After 3 Years of Protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, Police Action on These Villagers Came at Midnight – NDTV
Return to Hindu fold or face social boycott: villagers – The Hindustan Times
FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE, DALITS IN HISAR’S BHAGANA ASSUME NEW RELIGIOUS IDENTITY
Saffron diktat in village of ‘biased verdicts’ – The Tribune
First Women pilot from Gondia jobless; blames backward caste – Mid Day
State to hold fresh survey for manual scavengers – The Asian Age
Rs 250-crore venture capital fund set up for welfare of SC entrepreneurs – The Economic times
Ruling on Dutee Gives Santhi a Ray of Hope – The New Indian Express
Is India’s Caste System Still Alive?
After 3 Years of Protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, Police Action on These Villagers Came at Midnight
NEW DELHI: Late on Sunday night, several families from Haryana’s Hisar, protesting at Jantar Mantar in the centre of Delhi for nearly three years, were allegedly driven out by the police who used batons.
Volunteers of former Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav’s “Swaraj Abhiyaan” party, who were passing by, allegedly tried to step in and were also beaten.
The families had been protesting since 2012 against alleged atrocities by upper caste Jats in their village.
They allege that only when they announced that they were converted to Islam, did the authorities react.
Protesters and witnesses say at around midnight on Sunday, Delhi policemen tried to remove them by hitting them with canes.
“15-20 policemen attacked us at night, some were in civilian uniform. They hit me so hard my face is still numb. Police asked us to leave the protest site saying we have no permission. But we have nowhere to go…we have been evicted from our own village,” said Jagdish, who says he has converted.
“We were lying down peacefully and have been protesting here at jantar mantar since 2012, no one bothered then, its only now that we have accepted Islam that the authorities have woken up to us. We had nowhere to go so we have embraced Islam,” said another protester, claiming that over 100 dalits from his village converted on Friday.
The police action allegedly left about a dozen protesters injured; some of them suffered head wounds.
Volunteers of Yogendra Yadav’s new ‘Swaraj Abhiyaan’ group preparing for a farmer rally saw the commotion and stopped to intervene. “I saw the police beating some protesters..I asked them why they were doing so? I intervened and they hit me on my head, they injured my finger too,” said Manish, Swaraj Abhiyaan volunteer.
Yogendra Yadav said, “This is an astonishing case of brutality and illegality by Delhi police they attacked six of our volunteers. Because they happened to stand next to a place where the police were doing some kind of operation…they hit both our volunteers and the other protestors.”
The Hindustan Times
Return to Hindu fold or face social boycott: villagers
Ishtiyaq Sibtian Joo, Hindustan Times, Bhagana (Hisar)
| Updated: Aug 10, 2015 08:47 IST
The residents of Bhagana village on Sunday directed Dalits, who converted to Islam on Saturday at Jantar Mantar, to revert back to Hinduism or face social boycott in the village.
The decision was taken at a panchayat meeting called by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. The meeting was attended around 40 Jats, 15 Dalits, 7 Brahmins and a few Muslims too. However, at the meeting, leaders from VHP and Bajrang Dal were in full control.
“It is not the matter of caste, it is the matter of Hindu religion. Therefore, we should tell them that if they want to live in village they have to return to their original religion – Hinduism,” district president of the Bhajrang Dal, Kapil Vasant, said while addressing the panchayat.
Seconding Vasant’s views, the panchayat members issued a diktat that the village people who converted to Islam needed to return to Hinduism or face social boycott.
“It was mutually decided that we will try to persuade them return to Hinduism. If they don’t agree, the entire village will boycott them,” former Dalit sarpanch Kitab Singh said.
However, the current sarpanch Rakesh Panghal was missing from the scene.
“We have talked to the families of some of the converts, who assured us that they will get them back in Hinduism,” Vasant told HT.
Later, even the leaders of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha also made their entry into the village and interacted with the villagers on the matter.
Mixed reactions from villagers
A Jat farmer Ishwar Lal said he didn’t have any issue with Dalit converting to Islam.
“Why should it matter to me what they want to do with their lives. We are farmers and are busy with our work. Personally, I won’t boycott anyone. If this is what panchayat has decided then let it be,” he said.
Manohar Lal runs the lone grocery store at the controversial square of the village. He was of the view that Dalits were stretching the matter too far unnecessarily and what they were saying at the Jantar Mantar was far from reality.
“Jats are around for a long time and Dalits keep on provoking them,” Lal said.
The Muslim community members who also attended the meeting, said they, too, didn’t support the conversions.
“There is some problem with the Dalits too. They are playing politics over the issue. The youngsters are not listening to their elders. Ours is the third generation living here. We never had any problem,” said Lateef, a driver by profession.
FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE, DALITS IN HISAR’S BHAGANA ASSUME NEW RELIGIOUS IDENTITY
Saffron diktat in village of
Deepender Deswal Tribune News Service Bhagana (Hisar), August 9
A day after a group of Dalits of the village converted to Islam in Delhi, a panchayat organised at the behest of saffron outfits on Sunday asked them to either revert to Hinduism or leave.
The panchayat was attended by leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal from Hisar and 60 villagers belonging to different castes in the Brahamin panchayat.
The panchayat condemned the conversion of around 100 Dalit families to Islam saying they had been lured. The panchayat unanimously decided that the village would welcome the families back if they returned to the Hindu fold.
“But we will oppose such families that have left Hinduism to embrace Islam,” the panchayat said. Of around 250 families, 20 have left the village permanently.
Kitab Singh, a former Dalit sarpanch, termed the conversion wrong. “The village panchayat’s decision would be delivered to these people soon. If they are feeling alienated, we are ready to listen to their grievances.”
Kapil Vats, a Bajrang Dal leader, said the conversion was unacceptable. “The villagers are upset at the conversion. We will visit the village again in the next few days and form a committee to try and persuade them for ‘ghar wapsi’,” he said.
“We had talked to the family members of some converts and they revealed that some people had taken their heads of family to Delhi two days ago,” he said. One of the converts, Ramphal Kajla (59), who returned to the village from Delhi this morning, said they were forced to convert to Islam following harassment at the hands of upper caste Jats.
“We took the decision after exhausting all options to get justice. Our families were subjected to hatred on caste lines. We are scared of visiting the village temple. The disputes over ownership of common land, allotment of 100 square yard plots under the government scheme remain unresolved even after the change of government,” he said.
Haneef, a Muslim who has both Dalits and Jats as neighbours, said: “A wrong picture of our village is being portrayed. There is no incident of atrocity of any caste or any individual. There are 35 Muslim families in the village, but we have never had any problem. I attended the meeting today and approved of the panchayat decision. I oppose any kind of conversion from Hinduism to Islam or vice versa. One should respect all religions.”
Hisar Sadar Station House Officer Lalit Kumar rejected reports of tension in the village. The SHO said no case of atrocity on the Dalits had been reported in the past couple of weeks at Bhagana village. The police would take action if a complaint was lodged.
First Women pilot from Gondia jobless; blames backward caste
By Sharad Vyas |Posted 09-Aug-2015
She has the distinction of being Maharashtra’s first commercial pilot from Naxal heartland, Gondia district, bordering Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. But Captain Swati Ladre’s dreams are yet to take off.
The 28-year-old pilot, who belongs to the Dom caste, a listed category of safai karmacharis or sanitary workers, has been jobless for more than two years after obtaining her commercial pilot licence (CPL), a full 200-hours of flying quota from the National Flying Training Institute, Gondia later. This, despite several achievements to her credit, including being the first woman pilot from Gondia.
“It is disappointing. They (the government) talk of educating the girl child and uplifting backward groups, but where are the opportunities? All I wished was to break away from my family’s social past. It doesn’t look like that’s about to happen,” she says in a telephonic interview.
Ladre’s grandparents were sanitary workers with the local municipality council which made discrimination a reality since she was little. “As a child, she (Swati) lost friends because of our caste. The family was ostracised, people wouldn’t eat with us, some suddenly stopped calling us home. But she was determined to make a mark,” says her father, Rajesh Ladre.
In an bid to have herself heard, Ladre has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharshtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, but hasn’t heard back. She was hoping a nudge from them would help her complete a Type Rating training on an Airbus 320 in Mumbai.
A Type Rating is a regulating agency’s certification of an airplane pilot to fly a certain aircraft type that demands additional flying hours beyond the scope of the initial licence and aircraft class training. The training comes at a cost of R20 lakh.
This, Ladre says, is impossible to amass after the family has already spent close to R30 lakh on CPL training, by borrowing money from relatives and mortgaging ancestral property with private lenders.
Ladre, who completed her CPL in 2012, obtaining the Indian DGCA approved CPL N0. 12255, has requested the government to refer her name to an airline, many of which do not hire licencees without Type Training.
“Your little support would enlighten my career and brighten my future,” she wrote in a letter to PM Modi last year. “Unlike my grandparents, my parents almost overcame caste hurdles by doing odd teaching jobs… I only wanted to continue in that direction but this field is for those from a privileged background. It is extremely difficult to make a mark,” she wrote.
When sunday mid-day contacted PS Meena, additional chief secretary (aviation/GAD), Maharashtra government, she assured the state would help. “We will look into this case at the earliest,” he said.
Members of the Dom community, a Scheduled Caste, have long been workers at cremation grounds or are sweepers or weavers of ropes and baskets. They are also well known for their musical ability. According to Enclyclopedia Britannica, they are outside Brahminic control and have their own deities and demonology. Historials say there is reason to believe that the Gypsies, who originally came from India, are an offshoot of this caste.
The Asian Age
State to hold fresh survey for manual scavengers
Admitting deficiency in surveying manual scavengers in the state, Maharashtra government has decided to conduct a fresh survey. It is supposed to be completed in one month. The social justice department has also asked all local civic bodies and rural development department to conduct door-to-door survey to get actual numbers of unsanitary latrines in Maharashtra so that they can be converted into sanitary ones.
Accepting it as an inhuman practise, the Central government had in 2013 prohibited manual scavenging across the country by enacting the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 for the first time. To rehabilitate them, the state government was asked to conduct a survey but the one conducted by Maharashtra has appeared as faulty.
The social justice department has now issued a government resolution (GR) for conducting a fresh survey of the manual scavengers. According to the GR, the survey would be started on August 10 and is supposed to be completed within a month.
Speaking on this, Ujjwal Uke, principal secretary, social justice department, said that there were some deficiencies with the survey conducted last time.
“The definition of manual scavenging was a little doubtful as in one place it says that if any instrument is used while cleaning a latrine, then the person will not be called a manual scavenger. The definition has now been clarified. Because of the ambiguity, the earlier survey had come up with a very low numbers as manual scavengers,” he said.
He further added that the government wants a comprehensive survey to be conducted now so that all the people involved in the practice can be covered. “We have also received fresh guidelines from the Central government for devising a new way of conducting this survey,” Mr Uke said.
The list prepared by the municipal bodies and rural development department would be submitted to the state and based on that a rehabilitation programme for these people would be made, the principal secretary said.
Significantly, the issue of wrong number of manual scavengers was raised by none other than Dr P.L. Punia, chairman of national commission for scheduled caste (NCSC). During visit of the NCSC in June in Maharashtra, Dr Punia was informed that only three manual scavengers are left in the state. But when he objected to it, the chief secretary admitted that the figure seemed to be incorrect and a fresh survey would be undertaken. However, Mr Uke claimed that decision for a fresh survey was taken much before the commission’s visit.
The Economic times
Rs 250-crore venture capital fund set up for welfare of SC entrepreneurs
By PTI | 9 Aug, 2015, 06.24PM IST
PHAGWARA: Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has created a Rs 250-crore ‘Venture Capital Fund’ for providing equity-based loans to prospective Scheduled Caste entrepreneurs, with a view to further boost welfare measures for the disadvantaged sections of society.
Union Minister Vijay Sampla today said that while his department would provide Rs 200 crore to the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), the latter would add Rs 50 crore to it from its own resources for the Fund.
“Out of this fund, Rs 50 lakh to Rs 15 crore easy loan will be given to the prospective SC entrepreneurs for setting up industry. He can return loan in easy instalments out of the profit,” the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment said.
He said that his department will earmark Rs 200 crore every year for the Fund.
he minister further said that even people from general categories (GC) an avail of this fund by having 60 per cent partnership of those from the SCs in the industry.
“This participation of the SCs will have to continue till the entire loan was cleared by the GC person,” he said.
For students, Sampla said, Rs 3 crore will be given for a hostel for SC girls.
He said that Rs 25,000 will be given for motored tricycles to those having 80 per cent disability.
“For women empowerment, SC girls will be given drivers training,” he said.
“Besides mechanical training, such drivers will also be imparted judo-karate training for self-defence,” he said.
On Adampur civil airport project that he was pursuing actively, Sampla claimed that decks were cleared for it as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had given permission for it.
Sampla said, “Civil aviation ministry has also given its nod. Punjab Chief Minister has agreed to provide 50 acre land for the civil airstrip to be added to the defence airbase. Airport Authority team has been invited for inspection while Land Acquisition team was being set up for the strip. Central team will soon visit the site. The long-pending demand of the people of Doaba, especially NRIs, may concretise soon.”
He also said that 26 Drug De-addiction cum Rehabilitation Centres will be set up in Punjab.
“Drug addicts will be kept for three months, instead of earlier 21 days, at the centres, be given yoga and spiritual lessons and counselling by specialists for their personality development,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sampla refused to be drawn into any controversy regarding alleged involvement of aides of Punjab BJP President Kamal Sharma in a corruption case.
He said that he won’t comment on any person without knowing the details.
The New Indian Express
Ruling on Dutee Gives Santhi a Ray of Hope
By Pon Vasanth Arunachalam | ENS
Published: 10th August 2015 03:35 AM
MADURAI: The recent judgment of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) suspending the ‘Hyperandrogenism Regulations’ in the case of Indian athlete Dutee Chand has given a new lease of hope for Santhi Soundarajan, who was unceremoniously disqualified after she failed a gender test in the aftermath of winning a silver medal in the 800-metres event at the 2006 Asian Games.
“I am really happy for Dutee. I hope I too will get justice and my medals will be returned. I am eager to compete in athletic events again,” said Santhi, a Dalit from Kathakurichi in Pudukottai.
While the judgment enables the 18-year-old Dutee Chand, who was disqualified last year after she tested positive for Hyperandrogenism, to compete in athletics again, whether the judgment will have a similar positive impact on Santhi’s career is unclear.
Santhi, is however confident that the CAS judgment vindicates that the treatment meted out to her was unfair. “I want to approach the government citing the recent judgment. But everywhere I go, my attempts are being stonewalled,” She said.
The landmark judgment by CAS, the international body to settle disputes in sport, has said that the assertion by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) that Hyperandrogenism (excessive levels of androgen hormones like testosterone) in a woman athlete gives her an unfair competitive advantage over other females is not scientifically-sound.
CAS has given two years time to International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) to come up with scientific evidence to conclusively prove its assertion, failing which it said the ‘Hyperandrogenism Regulations’ will be removed forever.
“There is no doubt that what happened to Santhi was extremely unfair and unfortunate. Having said that, the Hyperandrogenism Regulations that has been suspended now by the CAS was introduced only in 2011 much before Santhi was disqualified in 2006. So, the question of whether the recent judgment will directly apply to Santhi has to be analysed more thoroughly,” said Dr Payoshni Mitra, a research consultant on gender issues in sport and one who had previously worked with Santhi besides assisting Dutee in her fight.
M Gopi Shankar of Shrishti Madurai Student Volunteer Educational Research Foundation, who is currently helping Santhi in her battle, said that the CAS judgment is an indication that the gender is an extremely complex issue with many grey areas and that the present methods used by sporting bodies are clearly inadequate.
He regretted the Indian authorities’ failure to back Santhi to the hilt in her struggle.
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET