Dalits Media watch
News Updates 05.07.15
Punjab among top 5 manual scavenging states in country – The Times Of India
SC/ST students may be asked to pay tuition fee – The Hindustan Times
Two Dalit students earn medical seats, but are struggling to pay fees – The Hindu
Dalits decry death of their old dance forms – The Times Of India
‘Sweeper’ boxer Krishna Rout seeks a job of dignity from Mamata government – The Indian express
It’s now Dalits vs. non-Dalits – The Hindu
Transgender Men Continue to Struggle for Visibility in Social Change – NDTV
ODISHA ANTI-LAND GRAB LAW SHOULD LET OFF THE POOR – The Pioneer
Actor Danny Glover reads abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s “Fourth of July Speech, 1852” on October 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.
The Times Of India
Punjab among top 5 manual scavenging states in country
Ajay Sura,TNN | Jul 5, 2015, 03.57 AM IST
CHANDIGARH: The inhuman job of cleaning night soil manually is still practiced in many parts of rural Punjab, according to the latest figures of the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011. In fact, Punjab is the worst among the northern states in this regard with 11,949 people engaged in manual scavenging.
Data released on Friday shows that 18.06 lakh people across the country are still manual scavengers. Punjab is fifth on the list after Madhya Pradesh (23,093), Uttar Pradesh (17,619), Tripura (17,332) and Karnataka (15,375). No such cases were found in Chandigarh, while Himachal Pradesh and Haryana had 4 and 42 cases each.
This practice continuing in Punjab at such high numbers is alarming given that manual scavenging is an offence under the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act 1993. Those found violating this provision can face heavy penalties and imprisonment of up to one year.
As much as 36.74% of Punjab’s population is Scheduled Caste which is the highest proportion among states.
Hoshiarpur MP Vijay Sampla, who is Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, said that the numbers could well be more than what the Census has thrown up, especially in urban areas. A rehabilitation programme need to be put in place, he believes.
Sampla told TOI that his ministry will launch a special rehabilitation programme from Hoshiarpur on July 7, where Rs 40,000 would be given to manual scavengers to start a new life with a new profession.
Eminent sociologist and retired professor of Panjab University, Manjeet Singh said data shows that people in rural areas are not serious about ending this practice. He added that the state government is morally and legally bound to implement the provisions of law against this menace. Unfortunately, all parties that have ruled the state have ignored this aspect,” he says.
Secretary of Punjab’s welfare department Seema Jain said that she had not seen the data and would be able to able to comment only after analyzing the figures.
The Hindustan Times
SC/ST students may be asked to pay
Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times, Delhi
Updated: Jul 05, 2015 09:33 ISTThe HRD ministry has asked centrally-funded institutions, including NITs, IIITs and IITs, to charge tuition fee from SC and ST students after they receive reimbursements in the form of scholarship money from various ministries and states.
The ministry’s directive comes in the backdrop of institutions waiving off tuition fee from these students since the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme was launched in early 2014, with the scholarship money being sent directly into the students’ accounts.
The fee waiver was resulting in severe strain on the ministry’s non-plan budget.
Prior to the launch of the DBT scheme, scholarship money was directly sent to institutions and they did not have to charge students.
The recent directive is the second from the ministry — the first, sent last year, asked institutions to collect reimbursements from SC and ST students after they receive the scholarship money into their accounts.
It also asked institutions to make special efforts to get education loans for other SC and ST students, those not covered by scholarships.
Various ministries, including the social justice and tribal affairs ministries, give out scholarship money to students whose parents’ incomes are less than Rs 2 lakh per annum.
Two Dalit students earn medical seats,
but are struggleats,ing to pay fees
D.J. WALTER SCOTT
Ramanathapuram: Two Dalit students, who were part of the 30 “Elite Students” hailing from poor families and groomed by the district administration with special coaching, have entered the corridors of the prestigious Stanley Medical College and Madurai Medical College this year, but are struggling to pay the fees.
For the two single parent students – P. Manikandan of Tirupalaikudi, and M. Krishnaveni of Ponnaiyapuram, Paramakudi – securing a medical seat appeared to be easier than paying the fees.
Krishnaveni’s father had left the family when she was hardly eight years old and her mother, a construction worker, fought all odds to bring up her son, a Computer Science graduate, and her daughter. Krishnaveni got into Madurai Medical College with a cut-off of 194.75 but struggled to mobilise about Rs. 30,000 to pay the tuition and hostel fees.
“My mother borrowed a gold chain from our neighbour and pledged it to raise the money,” she said talking to The Hindu at Municipal Girls’ Higher Secondary School here on Saturday. Her teachers were helping her get scholarship and financial assistance from some philanthropists.
Manikandan who had scored a cut-off of 196.25, secured the 67th rank among Scheduled Caste students in the State and got admission in Stanley Medical College. Both his father and brother were engaged in fishing.
He had paid the tuition fees of Rs. 6,400 and bought time to pay the hostel fees of Rs. 25,000. “My father borrowed money to pay the fees and my teacher assured to secure some financial assistance from a Coimbatore-based foundation for the hostel fees,” he said.
His mother died of cancer when he was studying Class XI and he wanted to specialise in oncology and serve the poor.
Besides, P. Thangavel, a girl from the backward class and whose father was an illiterate, has secured admission in Venkateswara Medical College to pursue Physician Assistant course, S. Navaneethakrishnan, coordinator for the “Elite Class” said.
Agaram Foundation has offered to fund her education, he said.
Another boy R. Thennarasu got admission in Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) and the college offered to sponsor his education under the ‘Support The Advancement of Rural Students Scheme.’
Similarly SRM University offered to sponsor the education of S. Muthuselvi, who got a cut-off of 194.75, he said.
The Times Of India
Dalits decry death of their
old dance forms
Vinod Khanal,TNN | Jul 4, 2015, 05.09 PM IST
ALLAHABAD: After raising the pitch for Dalit theatre, Dalit activists have sought government recognition for dying traditional dance forms of Chamar, Pasi and Kahar communities and have written to the Union ministry of culture to “save these art forms from slow death”.
There are no takers for the dance forms that found mention in 800-year-old Sanskrit literary work of Vidyapati and in poems of legendary poet Sumitranandan Pant. Some of the art forms have only one or two performers across the eastern-UP and they too are unable to perform due to the old age, said an activist Rambrij Gautam. He added that such traditional dances should be recognized by the government as ‘folk art forms’.
“The artistes are dying a slow and silent death. Octogenarian Sarju Bhagat, who died recently, was among half-a-dozen active exponent of folk art ‘Karinga’. The remaining five too are living in penury, unrecognized and neglected by cultural centres of the Central and state governments,” said Rambrij.
He said folk dance of Chamars were usually referred to as ‘Chamarua’, Pasi’s as ‘Pasiua’ and Kahar’s as ‘Kaharua’.
An alumnus of Campus Theatre, Rambrij began his acting career with plays, ‘Beast on the Moon’ and ‘Fences’ in late eighties. His works in slums and his artistes are mostly from the backward community kids.
Another activist, R A Ahirwar said, “Only ‘Nachna’ dance form prevalent among dhobis (washermen) has been recognized as folk art form. Dance forms of lower castes are usually performed in the night mostly during marriage and birth ceremonies. These dance forms usually highlight social stigmas prevalent in the society.”
Commenting on the state of affairs, Indian Folk Art Federation’s artiste and chairperson Atul Yaduvanshi lamented the neglect of folk art forms.
“It is a sorry state of affairs. Art forms are dying. It is the responsibility of the state and Central governments to preserve and propagate them. The cultural centres usually promote colourful folk arts with a glamour element. I think it is time to change the perception or else we will be bereft of our cultural and tradition.”
The Indian express
‘Sweeper’ boxer Krishna Rout seeks a job of dignity from Mamata government
“Earlier I worked for five years as a sweeper of the Corporation, but in 2005 I was given the job of spraying disinfectants in drains which I have been doing for the past ten years,” said Rout.
By: Press Trust of India | Howrah | Published on:July 4, 2015 4:54 pm
Former national boxer Krishna Rout, who has been cleaning open drains for the past 15 years as a temporary worker of Howrah Municipal Corporation, on Saturday said he would appeal to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to give him a permanent government job of dignity.
“Earlier I worked for five years as a sweeper of the Corporation, but in 2005 I was given the job of spraying disinfectants in drains which I have been doing for the past ten years,” said the 1987 gold medallist and 1992 silver medallist of the National Boxing Championship.
“It is difficult to run a family of six including a brother suffering from tuberculosis with the paltry sum of Rs 232 a day,” said Rout who was the winner of the West Bengal State Open Lalchand Rai Memorial Boxing Championship under 40 kg in 1987 improving his runner-up position in the same championship in 1985.
“I’ll soon write a letter to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking a permanent government job of my stature to live a life of dignity,” said the 43-year-old former boxer who coaches about 150 children of poor families in the morning before he started his daily labour.
“I hope nobody who has a dream suffers like me in life,” Rout said.
It’s now Dalits vs. non-Dalits
They account for 21 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s population, and the Socio-economic and Caste Census has now found that Dalit households in rural Tamil Nadu touch 25.55 per cent. However, Dalits in the State continue to be at the receiving end; and there seems to be no let-up in atrocities against them.
“Historically, the political discourse in Tamil Nadu revolved around the Brahmins versus non-Brahmins question. Now, it has become Dalits versus non-Dalits. The consistent campaign by caste outfits have resulted in other communities ganging up against Dalits, rendering their numerical strength somewhat significant,” said P. Sampath, president of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF).
While urbanisation is expected to dilute caste discrimination, Dalits could not take advantage of the process as they could not migrate to urban areas due to lack of education and resources. This is reflected in the increase in their households. “Traditional land holding communities migrated to cities long ago. Lands have changed hands and intermediate communities are holding a major portion of the land. Dalits, mostly landless and eking out a livelihood as agricultural labourers, are at the mercy of the intermediate communities,” said VCK general secretary Ravikumar.
The late 1980s saw the emergence of parties that secured political clout for intermediate communities. Subsequently, the Panchayati Raj system accumulated power in the hands of representatives of local bodies from these castes. “Intermediate communities became very powerful politically. It also helped them control mines and minerals, particularly sand mining in rural areas. Today, they are both politically and economically empowered. Dalits can do little against them,” Mr. Ravikumar said.
Transgender Men Continue to Struggle for Visibility in Social Change
NEW DELHI: Over a year after the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement on transgender rights, one group among the transgender community continues to be left out.
The term transgender is often understood to refer to Hijras or transgender women. But this definition leaves out other identities, like transgender men, who are yet to find recognition.
Historically, Hijras have been visible and self-organised. Anti-HIV efforts led to funding and support to platforms for transgender women. A number of transgender women took a public role in advocating for their rights and are now well known activists.
Transgender men, on the other hand, are barely visible. The reason, they say, is that they have no support system, no spaces of their own.
This week the third national Hijra Habba was organised by India HIV Aids Alliance in Delhi to focus on issues facing the transgender community. The event was attended by 350 transgender women. However, only five transgender men were present.
Among them was 36 year old Siddhanth, who works as a recruitment consultant in Mumbai. Born a woman, he faced intense pressure to conform. He was able to transition to a male identity with the help of surgery and hormones three years ago.
Siddhanth said, “When you are transitioning or when you have to change your documents, you have to go out and tell people that I am a female who is becoming a male. It is very stressful to do so because people don’t understand. There is lack of knowledge and transgender men are scared about coming out. I feel acceptance will come through knowledge. If you educate people about what you are, I am sure there will be a change in the society.”
25-year-old Rajat Shelke, who works with an NGO, says it was a challenge to get his gender identity and name legally changed. Despite the Supreme Court judgment in the NALSA case last year, which states that sex reassignment surgery is not necessary to self-identify as a transgender, Rajat was asked for a medical certificate.
Rajat said, “I wanted to use the NALSA judgement, and I even applied on the basis of that before undertaking surgery. But they did not approve my case, and I had to fight a lot with the Gazette.”
The process of transition was difficult because of lack of adequate legal and medical support. Sex reassignment surgeries for this group are complex and doctors are not equipped to handle either surgeries or psycho-social issues related to transgender men.
“No doctor knows how to treat us. Some take Rs. 2,500, some take Rs. 600 for counselling. The cost for surgery varies between Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 3 lakh. There is no guideline for this. Lawyers and doctors should be made aware of transgender issues,” says Rajat.
Transgender men are trying to organise themselves like the other transgender groups to create awareness. There is hope that systems will be in place once a law is enacted for the transgender community. In the coming session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha will take up the private member transgender bill. It is expected to lead to a comprehensive law that will elucidate the rights of the transgender community.
The Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, said, “The Government is keen that a law is enacted in favour of transgenders. Just like there are social protection measures for vulnerable groups such as SC, ST and the disabled, there should be a plan for transgenders. Our ministry has moved ahead in this direction. I hope we are successful.”
The transgender community is looking for a law to support better implementation of the Supreme Court judgment on transgender rights.
ODISHA ANTI-LAND GRAB LAW SHOULD
LET OFF THE POOR
Saturday, 04 July 2015 | MANAS JENA
A recent ordinance by the Government of Odisha published in the Odisha Gazette on May 26 last, entitled ‘The Odisha Land Grabbing (Prohibition) ordinance, 2015’ has raised doubt among organizations engaged in land rights movements.The ordinance does not differentiate between potential land grabber and poor land grabber. The latter grabs a piece of homestead and agriculture land for a shelter and livelihood while the former does it for more prosperity and wealth. The apprehension is that by using thelaw a poor landless person occupying a piece of Government land may be arrested by police as the ordinance aims to prohibit activities of land grabbing in the State.
The Government land includes land of Government, local authority, and a statutory or non statutory body, owned, controlled or managed by the Government, the Bhoodan Yagna Samiti, a religious or charitable institution or endowment including a WAKF. It is defined that land grabbing means every activities of grabbing of any land by a person or a group of persons without any lawful entitlement and with a view to illegally taking possession of such land. The ordinance has provision of punishment for land grabbing with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year and may extend to seven years and with fine which may extend to Rs 20,000. There is a provision of a special court consisting of a Chairman, Judge of a High Court and four other members, two district judges and other two not below the rank of Collector. They all will hold office for a period of three years.
There is no need to explain how land is important for shelter, housing for life and for people dependent on land based livelihood. It is the State Government which has to ensure an entitlement record over the land through survey and settlement by issuing Patta and allow possession through demarcation. It is evident that landless poor mostly belong to poor Dalit, Adivasi and other marginalized communities.
They have been staying over Government land since generations. Many of them are also cultivating Government land without a record of rights over the land. It is unfortunate that land being a State subject, in the last 65 years since Independence the Governments have not yet ensured homestead land for lakhs of land less families across the nation. There has been no proper database about the volume of homestead less families under different revenue circle in spite of regular circulars by the Revenue Department for enumeration of homestead less families in both rural and urban areas. In a recent letter by the Revenue Department to all Collectors, the Department has raised the annual income ceiling from Rs 24, 000 to Rs 40, 000 for the purpose of the definition of homestead landless person under Odisha Government Land Settlement Act, 1962 (OGLS) and Rules, 1983 and Odisha Prevention of Land Encroachment Act (OPLE), 1972.
It has been instructed to all the Collectors to survey the homestead less families in a campaign mode and identify eligible homestead less families and also do the survey to identify leasable and non objectionable Government land for settlement. The settlement of land for homestead purpose has to be maximum ten decimals in rural areas which have to come under the provision of OGLS and OPLE Acts and Rules. It is told that the whole exercise may be completed by October 31, 2015. It has been the demand of the people in anti-feudal and anti –British struggle that land rights should be given to all, specially the landless farmers, share croppers in rural villages. The post independent Governments have made provisions in law to carry out the land reform agenda but unfortunately the entitlement rights over land has not been completed till date. In Odisha, the process of homestead and agriculture land distribution was started since 1974-75 but unfortunately this has been continuing with new deadlines in each few years of interval. Why our State Revenue administration has been taking such a long time to fulfill its duty towards the landless poor?
Who are these landless poor? They are mostly the Dalit, Adivasies, displaced and migrant workers who are not aware and mostly ignorant about land laws and were never told about their land entitlements.They are landless because the State Government has not recognized their legal ownership over the land in spite of their self declaration of continued possession over the land since generations. Even today lakhs of families have been staying over either Government land or private land of ex-Zamindars or land lords without a record of right.
In a number of cases, their applications for an entitlement record have been purposefully delayed and many dishonest revenue officials from top to bottom asked them for bribe to settle the land. There is evidence of harassment in a number of cases. Many poor people have been unnecessarily harassed in revenue courts and not getting the desired support in terms of legal aid to present their cases.
The mega projects in the State have been directly and indirectly displacing lakhs of families from their homestead land based livelihood and in the process many become landless migrant workers.There has been huge distress migration of poor to urban locations where they land in slums without a shelter. They do not have the capacity to purchase private land or take house on rent and are forced to occupy the city outskirt area as shelter in sub-human condition.
It has been observed in mining and industrial belts that the Revenue Department has been more alert in responding to the needs of the corporate and busy in giving possession and demarcation of the land to companies. But the same spirit has not been exhibited for the land less poor people who have been routinely visiting Revenue Inspector and Tehsildar offices to get a Patta and demarcation of their land.
The landless rural poor are mostly illiterate and unaware of their rights and entitlements. The political parties and CSOs, while opposing land acquisition of people with land, are not so active in the same way for the cause of landless visibility to the cause of the land less poor and land distribution in their favor.
The land distribution agenda of the landless poor has been downsized as agenda of few poor social groups and remain unattended in order to give the issue a political visibility in legislative bodies.The Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India has made provision of financial support to the State to purchase private land to distribute among homestead landless families but unfortunately the Government of Odisha has not yet implemented it in any tehsil where as many other States have used this opportunity to getting land for the landless by utilizing central assistance.
The Government of Telengana has allocated Rs 1,000 crore to purchase homestead and agricultural land for landless Dalit families. It is the duty of the Revenue Department to ensure land for land less while protecting Government land but, as evident from every day media reports, in spite of favorable land laws, the SCs and STs have been brutally evicted in many parts of the State.
News monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET