Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 29.06.15
Dalit woman gang-raped in Bhojpur, 3 held- Nyoooz
Dalit families in Damoh beaten up by upper caste men- The Hindustan Times
Forensic Team gets Vital Clues NearNamakkal Rail Track – The New Indian Express
Protesters taken into custoy, later let off- Business Standard
Perambalur Smiles as Dalit Trio Get Med Seats – The New Indian Express
‘India needs a cultural revolution’- The Times Of India
MP Board exams: 100% success for SC students at residential schools- The Hindustan Times
The hidden injuries of caste: south Indian tea workers and economic crisis – Open Democracy
ManojBajpai, Rajkumar Rao were to be part of “Masaan” – PTI
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Dalit woman gang-raped in Bhojpur, 3 held
ARA: A newly married Mahadalit woman was gang-raped by four men on the outskirts of Karisath village in Bhojpur district around Saturday midnight. Taking swift action, police on Sunday arrested three persons in this connection. The three have been identified as Indu Dom and Jaiky Dom of Town police station area, and Bhola Ram of MaulaBagh locality under the same police station area.
They were later sent to jail. Police brought the woman to Arasadar hospital for medical examination. Police are searching for two others involved in the incident.
According to the complaint lodged with woman police station here, ReenaKharwar (name changed), a resident of Bihia in the district, got down from a passenger train at Jagjivan Halt, about 4km from Ara railway station, late on Saturday evening and reached Chandwa under Nawada police station area. Five persons were following her en route Chandwa, who forcibly took her to a field near Karisath village and four of them outraged her modesty one by one, the complaint said.The woman reached Ara in the wee hours of Sunday and narrated her ordeal to a mobile police party, which took her to Nawada police station.
SDPO Binod Kumar Raut said the woman got down from a train at Jagjivan halt and reached Chandwa on foot. “The five miscreants followed her.
The Hindustan Times
Dalit families in Damoh beaten up by upper caste men
BittuPateriya, Hindustan Times, Sagar
Fear has gripped Dalit families living in Achalpura village under Gaisabad police station of Damoh district after the upper-caste community in the village allegedly beat them up, ransacked their houses and ordered them to leave the village.
Senior administrative and police officials reached the village and convened a meeting of both sides. The police confirmed the clash saying the reason was an old enmity which has so far taken the lives of three people, the most recent victim being murdered in Gurgaon.
According to the police, there was longstanding enmity between a Lodhi and Dalit family in the village, and tensions escalated after a Lodhi family member, Nanhe Singh Lodhi, was murdered by CharanAhirwar on June 15.
After the incident, Lodhis began targeting Dalit families in the village. Several families were beaten up and their houses ransacked by the Lodhi community on the nights of Thursday and Friday.
Following the spurt in incidents of targeted violence, many people from the Dalit community have left the village.
On Friday, some members of the Lodhi community, including Kripal Singh Lodhi, Hakku Singh, Raja and Kalu were booked under relevant sections of the IPC and Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Damoh superintendent of police SidharthBahuguna said the Damoh collector, DIG and other officials had reached the village and counselled both sides after the violence escalated.
As a precautionary measure, a police force has been deployed in the village and search for the remaining accused continues, he added.
The New Indian Express
Forensic Team gets Vital Clues NearNamakkal Rail Track
By Express News Service
NAMAKKAL :The team of forensic experts appointed by the Madras High Court visited the railway track at Pallipalayam where the body of Dalit youth Gokulraj was found on Wednesday, sources said.
Led by DrSampathkumar, Head of Forensic Science Department, Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai, the panel held an on-the-spot study on Sunday at the site where the severed body was found.
The experts scanned the particular strip of the railway track where the decapitated body was found and also took measurement of the stretch where blood stains and hair follicles were seen then, the sources stated.
Later, DrSampathkumar said the autopsy report would be submitted to the High Court on Monday (June 29) as directed.
He refused to comment on the cause of death when mediapersons quizzed him. He said only the Court would be informed of the matter.
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Salem Range, VidyaJayant Kulkarni, reviewed the progress made in the investigation on the suspicious death of Dalit youth Gokulraj at a meeting held in the Kumarapalayam police station.
Superintendent of Police S R Senthilkumar, Additional SP Chandramohan and Investigation Officer and DSP, Tiruchengode, Vishnu Priya were present at the meeting.
DSPs and inspectors who are part of the special squads looking into the case also attended the meeting.
Later, the DIG visited the site where the body of Gokulraj was found on the railway track, the sources said.
VCK, Pt Chorus for CBI Probe
Chennai: ViduthalaiChiruthaigalKatchi (VCK) leader TholThirumavalavan on Sunday demanded that the probe into the death of Dalit youth Gokulraj in Tiruchengode be handed over to CBI and also sought solatium of Rs 25 lakh for the victim’s family. Thirumavalavan also condemned the alleged custodial death of Ambur youth ShamilBasha and the lathi charge on Muslims who staged a protest. Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Coimbatore on Sunday, PuthiyaTamizhagam leader K Krishnasamy also demanded the State Government to order a CBI inquiry into the death. He also criticised the Namakkal police’s reluctance to register the Dalit’s death as a murder case.
Protesters taken into custoy, later let off
Press Trust of India | Salem, June 28, 2015 Last Updated at 16:32 IST
Police today taken into custody a group of persons including the mother of the 21-year-old Dalit man who died under suspicious circumstances last week, for attempting to conduct an indefinite fast demanding the arrest of the accused and registering police case against them.
V Gokulraj, who graduated in engineering from a college in neighbouringNamakkal last year, was found dead on a railway track near Pallipalayam in Namakkal District on June 24.
Dalit groups allege that it to be a case of honour killing since he was in ‘love’ with a upper caste girl.
Police today taken into custody Chitra, the mother of Gokulraj, and members of ViduthalaiChiruthaigalKatchi and Dalit Panthers of India, immediately after they began an indefinite fast before the Salem Medical College Hospital demanding urgent police action against the culprits and registering murder case against them.
Police had already bannned processions and assembly of persons in the area.
All of them were later let off, police said.
The postmortem on the body of Gokulraj was conducted by a team of doctors constituted by the Madras High Court.
The New Indian Express
Perambalur Smiles as Dalit Trio Get Med Seats
By Express News Service, Published: 29th June 2015 06:08 AM
TIRUCHY: A year of unrelenting hard work paid rich dividends to three Dalit students from government schools, helping them bag seats in medical colleges.
The three students from Perambalur district were among the children chosen for special coaching at Plus Two level under the Super 30 initiative of the district administration.
All the three were felicitated by the Collector (in-charge) on Saturday.
While P Prakash, a resident of Ladapuram secured a seat in the Stanley Government Medical College with 1,140 marks in the public exam, T Aravindaraj, from Kolathur, bagged a seat in the Tuticorin Medical College on merit with 1,140 marks scored in the Plus Two exam.
Fortune smiled on B Prasanth, a poor Arunthathiyar student from Irur in the district.
Prasanth secured a slot in the Chengelpet Government Medical College after scoring 1,108 marks and a cut-off of 193.25.
Joining the triumphant three is M Manjula, a Dalit girl from Nattarmangalam.
While Manjula managed a BDS seat in the Chennai Government Dental College with a cut-off of 191.75, the Nattarmangalam resident is on waiting list of MBBS course as well.
Collector (in-charge) P Madhusudhan Reddy, felicitated the students in the presence of N Jayaraman, district coordinator of Super 30.
Super 30, the brainchild of Collector DarezAhamed, aims at bolstering the academic prospects of students who hail from the marginalised communities by providing them free advanced coaching at the Plus Two level.
The students who come under the initiative are given accommodation free of cost at a hostel and are made to undergo gruelling coaching sessions to sharpen their academic skills. The district administration aims to set the career of next batch, comprising 57 students, on the right path by imparting advanced coaching, sources said.
The Times Of India
‘India needs a cultural revolution’
TNN | Jun 29, 2015, 08.49 AM IST
VIJAYAWADA: Social scientist and dalit activist KanchaIlaiah is of the opinion that India needs a cultural revolution rather than an economic transformation on a large scale to become a developed nation.
Speaking at an event organised to discuss the writings of ChittajalluVarahalarao, widely-known as CV, here on Sunday, Ilaiah stressed the importance of progressive reforms. “CV is one of the few writers in the county to have written about social barriers from an abolition point of view and brought about progress in the society by questioning it through his writings,” he said.
Issues like caste and religion are the major hindrances for India’s development, Ilaiah observed.
On the occasion, all the 24 books written by CV including VishadaBharatam, Darwin Parinamavadam, Ho Chi Minh, SindhuNagarikata, Narabali and Varna Vyavastha were made available.
Later, three sessions discussing caste and creed, atheism and Marxist ideology were conducted.
Literary critic KadiyalaRammohan Rao said that the literary works of CV had put many complex issues in simple words.
“If we observe his writings, it can be easily comprehended. But the issues he had written about are very complex. CV is the man who brought international writing to our country through his works,” Rammohan Rao observed.
The convenor of the programme and film director, C Uma Maheswara Rao, explained the relevance of CV’s books to the present world. “There is a need for our society to adapt the ideologies proposed in the books,” he concluded.
The Hindustan Times
MP Board exams: 100% success for SC students at residential schools
ShahrozAfridi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
GyanodayaVidyala, a government scheme for residential schools which were specially opened for the students of scheduled castes, have recorded excellent results in MP Board examinations for Classes 10 and 12.
The results were astonishing if compared with other schools in the state, where only 49.7% students managed to pass in class 10 board exams while in class 12, the pass percentage was only 65.9%.
On the other hand, the residential schools in Indore, Ujjain, Sagar, Bhopal and Hoshangabad have recorded 100% results. A total of 156 out of 192 students of 10 schools across the state have passed with first division.
These schools are located in Indore, Gwalior, Ujjain, Sagar, Rewa, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Morena, Shahdol and Hoshangabad. Students from SC community get admission in these schools from class 6 onwards. Each school has an overall capacity of 250 students.
A school in Shahdol recorded poor performance where out of 27 students, only five of them managed to pass.
Principal secretary of SC welfare department Ashok Shah said show cause notices had been issued to the principals of those school which yielded poor results.
“Results for Class 12 are also quite encouraging. Schools in Indore and Gwalior have given 100% results,” said Shah. Overall seven students managed to crack prestigious JEE mains exams and six of them also qualified for government’s laptop scheme, Shah added.
From Gyanodaya Schools, a total of 171 students out of 183 have passed in Class 12 exams. While Gwalior and Indore schools gave 100% results, Ujjain and Rewa gave 96%, Sagar 95% and Jabalpur and Bhopal 84%.
According to report, 82% of students from these schools have passed with first division. Among them 21 students scored above 80%, 56 students scored between 70 and 80% and 63 of them scored between 60 to 70%, said principal secretary of the department. Till higher secondary, there are seven schools in Indore, Gwalior, Ujjain, Sagar, Rewa, Jabalpur and Bhopal.
“Considering the results given by the students, government has decided to open three new higher secondary schools (Class 12) and high schools (Class 10) at all district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh,” said Ashok Shah.
The hidden injuries of caste: south Indian tea workers and economic crisis
Jayaseelan Raj 29 June 2015
Economic crisis has pushed Indian tea workers to seek employment outside the plantations, forcing them to re-engage with the caste hierarchy from which their ancestors attempted to escape.
Tea plantation workers are one of the most stigmatised and marginalised communities in India. While the majority of workers on the plantations in the northeast were originally brought from Bihar, Orissa and Nepal, it was Tamil-speaking Dalits (so-called untouchables/outcasts) who constitute majority of the labour force in Kerala, south India. Their outcast social status has combined with their identities as manual labourers—also known as Tamil coolies—to perpetuate their economic underdevelopment and social marginality. Although Kerala has undertaken many reforms to address marginalised populations, those who entered into the indentured plantation labour system have remained excluded and marginalised from Indian society as a whole.
On plantations themselves, however, the picture is more complicated. Until recently, plantations operated as semi-autonomous socio-economic systems that were largely separate from the wider economic and cultural contexts in which they operated. This isolation afforded tea workers some protection from direct, daily exposure to stigma and discrimination on the basis of caste. Plantation workers, after years of struggle, were even provided with certain welfare measures such as housing and healthcare. Such privileges are not enjoyed by informal sector workers, even those who belong to less stigmatised and excluded groups, and access to these rights gave tea workers a sense of worth within the plantation system.
Caste and crisis: isolated no more
Indian tea production has been in severe crisis since mid nineties largely due to neo-liberal structural adjustments in the Indian economy. The size of the tea industry, which is second only to China and accounts for 25 percent of global tea production, has made this a huge blow to the country’s agrarian economy. The industry employs 1.26 million people on tea plantations and two million additional people indirectly. As such, the economic crisis has had an enormous impact on the lives of local residents. In Kerala where I have been conducting research, there have been eight cases of suicide and twelve deaths due to starvation on tea plantations since 2001. Along with utter poverty and famine, tea plantation workers have faced increasingly unhygienic work environments, shattered social life/community relations, and withdrawal of the welfare measures previously enjoyed.
The crisis punctured the isolated environments of the plantations and precipitated neoliberal reforms that closed down production in many areas either partially or completely. While many families remained on the plantations, large numbers of workers who had lived there for more than five generations were now compelled to seek work outside. Some went with their families to either their ancestral villages or regional industrial townships such as Coimbatore and Tirupur in Tamil Nadu.
These plantation workers have now joined the ranks of the massive Dalit workforce powering India’s unorganised and informal sectors. In joining that pool of workers, Tamil Dalit labourers are exposed to aspects of a caste-ridden society from which they had previously been shielded. The situation of Saraswathi, a female retired worker in her early sixties, illustrates the dilemma and struggles of the workers who moved out the plantations.
Saraswathi moved to her ancestral village in southern Tamil Nadu in the wake of the crisis. In the village, the ‘untouchable’ Dalits do not have the right to sit inside the teashop and drink tea nor do they have the right to drink tea in a glass cup (kuppi glass). The Dalits have to stand outside the teashop and have to drink either from a coconut shell or a steel cup depending upon the availability. Having always lived on a plantation where job title rather than caste identity was more significant in shaping social relations, Saraswathi and her family were not used to these explicit everyday forms of untouchability rooted in the ritual aspects of the caste system. They had grown up enjoying the relatively egalitarian social relations that existed on plantations, where the caste status did not necessarily yield more power to the higher castes. The caste humiliation they experienced in Kallupetti was thus intense. In other words, the economic crisis and the consequent denial of livelihood forced the plantation Tamil Dalits to return to the caste atrocities from which their forebears had escaped by migrating to the plantations.
Saraswathi couldn’t conceal her caste identity in the village where everybody knows each other. For Gokul, a 27-year-old tea plantation worker who migrated to the bustling city of Chennai, the story has been different.
Gokul found a job in the biggest retail shop in Chennai as a sales boy in the bags section. To do this Gokul disguised his caste, introducing himself as a Christian and refusing to answer any questions that would reveal his real caste identity. Since Gokul presented himself as a Christian, the owner of the shop might have thought that he was from Nadar caste (there is a significant percentage of Christians among the Kerala Nadars, unlike their counterparts in Tamil Nadu). Gokul reported that the owner and other staff in the shop always spoke highly of their own caste yet used degrading racial slurs against the other lower castes in Gokul’s presence, as if Gokul shared such attitudes. His projection of an alternative identity to hide his Dalit identity, as I understood from observing and talking to him, was necessary for him to avoid what he said were “certain unnecessary experiences in the workplace”.
The urban migration of youth can be seen as a step towards upward social mobility. However migration and settlement can, at the same time, reassert a stigmatised identity and thwart ambitions of social advancement.
Using other identities as a mask (as a way to “pass” in Gokul’s words) echoes the situation of blacks in colonial-racial contexts, discussed by Frantz Fanon in Black Skins, White Masks. Fanon proposed a radical denial of oneself (self-alienation) as a way to escape racial discrimination and oppression. In the Indian context, the plantation Dalits are forced to become other than themselves in order to make their way through the system. For tea workers, caste—both as an identity and as a relational organising principle—has been revitalised by processes of neoliberal economic reform.
ManojBajpai, Rajkumar Rao were to be part of “Masaan”
Mumbai, Jun 29 (PTI) Director NeerajGhaywan says he wanted to cast actors ManojBajpai and Rajkumar Rao for his upcoming film “Masaan” but things did not work out.
“Masaan” stars RichaChadda, newcomer Vicky Kaushal, ShwetaTripathi of “Kya Mast Hai Life” and veteran Sanjay Mishra among others.
“While writing the script, I already had Richa in my mind.
After Richa, I wanted to cast ShwetaTripathi working on the script then Sanjay Mishraji came in. Actually, ManojBajpai and Rajkumar Rao were supposed to be there in the film but dates did not work out. (But) I am happy with the casting,” Neeraj told PTI in an interview here.
In “Masaan”, four lives intersect along the Ganges in Varanasi ?a lower-caste boy in hopeless love, a daughter ridden with guilt of a sexual encounter ending in a tragedy, a father with a fading morality, and a spirited child yearning for a family. All of them long to escape the moralistic small-town in which they are confined.
A friend of Neeraj told him about the ghats of Varanasi where dead bodies are burnt as per Hindu culture and this formed the genesis of the film.
“I was intrigued about how a man spending his entire life burning dead bodies would appreciate the meaning of life.
Every film goes through trouble. It was difficult to make this film on a tight budget, in real locations… We worked as a team,” Neeraj said.
“Every step there was some difficulty but we sailed through. We had a strategy that if we make it through film festivals, we will take the buzz and then release it soon after,” he added.
“Masaan” took a trip to Cannes Film Festival this year and won two prizes and received a standing ovation.
“I felt more happy for India than our film as we were winning the award after 26 years… it feels unreal. It is great that we have won award for our country,” Neeraj said.
The flip side of releasing a movie at film festivals is that they are seen as ‘arty’.
“We are promoting this film like a normal one and not like a small Indie film or art or festival film. Through marketing, we are saying it is a normal Hindi film. We are trying to go through word-of-mouth way…,” he said.
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