Abuse of Dalit women triggers protest – Deccan Herald
SC panel to hold review meet with Uttar Pradesh government – The Indian Express
Dalits hold ‘Atma Gaurava Sabha’ – The Hindu
Dalits stage dharna in protest against denial of entry into temple – The Hindu
Encroachment row widens caste divide in Faridkot village – The Tribune
Muzaffarnagar: Two years after riots, FIR against 12 for attacking Dalit family – The Indian Express
Casteist text messages harass govt official – The Times Of India
Between ignorance and deception: Satish Deshpande’s idea of reservations – Daily Q
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Abuse of Dalit women triggers protest
Hassan, Sep 08, 2015, DHNS:
Demanding action against a section of the people for allegedly abusing Dalit women for entering a temple and also attempting to assault them, residents from Shigaranahalli in Holenarasipur taluk staged a protest near the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Monday.
The protesters alleged that 16 women, including four Dalit women, belonging to a self-help group, went to Basaveshwara temple in the village to perform puja. A section of the people, belonging to an upper caste, objected to it and allegedly abused the Dalit women. At a meeting held the next day, the elders directed the self-help group members to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 and also bear the expenses of the temple’s sanctification. The protesters demanded a case be registered against the alleged under Prevention of Atrocities Act.
The protesters claimed that a community hall constructed under the MPLAD funds has been named ‘Vokkaligara Bhavan’ and Dalits are banned from entering it.
The hall, constructed by the government, should be available to all communities, they demanded.
The protesters also met Women’s Commission Chairperson Manjula Manasa and submitted a memorandum in this regard.
The SC/ST Commission had directed the district administration to submit a report in this regard. So, Assistant Commissioner Vijaya, Deputy Director for Social Welfare Purushottam and others had visited the village and gathered information, recently.
The Indian Express
SC panel to hold review meet with Uttar Pradesh government
The NCSC intends to take up any grievances raised during this meeting with the government officials the next day.
After two failed attempts in the last seven years, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) appears all set to finally hold its review meeting with officials of the Uttar Pradesh government to assess matters that concern the community.
On Wednesday, heads of at least 15 state government departments would sit down with officials of the NCSC at Yojana Bhavan in Lucknow for a review meeting where discussion would be held on the “atrocities” against Dalits, the process adopted by the UP government in lieu of the High Court order cancelling promotions under the ‘reservation in promotion’ policy, complaints filed by the students regarding the SC scholarship, and the use of Special Component Plan funds.
In order to ensure maximum gains from the meeting, the Commission has invited public representatives, including state MLAs and MPs, for a separate meeting on Tuesday with the SC employees’ organisations. The NCSC intends to take up any grievances raised during this meeting with the government officials the next day. Later on Tuesday, a meeting between NCSC Chiarman P L Punia and and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is also scheduled.
The meeting on Wednesday assumes importance since those proposed on last two occasions had to be cancelled. Chairman of the NCSC, P L Punia, had alleged that in July 2011, the state government not only refused to allocate space to the commission members in the government guest houses, it had also refused him (Punia) entry into King George’s Medical University, which the Commission wanted to visit to review complaints of “bias” towards SC students. The Commission had to meet the students outside the campus, he had claimed.
There was another attempt, in 2008, under the chairmanship of Buta Singh when a review meeting was planned with primary focus on the suicide committed by a review officer in the Vidhan Sabha. Sources said that that meeting, too, was cancelled.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Punia said: “Atrocities against the SC reported in the state, reservation in promotion, implementation of the Special Component Plan and other issues will be addressed.”
He, however, said there are two major issues that he would personally raise before the CM. He intends to tell the government that “instead of completely doing away with the ‘reservation in promotion’ policy, it should follow the procedure recommended in the M Nagraj case”. Punia said had the government carried out a “proper study” before introducing reservation, the HC order would not have come.
Another issue that Punia would raise before the CM were the large number of Dalit students’ complaints that their applications were cancelled due to “technical errors” while filing online forms.
Dalits hold ‘Atma Gaurava Sabha’
Leaders of various Dalit organisations warned that they would lay siege to the office of the Superintendent of Police if the ‘culprits’ are not arrested in the incident that took place at Yeeravaram in Sadashivapet mandal of Medak district by September 11.
An ‘Atma Gaurava Sabha’ (meeting for self-respect) was held at Yerravaram on Monday which was attended by KVPS State general secretary John Wesley, MPRS president Ramesh, Dalit Bahujan Front leader Shankar, Kula Nirmoolana Samithi leader Lakshmaiah, KVPS district leaders Adivaiah, Mainkyam among others.
Amidst the music of drums, dalit people entered temples in the village and celebrated the day.
Dalits stage dharna in protest against denial of entry into temple
The Scheduled Castes of Sigaranahalli in Holenarasipur taluk, here on Monday, staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office demanding entry into the temple and community hall in the village.
The ‘upper castes’ of the village had imposed a fine of Rs. 1,000 on Dalit women for entering a temple recently. Village residents, under the leadership of Thayamma, former gram panchayat member, staged a protest. Thayamma, speaking to presspersons, said the ‘upper caste’ people restricted entry of Dalits into Sri Basaveshwara temple in the village, and the community hall built utilising government funds. The protesters also sought the opportunity to serve as midday meal workers. “We have been denied work as midday meal workers and the reason cited is that Vokkaliga parents will not send their children to school if the cooks are Scheduled Castes,” Ms. Thayamma said. The protesters also submitted a memorandum to Manjula Manasa, chairperson of Karnataka State Women’s Commission, who was in Hassan to attend a programme.
Encroachment row widens caste divide in Faridkot village
Balwant Garg, Tribune News Service, Farikdot, September 7
“Political patronage” to the encroachment of a pond in Surghur village (Jaitu subdivision) of Faridkot has raised a controversy. After some Dalit villagers encroached upon a huge portion of the village pond and the alleged patronage by a senior Akali leader proved to be a stumbling block in checking the menace, the village is facing a division on caste lines.
Last week, some Dalit families allegedly encroached about 12 kanals of the village common land and pond in Surghur. Sarpanch Iqbal Singh and some other villagers complained to the police. The police party reached the village but failed to remove the encroachment due to the alleged pressure of an Akali leader.
Next day, one of the complainants was allegedly attacked in the village. This was followed by a protest dharna by some village panchayat members and residents on Sunday, who demanded action against the accused and the removal of the encroachment. However, the police is yet to take action.
Having a population of about 3,700, Surghur village has 73 kanals (over 9 acres) of village common land. There are two ponds on this land, which are disappearing as a major portion of these has been encroached upon.
The caste-based division in Surghur started surfacing after the Akali leader supported some Dalit families in filling up the pond and raising their houses on it. It is alleged the move of the Akali leader was to increase his political base among the Dalits in Jaitu, a reserved assembly constituency.
When members of some upper castes in the village opposed this move and asked the police and the district panchayat department to remove the encroachment, the alleged encroachers demanded that the police should first remove all encroachments by people of upper castes which had come up on the village common land in the last few years.
“The panchayat land (shamlat land) and ponds in the village are being rapidly encroached upon by influential persons. The administration and police rarely help the panchayats in vacating these encroachments,” alleged Iqbal Singh, sarpanch, Surghur.
Harmail Singh Bangi, Block Development and Panchayat Officer said the department would remove encroachment after demarcation.
The Indian Express
Muzaffarnagar: Two years after riots, FIR against 12 for attacking Dalit family
After the case was registered, on Sunday evening, the accused named in the FIR allegedly threatened the Dalit family with dire consequences if they did not withdraw the case.
Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Published:September 8, 2015 12:19 am
More than 60 people were killed and over 40,000 displaced in communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in September, 2013.
The police lodged an FIR against 12 Muslims on Saturday for allegedly attacking a Dalit family during communal riots that took place in Muzaffarnagar’s Shamli area on September 3, 2013. The case has been lodged following a direction from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
After the case was registered, on Sunday evening, the accused named in the FIR allegedly threatened the Dalit family with dire consequences if they did not withdraw the case. The accused have been booked on charges like attempt to murder, rioting and under SC/ST Act.
When contacted, Circle Officer (City) Nishant Sharma said: “Wife of one of the accused named in the FIR visited the family and asked them to come to a compromise, as the issue was over… PAC personnel, who have been deployed in the area, have been asked to ensure the family’s security.”
Kotwali SHO D P Singh confirmed that the case — registered on a complaint by Shevati Devi, a resident of Nandu Prasad area in Shamli — was filed on NHRC’s direction. It will be transferred to the Special Investigation Cell (SIC) formed by the state government to probe cases related to the 2013 riots.
Shevati Devi’s son Jitendra Chandra told The Indian Express that the incident took place on September 3, 2013, when he was out on work. His mother, wife Leena and their five children and the wife of his younger brother Vijendra Chandra were present at the house.
“The assailants, carrying firearms and sharp-edged weapons, targeted houses owned by Dalits. When they started breaking the main door of my house, my family escaped using the rear door. The rioters came inside and torched household items. They also took away appliances and other valuables, which I had bought for the wedding of my younger sister,” alleged Chandra, who is employed with the Shamli Municipal Board.
He added: “We took shelter at our relative’s house in Shamli. When situation became normal, I went to the local police station and filed a complaint. Senior police officers visited my house but no FIR was lodged. We sent representations to different authorities, including NHRC, the chief minister office, home secretary and the DGP requesting that the police be asked to register a case.”
Claiming that his family returned home after six months, Chandra said: “On Sunday, the accused reached my house and threatened my family. I have informed the police about the threat.”
Chandra is also an accused in a riot case. A Muslim man, identified as Ehsaan, was killed in violence in September, 2013 in Shamli. Chandra, along with others, were named as accused in the case.
“After the police started raiding my house, I surrendered before the court, which sent me to jail. I was in jail for around two months and was later granted bail. I was falsely implicated in the case,” Jitendra claimed.
The Times Of India
Casteist text messages harass govt official
TNN | Sep 8, 2015, 12.52 AM IST
LUCKNOW: A 40-year-old man and his family have been in distress for the past fortnight due to text messages from an unknown number. The assistant personal secretary of a powerful cabinet minister, Avaneesh Kumar (40) stays with wife and nine-year-old daughter at secretariat colony in Badshahnagar.
For the past fortnight, Kumar has been receiving nasty text messages targeting his caste.
“The person uses a lot of foul words. Every second day, I get three to four objectionable messages on my official CUG (closed-user group) number,” said Kumar.
The messages have also left his wife gravely disturbed. According to Kumar, the unidentified person does not respond to phone calls. When the messages did not stop, Avaneesh decided to report the matter. On Sunday he submitted a complaint before Hazratganj police.
Officer-in-charge of Hazratganj police station, inspector Vijaymal Yadav, said the complaint had been forwarded to the cyber cell.
Between ignorance and deception: Satish Deshpande’s idea of reservations
Is the problem then that
most Indians are not Christians, Muslims or Jews?
Clearly, advocates of the caste-based reservation system are worried by the recent upheavals in Gujarat and beyond. In his “The Patidar idea of reservations” (The Hindu, September 5), Delhi University sociologist Satish Deshpande attempts to ridicule the Patidars’ demand for OBC status while expressing his support for the reservation system. In this piece, I do not wish to defend or attack any particular movement, such as that of the Patidars or the Gujjars, but merely draw attention to one simple point: Deshpande attempts to defend ignorance and immorality by drawing on arguments that exhibit the same properties.
Deshpande’s story is built around a distinction between what he calls the constitutional view and the Patidar view of reservations. The former is all about redressing caste discrimination and inequality; the latter suggests that”any caste can get reservation if it has the power to bend the state to its will.” Originally, Deshpande says, “reservation was meant to repudiate the religiously sanctioned apartheid and oppression of caste society, and to establish the community of formal equals that is a precondition of nationhood.”Let us study this claim in some detail, since it is so central to his argument.
The apartheid and oppression of caste society are religiously sanctioned, Deshpande claims. Indeed, this was once a common thesis of eighteenth-century missionary pamphlets and nineteenth-century Indological treatises. However, no knowledgeable Indologist or competent scholar of religion would today make the claim that caste in India is religiously sanctioned. This view has no credibility left, because scholars in both domains have shown that it reproduces a Protestant-Christian critique of “the false religion of the Hindus” in secular garb and then tries to sell this as knowledge about Indian society. But how could a present-day intellectual reproduce discredited clichés from centuries ago? The answer is obvious: only if he is ignorant of the relevant domains of study. Now, ignorance of a domain is not a problem. I also know nothing about the domains of pharmacology and physiology. Yet, if I were to prescribe medicines to patients on the basis of this ignorance, then I engage in something worse: deception. Deshpande does the same: he presents falsity as truth to defend caste-based reservations; thus, he engages in deception as a sociologist.
“Apartheid” is a Dutch word, which entails that one sees the difference between two objects (“apart zijn”) as a property of those objects (“apartheid” or “the property of being separate”). Now, there are no scientific or philosophical objections to this view:’father’ denotes the relationship of being a father of, whereas we ascribe the property of fatherhood to an individual. This is a permitted way of transforming a relational property between two entities into a dispositional property of one of the two entities.What then is the problem with ‘apartheid’? The only criticism one can have against apartheid refers to particular empirical policy decisions taken by the South-African government at some point of time. But then apartheid can be generalized, if and only if one shows that some authority in Indiaat some point took policy decisions identical in nature to those of South Africa. Of course, this is obvious only if one knows Dutch; ignorance of a language is usually not a good ground for moral preaching in the terms of that language.
Were reservations then necessary to “establish the community of formal equals that is a precondition for nationhood”? This involves two claims: caste discrimination obstructed the constituting of a community of formal equals and this in turn prevented the Indian nation from coming into being. Therefore, redressing caste discrimination (through reservations) was a necessary precondition for nationhood. Wherever one may travel in this world, in every nation under the sun, there is discrimination between groups that are not just social classes. In the United States, for instance, there are ethnic groups (Asian-Americans, Indian-Americans, WASPs), linguistic groups (Hispanics), and religious denominations (Baptists, Catholics, Unitarians). In India, there are caste groups.In some cases, these are united neither by language, territory, or even religion (like Jain Brahmins, for example). In America, apparently, the existence of empirical groups and the undeniable discrimination among them do not prevent nationhood. How could caste discrimination then prevent India from becoming a nation?
The idea that members of a nation should all belong to one and the same community, without discrimination, makes sense only in one context: the idea of the nation as it exists in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The believers of these three religions are united as a community in God, where they relate to each other as equals: the chosen people of God for the Jews, the communitas or ecclesia for the Christians, and the Umma for the Muslims. Each is a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim only in God. As such, in each of these communities, there is formal equality of all and this is what makes them a nation. Is the problem then that most Indians do not belong to one of these three religions? Is Deshpande saying that they should?
Drawing on his “constitutional view”, Deshpande ridicules the Patidar idea that political clout determines whether a group gets access to caste reservations. But how does he have access to the true intention of the lawgiver or the genuine view that constitutes the constitution? How does he know that the Patidar idea of reservations was not the real intention of the lawgiver? Let us admit that some members of the Constituent Assembly shared ‘the constitutional view’. This does not show that this was the consensus or majority position of its members. During the decades before 1947, most people also knew that one could get benefits such as reservations from the British colonial state, if one had the required political clout. Today, Deshpande says, most people are probably unaware of the constitutional view and think like the Patidars. When this is the majority opinion both before and after Independence, how do you know that the majority of the members of yesterday’s Constituent Assembly and today’s parliament accept(ed) the constitutional view? How can you show that the proclamations of a couple of members are not simply expressions of opposition to the majority view (‘the Patidar idea’)? You cannot. Thus, it is advisable that sociologists do not try to play the role of the sovereign lawgiver (or worse, usurp the place of God).
The Patidar idea of reservations was not always the same: they shifted from opposing caste-based reservations in the 1980s to demanding them today. Why? The answer is simple for Deshpande: the dominant groups in Gujarat first pioneered “the rhetoric of merit” and are now giving up “the sanctimony of merit,” because they are facing more and more competition. Apparently, merit is no more than ‘rhetoric’ and ‘sanctimony’. This could entail two things: either one says that there are some domains where the conditions of entry have nothing to do with what merit is (namely, more knowledge, skill, capacities, competency … than other candidates) or one means to say that this is the case in all domains.
No matter what Deshpande intends, the unfortunate fact is that reservations in India are imposed onto institutions where merit is absolutely necessary: schools, universities, the bureaucracy, and public firms. Instead of merit, the reservation system draws on extra-cognitive conditions. Since cognitive conditions are essential to these institutions, however, one is compelled to bring them in again, but one does so in the inverse way: incompetence, ignorance and being deskilled become the criteria for entry.By adding caste certificates as the sole criterion, one simply conceals the fact that these three are now the criteria.
There is more deception involved: by drawing on cognitive criteria in this perverse way and acting as though one uses other criteria, one is blinded to the fact that the system has totally perverse effects. The use of non-cognitive criteria encourages more and more people not only to try to satisfy these criteria (by getting caste certificates) but also begin to live up to the cognitive criteria actually used (ignorance and incompetence). In other words, they simply try to live up to the standards demanded by the system. This is the growing tendency.
This explains why reservations do not cause movement from the reserved categories to the general category; instead, they reinforce movements in the other direction. That is also why we see ever more demands to increase the percentage of the reserved seats and reduce that of the general category, rather than the other way round. To use political clout to do so is simply to add another non-cognitive criterion to the already existing one. Given these facts, the general category cannot and will never reflect the caste composition of India, even though this is the goal of the reservation system and the precondition for its abolition, according to Deshpande.
Like the reservation system itself, Deshpande’s discourse embodies the art of skillfully moving back and forth between ignorance and deception. That the demonstration of this art has apparently become the condition of entry for a social scienceprofessorship at Delhi University merely confirms what I have said so far. If this is the level of Indian sociology today, then it does not bode well for the future.
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