Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 16.06.15

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 16.06.15

Now, Pratapgarh: Dalits and Muslims clash over bathing in river, ‘spoiling’ of graveyardThe Indian Express
Families Shunned for Employing Dalits defying Kangaroo court – The New Indian Express
‘No additional aid to kin of dead sewage workers’ The Indian Express
NHRC dissatisfied over Uttar Pradesh’s response to electrocution of two minor dalit girlsThe Financial Express
Study shows NCR homeowners turn away Dalits and MuslimsThe Indian Express
Workers in the shadows – Citizen Matters
June 16th is designated as International Domestic Workers Day.- Citizen Matters

The Indian Express

Now, Pratapgarh: Dalits and Muslims clash over bathing in river, ‘spoiling’ of graveyard


By: Express News Service | Allahabad | Updated: June 16, 2015 1:47 am

Three persons from Jamtali village were referred to Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital in Allahabad, police said, adding the condition of all the injured was stable.

Two incidents of clashes between the Dalits and Muslims- the first over taking bath in a river, and the second over some children “unknowingly” entering a graveyard to attend nature’s call- in two separate villages in Pratapgarh district on Sunday had the police on their toes throughout Monday. Both the villages fall under the the Raniganj police station area of the district.

While four Dalits sustained gunshot injuries in the clash at Basaha Jamtali village and several others sustained minor injuries in the first incident that took place in the afternoon, nearly half-a-dozen persons, from both the communities, were hurt in the clash that occurred at Bhagipur village in the evening.

Three persons from Jamtali village were referred to Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital in Allahabad, police said, adding the condition of all the injured was stable.

While no arrests have been made, the PAC and the local police carried out several raids to on the hideouts of the suspects. The Circle Officers were camping in the villages to prevent any untoward development. The police also claimed that the situation was under control, even as senior officials held several meetings regarding the incident.

Giving details about the first incident, the police said the Jamtali village is located on the banks of Sai river. The residents use its water for drinking and bathing purposes. On Sunday noon, a group of women from the Dalit basti were taking bath in the river, when some youngsters from Muslim community belonging to Budhaura Kumbhapur village reached there to take bath.

A couple of youngsters from Jamtali, citing the presence of women, asked them to take bath some distance away. This, however, led to an argument and fisticuffs. Some elders intervened and the matter appeared to have been sorted out.

Nearly half-an-hour later, however, some people from the other group riding bikes and carrying arms, reached the Dalit basti and began firing. Subhash Saroj, Lalit Kishore Saroj, Pradeep (in their mid-20s) and Chauhraja (60) sustained gunshot injuries in the attack. A few others also sustained injuries in the clash that followed. As the residents of the basti gathered to retaliate, the assailants fled.

Superintendent of Police (Pratapgarh), Balikaran Singh Yadav, later reached the spot, along with police force, but the residents blocked the road for a couple of hours demanding arrest of the accused.

The police had to use mild force to disperse the crowd. Heavy police deployment was done to control the situation. Later, an FIR was registered against seven named, including Mubin, Meraj, Wahab and others, and seven unnamed persons.

Contacted, the SP said things were in control and raids were going on. The other incident occurred at Bhagipur village late on Sunday evening. “One Vijay Bahadur’s sister’s marriage was to be held in the village and a large number of relatives had come to his house. Late in the evening, the women and some children went out to answer the nature’s call. Some childre, unknowingly, ventured into a graveyard area situated in between Bhagipur and neighbouring Muni Ka Purwa.

A group of Muslims from the neighbouring village objected to this. It led to an argument, which soon turned into a clash with lathis. The injuries were not very serious. The situation was brought under control soon,” said a police spokesperson.
An FIR in this regard has been registered against over a dozen persons by name, besides several others. “Raids are being conducted at various places. More than one company of PAC has been deployed at both the places and at other strategic points to maintain calm,” said the spokesperson.

He added that raids were being conducted, but no arrests have been made so far. A few persons have been detained for questioning in connection with the two cases.

The New Indian Express

Families Shunned for Employing Dalits defying Kangaroo court


By Express News Service
Published: 16th June 2015 06:00 AM

THANJAVUR:Defying the diktat of a Kangaroo court not to employ Dalit labourers has led to the ostracisation of five caste Hindu families, including that of the village panchayat president of Kakkarai under Orathanadu taluk in the district.

The discriminatory order of the Kangaroo court came to light recently when the village panchayat president Akilandeswari lodged a complaint with police alleging that five families, including hers, had been ostracised for employing Dalit workers in defiance of a diktat of the parallel court.

Speaking to Express, Kumar, Akilandeswari’s husband, claimed the Kangaroo court order was the fallout of a temple festival row. “Recently, during a festival, the Dalits had taken out a kavadi. However, the caste Hindus objected to this and the matter was brought before the panchayat president, who said the Dalits had every right to participate in the festival, as they had been doing it for the past 11 years.

Unhappy with the decision, a group of caste Hindus organised a Kangaroo court and passed a decree ordering community members not to engage Dalits on their farms,” said Kumar.

Recently, Kumar along with four other persons employed Dalit workers on their farms. Angered by their defiance, the caste Hindu group formed a Kangaroo court again on June 9 and ordered the excommunication of the five families.

“The group has even passed an order forbidding tea stall owners from serving us and has announced a fine of `10,000 to discourage dissenters,” Kumar said, adding that the group had ordered caste Hindus against having any ties with the five families and even announced a cash prize for any information on violation of the order.

Based on the panchayat president’s complaint, the Orathanadu police on Saturday registered a case under section 7 (1) (a) of Protection of Civil Rights Act against eight persons — G Jayakumar, V Murugesan, R Sugumaran, A Prakash, T Arul Kannan, N Dinesh, D Samikannu and T Panneerselvam.

Meanwhile, the Orathanadu tahsildar was expected to chair a peace meeting soon, sources said.

They added that the heads of the banished families — Shanmugam, Balasubramanian, Karunanidhi and Varadarajan along with Kumar — would attend it.

The Indian Express

‘No additional aid to kin of dead sewage workers’


By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: June 16, 2015 5:07 am

The judgment said, “entering sewer lines without safety gear should be a made a crime. For each such death, a compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be given to the family of the deceased.”

The families of the three sewage workers who suffocated to death recently while cleaning a sewer line would not get enhanced compensation, Municipal Commissioner Bhawna Garg said on Monday.

The civic body has paid Rs 2 lakh each as compensation to the victims’ families. However, the National Commission for Safai Karamchari and Dalits welfare association had raised the issue of enhancing the compensation to Rs 10 lakh, citing a judgment passed by the Supreme Court.

The judgment said, “entering sewer lines without safety gear should be a made a crime. For each such death, a compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be given to the family of the deceased.”

Garg told Newsline, “As the workers were not employed directly under the MC but were employed by a contractor, the corporation was not liable for any negligence that led to their death. The responsibility of enhancing the compensation is the contractor’s, who is facing criminal charges.”

Garg added that the civic body, in its report sent to the UT Administration, clearly said that it had been the responsibility of the contractor to provide safety equipment to the labourers who died. The report also mentioned that the firm, Deol Engineering Works, which had carried out the cleaning work, was blacklisted. MC staffer Sukh Raj, posted in the Public Health Department, has been suspended as the firm was reportedly owned by his wife.

The Financial Express

NHRC dissatisfied over Uttar Pradesh’s response to electrocution of two minor dalit girls


The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Principal Secretary of the Department of Energy of the Uttar Pradesh government to enquire into the inaction and delay in the payment of an additional amount of Rs.2 lakh each to next of kin of two minor dalit girls here in Pradhanpur village, who were electrocuted.

By: ANI | June 15, 2015 9:08 pm

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Principal Secretary of the Department of Energy of the Uttar Pradesh government to enquire into the inaction and delay in the payment of an additional amount of Rs.2 lakh each to next of kin of two minor dalit girls here in Pradhanpur village, who were electrocuted.

Rs.1 lakh each had been paid to the next of kin of both the deceased minor girls.

Kajal, aged nine and Shikha, aged ten were electrocuted on July 11, 2011, due to failure on the part of a junior engineer and a lineman of the electricity department of the state.

The commission has also asked the Superintendent of Police of Jaunpur to conduct an enquiry into the inaction and delay in not filing a charge sheet in the court against the concerned junior engineer and the lineman accused in the matter.

Both the officers have been given six weeks time to submit the proof of payment along with the action taken report on the inaction and delay in the matter by their respective departments.

Justice D. Murugesan, member of the Commission, expressed dissatisfaction over the response of the concerned State authorities to the show cause notice issued by the Commission that the junior engineer had retired and the lineman was put under suspension.

The commission observed that the sequence of events spoke volumes of the state of governance, particularly in the state electricity department.

During the course of enquiry, the commission had found that a 200 meter iron wire was drawn by the villagers of Harijan Basti (East) of Pradhanpur village to use the electricity illegally.

On the fateful day, the illegally drawn iron wire broke up and fell down in the field. The two minor girls came in its contact when they went towards the field to answer the call of nature and died on the spot.

The junior engineer and the lineman were found guilty of having violated provisions of Rule 29 (1) of Indian Electricity Manual, 1956 in non-maintaining the transmission lines properly.

The Indian Express

Study shows NCR homeowners turn away Dalits and Muslims



In both the methodologies, the home-seekers had the same credentials but for their names that indicated their caste and religion.

Written by Seema Chishti | New Delhi | Updated: June 16, 2015 9:17 am

A study on discrimination in urban housing rental preferences, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Economic and Political Weekly, shows high levels of exclusion of Dalits and Muslims in the five metropolitan areas of NCR.

The team of researchers, led by Prof S K Thorat, chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and comprising scholars such as Anuradha Banerjee, Vinod K Mishra and Firdaus Rizvi, covered attempts to get houses on rent in Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida between January and March 2012.
The methodologies included contacting the “home-providers” via telephone or meeting them face to face. In both the methodologies, the home-seekers had the same credentials but for their names that indicated their caste and religion.

The telephonic audit had a total of 1,469 home-seekers, 493 each bearing upper-caste Hindu, Dalits and Muslim names. While not one of the 493 high-caste home-seekers received a negative response, about 18 per cent of Dalits and 31 per cent of Muslims faced outright rejection, found the study. Together those receiving either a negative response or a positive one with conditions attached worked out to 41 per cent in the case of Dalits, and around 66 per cent for Muslims.


The face-to-face audit covered 198 home-seekers, with 66 high-caste Hindus, Dalits and Muslims each. While 97 per cent of upper-caste Hindus got a positive response, 44 per cent of Dalits and 61 per cent of Muslims faced rejection. Together those receiving either a negative response or a positive one with conditions attached worked out to 51 per cent in the case of Dalits, and 71 per cent for Muslims.

In other words, the chances of Dalits and Muslims finding a house fell in the case of face-to-face contact. It also means that a significant number of Dalits and Muslims have to spend much more to stay in accommodations in NCR than their upper-caste counterparts.

“This indicates a clear case of market failure,” says Thorat, “where even prosperity does not allow you to buy your way out of discrimination… The studies do reveal that Muslims are even worse off than Dalits as far as the rental housing market goes.”

“Non-monetary motive often prevails among landlords renting out houses,” says the study, which chose Delhi for the research as it is often considered amongst the most migrant-friendly and cosmopolitan cities in India.

“While about 18 per cent of Dalits faced outright refusal from upper-caste landlords due to their caste, 23 per cent of them did get houses on rent but with differential terms and condition such as high rents and other restrictions. In case of Muslims, about one-third of them faced outright refusal from the landlords due to their religion, another 35 per cent managed to get houses on rent but with differential terms and conditions.”

The study focused on identifying discrimination in the NCR areas from both the supply and demand ends. The demand side included Dalit and Muslim home-seekers facing unequal treatment; and the supply side included discrimination practised by the “house providers”, including landlords, real estate agents and brokers.

While the broad results were categorised as positive and negative, positive was further broken down into differential demands (in terms of rents and security).

Tenants rejected
After phone interaction:
Upper caste Hindus: 0%
Dalits: 18%
Muslims: 31%
After meeting:
Upper caste Hindus: 3%
Dalits: 44%
Muslims: 61%

Citizen Matters

Workers in the shadows
June 16th is designated as International Domestic Workers Day.



While they play a vital role in most middle and upper class families, most domestic help continue to work on the fringes of society. Pinky Chandran, 16 Jun 2015 , Citizen Matters 0 SHARE inShare Email_pngg Caregivers, housekeepers, maids, nannies, cooks or domestic help – call them by any name, domestic workers in the country are still in the fringes. Why, one may ask? The phrase ‘domestic work’ conjures images of household work associated domesticity – the one of cleaning and caring, and hence relationships that exist within this frame remain in the shadows. There has always been a gendered stigma attached to domestic work especially in India, and the work is always viewed through the lens of power and authority, submission and suppression.

Of memsahib, her maid and India’s colonial past
“This can be traced back to colonial India”, says Geeta Menon, Secretary Stree Jagruthi Samithi. Domestic workers formed an indispensible part for most British families in India and it was common for most of them to have large staff of domestic workers. The relationship was that of a master-servant and it was quite common for hostile criticisms of household helps, to pave way for public conversations, thus shaping popular discourse on domestic workers. From being branded unclean, dishonest to untrustworthy and lazy, the adjectives have stood the test of time. Domestic workers continue to be the silent backbone of the middle and upper class, in present India, yet ‘domestic work’, is not seen as ‘productive’ and is rarely seen as a world of toil, harassment and drudgery. The equation between the employer and employee is also arbitrary and individual, in the privacy of households.

Acidity and heart burn
“Most employers want us to come early in the morning. We have a family, we have to first finish our household chores, and send our kids off, before going to the employers place. Given that we have to report by 7 am or so, we mostly don’t eat and by the time we finish, we are starving. Many a times the employers don’t offer us food too, and sometimes unable to bear, we request for coffee or tea and it is much diluted. At times when left-over food from the previous day is heated up in the microwave and offered to us, we cannot do anything but thank them. This is not to generalise or categorise all employers as bad, but this happens in a majority of cases. I know of employers, who first serve the help and then eat, or invite the help to eat together. In my case, I started packing my own box and started eating. My employers were shocked, and feeling guilty, told me not to bring food, and that they would offer,” says Chitra, a domestic worker of 15 years.

Caste, toilets, separate lifts and dignity
“Caste plays an import role in the mindset of people, and denying one the right to use the toilet, adds to the indignity of the work”, says Geeta Menon. The story of Pushpa, is a classic case. A domestic worker for 20 years, and a resident of Ragiguda, she is always denied the use of toilets, at a house, belonging to the upper caste. “I report to work early in the mornings and it takes almost two hours to complete my work. Once I had to pee very badly, and unable to control, I requested my owners. They refused to let me use the toilet. Till date, they have refused to let me use the toilet. When I wash clothes or vessels, they will rinse it again and use it. What is my crime? Is it just that I belong to a low social hierarchy”. Most apartments in the city also have a separate lift for domestic workers. “I feel hurt that dogs and people like us have a separate lift. Why is there a need for segregation”, questions Pushpa.


Lies, stories, leaves and crèches
“They take too many holidays, disrupting our schedule, and when questioned, will weave different stories”, says Aarti (name changed), an IT professional. With the growing middle class working women, the dependency on domestic workers for household chores is high. However, what escapes the obvious is that women in the informal economy also face similar problems, that of nuclear families, or single women having to raise children. With lack of state support for facilities such as crèches, day care, or anganwadis, most women are forced to apply for leave. Kaliamma, 50, had to take her children to work wherever she went. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi Geeta Menon, brings in the gender dimension, saying that it is strange for a woman not to understand another woman. She does not mean to brand all women with little or no understanding of their domestic workers. As Meetali Mukherjee, a business-woman says “These delinquencies must be examined differently. Being judgmental is not the solution. There are days when I am mad that Sunitha hasn’t turned up, but looking at the situation, I realise that for single woman, taking care of two children and an aging mother is not easy. I only wish that she calls and informs, but again there are problems, that of currency or phone being dropped somewhere”. She further goes on to add, “Domestic workers enter our personal domains – our homes, our families and get glimpses of our intimate lives. Therefore, the conventional HR rules do not apply. We often develop bonds with them and feel hurt when there is a spat or they leave. We do want to understand their problems and vice versa. The fact that most of our domestic workers are women helps us empathise with their domestic problems.”

Gender, old age and insecurity
Old age significantly increases vulnerability for domestic workers. This significantly decreases earning power and levels of economic activity; this coupled with limited or no savings, lack of family support networks, increasing health issues, adds to the insecurity. As Pankajamma shares, “My husband left me early on. I worked as a domestic worker and raised my two daughters. While I am proud that I got them married and settled, I am left with no savings. I put everything for the family. I am old and live alone; I cannot walk or sit for long. People look at me, and think twice before giving me a job. Some people who offer me a job out of sympathy get irritated with my inability to complete tasks quickly. If I fall sick, I have to go to the hospital, and I easily spend up to Rs 500. For all my 35 years of service, shouldn’t I be eligible for pension scheme?” Visibility and voice A domestic workers protest in progress.Pic: Navya P K The Domestic Workers Rights Union, evolved in response to the needs and priorities of the working condition of these invisible workers and in order to break the culture of silence. In 2010, for the first time, a domestic workers’ public hearing was organised in Bangalore which sought to visibilise voices. In 2011, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Decent Work recognised Domestic Work and passed a resolution that national governments need to ratify. The Domestic Workers Convention (C 189) requires governments to provide domestic workers with the same basic labour rights, as those available to other workers, including weekly days off, limits to hours of work, minimum wage coverage, overtime compensation, social security, and clear information on the terms and conditions of employment, to protect domestic workers from violence and abuse, to regulate private employment agencies that recruit and employ domestic workers, and to prevent child labour in domestic work.

News monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET


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