Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 30.06.15
Killed for Talking to Upper Caste Girl? Clues on Engineer’s Death in CCTV Footage- NDTV
Minor girl brutally gang-raped in UP’s Badaun– Zee News
19-year-old Dalit boy found hanging from tree in Punjab; 5 booked- Zee News
‘Board goofed up SC pupils’ IIT eligibility scores’- The Times Of India
Mob fury shows loss of faith in police- The Times Of India
Lack of diversity – Bollywood films are all about upper-caste Hindu heroes- Quartz
Panel takes cognisance of misuse of Acts safeguarding rights of SC/STs- The Hindu
Sec 377 of IPC that criminalises gay sex may be scrapped: Gowda- The Hindustan Times
Dark clouds hover over monsoon session – Day After
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Dalit MLA alleged he was discriminated by upper caste colleagues and Officers
Killed for Talking to Upper Caste Girl? Clues on Engineer’s Death in CCTV Footage
Chennai: A young engineer in Tamil Nadu, who was found dead on railway tracks last Wednesday, is seen being dragged away by a group of men in CCTV footage retrieved by the police.
The gang is seen taking away 21-year-old Gokulraj while he was speaking to a girl in their village in Namakkal district. His family alleges that he was kidnapped by a local leader, Yuvaraj, and killed over his relationship with the girl, who belongs to an upper caste family.
Gokulraj’s family has refused to accept his body unless the police change the case of suicide they had filed last week to murder.
The police are looking for Yuvaraj, who heads the Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai – a fringe outfit that champions the cause of the Kongu Vellalar, a backward caste community.
A case of kidnapping and suspicious death was registered last week after the police found a note from the engineer’s pocket, which indicated a failed affair.
In 2013, a Dalit man, Ilavarasan, was found dead on the railway tracks in Dharmapuri district in the state a day after his wife refused to return to him citing continuing clashes between both communities and memories of her father. Ilavarasan had married a woman from the higher Vanniyar community which led to her father committing suicide. This had triggered riots against Dalits – around 250 Dalit homes were set on fire. The police said Ilavarasan’s death was a case of suicide and not murder.
Recently, the Kongu Vellalar community in the same Namakkal district hounded Tamil writer Perumal Murugan claiming his book “Madhorubagan” defamed their women and temple festival. Under tremendous pressure and coercion, the writer ultimately withdrew all his books and writings and shifted base to Chennai.
Minor girl brutally gang-raped in UP’s Badaun
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – 09:42
Lucknow: It seems even death sentence has failed to infuse fear in the perverted minds of rapists.
In a grim reminder of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and ‘Gudiya’ rape case, yet another horrific incident of a 14-year-old girl being gang-raped by three youths from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district has come to light.
The incident happened when the minor girl had gone to a nearby shop to purchase something. She was lured by one of the accused, who lives in the neighbourhood, on the pretext that somebody was waiting for her around the corner.
However, when the 14-year-old went there, she was gagged by three men and taken to a nearby field, where they sexually assaulted her.
Initially the girl didn’t inform anybody from her family, but few days later broke down before one of her cousins, following which a rape case was registered by the police.
Medical examination has confirmed sexual assault of the girl, besides severe injuries on her private parts.
Some reports say that a small wooden stick, match box and plastic was found inside her private part.
DIG, Bareilly zone, RKS Rathore said the probe is underway on the basis of details provided by the victim.
A 23-year-old paramedic, on the night of December 16, 2012, was brutally assaulted and gang-raped by six persons in a moving bus in South Delhi. Her male friend was also thrashed by the six accused.
The accused had later thrown both of them out of the vehicle, without clothes, to die by the roadside on the cold December night.
The victim`s 28-year-old friend had suffered fractures in his limbs. The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.
In a similar incident, five-year-old ‘Gudiya’ was brutally raped on April 15, 2013 in a building in east Delhi`s Gandhi Nagar locality.
19-year-old Dalit boy found hanging from tree in Punjab; 5 booked
Last Updated: Monday, June 29, 2015 – 17:37
Faridkot: A 19-year-old Dalit boy was found hanging from a tree at Punjab’s Khara village following which five persons, including two panchayat members, were booked for the alleged murder, police said on Monday.
Body of the deceased was found hanging yesterday from the tree in the village here, they said.
The youth had eloped with a farmer’s minor daughter, who was also from the same village, on the intervening night of June 20-21, police said.
Family members of the boy has alleged that the youth was killed by the girl’s family, they said.
Police today booked five persons, including family members of the girl and two panchayat members.
All the accused are absconding and hunt in on to nab them, police said.
The Times Of India
‘Board goofed up SC pupils’ IIT eligibility scores’
TNN | Jun 30, 2015, 03.12 AM IST
MUMBAI: Even as CBSE is still to announce the ranks for JEE (Main) Paper-I and Paper-II, some of the state boards are partly to be blamed for the delay. While a few boards delayed submitting their results data, some others sent incomplete information. Officials from the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) claimed that Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education goofed up in compiling the scores of students from the scheduled castes (SC).
The IITs’ data on eligibility scores of Maharashtra board’s SC students based on their Class XII performance was left blank since June 24.
After qualifying in JEE (Advanced) for admissions to IITs, students also have to fall in the Top 20 percentile of their respective boards or score above 75% in their Class XII exams. CBSE got a revised list from the state for SC students in the weekend.
G Mhamane, the state board chairperson, though, said the list was sent to CBSE much in advance and that he will have to look into the alleged discrepancy.
The Times Of India
Mob fury shows loss of faith in police
Sayantanee Choudhury,TNN | Jun 30, 2015, 12.12 AM IST
PATNA: The growing mob fury across the state leading to lynching of any person in connection with any offence indicates that common people are gradually losing faith in the police administration gradually.
The lynching of a private school director, Devendra Prasad Singh, in Nalanda district on Sunday following protests against the death of two students was not the first incident of its kind in recent times in Bihar. In May this year, a woman was forced to get down from an auto and then beaten to death at Katesar market area under Bihta police station in Patna district. Three women were arrested in this connection. The woman was thrashed on the road but no onlooker came forward to her rescue. She became the target of mob fury as she and her husband were made accused for the murder of a local boy.
Hetukar Jha, a noted sociologist, said, “Sociologically we believe that people of south Bihar are by nature aggressive and the Nalanda incident was triggered by that cultural attribute. The mob that kills a person for some presumed offence without legal authority is fully aware of violation of law. The mob outrage takes place when people start following one man and at the same time lose faith in the existing system. At that time, they do not want any different point of view giving leeway to the alleged accused.”
In June 2014, two dalit students awaiting their Class 10 results were lynched at Baikanthpur under Bakhtiarpur PS in Patna on suspicion that they were thieves. Police made 20 persons of the village as named accused.
In October 2014, four men were arrested from the office of minor irrigation resources department for manhandling a government official. The four men had beaten up Narayan Paswan, chief engineer of the department, over allotment of a tender. The incident took place at Visveswaraiya Bhavan located on Bailey Road. In 1993, the then Khagaria MP, Ram Sharan Yadav, had beaten up the then health commissioner, T C A Srinivas Ramanujan, at his official chamber. Again, in 2001, the then transport secretary, N K Sinha, was manhandled by the then CM Rabri Devi’s brother and controversial RJD MLA Sadhu Yadav.
Lack of diversity – Bollywood films are all about upper-caste Hindu heroes
A recent Bollywood flick, Dil Dhadakne Do, deals with the life of super-rich Punjabi Indians and their first-world problems.
High on picturesque offshore beauty, this Zoya Akhtar-directed movie was described by critics as “shallow” and so far removed from India’s third-world reality that it is “difficult to give a damn about the people in the film.”
But, dismissing all such reviews, the filmmaker in a recent interview said that “the Indian audience doesn’t want to watch poor people.”
Whether that’s true or not is hard to say, but India’s popular film industry definitely does not celebrate diversity—and not just in terms of class, but also caste, religion and gender.
A recent analysis of lead characters of more than 250 films released in 2013 and 2014 by The Hindu newspaper revealed that only six lead characters belonged to a backward caste. The Indian national daily collected information available publicly on characters as well as the storyline of each of these films for its report.
According to Box Office India, an online film database, 184 films were released in 2013 and another 201 films in 2014. So, the Hindu’s analysis covers about 65% of the combined Bollywood films released in two years.
In 2014, the films that dwelled upon caste were Manjunath, a real-life account of an Indian Oil employee who was murdered for speaking out against a corrupt oil dealer; Highway, which showcased a distraught criminal from the Gujjar community; and the biopic on India’s pugilist Mary Kom whose lead character was a member of the Kom tribal community from Manipur.
In 2013, too, Bollywood had a total of three characters from backward castes. The films were Bandook, the story of a lower caste man’s rise to political power, Kangana Ranaut’s Revolver Rani, and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela.
Looking beyond Hindus
The most common character in Hindi films is also a Hindu, according to the Hindu report. Only very few roles are written keeping in mind a Christian, Muslim or Sikh.
In 2014, only two films had lead characters who were Christian, three had Sikhs and nine had Muslims (including the critically-acclaimed Indian adaptation of Hamlet, Haider). Meanwhile, as many as 66 lead characters were upper caste Hindus, while the rest were Hindus whose caste was not mentioned or was unknown.
In India, according to the religion census of 2011, Hindus comprise 78% of the total population, followed by Muslims at 14.2%. Sikhs and Christians are about 2% of the population.
Apart from this low representation of caste, class and religion, there’s another category where Bollywood lags behind: Gender.
For decades now, male stars get screen time and lengthy monologues, while women are cast for item numbers in skimpy clothes.
In a gender test of last year’s blockbuster films, nine out of ten movies failed by a long shot. Only one movie passed what is known as the Bechdel test—that a film casts at least two women, incorporates a scene or two where they interact with each other, and they talk about something besides a man.
However, in the recent years, some filmmakers have invested in strong female characters, and it’s a formula that has worked. In fact, the first—and so far, the only—film to make Rs100 crore ($16 million) at the box office in India in 2015 was led by Kangana Ranaut, a female star.
Panel takes cognisance of misuse of Acts safeguarding rights of SC/STs
The monitoring committee for implementation of PCR (Prevention of Civil Rights) Act and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, has detected alleged extortion of large-scale farmers by a group in the district through alleged misuse of the provisions of the Acts.
Taking cognisance of complaints from cultivators employing farm labourers belonging to Scheduled Caste that a group has been provoking the workers into revolting against their employers and creating unnecessary complications in the otherwise harmonious relationship, the Committee headed by District Collector S. Prabakar confirmed two instances of extortion.The committee that also includes members of non-government organisations working for the cause of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes finds itself constrained to step in as the Police Department is helpless when a case is preferred under the two Acts.
The committee is vested with the responsibility of ensuring effective implementation of the Acts and prevention of atrocities against the SCs, STs and other vulnerable sections of society.
As per rule, the Police Department has to invariably register the First Information Report as and when it receives a complaint of atrocity. Hence, a sense of fear prevails even among senior police officials. They are helpless since they fear that the gang indulging in extortion would file a private complaint against them as well, Subi Thalapathi, representative of Thadapalli-Arakankottai Ayacut Farmers’ Association said.
Mr. Thalapathi cited a recent instance of the gang prevailing upon a worker to file a case under the Acts against a cultivator and later prevailing upon the complainant to withdraw the case after extorting Rs. 2 lakh.
While safeguarding the rights of SCs and STs, the committee has decided to act tough against those misusing the provisions. “If unwanted complaints are filed with wrong intentions, the committee will initiate stringent action against the complainant,” the District Collector warned.
The Hindustan Times
Sec 377 of IPC that criminalises gay sex may be scrapped: Gowda
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Updated: Jun 30, 2015 12:00 IST
India could abolish Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises gay liaisons and the legalisation of same-sex marriages could be considered, Union law minister DV Sadananda Gowda has said.
However, any such move will require wide-ranging consultations, he said. A recent legislation on the rights of transgender people could provide a model for India’s gay community, he added.
“The mood appears to be in favour of it. But it can be done only after widespread consultations and taking all views into account,” Gowda was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.
Gowda was speaking in the context of the US Supreme Court’s historic verdict last week that legalised same-sex unions and the positive reception to the ruling on social media in India.
Gowda, later, denied the charges, adding that he was “misquoted”.
Referring to a private member’s bill on the rights of transgender people, Gowda said it could be a model for the gay community. After several years of delay, the bill moved in the Rajya Sabha by Tiruchi Siva of the DMK received overwhelming response, he said.
“That bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha (in April) and everyone supported it. If that bill is passed by the Lok Sabha and becomes an act, Section 377 will become irrelevant,” Gowda said.
The report described Gowda’s views as a “radical position for a politician” from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district as the coastal belt is known for conservative social mores. The region is a stronghold of the Sangh Parivar, which has “strong and negative views” on homosexuality, it said.
In December 2013, the Supreme Court overturned a Delhi high court verdict that had set aside Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a law framed in 1860.
The apex court put the ball in the government’s court for decriminalising consensual sex among homosexuals, arguing it was free to annul the law through legislation.
The high court had ruled in 2009 that Sec 377 was unconstitutional.
However, Gowda’s minister’s interpretation of the fallout of the legislation on transgender people appeared to be somewhat off the mark. Tiruchi Siva said he had limited his bill to the educational, economic, employment and health rights of transgender people.
“The bill does not talk about Section 377 or anything other than the rights of transgenders,” he said. “I am always optimistic that rights of others will also get due importance.”
Siva’s bill is being pushed by three Lok Sabha members – Shobha Karandlaje of BJP, NK Premachandran of Revolutionary Socialist Party and Baijayant Panda of Biju Janata Dal. Karandlaje and Premachandran said Section 377 and gay rights was not on their radar.
They said they wanted to help transgender people but frown on lumping them together with lesbians, gays and bisexuals through the acronym LGBT.
“There is no question of (Section) 377 in our bill. I have very different views on unnatural sex. It is a totally different matter. I only want transgenders to get their rights and be treated on a par with others in the society,” said Premachandran, the MP from Kollam in Kerala.
Panda said Section 377 was tangential to the bill though conferences were being lined up on legal and legislative action on the matter. Echoing Gowda, he said: “It is time for the debate on (Section) 377 to reflect what the Constitution guarantees for every Indian — which is equality.”
He also said the private member’s bill on transgender people may become infructuous as the government is thinking of bringing in a similar bill.
Dark clouds hover over monsoon session
BY HARBANS SINGH
The best of plans can often go awry. The ruling BJP and the NDA government have realized that their overwhelming superiority in numbers in the Lok Sabha amounts to naught when unforeseen winds hit the sails.
On the other side of the fence, the numerically sparse Congress has realized that its best laid out plans for revival of fortunes may have to be put on hold because of bounties by default.
Thus, the BJP that was looking forward to having the amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, the Railways (Amendment) Bill, the Waterways Bill, the GST Bill, the amendments to the land acquisition Bill, Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill and Benami Transactions (Prohibition) amendment Bill, 2015, passed, will now be fending against the onslaught of the opposition over issues that were nowhere on the horizon only a few weeks away. Now the ruling dispensation will have to summon all its persuasive skills to get the pending bills passed.
The Congress plan
On the other hand, the Congress, looking to secure Dalit support before it eyes a revival in fortunes, was planning to take up the issue of pending bills related to the empowerment and reservation of SCs and STs to corner the NDA government in the Monsoon session of Parliament, which begins next month. Now, both the ruling coalition and the opposition is busy formulating a strategy to control the damage while brazing out the storm and sticking as much mud on the hitherto fair image of the year old government.
Sources within the Congress party say that the party is geared to raise the issue of the non-passage of bills like the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, that aims to provide quota in promotions, a Bill to provide legislative framework for reservation and another to amend and strengthen the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. “We will build pressure on the government to ensure that it introduces these three Bills – which are pending for a long time – in the Monsoon session. Enactment of the Bills will go a long way in ensuring justice for the Dalits,” a party functionary said speaking on condition of anonymity. Congress has realized that in the recent decades it has lost support of the Dalit classes and that unless it recovers lost ground the revival of fortunes would remain a pipedream. The championing of these bills would have the Congress’ way of saying that it wants to reach out to Dalits and other deprived sections in a big way. It would be recalled that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on June 2 flagged off the national launch of the party’s commemoration of the 125th anniversary celebrations of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar at the latter’s birthplace in Mhow of Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier, the Congress President Sonia Gandhi had on June 1 written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi slamming his government for allowing an ordinance to lapse which was aimed at strengthening the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the previous UPA government had in March last year cleared the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance making penal provisions more stringent to deter people committing crimes against members of Dalit communities. The Ordinance had proposed that common crimes like rape, assault and kidnapping should also be brought under the purview of this Act. “Even as Standing Committee recommended for bringing amendments to the 1989 Act and gave its report way back in December, 2014, the NDA government did not bring a Bill on it in the Budget session. Our party will take up the matter when Monsoon session of Parliament convenes,” the functionary said.
Pitching for bringing the bill to amend the 1989 Act, Sonia Gandhi had said that it was a “matter of disappointment” that NDA government “allowed the ordinance to lapse” by sending it to the Standing Committee. The other one, the Constitution amendment (117) bill providing for quota for SCs and STs in government job promotions was passed by Rajya Sabha with an overwhelming vote of 206 in the 245-member House in December 2012, when UPA was in power. However, it could not be passed by the Lok Sabha.
Samjawadi Party and Shiv Sena had opposed it. The third bill that the Congress wants Government to bring in Parliament is aimed at providing a legislative framework to reservation in employment and education. So far reservation in jobs and education is provided through an executive order for a period of ten years, which are extended from time to time.
The manifesto for Dalit empowerment prepared by the party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls will serve as a guiding principle for the Congress in future course of action more so when Rahul Gandhi is increasingly taking up a lead role in the party. The last Lok Sabha polls saw caste barriers breaking in key states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where a sizeable section of Dalits voted for BJP. In UP, the drift of Dalit votes to BJP has served as a warning signal for Congress. The community did not favour Congress even after Gandhi’s visits to and his taking of meals at Dalit homes. The Congress believes that BSP’s hold over Dalits has loosened considerably in states other than Uttar Pradesh and they are still not strongly behind BJP. In such a situation, increasing their focus on Dalit issues can help them get back their “traditional Dalit support”, Congress leaders feel.
BJP runs into rough weather
Meanwhile, the government had embarked on an extensive exercise to prepare a heavy legislative agenda for the monsoon session of Parliament next month but the events of the past few weeks has cast a dark shadow over the planning. But even as the Congress has threatened a washout of the session if Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje do not resign over the Lalit Modi episode, the think tank of the BJP is chalking out a strategy so that the party can brazen out the woes it is facing.
Media sources affirm that Afzal Amanullah, Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs, has written to Secretaries in all ministries, asking them to “urgently” specify bills and other items of government business proposed by each ministry for the upcoming session. A comprehensive list of 65 bills pending in both houses of Parliament from the last session – 12 in the Lok Sabha and as many as 53 in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority – was attached to the letter for the perusal of the ministries. The letter is said to have specified that the standing committees have submitted their reports in 34 such bills, while 18 bills, including the Land Acquisition Bill, are pending with standing or joint committees. “Since the ministries are interacting with the standing committees, you would be in a position to identify the bills pending with the standing committees which are likely to be ready for consideration and passage in the next session. You may like to appraise this ministry of the same,” Amanullah said in the June 11 letter.
Sullied image of BJP?
The monsoon session of Parliament is all set to begin on July 21, but it will be a truncated three-week affair.
The earlier proposal was to commence the session from July 20, a Monday. But as Eid may fall on July 18 or 19, a decision was taken to start it from July 21. But the session is likely to be stormy as the opposition has found potent ammunition in the form of what has come to be known as Lalitgate. At first it was thought that it would only singe Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj but the opposition now finds in the happy position of nettin the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
But as if it was not enough for the Congress to warn that the session could be in jeopardy if External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia were not made to resign on the Lalit Modi row, more trouble has mounted for the ruling from some unexpected quarters. A Delhi court has ruled that the complaint against Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani regarding her claims to a degree in her affidavit before the Election Commission is maintainable, in Maharashtra the young minister Pankaja Munde has been accused of mastering a Rs. 200 crore scam. Thus four leaders of BJP, representing a cross section of the society have fallen in the line of some serious fire from the Congress.
While the Lalit Modi controversy is likely to devour a few more victims, Smriti Irani may not be able to escape the wrath of law and the people particularly after the manner in which Jitender Singh Tomar, former Law Minister of Delhi’s AAP government was exposed and arrested. After adopted holier than thou attitude, the BJP can hardly apply double standards in case of Irani. But it is the Lalitgate that is going to threaten the monsoon session. Born out of the politics of cash rich BCCI and the cosy club of the IPL, it is likely to ensnare a few more names.
After a year in office, of which tall claims of probity have been made, the BJP finds itself in the unenviable position of having two of its stalwart leaders helping a person wanted by the investigating agencies for financial misdemeanor. Both, Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje appear to have gained benefits for their family members by being a ‘friend’ of Lalit Modi. The Congress is not going to let go of the quid pro quo angle in the ‘friendly’ and ‘humanitarian’ help rendered to Modi.
The contentious Bills
In addition, there are the issues of the Bills, particularly the amendments to the land acquisition act and the GST Bill. To be fair to the Congress and the other opposition parties opposing the land acquisition’s proposed new law, it must be said that the attitude of the BJP has been baffling. After supporting the new law in 2013 it inexplicably had a rethink soon after coming to power. Not surprisingly, many believe it was at the behest of land sharks and corporate sector. There is little doubt that the BJP will have to make necessary changes to the amended proposal if it wants to get it passed smoothly. As far as GST is concerned then that is another matter.
This was a Bill that UPA government wanted passed but the BJP had opposed it tooth and nail. Today the Congress is using the very same arguments that BJP used to stall it. But since all observers believe that the Congress is not as destructive as the BJP therefore it will finally allow it to pass if only because it was its own brain child.
But the real issue now is not whether the BJP can evolve a bi-partisan approach while dealing with opposition.
The question is that will the parliament function this monsoon session? Judging by the hard stances adopted by both the parties the danger of the session becoming a complete washout is real. The Home Minister has declared that the NDA ministers will not resign since this was not a UPA government. This puzzling response had to be followed by a clarification from another senior minister Ravi Prasad but both have only added to the ire of the Congress.
The Congress and the UPA had lost a number of ministers because of scams and serious allegations as the BJP stalled the parliament in the absence of any action. The Congress feels that now is the time to seek revenge and it is unlikely that the two senior BJP leaders will be allowed to hold office for long. But if the BJP rides the storm by using its majority then it would not only have lost its moral sheen but also encouraged those who thrive in flirting with wrongdoings. As it is, the accusations against the BJP governments are rising by the day with another bright face in Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan facing serious corruption charges.
In the midst of it all, many discontented leaders have begun to find their voices. Old warhorses, L.K.Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi have already embarrassed the government and now leaders like Kirti Azad and R.K.Singh have also lent their voice. Moreover, could Yashwant Sinha have dared to make ‘brain dead’ comment a year ago? Indeed the clouds are gathering.
News Monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET