Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 25.06.15
Dalit Youth’s Torso Found, Honour Killing Suspected- The New Indian Express
At 15, girl becomes youngest MSc from the univ where her father is sanitation worker – – The Indian Express
How land disputes are fuelling caste clashes in Rajasthan- BBC
Dalit priest’s suicide: Tamil Nadu minister Panneerselvam’s brother gets bail- The Times Of India
A village which lived in harmony is now flared with communal tension- The Times Of India
Dalit family gets compensation- The Hindu
Andhra- Residential school for SC, ST students to come up near Guntur- Niti Central
Protesting SC, ST category teachers shave heads- The Tribune
NHRC issues show-cause notices to Mayor, 3 others- The Tribune
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The New Indian Express
Dalit Youth’s Torso Found, Honour Killing Suspected
NAMAKKAL:In what appears to be a case of honour killing, a 21-year-old Dalit youth, who had just completed an undergraduate course in engineering, was found dead with his head severed on the railway track at Anangur in Pallipalayam here on Wednesday.
The body of V Gokulraj, a native of Omalur in Salem district was found by Erode railway police Sub-Inspector Appusamy. The body has been sent to the Erode Government Hospital for an autopsy.
Although the cause of death is not clear, honour killing is suspected as Gokulraj was in love with his classmate, a caste-Hindu girl, hailing from a village near Paramathi.
Sources said the two had visited Sri Arthanareeswarar Temple in Tiruchengode on Tuesday. While there, a gang approached them and claiming to be policemen, took Gokulraj in a car for an ‘enquiry’. Both their cell phones were confiscated.
The worried girl went back home and remained distressed for a whole day before approaching the Tiruchengode Town police on Wednesday morning. She suspected foul play when policemen at the station told her they did not bring anyone for enquiry.
When Gokulraj did not return home, his mother Chitra lodged a complaint at Omalur police station. Later, she came to know from her son’s friend Karthickraja that he had gone to Tiruchengode with the girl.
Then she went to the Tiruchengode town police station and lodged another missing complaint.
Not Lovers: DSP
Meanwhile, the message of a body lying on the railway track reached the police. Gokulraj’s identity was established with an identity card found on the body and also his cell phone. Top officers including SP Senthilkumar visited the spot.
“The scene shows signs of the man run over by a train. Trails of the body dragged by train could be seen,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Tiruchengode, Vishnu Priya told Express.
When asked whether the Dalit boy was forced to kill himeself or his severed body was dumped on the track, the DSP said, “Everything is under investigation. I cannot say anything now.”
She also stated that Gokulraj and the girl were not lovers, just classmates and did not get married.
The Indian Express
At 15, girl becomes youngest MSc from the univ where her father is sanitation worker –
Written by Mohammad Hamza Khan | Lucknow | Updated: June 21, 2015 9:59 am
Her classmates, on an average, were about eight years older to her, but it was Sushma Verma, now 15, who cleared MSc (Microbiology) at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar (Central) University with flying colours when her fourth semester results were declared Saturday.
With Semester Grade Point Average (SGPAs) of 8, 8.25 and 9, she topped first, second and fourth semesters, respectively, missing out on first rank in third with her SGPA of 8.5, just .25 less than one of her classmates. “She is likely to top the course but we are waiting for the cumulative marks which will be available soon,” said Dr Naveen Kumar Arora, Head of Environmental Microbiology department at BBAU.
After having completed her BSc two years ago from Lucknow University at the tender age of 13, the latest feat perhaps makes Sushma the youngest post-graduate in the country. What makes it even more special for her is that her father, Tej Bahadur, 51, was a daily-wage labourer till two years ago and the entire family lived in a dilapidated room — until help poured in. In order to help him support his daughter, BBAU Vice-Chancellor Dr R C Sobti appointed Bahadur, class eight pass, as an assistant supervisor (sanitation) at the university.
The father-daughter duo would often travel to the university together. “I now want to pursue PhD, perhaps in agricultural microbiology,” says the soft-spoken Sushma, sitting inside her home, which is on the outskirts of Lucknow in Bargawan area. Why agricultural microbiology? “I’m interested in this field, I was especially drawn to it when we had to do fieldwork in the fourth semester, or when we would have to do lab work such as isolate Rhizobium bacteria in roots of leguminous plants,” she explains. “During our field visits, we realised that the soil in and around Lucknow is becoming more arid by the day, so I would like to try and find out a way to make the city greener,” she says. However, it was happenstance that led her to MSc as at one point, Sushma wanted to be a doctor.
In 2005, just a little over 5 years old, Sushma was enrolled into Class IX at the UP Board-affiliated St Meera’s Inter College. Her mother Chhaya Devi says Sushma would study books belonging to her elder brother Shailendra, who himself had completed his BCA by the age of 14. Two years later, in 2007, Sushma was recognised by the Limca Book of Records as the “youngest student” to pass class X when she was 7 years, 3 months and 28 days old. But it took her three years to complete Class XII as she went to Japan upon an invitation “where she stood first in an IQ test comprising people up to 35 years of age,” says Bahadur. In 2010, after clearing Class XII and wanting to be a doctor and hoping “to give something back to the society,” Sushma sat for the Uttar Pradesh Combined Premedical Test (CPMT). “I wasn’t expecting them to allow me to even sit for the examination but they did,” says Sushma. However, she was in for a rude shock when CSJM University, Kanpur, which had conducted the test, withheld her result. Officials refused to give any reason and Bahadur says their RTI applications went unanswered. “We were told that the minimum age for enrolling in MBBS is 17 years and that’s why the university may have withheld the results.”
While waiting to “grow older”, Sushma enrolled into BSc at Lucknow University and it was around this time that her interest in Botany began developing. Two years later, when the time to enroll for MSc came, money became an issue. But as the news spread, help started pouring in. “The greatest help to us was from (Sulabh International founder) Bindeshwar Pathak,” says Bahadur. Pathak honoured Sushma at a programme in Lucknow and showered her with a laptop, desktop, a camera, mobile phone, apart from financial assistance. As an inspired Sushma spoke with unusual maturity at the ceremony, more than a few eyes grew moist. “She was very sincere and hardworking. She joined us at the age of 13 and we wondered how she’d manage, but she coped really well,” says Dr Arora.
“We never pressurised our children to study or for anything, we just let them be,” Sushma’s mother said.
The father, however, believes his three-year-old Ananya will be “the brightest among the three (children),” as Ananya shyly but fluently reads a “difficult” Hindi poem meant for Class VIII. The two daughters are also helping their “illiterate” mother. “I can read Hindi and English now,” Chhaya said.
How land disputes are fuelling caste clashes in Rajasthan
A heap of mud and bricks are all that distinguish this plot of land from the rest of the village of Dangawas in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan.
Last month however, it was the scene of a brutal attack on its Dalit (formerly known as untouchables) occupants, who remain at the bottom of the country’s outlawed but still prevalent caste system.
Members of the upper caste Jat community had assaulted 16 Dalits who had been squatting there with a view to ‘reclaiming their ownership of the land’.
Three people died in the incident, which marks the latest confrontation between the two communities in the state.
But authorities are reluctant to peg it as “caste violence” and are instead calling it a land dispute between two families.
‘Attacked us like savages’
The Dalits say the assault was as brutal as it was swift.
One woman Papudi, whose hands and legs were broken in the violence said that on the morning of 14 May they were suddenly attacked by around 200 to 250 Jats, who rushed forward, armed with sticks, bricks and boulders and “attacked us like savages”.
Others said the crowd beat them up, breaking their limbs, pulling their hair and tearing their clothes.
Dalit residents say they have not left the village since, fearing for their lives.
The wife of one of the victims, 21-year-old Ganesh, has been left to look after her four-month-old daughter alone. “What will happen to this little child and me?” she asks.
The official argument that the incident was the result of a “family dispute” has been the stance adopted by the Jats and echoed by state chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
A former Jat village headman said the fact that “these families belonged to two different castes was a mere coincidence”.
But the community’s anger with the Dalits for occupying the land is palpable.
“If they occupy our land what do you want to us to do? Keep quiet? Naturally we would retaliate. We are not sorry as it was not our fault. They started it and they have to suffer”, said one Jat government employee, who declined to be named.
Police in Dangawas have so far arrested just six of the dozens named in a complaint.
Local police officer Amarjeet Singh Bedi said the matter was now being probed by the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and all further arrests would be made by them.
Badri Narayan, a prominent pro-Dalit campaigner, says that the low rate of convictions in cases of caste violence was worrying. He believes the rise in such incidents is linked to instances where Dalits try to assert themselves.
Dalits still marginalised
Campaigners say land disputes between the dominant Jat community and the weaker Dalits are at the heart of increasing caste violence in Rajasthan.
In March, an 83-year-old woman was killed after her hut was set on fire, again over a dispute about land.
In another incident a Dalit groom had to be rescued by the police after he was attacked for riding a horse to his bride’s home. This privilege is traditionally reserved only for upper castes.
Kavita Srivastava, who is a civil rights campaigner in Rajasthan says, “Hate crimes against the Dalits are on the rise in Rajasthan which tops the country in terms of caste violence and discrimination against the Dalits”
According to the Indian government’s data on national crimes, Rajasthan recorded the largest number of crimes against Dalits in 2013.
Social worker Ramesh Chand Bansal, say government outreach has largely failed to uplift the Dalits from the margins of society. They comprise 16 to 17% of the country’s 1.2 billion people but a majority of them still live in grinding poverty.
The Times Of India
Dalit priest’s suicide: Tamil Nadu minister Panneerselvam’s brother gets bail
MADURAI: A sessions court in Theni on Wednesday granted bail to O Raja, brother of Tamil Nadu finance minister O Panneerselvam, in a case relating to the suicide of a dalit priest.
The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on June 11 directed Raja to surrender before the sessions court within three weeks and file a bail application. The high court also directed the court to pass orders on Raja’s petition on merits.
Accordingly, Raja surrendered before the court on Wednesday. Later, when his case was called for, he filed a petition seeking bail.
During hearing, the government side didn’t raise any objection to granting him bail. However, the counsel for the deceased priest’s father raised objections.
After hearing all sides, judge V Sivagnanam passed orders granting him bail.
Raja has been booked under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly abetting the suicide of dalit priest S Nagamuthu. Nagamuthu committed suicide on December 7, 2012.
The Times Of India
A village which lived in harmony is now flared with communal tension
VIRUDHNAGAR: Saalai Maraikulam village in Kariapatti taluk in Virudhunagar district has been an example of the dominant community and dalits living in harmony for several decades. But, recently the village witnessed several unpleasant incidents, due to which communal tension has become rife, and police deployed to prevent untoward incidents.
The village has around 600 families belonging to the dominant community (agamudayars) and 100 families belonging to a Scheduled Caste (SC) community (paraiyars).
People from both communities used to attend functions at each other’s houses and despite communal clashes in many villages in the southern districts, the village remained peaceful.
However, about four months ago, some members of the dalit community put up a poster ahead of a family function, which had pictures of certain dalit leaders. The other side reportedly opposed this, and since then, several unpleasant incidents have taken place in the village.
The dominant community allegedly do not allow the other group to use the private lands and wastelands now for cattle grazing. The SC people own about 1,000 cattle and the dung is used as a fertiliser. However, the recent problems have affected their livelihood.
“There are about 48 acres of common land in our village. There too, they did not allow cattle grazing. Since we cannot get grazing fields, our livelihood has been affected and we are selling our cattle,” said M Periyasamy, a member of the dalit community.
“After the dispute (over the poster), they started humiliating us. They would not sell tea or grocery to us.
Instead, we had to set up tea shops and grocery shops ourselves,” said B Roobanraj, another member.
Boobanraj added that the dalits had lodged complaints with the A Mukkulam police, but they did not take any proper action. “They (the dominant community) attacked our houses, vehicles and people. I sustained a head injury in one attack. But we were not satisfied with the police action on the incidents.,” he claimed.
However, members of the agamudayar community denied that they started the trouble. T Muthuraj from the community said there had been no such posters praising the leaders of the dalit and thevar communities.
Dalit family gets compensation
The Prakasam district administration released a compensation of Rs. 3.70 lakh to the family of a 32-year-old Dalit man, who was burnt to death at Mallavaram near Podili in April last year. Collector Sujatha Sharma passed orders sanctioning the relief to the kin of P. Koteswara Rao under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after Dalita Hakkula Parirakshana Samiti Prakasam district president Neelam Nagendra Rao took up the cause of bereaved family.
Andhra- Residential school for SC, ST students to come up near Guntur
Guntur, Jun 24 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Tribal Welfare minister Ravela Kishor Babu here said a residential school and junior college for students of SC and ST community will come up in the city outskirts at Takkellapadu.
Babu told reporters yesterday that the district administration has already identified 5.15 acre land and the state government has approved Rs 15 crore for the project to come up by the next academic year.
He said the institution will serve about 720 students from class 6 to senior intermediate (class XII).
Protesting SC, ST category teachers shave heads
Tribune News Service, Dehradun, June 24
Agitating teachers from the SC/ST category tonsured their heads to register their protest here today. The teachers have decided to intensify the agitation if the Congress-led state government does not take effective steps to fulfil their pending demands.
The agitators, under the banner of SC/ST Teachers Association, gathered at the Parade Ground. They raised slogans against the state government in support of their demands. They tonsured their heads as mark of protest. Addressing the agitators, Sohan Lal, state president, SC/ST Teachers Association, has expressed concern that teachers from the SC/ST category were denied promotion in the state Education Department.
NHRC issues show-cause notices to Mayor, 3 others
Tribune News Service, Chandigarh, June 24
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi, today issued show-cause notices to the Municipal Commissioner, Mayor, contractor of the MC and the SHO, Sector 31 police station, in the case related to the death of three sewer men.
The sewer men died after inhaling toxic gases on entering a 20-feet sewer chamber in front of the 3BRD Sewage Treatment Plant’s (STP) main gate in the Industrial Area, Phase II, on May 30.
The Commission, acting upon a complaint filed by social activist and advocate Pankaj Chandgothia on May 31, has asked the authorities to submit an action-taken report within four weeks.
Chandgothia in his complaint to the NHRC had demanded that all responsible must be booked and proceeded against under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC instead of Section 304-A (death due to negligence) of the IPC. Chandgothia said the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation could not wash its hands off the tragedy by saying that the contractor is responsible.
“The Municipal Corporation is equally responsible for the deaths, because it is the principal contractor,” he said.
Chandgothia pointed out that it is understood that if anyone goes inside a sewer without mask or safety gear, he is likely to die or suffer serious physical injuries that may result into his death.
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