development plan. The State may constitute a mines area development board to plan and coordinate all such developmental activities at State level by integrating all developmental plans of mining areas.
(The writer is a researcher and rights activist, who can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)
News Monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET