Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 01.07.15
Inter-caste marriage triggers riots, 9 arrested- The Times Of India
Fearing security withdrawal, MirchpurDalits in exit mode- The Tribune
Action sought against Dingaleshwar Swami- The Hindu
An opportunity that slipped away– The Hindu
Issue copy of dalit engineer’s autopsy report to kin, says Madras HC- The Times Of India
AUCTION OF PANCHAYAT LAND- Dalits, landless labourers up in arms- The Tribune
Nitish denied scholarship to SC/ST students: Sushil Kumar Modi– The Times Of India
Bihar cabinet decisions: 50% quota in govt contract approved- The Times Of India
The stark inequality within Indian cities- Live Mint
Dalit Christians in India file complaint with UN against the Vatican- UCA News
Elavarasan’s death anniversary: Section 144 imposed in three revenue divisions of Dharmapuri district- The Times Of India
Cops Nab Four in Gokulraj’s Death Case- The New Indian Express
Autopsy report on Dalit youth to help probe- The Hindu
Understanding Dalit Women- The New Indian Express
Selfless work by Dalits recalled- The Hindu
NAPM condemns arrest of All India Union of Forest Working People activists by UP Police – Meri News
Please Watch :
Ravi Kumar Speaks about the condition of Dalit NGO’s
The Times Of India
Inter-caste marriage triggers riots, 9 arrested
SALEM: A group of vanniyars ransacked houses belonging to dalits in Somampatty after a vanniyar girl married a dalit man on Monday midnight. The gang also hurled petrol filled bottles at the houses. One person was injured in the attack and was admitted to the government hospital in Vazhapadi. Police arrested nine people in connection with the issue on Tuesday.
P Saravanan, 29, of AdiDravidar colony in Somampatty village near Vazhapadi, was in a relationship with M VanniyaPriya, 25, of Vilaripalayam near Somampatty. , who works as a teacher in a private school. The girl’s father Madeswaran, is PattaliMakkalKatchi (PMK) Salem south district’s auto trade union as well as a panchayat member from ward 5 of Vilaripalayampanchayat.
The couple married on March 3, 2014, without informing their parents, but continued living with their parents.
Few months later, Priya’s parents started looking for a groom, following which she informed Saravanan. He returned to Salem.
On Monday he approached Karipatty police for protection, as they feared their relatives would kill them if they came to know about the marriage.
Karipatty police held talks with the couple’s parents on Monday, but the talks didn’t yield any results. The peace talk went on until late evening. But, Priya was stick on her decision and she informed police that she will stay back with Saravanan.
The couple was sent to Somampatty under police protection.
Around 12am a mob entered Somampatti village with petrol filled bottles. Police who were on protection duty to Saravanan and Priya tried their best to stop the mob but their attempts went futile.
The mob ransacked the houses as well as vehicles parked in the colony. “They hurled petrol filled bottles on the houses,” the police said. The added that S Arumugam, 40, of Somampatty, was injured in the incident and was admitted to the government hospital in Vazhapadi.
The mob damaged more than eight houses and two vehicles, before fleeing from the spot. including an auto partially gutted.
Salem district SP G Subbulakshmi rushed to the spot and initiated the inquiries.
More than 200 police personnel have now been stationed at the villages including Somampatty, Mottur and Vilaripalayam to prevent any untoward incidents. Salem range DIG Vidya D Kulkarni visited the spot and ordered the personnel to monitor the situation. The Vazhapadi police have shifted the couple to a safe house.
Vazhapadi police registered a case and have arrested N Pannerselvam, 25, A Kumar, 35, M Sudhakar, 30, J Nataraj, 27, J Kannan, 19, P Govindan, 20, V Chandran, 42, P Angamuthu, 33 and A Semmalai, 45, on Tuesday morning. “We have launched a search for 20 others involved in the mob,” Vazhapadi police said.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, workers from ViduthalaiChiruthaigalKatchi and Communist Party of India visited the village and consoled the victims.
Fearing security withdrawal, MirchpurDalits in exit mode
Tribune News Service, Hisar, June 30
Mirchpur Dalits continue to live in fear. On Tuesday. fearing withdrawal of paramilitary forces from the village, nearly 20 Dalit families left their homes for Tanwar farmhouse. Nearly 25 families have been camping at the farmhouse for four years.
The village had witnessed caste violence about five years ago. Two Dalits — an elderly man and his teenage daughter — were burnt by upper-caste Jats following a clash.
“The families, travelling in three vehicles, have taken their valuables and other household items with them. Some of them are walking on foot,” Birbhan Kumar told The Tribune.
He further said Dalits learnt that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was ready to leave the village by tomorrow morning (Wednesday). “We cannot stay in the village without the security cover, as we fear attack from Jats. We were told the Rapid Action Force (RAF) of the Haryana Police will replace the CRPF. We went to a police post in the village, but got no assurance.”
Anil Kumar Rao, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Hisar range, said the CRPF was still deployed in the village. “There has been no order to withdraw the CRPF from Mirchpur. A final decision will be taken tomorrow,” he said.
The district administration had recently formed a village-level committee, a vigilance committee and a district committee to keep tabs on the situation in Mirchpur.
A member of a peace committee, Chander Prakash, claimed the situation was normal in Mirchpur since the 2010 violence. “Dalits have started their lives anew. They have been working in the fields of Jats.”
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) PK Mahapatra called a meeting of all Deputy Commissioners today in Chandigarh regarding the implementation of safety measures of Dalits, in general, and on the Mirchpur issue, in general. Hisar DC ChanderShekharKhare apprised Mahapatra about the situation in the village.
Action sought against Dingaleshwar Swami
The Balehosur Dalit DourjanyaVirodhiOkkoota has urged the Chief Minister to take steps against the accused in the case related to the group clash at Balehosur village in Shirahattitaluk of Gadag district, in which a Dalit was killed. The samiticriticised the delay in arresting Sri Dingaleshwar Swami who has been named as the main accused.
Conveners of the okkuta, BasavarajSulebhavi, L. Narayanaswamy, RamachandraHamsanur, SunandaKadame and AnanthKattimani told presspersons here on Tuesday that the clash, which took the life of MahanthappaHanumanthappaGudageri, was the result of police failure.
Mr. Sulebhavi said that instead of taking steps against those who attacked members of the Ghantichor community, the police were targeting them. He alleged that the attack was carried out at the behest of Sri Dingaleshwari Swami.
“The seer of Balehosur Mutt, Sri Dingaleshwar Swami aliasBommalingaiahViraiahHiremath, is unfit to head the mutt, which propagates the ideals and ideas of Basavanna. There are several cases against the swami who is using the façade of religion to protect himself.
In fact, his continuation as the seer of the mutt is a disgrace to all Lingayats, who believe in equality,” Mr. Sulebhavi said.
He said there was an undeclared social boycott on the community members in the village because they chose to raise their voice against the atrocities of the swami.
Mr. Sulebhavi urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to handover the case to an independent judicial commission and take action against the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Gadag district holding them responsible for the atrocities against Dalits.
The okkoota would also demand action against district-in-charge minister H.K. Patil who had not visited the village to console the family of Gudageri, he added.
Mr. Kattimani, a lawyer, whose family members have been named as accused in a counter complaint filed later, said his family members were forced to go out of the village as the police were behaving like agents of the attackers.
Balehosur Dalit DourjanyaVirodhiOkkoota says there is an undeclared social boycott on the Ghantichor community in Balehosur
An opportunity that slipped away
Many Dalit and rural research scholars could not apply for a study tour to the US and the UK as they could not get passport in a short period
Dr. Ambedkar Foundation’s first ever study tour to the UK and the USA as announced by the University Grants Commission stood as a lost opportunity for many research scholars the very day it was notified.
Lack of passport proved to be the proverbial slip between the cup and the lip for them, as the period between the notification and the deadline was less than three weeks.
The notification for the study tour was released and put on the UGC website on June 11. It invited applications for a study tour for 100 scholars, 50 of them to be sent to London School of Economics, and the rest to the Columbia University, USA.
To qualify, the candidates are to be graduates and doing research or to have published works on the philosophy of Dr. Ambedkar or in the subjects closely related to social justice. Maximum income of the participants, including that of their parents, should not exceed Rs. 4.5 lakh per annum.
However, the condition that a participant should have a valid Indian passport became the sticking point for many aspirants, as the deadline for the applications was June 30.
“How can we obtain a passport in such a short time? Even to apply under Tatkal, I would require the signature of a senior bureaucrat. I made futile attempts going to the police commissionerate carrying my application, but was told to follow the the set procedure,” said Prameela K.P, a Dalit research scholar from the University of Hyderabad.
She later applied for student passport, and attached a hard copy of the application, hoping against the hope that it would be considered.
“We can’t even send the application online, as the notification seeks hard copy. I had forgone many opportunities earlier for paper presentations abroad, as the expenditure for travel and stay would be beyond my means. Had there been enough time for obtaining passport, this would have been a great opportunity for me,” she says.
Shynu V.C., another research scholar from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, contends that the short duration deprived many Dalit and rural scholars of the once-in-a-lifetime chance, while offering the same for elite scholars.
“This was totally out of the blue. Many of us from rural and Dalit backgrounds would not imagine something like this would come our way, hence never obtained passport. They should have allowed us time to obtain passport after application,” Mr. Shynu said.
Many of us would not imagine something like this would come our way, hence never obtained passport. We should have been allowed to obtain passport after applying.–Shynu V.C., Research scholar
Many Dalit and rural research scholars could not apply for a study tour to the US and the UK as they could not getpassport in time.
The Times Of India
Issue copy of dalit engineer’s autopsy report to kin, says Madras HC
TNN | Jul 1, 2015, 05.00 AM IST
CHENNAI: The second autopsy case relating to the mysterious death of a Dalit engineer, Gokulraj, 23, who was found dead on railway track in Namakkal earlier this week, came to an end in Madras high court with the court asking its registrar-general to furnish a copy of the autopsy report to the victim’s kin.
A division bench of Justice S Tamilvanan and Justice C T Selvam had ordered re-post-mortem by an order on Friday, and also constituted a three-member team of doctors to do re-autopsy on Gokulraj’s body. As requested by counsel for the boy’s kin, the court appointed P Sampath Kumar, head of department of forensic department at Sri Ramachandra Medical College, as a member.
The team completed the re-post-mortem and submitted its report in a sealed cover to the registrar-general of the high court on Monday
The victim’s kin and their counsel allege that Gokulraj’s death was a case of honour killing by people belonging to the caste of his girlfriend.
AUCTION OF PANCHAYAT LAND- Dalits, landless labourers up in arms
Tribune News Service, Jalandhar, June 30
Members of Dalit community from across the district under the banner of PenduMazdoor Union today gheraoed the office of Deputy Commissioner in for several hours to protest against the reluctant attitude of District Administration to get their rights of panchayat land.
A meeting between the District Administration, including ADC (General), ADC (Development), DC and PMU representatives was held to solve the issue. During the meeting it was decided that an appropriate action would be taken after an investigation on the auctions of panchayat land.
Before gathering at the DC office, the Dalits and landless labourers from across the district gathered at DeshBhagatYadgar Hall from where they took out the procession towards the Deputy Commissioner’s office while raising the anti-government and District Administration slogans.
They have been demanding the cancellation of auctions of panchayat land held at the villages, including Haler, Mallian, Dugri, TalwandiBheelan and Dyalpur. Besides this, they have also been demanding action against the BDPO, Jalandhar (West), and SHO of Kartarpur under the SC/ST Act for not letting the Dalits and landless labourers in the auction process at various villages.
Speaking on the occasion, PMU representative Kashmir Singh Ghugshor said, “If their demands are not accepted, they will be forced intensify their protest.”
The Times Of India
Nitish denied scholarship to SC/ST students: Sushil Kumar Modi
TNN | Jul 1, 2015, 04.18 AM IST
PATNA: Former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi (SuMo) on Tuesday charged CM Nitish Kumar and his foe-turned-friend and RJD supremoLalu Prasad with being anti-Dalit and Mahadalit. He alleged that the duo deprived the SC/ST students of post-matriculation scholarship last year.
In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Modi said, “Thousands of SC/ST students studying engineering, medical or other technical courses in Bihar or outside are compelled to leave the courses midway as the government failed to disburse scholarship.”
Modi said the state government invited application for granting scholarships almost four months late, in November 2014. The usual time was July, 2014. “The state government received about 5 lakh applications online and offline but did not grant scholarship to a single student and surrendered the allocated Rs 200 crore for financial year 2014-15,” the BJP leader said.
Even in 2013-14, many students were denied scholarship and a few who received it got very little money, Modi alleged. “Now the state government is harassing the students and asking them to resubmit their scholarship applications after getting them attested from their respective institutions despite the fact that the financial year is over and the fund has already been surrendered,” Modi said.
The leader of opposition in legislative council said the anti-Dalit face of the RJD-Congress supported Nitish government is exposed. The SC/ST students were denied their post-matriculation scholarship after LokJanshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Hindustani AwamMorcha (S) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi came over to the NDA camp, he alleged. “The state government wants to push these students into darkness by stopping their scholarships and ultimately their studies,” Modi said.
Paswan also attacked Nitish over the Nalanda incident in which a school director was lynched by a mob. “It happened in the CM’s home district and in the presence of policemen is proof enough that there is no rule of law in Bihar,” Paswan said.
Also taking a dig at Nitish’s huge posters on ‘Bihar@2025 ‘ BadhChala Bihar’, Paswan told the media at the Patna airport, “His (Nitish) alliance has so many big names like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Prasad and SharadYadav, but only Nitish’s photograph is displayed on the hoardings. What is he trying to convey and to whom?”
Modi and Paswan also shared the dais at an NDA workers meeting in Vaishali on Tuesday.
The Times Of India
Bihar cabinet decisions: 50% quota in govt contract approved
TNN | Jul 1, 2015, 04.28 AM IST
PATNA: Keeping in view Bihar assembly elections in September-October, the state cabinet on Tuesday took several populist decisions, including 50% reservation to scheduled castes/tribes, backward and economically backward castes and backward caste women in all government contracts up to Rs15 lakh.
Briefing media after the cabinet meeting, cabinet secretariat department’s principal secretary Shishir Sinha said people belonging to SCs would get 16%, STs 1%, EBCs 18%, BCs 12% and BC women 3% in the 50% quota in contracts.
In another major decision, the government has done away with the mandatory 75% attendance of students in schools for financial year 2015-16. Now, the government school students can avail the benefits of merit scholarship, cycle and ‘poshak’ yojanas this year without any condition.
In another decision to woo government employees/officers, the cabinet cleared the proposal to adjust their strike period absence, from September 15, 1997 to March 12, 2013, in their earned leave. Now, their strike period salary would not be deducted.
The government also simplified the procedure of payment of grants to the unaided educational institutions. The amount would be sent directly to Bihar School Examination Board which will credit it to the bank accounts of the educational institutes concerned through RTGS.
The government also agreed to put ‘Dangi’ caste (Annexure-I) from backward to extremely backward caste category. ‘Tanti’ (Tatwa) under EBC has been reverted to backward caste category.
The proposal to share the Indira AwasYojana (IAY) amount (50:50) from the current financial year was also approved. The state share this year would be Rs1032.03 crore for the construction of 2,80,255 houses under the scheme.
The cabinet also cleared the Bihar Public Service Commission recommendations for principals in five government polytechnic colleges. They are DrBarun Kumar Rai, Dr Anil K Singh, DrKumari Anima, DrChandrashekhar Singh and DrFazleSarwar.
The dismissal of Mukesh Kumar Singh, the then assistant engineer in WRD at Chandradeyi subdivision in Araria, was also sealed. Singh, under suspension, is reporting to the office of chief engineer, water resources department, Patna.
The stark inequality within Indian cities
Dalits are segregated, and have unequal access to public goods in India’s biggest cities
Calling the Indian village a ‘den of iniquity’, the founding father of India’s constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, exhorted Dalits to migrate from villages to cities to escape the shackles of caste. Ambedkar’s view continues to influence the dominant narrative on caste in India.
In the popular imagination, caste is the key marker of identity only in villages. In contrast, cities are often seen as sites of emancipation, where even the lowest in the caste ladder has better access to public goods, and greater opportunities in life. Much of this is been based on anecdotal evidence, and has rarely been backed by empirical research.
An analysis of the latest ward level census data for the 10 most populous cities in India shows that we may need to rethink how we view cities. Most of these cities display a high level of residential segregation, with scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) concentrated in a few areas of the city. Further, access to public goods such as tap water is much lower in these places.
Focussing on wards with an unusually high proportion of SC/STs relative to the city (outlier Census wards), and analysing the level of access to in-house water, a basic public good, and in-house toilets, a basic private good, a stark picture emerges, as the chart below shows.
In the 10 cities analyzed, these “extreme” wards have at least twice the proportion of SC/STs compared to the city average. Moreover, in all cities barring Delhi, these “extreme” wards do worse in terms of household access to in-house water and in-house toilets.
Kolkata merits special mention. Out of a total of 141 wards in the city, with SC/STs making up 5.6% of the total population, it is only in 12 of these wards that more than 40% of the city’s SC/ST population resides in. These wards do significantly worse than average in terms of household access to in-house water, with 43% of households of these wards without water supply in their homes, as compared to 27% of households overall in the city. Even a naïve study of the politics of the city would lead one to expect a different outcome. This finding merits a deeper study of the dynamics at play in the city.
Urban sociologist Robert E. Park noted in 1926 that social relations are inevitably correlated with spatial relations. His insight has driven almost all studies of residential segregation. While there are many studies on segregation of the black community in the US, comparable studies for Dalits and tribals in India are rarer.
As India urbanises, we need to understand that Indian cities are not just spaces for buildings, streets and offices. The city is a space for dispute, citizenship and politics. Cities can offer residents an opportunity to take part in the resources of the city or can restrict the same. The choices that we make would determine whether we would end up with a more inclusive city, as Ambedkar envisioned, or an exclusive, unequal city.
Pranav Sidhwani is with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi
Dalit Christians in India file complaint with UN against the Vatican
Christian Dalits in India filed a complaint on Tuesday with the United Nations accusing the Holy See of not doing enough to curb discrimination faced by “untouchables” within the Catholic Church.
A delegation of 22 people from the Dalit Christian Liberation Movement (DCLM) and Viduthalai Tamil PuligalKatchi (a collective of human rights activists) submitted the complaint at the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan in Delhi.
“We have submitted seven copies of the complaint to Rajeev Chandran, assistant director of the UN Centre in New Delhi addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and different human rights organizations,” Mary John, president of the DCLM, told ucanews.com.
The complaint accuses the Vatican and the Indian Catholic Church leadership of caste-based discrimination “by way of allowing it directly and indirectly in their spiritual, educational and administrative places”.
The delegation asked the UN and other organizations to urge the Holy See to eradicate the caste discriminatory practices and to withdraw the Permanent Observer position of the Holy See in the UN if the Vatican does not take the necessary steps.
Dalits, or untouchables, are the lowest caste within Hindu society. Huge numbers of Dalits have converted to Christianity and Islam over the decades, though in reality the religions offer limited protection from societal prejudice.
“The discrimination against Dalit Christians in the Catholic Church is a human rights issue and it would be right if we approach the UN to find a solution to it,” John said.
KudanthaiArasan, president of the Viduthalai Tamil PuligalKatchi, said Dalit Christians routinely face discrimination in their daily life.
“There are separate cemeteries for Dalit Christians. Even in the church there are separate seating arrangements for those from the Dalit community and others. The festival choir processions do not enter the streets where Dalit Christians live,” he said, adding that in some churches even the dead body of a Dalit Christian is not allowed inside for funeral Mass.
While Dalit Christians form 70 percent of the total Catholic population in India, said John, their representation in the Church leadership is only 4-5 percent.
He added that Dalits are not recruited for the priesthood and are rarely permitted to be appointed as bishops.
Out of about 200 active bishops in India, only nine are from the Dalit community.
“We have raised our voice time and again to end this practice in the Indian Church, but our pleas have been falling on deaf ears,” he added.
The Dalit Christians also blamed the top bishops’ body in India — the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) — for not pursuing the issue with the Holy See.
“They do not take our case seriously to the Vatican. The CBCI has come out with declarations terming caste-ism as [a] sin but they themselves are practicing it,” John said.
However, Fr Joseph Chinnayyan, CBCI deputy secretary general, told ucanews.com that the organization has never received any complaint of discrimination against Dalits in the Catholic Church in the past.
He said that as far as the Dalit Christians’ complaint about the issue to the UN is concerned, “we are not aware of any such complaint and will only respond once we receive any communication about it”.
The Times Of India
Elavarasan’s death anniversary: Section 144 imposed in three revenue divisions of Dharmapuri district
DHARMAPURI: Dharmapuri district administration on Wednesday morning imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in three revenue divisions — Dharmapuri, Pennagaram and Palacode to prevent any untoward incident on the second death anniversary of a dalit youth, E Elavarasan, which falls on July 4.
Sources said the decision had been taken after some political parties and outfits had approached the district administration seeking permission to pay their tributes to Elavarasan at his tomb in Natham colony.
“We have imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in three revenue divisions with effect from Wednesday morning to avoid any communal clashes. It will be in force for a week,” a revenue official said.
The district administration and the police department warned that they would arrest those who violated the prohibitory orders.
Elavarasan, a dalit youth, married DivyaNagarajan, a vanniyar woman, in November 2012, triggering clashes between the members of the two castes.
Vanniyars set ablaze 268 dalit houses in Natham colony, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti villages of Dharmapuri district on November 7, 2012.
Six months after their marriage, Divya left Elavarasan on June 4, 2013.
The New Indian Express
Cops Nab Four in Gokulraj’s Death Case
NAMAKKAL :Police special squads picked up four persons in connection with the suspicious death of a Dalit youth, Gokulraj, but the main accused were yet to be nabbed, sources said. All four are being quizzed at a secret place since Monday, but the cops did not get much information from them.
Sources said the four men said that they had accompanied Yuvaraja up to a point but knew nothing about what happened after Gokulraj was abducted from the hilltop.
Meanwhile, the High Court handed the autopsy report to the Investigation Officer and DSP, Thiruchengode, Vishnu Priya on Tuesday. But police did not divulge the report’s contents.
Autopsy report on Dalit youth to help probe
The report of the autopsy performed on the body of the 22-year old Dalit, Gokulraj, who was found dead along the railway tracks in Namakkal district under mysterious circumstances last week, would be given to the investigating officer probing the case.
Hearing a petition filed by Parthiban, a friend of the deceased, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justices S. Tamilvanan and B. Rajendran directed the Registrar General to give the autopsy report to the investigating officer – Deputy Superintendent of Police Vishnu Priya.
Earlier, a team of doctors constituted on the orders of the Madras High Court produced before the Registrar-General a sealed cover containing the autopsy report.
The New Indian Express
Understanding Dalit Women
CHENNAI: An interesting phenomena has been recorded by S Anandhi, associate professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). Anandhi is researching about the dynamics of caste among Dalit and upper caste women against the paradigm of development which will be part of a book.
At a seminar on ‘Caste and Development: Towards an Ethnography of Dalit Women’s Activism in Tamil Nadu’, organised by MIDS recently, Anandhi, who had done her case study on a village in Tiruninravur, pointed out how expansion of the labour market for Dalit women moving away from agriculture had changed the dynamics of caste equations.
“Dalit women belonging to AdiDravidar communities now have better access to opportunities in the expanded labour market. However, same can not be said about the Arunthathiyar community women, who are not yet modernised, as they are still agricultural labourers,” Anandhi said.
She also mentioned that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) had helped women move away from Dalit bondage. However, a caste order was still prevalent among women, when NREGA wages would be distributed. “The upper caste women would be the first to get the wages and the scheduled castes would get it only after that,” she said.
Selfless work by Dalits recalled
Selfless work done by a group Dalits six decades ago has not only brought them laurels now but also made them proud land owners.
From now on, they need not depend on landlords for their survival.
Ten Dalit field workers, including three women who are 85 years and above, have become landowners, thanks to support offered to these workers who stood along with T.S. Soundaram, founder, Gandhigram Trust, when she floated the trust at Gandhigram village to extend health care to the poor and the downtrodden.
Breaking all barriers and hurdles, Gandhigram Trust had fulfilled the dream of the founder and offered 65 cents of agriculture land each to 10 Dalits living at Thoppampatti village since the 1950s as per the direction of the founder.
“Our founder had promised to offer land for the uplift of Dalits. Now, we have fulfilled her wish by offering land owned by the trust to them,” said K. Shiva Kumar, secretary of the trust.
Ms. Soundaram had identified people from villages around Chinnalapatti to develop an area for their activities. The selected beneficiaries were settled in Thoppampatti with a promise of land for their survival.
“We joined work for wages of 50 paise a day for women and 75 paise for men to cut firewood and level the field,” said beneficiary Y. Chinnappan (85), who was picked from Panjampatti in the 1950s.
“My husband Raju joined the work force. He died and my only son too died in an accident. Now, my grandson is taking care of me,” said another beneficiary R. Azhagammal (89).
Octogenarian P. Mariappan said he was picked from Kalikkampatti. “We are honoured now,” he said.
The land was registered in the name of the beneficiaries and also their legal heirs to enable even the next generation to enjoy it.
“Even though it is patta land, the beneficiaries cannot sell it,” said Mr. Shiva Kumar. Managing Trustee M.R. Rajagopal handed over the pattas to the beneficiaries.
NAPM condemns arrest of All India Union of Forest Working People activists by UP Police
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) expressed its outrage at the arrest of senior activist and advocate, Roma Malik, SokaloGond, and other women activists of the All India Union of Forest Working People from the organization’s office in Robertsgunj by UP Police yesterday.
“We are shocked and amazed at the attempts by the UP administration to repeatedly arrest activists and the struggling people for asserting their constitutional rights and protecting the environment,” says a NAPM press statement.
While the memory of ruthless repression where the police open fired at the peaceful protesters at Kanhar Dam onAmbedkarJayanti is still fresh, this attempt to crush the voice of dissent comes in the wake of the planned people’s rally against land acquisition and loot of natural resources that was to take placeinRobertsgunj (today) is unjustifiable and unacceptable, said NAPM.
The right to peaceful protest is part of the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India and no government can take away or infringe upon this sacred right. It needs to be noted that in numerous instances in the past the higher courts have repeatedly come down on the authorities for trying to muzzle protests through fabricated cases and arrests.
NAPM said that it also wished to remind the UP government that some of of its members had met the CM at the CM House in the last week of April, in the wake of the brutal police firings at adivasis and dalits in the Kanhar dam-affected area. The Order of the NGT as well clearly establishes the illegality in the entire process.
NAPM claimed that the UP CM had assured it that he would take note of all the demands in their memorandum and ensure that the conflict is resolved through dialogue with the people and Gram Sabhas.
“Is this how the Government seeks to resolve conflict? Are these arrests really necessary and lawful? Such actions will only intensify the conflict and lead to further tensions in the area,” said NAPM.
NAPM expressd hopes that the UP Government would take serious note of the national discontent against the arrest of senior activists of the AIUFWP and direct the district administration to drop all chargers and release the arrested activists and villagers.
They conveyed their deep disdain for the approach of the UP government to openly harass and target activists who are engaged with the people’s issues on the ground and are raising important questions of land, natural resources and equality and democracy.
They expressed wish to remind the government and the administration that peaceful and democratic struggle of the adivasi and dalit communities, led by the women of Sonbhadra, is their constitutional right and we stand in full solidarity with them.
News Monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET