Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 09.07.15

Bombay High Court seeks reply from Maharashtra on starvation death – India Today


Inter-caste marriages dominate hearing – The Hindu


Manual scavenging still a reality – The Hindu


Maya sees caste politics in demotion of 64 UP engineers – The Tribune


Kongu region, a hotbed of casteism? – The Hindu


Congress, Opposition Trade Barbs Over Caste Details – The New Indian Express


After reshuffle, no Dalit face in key BJP team – The Indian Express


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Samaddar: Is Bengal an exception in terms of dalit movements?


India Today

 Bombay High Court seeks reply from Maharashtra on starvation death


IANS  Nagpur , July 9, 2015 | UPDATED 09:51 IST

A division bench comprising Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Indu Jain asked the principal secretary, food and civil supplies department of the state, to file the detailed affidavit within two weeks.

 he Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit on its non-implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013, following a starvation death in Tiroda, Gondiya, district.


A division bench comprising Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Indu Jain asked the principal secretary, food and civil supplies department of the state, to file the detailed affidavit within two weeks. The court orders came on a public interest litigation filed by Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari, who alleged the state government’s failure in implementing the food security act led to the starvation death in the backward Gondiya district of the state.

The victim, Lalita S. Rangari, was a Dalit widow, aged 36 and mother of two children, one of whom is visually disabled, allegedly because of starvation. Terming this as ‘gross negligence’ on the part of the state government, Tiwari in his PIL said that the state government has failed until now to identify the ‘eligible’ and ‘priority’ households under the NFS Act after it came into being on September 10, 2013. Moreover, the PIL claimed, attempts by the government to reduce the quantity of food grain supply through the public distribution system (PDS) also caused great hardships to the poorest of the poor in the past one year.

Of Maharashtra’s population, 76.32 percent in rural areas and 45.34 in urban areas is required to be covered under the Targeted PDS, he added.”The report of starvation death is shocking. It is a stigma on civilized society and thus is a matter of great concern… This unfortunate incident could have been avoided if the state had performed its obligation under the NFS Act,” the petition pointed out.

“The NFS Act is a complete code in itself…and gives effect to the right to life as guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 21. Till date, the state government has not framed any guidelines to implement it properly and effectively, which led to the starvation death,” Tiwari said. He demanded directions to the state to implement the NFS Act properly, order a probe into the starvation death and adequate compensation to the deceased woman’s family.

The petition will come up for next hearing on July 22, said the petitioner’s lawyer Vinod Tiwari.

The Hindu

 Inter-caste marriages dominate hearing



Panel for SCs hears complaints

 Backlash faced by Dalits in inter-caste marriages and non-utilisation of special component for Scheduled Castes dominated the complaints that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes received at a hearing here on Wednesday.

The hearing, conducted by NCSC chairman P.L. Puniya, saw representations from MLAs as well.

Puthia Tamizhagam leader K. Krishnasamy, who appeared before the panel, said he wanted the commission to intervene in the growing number of violent crimes against Dalits who marry outside their community.

“I cited the recent murder of Gokulraj, the Dalit boy who was murdered in Namakkal,” he said, alleging that such incidents were becoming a trend. Also, he said the police were not committed in following complaints lodged by the members of the Dalit community

Dr. Krishnasamy said there were discrepancies in the utilisation of the special component for Scheduled Castes in the State.

Former IAS office P. Sivakami told the commission that successive Chief Ministers failed to conduct the annual review of the implementation of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, a legal requirement. “Since this is a Central Act, the Centre should intervene and ensure periodic reviews,” she said.

Ms. Sivakami alleged over 90 per cent of cases under the Act end in acquittals. In many cases, counter complaints stall investigation.

The commission also received representations from a number of NGOs.

The Hindu

 Manual scavenging still a reality



Startling facts emerge from census; Maharashtra tops the list

 The practice of manual scavenging, officially banned since decades in India, continues with impunity in several States. The latest Socio-Economic Caste Census data released on July 3 reveals that 1, 80, 657 households are engaged in this degrading work for a livelihood.

Maharashtra, with 63,713, tops the list with the largest number of manual scavenger households, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Karnataka, as per Census data.


Heartening trend

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, told The Hindu that when compared to the 1961 census, in which 3.5 million manual scavenging households had been found and roughly 8 lakh persons were engaged in manual scavenging, the present census findings show the great reduction in the numbers of people engaging in this degrading practice.

He said that despite their request six months ago to increase the amount of money given to panchayats to build toilets to Rs. 15,000 (it is currently Rs. 12,000) no steps have been taken yet by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, to respond to this. As a result toilets built under the government’s flagship Swacch Bharat Abhiyan continue to be of a poor quality. “The UPA government built 5 crore 40 lakh toilets during its regime, but because of the poor quality of construction and inadequate amount of money disbursed for it, the issue of modernising sanitation practices in rural areas has not been achieved,” he said.

Mr. Pathak further said that the legal crackdown, using existing provisions of the law, do not offer a long-term solution to the problem and it is only through modernising sanitation facilities and sustaining a campaign to change the mindsets of people who support these practices that the practice can be eradicated.

Minister responds

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot told The Hindu that under the new 2013 law to ensure the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, 2500 manual scavenger families, who clean human excreta with bare hands, had been identified so far. “The government has given these families Rs. 40,000 aid money and is also given them skills training so that they can pursue alternative jobs. The Safai Karmachari Vitt Vikas Nigam is also extending credit to them so they can go for permanent jobs. We have started intervention work in Lucknow, Haridwar and Varanasi, and will be extending intervention to other States,” he said.

The Tribune

 Maya sees caste politics in demotion of 64 UP engineers


 “The Supreme Court had not disapproved of reservation in promotion. It had only laid down stringent conditions for it. Instead of following the condition, the Samajwadi Party government has completely done away with it,” Mayawati, BSP national president

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, July 8

Mayawati, BSP national president, today charged the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party of being “casteist” for demoting 64 engineers promoted during her regime under the reservation for promotion policy.

A Cabinet meeting presided by CM Yadav yesterday approved a proposal to revert 64 irrigation and water resources department engineers and other employees reportedly in pursuance of a Supreme Court verdict of April 27, 2012.

Mayawati, an ardent supporter of reservation in promotion both inside the Lok Sabha and outside, today charged the SP government of misleading people on this score.

“The Supreme Court had not disapproved of reservation in promotion. It had only laid down stringent conditions for it. Instead of following the condition, the Samajwadi Party government has completely done away with it,” said the BSP national president.

Charging the state government of “nepotism” and undue prop up of Yadavs at the cost of other backwards, Mayawati said it was this unbridled promotion of Yadavs that had led to “jungle raj” and all around lawlessness.

Responding to a question, Mayawati hit out at both the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre and the SP government for indulging in ‘natakbaazi’ (theatrics) to lure the Dalits.

She was speaking in the context of the Central Government planning to include biographies of Dalit icons and social reformers in textbooks and SP’s proposed “Dalit Sammelan” in Azamgarh.

“The people can see through such natakbaazi. The NDA government is sub-contracting all work to private firms where there is no reservation for SC/ST. Here the SP government is demoting SC/ST employees. The people can see their intention. Let them decide their fate”, she commented.

Demanding an impartial CBI inquiry into the Vyapam scam, Mayawati said for the sake of transparency and objectivity, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan should resign.

She said the Vyapam and Lalitgate controversies had conclusively proved that both the Congress and the BJP were at the same level as far as corruption was concerned.

The Hindu

 Kongu region, a hotbed of casteism?



 Recent murder of Dalit youth and social boycott of writer Perumal Murugan provide ample evidence of the western belt in Tamil Nadu being more casteist than southern districts.

 Caste conflicts, it is generally believed, are confined to the State’s southern districts, where caste Hindus and Dalits have often locked horns.

Even the late 1990s witnessed widespread riots, forcing the DMK government to remove the names of all leaders from transport corporations, roads, government buildings and streets, even though many of these leaders did not identify themselves with their caste. However, aggressive casteist tendencies emerging from the western belt of Tamil Nadu seem to overshadow the southern districts.

What happened to writer Perumal Murugan – who was forced to leave his hometown after his novelMathorubhagan evoked protests from some caste groups – and the killing of Dalit youth Gokulraj exemplify this trend. Caste elements effectively use social media to spread their sectarian message and, often, the contents are unprintable.


“It is a fallacy to think that the Kongu region is progressive. It has always practised silent and violent oppressive methods against Dalits. The social boycott of Perumal Murugan and the murder of Gokulraj have brought to focus the mindset of the dominant caste,” said writer S.V. Rajadurai. While other parts of Tamil Nadu are populated by Parayars and Pallars, the two major sub-sects of Dalits, Arundathiyars live in large numbers in the Kongu belt and work as landless agricultural labourers. If landholding and education gave an edge to Pallars, traditional Dalit leadership emerged from the Parayar community in the Northern region, giving these two communities a political identity. But political mobilisation has eluded Arundathiyars. Proverbs insulting Arundathiyar are very common in the Kongu region.

“The active role played by the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) drew the State’s attention to Gokulraj’s murder. But I am not sure an Arundathiyar boy would have got similar support, even though there are honour killings in this region,” Mr. Rajadurai said.

Stressing that the Kongu region cold not be compared to the southern districts, senior CPI leader K. Subbarayan attributed the new trend in the Kongu region to the consistent efforts made by casteist elements to build their caste identity.

“I have seen Brahmins and Dalits, affiliated to the AITUC, working together as shift leaders in textile mills and dining side by side after the shift is over. As the unity among the working class is not in the interest of the corporate houses, MNCs and other business-houses encourage division among workers,” he said. Mr. Subbarayan said it was Communist leaders who worked for the welfare of Manjolai and Valparai tea estate workers, unmindful of the dangers. “But identity politics has forced them to become part of the unions run by casteist parties,” he alleged.

The New Indian Express

Congress, Opposition Trade Barbs Over Caste Details


By Express News Service

Published: 09th July 2015 05:32 AM   Last Updated: 09th July 2015 05:32 AM

BELAGAVI:  Ruling Congress MLAs on Wednesday strongly defended the disclosure of caste and other details of individuals collected during state government’s recent socio-educational survey on the website of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission.

Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar objected to the government’s act stating that it was an intrusion into the privacy of individuals.

Shettar, who raised the issue in the Assembly on Wednesday, said, “The government had promised to keep personal details secret before carrying out the survey, but has failed to do so.”

“Since untouchability still exists in society, Dalits are forced to lie about their caste and take houses on rent. But now, with their caste details made public, they will find it difficult to get houses on rent,” BJP member Govind Karjol said. Making details public will affect dalits and individuals of lower castes more than those from the upper castes.

Objecting to it, several Congress MLAs, including Tumakuru City MLA Rafeeq Ahmed, said, “The practice of untouchability might be prevalent in your region (north Karnataka)… but in our side (south Karnataka) people never ask caste details before renting out houses.”

However, Karjol hit back saying, “If S R Patil (IT, BT Minister) says that such a practice does not exist in our area, then I will resign from the Assembly.”

Intervening, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa said there was nothing wrong in disclosing caste details of individuals as caste system is not new to Indian society. “Everybody knows which caste I belong to. I don’t have any objection to it,” he said.

Congress MLA K R Rameshkumar said, “Our society is driven by caste system since ancient times. Let us accept this truth and not run away from it,” he said.

The Indian Express

 After reshuffle, no Dalit face in key BJP team


The BJP is keen to repeat its stunning performance in the Lok Sabha elections with an eye on the Dalit support base in poll bound Bihar and Uttar Pradesh

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published on:July 8, 2015 5:12 pm

The BJP and its ideological parent RSS may have chalked out strategies to woo the Dalits, but when party president Amit Shah reshuffled his key team for the organisation, he failed to give them a representation.

Dalit leaders in the party said that when Shah filled the national office-bearers’ posts vacated by those who were inducted into the Union government, among whom two were Scheduled Caste leaders – Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ram Shankar Katheria, he did not include new leaders from the community in his team.

“BJP has been talking about giving the Dalits their dues. But the leadership ignored the Dalit leaders who have been working hard for the party,”said a party leader. Shah recently made 10 appointments to his key team.

An upset Dalit leader said the party leadership has been trying to get cosy with Dalit leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan, an ally and Jitan Ram Majhi, former chief minister of Bihar who had split ways with Nitish Kumar. “But Dalit leaders from the party ranks have been ignored.”

Among 37 office bearers – vice presidents, general secretaries, joint general secretaries and secretaries – who were appointed in the recent party reshuffle, there is no Dalit leader. “There are OBC leaders and tribal leaders. After (Mukthar Abbas) Naqvi became a minister, the party has accommodated Farooq Khan in the team,” a party MP pointed out.

With an eye on the Dalit support base, crucial in poll bound Bihar and in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP is keen to repeat its stunning performance in the Lok Sabha elections, the party had organised a massive programme in Patna on Dalit icon B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary. The RSS had also chalked out a plan to end caste discrimination and to incorporate Dalits into the Hindu fold.

News monitored by Girish Pant & AJEET


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