Hostel students pour out woes – The Hindu
SC directs Delhi Police to protect UP Dalit family – The Times Of India
Cantt board VP, accused of misbehaving with woman IAS officer, gets bail – The Times Of India
Sura Baba row: CB arrests five over casteist remark – Pragativadi
Dalit Consumer, With A Purchasing Power, Has Arrived – Counter Current
Periyar: A rationalist who refuses to fade away – The Times Of India
Maharashtra to develop places linked with Ambedkar – The Statesman
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Hostel students pour out woes
Continue protest on second day; about 100 agitators taken into custody
Ministers in the Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet are talking of investing crores of rupees in building education cities and knowledge hubs, including one at Sabbavaram in Visakhapatnam district, while the reality at the ground level is quite different. Inmates of SC/ST and BC hostels in Visakhapatnam complain lack of mere basic amenities.
When the students tried to lodge their protest and air their grievances to the District Collector, they were beaten up by the police at the Collector’s office on Tuesday. A few of the girl students were kicked and dragged by their hair to the waiting vans and taken into custody.
The protest continued on Wednesday and about 100 students and SFI and DYFI activists were again taken into custody near AVN College and Visakha Women’s College.
Talking to The Hindu , Lalitha and Swathi, second year degree students and inmates of a hostel in the Old Town poured out their woes.
The basic protest revolves round the food that is being provided and the lack of basic amenities.
In Visakhapatnam, there are 19 hostels run by the Social Welfare Department, housing about 15,000 students, both girls and boys.
Since about a year, the students have not been served a proper breakfast. Instead of breakfast what is being served is gruel of rice and starch. At lunch, rice and plain daal is the staple food, while the menu calls for rice with sambar, daal and at least a curry with a fruit.
“And at dinner we are served the same rice and daal. We are supposed to get one egg every day with milk for breakfast. We are fortunate if we get one egg per week. We have never seen milk or a fruit in the last one year. Where is all the money going,” questioned Lalitha.
“Coming to rice, the officials concerned are still serving the quota rice, while in Telangana, the government has shifted to the finer variety,” said Democratic Youth Federation of India district secretary V.V. Srinivasa Rao.
“Keeping the food aside, there are no basic amenities at hostels. There is no drinking water facility and students continue to drink water that is used for utility purpose,” said K. Prudhviraj, city president of SFI.
“All the hostels still continue to operate from rented premises and about 30 girls are pushed into one room with a toilet. Sanitation is poor and some of the bathrooms do not function or have no doors,” said M.V.S. Sarma, MLC.
There are no basic amenities at hostels. Students drink water that is used for utility purpose
The Times Of India
SC directs Delhi Police to protect UP Dalit family
TNN | Sep 17, 2015, 06.54 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Delhi Police to provide protection to members of a Dalit family which fled their village in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh to the national capital after the local khap panchayat started harassing them.
A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre also ordered that a male member, who was booked by UP police in an allegedly frivolous drug case after he had eloped with a woman from the Jat community, be released on bail on personal bond of Rs 50,000.
The court passed the order after interacting with the members of the family during in-chamber proceedings. A young girl of the family had approached the Supreme Court seeking protection from the khap panchayat diktat which was issued after her brother eloped with a married woman from the Jat community.
The girl alleged that her family members were being falsely implicated by the state police in various criminal cases filed under the pressure from the Jat community. She alleged that the state police are harassing her family members.
“She and her family cannot return to her village and have been rendered homeless. She has been condemned by the khap panchayat to be raped and paraded naked because her brother Ravi fell in love and eloped with her friend Krishna who belongs to the dominant caste of Jat,” the petition said.
According to the petition, her brother was in love with the woman who was forcibly married off within the Jat community. A month after marriage, the woman eloped with her brother.
The Times Of India
Cantt board VP, accused of misbehaving with woman IAS officer, gets bail
TNN | Sep 16, 2015, 10.02 PM IST
Agra: Cantonment Board vice-president Dr Pankaj Mahendru, accused of misbehaving with its CEO, was granted interim bail on Wednesday.
Mahendru has been accused by CEO Sonam Yangdol, also an IAS officer, of entering her office and abusing her along with two other men. The trio also allegedly made a video of the incident and later uploaded it on a social networking website.
Yangdol’s private counsel Hari Dutt Sharma told TOI: “Booked under the SC/ST act, Dr Mahendru was given interim bail for five days by SC/ST court of additional district judge Ashwani Kumar Triphati, after he surrendered in court of chief judicial magistrate Sandhya Chaudhary (sic) following rejection of his bail on Wednesday.”
“On September 9, Allahabad high court had asked the accused, Mahendru, to appear before the district court and apply for bail within a period of three weeks, as the HC found that prima facie case against Mahendru does stand it rejected his plea to quash proceedings against him.”
Mahendru and other two other men (Paramjeet Singh and Siddharth Soni) were booked by Agra police under sections 354 A (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC, Section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT act and also under the SC/ST act.
However, the high court later quashed the cases against Singh and Soni.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for September 21, when the court will decide whether to grant bail to Mahendru, by dropping all charges against him, or send him to jail.
Mahendru has been out on bail since February 3 this year after complaining of severe chest pain.
The Cantonment Board is the civic administration body under the control of the defence ministry. The board comprises elected members, besides ex-officio and nominated members, in accordance with the Cantonments Act, 2006. The board takes care of public health, water supply, sanitation, primary education and street lighting inside the cantonment area.
Pragativadi, September 16, 2015
Cuttack: The Crime Branch (CB) on Wednesday arrested five more accused on charges of making casteist remark at Sura Baba’s Trahi Achyuta ashram at Jhinti Sasan on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
The accused have been arrested on the basis of FIRs registered at different police stations. It has been alleged that the Baba and some of his aides had made casteist remarks on some visitors.
Surendra Mishra alias Sura Baba and his two sons were earlier arrested by Commissionerate Police. They have been booked under Sections 241, 342, 323, 294, 506, 34 of the IPC and Section 3 of SC/ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act.
Dalit Consumer, With A Purchasing Power, Has Arrived
By Ravikiran Shinde
16 September, 2015, Countercurrents.org
August was a busy month for Indian Media. Two people received unduly high media coverage. Hardik Patel and Sheena Bora– The latter being murdered mysteriously. But one important development from the same month from small-town Nagpur in Maharashtra went unreported in the mainstream media.
Peaceful Dalit protesters had forced largest circulated Marathi newspaper Lokmat to issue ‘clarification’ for its highly prejudiced and offensive editorial of 31st August against caste based-quota. The paper had to backtrack it’s stand, after decision of Dalits to boycott the newspaper.The Dalits had demonstrated their buying power while democratically protesting malicious article as part of a smear campaign.
One couldn’t resist an immediate parallel to the boycott African American community had of last year’s holiday shopping season in USA.
Retailers in USA have the highest business during winter shopping. But National retailer federation reported that in 2014, sales were down 11% in the Thanksgiving weekend – that means sales were down nearly $7 billion since previous year.
In an article Did the Boycott Matter to Black Friday Retail Sales? published in the online portal Root on Dec 4th 2014, Danilele Belton analyzed this drop. Was it the slowdown, spending cuts by families or something else? Ms. Belton discussed one thing the economist didn’t talk about. The African-American community had planned to Boycott the shopping season as a mark to protest the Fergussion grand Jury’s refusal to indict Police officer Darren Wilson in the death of a black teen Michael brown earlier in 2014. Ms. Belton had attributed this unusually huge drop in Retail sales to the boycott that was planned and felt across the nation.
This was a protest by the black commnity to protest the treatment being meted to them.
A Recent study by Nielsen had showed that there are 43 million African American consumers who have collective $1 trillion in buying power and that their buying power is projected to grow $.13 trillion by 2017. The boycott had substantial impact as evident from the reports.
Albeit in a smaller scale, the Dalits in India, had shown a taste of their buying power in their small but significant and effective protest at Nagpur. Numbering more than 60 million, they match up to total population of UK. And yet, they literally have no representation in the mainstream print or Electronic media as Editors, Anchors or talk show hosts much less having a media of their own. Often relying on media who they find ‘soft’ towards them, Dalits have time and again betrayed when the Media reveals it’s true colors.
Lokmat Daily, for instance, is considered liberal and is a highest circulated daily in Maharashtra -headed by Congress Member of parliament, Chairman Vijay Darda.But Mr. Darda in his nasty editorial, that was published on front page in bold headlines, ‘Caste Based reservation now must go’ has written that in the wake of Hardik Patel agitation demading OBC status the quota must be stopped now. The editorial had questioned the objective of constitutionally granted reservation system.
The article also had many factual errors. For instance, Darda writes that Constitution maker Dr. Ambedkar originally intended a 10 year limit for reservation. As a matter of fact, it was political reservation in Assemblies and parliament that was meant to be for 10 years. The article sought to highlight that it’s the economic criteria that’s important and Darda forgets to mention the ‘menace’ of the vicious and persistent Caste system that deprived these communities for thousands of years and still remains intact causing social discrimination against the backward community mainly Dalits and Tribals.
The same sentiments were echoed in most print and electronic media that are headed by Upper caste who are hostile towards Dalits. Anchors, Editors and their chosen panelist routinely ridicule lower caste Dalits and backward castes’ merit.
So when one young man Hardik patel, who many consider as a puppet in a larger plan of BJP and RSS to create anti-quota sentiments in people, asked for quota for his Patel community, the Media was abuzz with discussion on affirmative action itself and the questioned the very existence of it.
And this is the time when lack of diversity of the newsroom or editorial team gets exposed. Barkha Dutt of NDTV – considered liberal in the Media – held a similar debate on 26th August named ‘Protest or Politics’ and didn’t invite a single representative panel from Dalit or Tribal community to put forward their views on reservation. The panel had two ‘Alags’ one ‘Sarabhai’, two ‘Patels’ besides Burkha ‘Dutt’ himself leaving no space for counterview on quota. The discussion naturally ended up bashing caste-based quota system.
Sadly, twitter, facebook and other social media started spreading this hatred in such a well-planned way that the suspicion that BJP man Hardik Patel’s agitation drama was meant to be used for spreading anti-quota sentiments eventually became cystal clear. RSS person MG Vaidya publicly agreed with Hardik Patel that reservations should be given to everyone or abolished altogether.
In Such situation, when 31st August editorial was published in Lokmat, Dalits in Nagpur took to street and protested peacefully in front of Lokmat Bhavan in Nagpur, burned copies of the paper and also vowed to stop the subscription of the newspaper. The protest was so spontaneous, it had students, women and people of all ages participating. Fearing backlash and loss of subscription among these communities, lokmat issued a clarification next day that it is not against reservation but wanted to air some alternate perspective! In its lame defense it also wrote how it was for the renaming of Marathwada University after Dr. B.R Ambedkar.
Those who oppose caste-based quota constitute only 12% of the India’s population as per recent CSDS-BBC recent study. This means that majority of the Indians – namely Scheduled castes, Tribes and other backward classes are supportive of this government scheme – including a tiny percentage of upper caste as well, who are sympathetic to the quota system.
This success of getting Lokmat group to bend down to its knees the Dalits have shown that numerical strength and purchasing power can be used a pressure tactics to avail just demands and make a statement. Ill represented in mainstream Print and electronic media, the have-nots could use this effectively to have their voices heard. In coming days, Lokmat is bound to lose it’s ‘highest circulated daily status in Maharashtra’ owing to the boycott by Dalits.
Mainstream media in India should cotton onto the fact that if they do not air balanced views on their show and diversify their newsroom and panels, their channels may well see substantial drop in viewership as Dalit starts to realise, gauge and use its purchasing power.
Ravikiran Shinde is a writer, blogger and a commentator on socio-political issues in India
The Times Of India
Periyar: A rationalist who refuses to fade away
CDS Mani,TNN | Sep 17, 2015, 05.48 AM IST
CHENNAI: Founder of the Dravidian movement and rationalist Periyar E V Ramasamy had a great influence on society in his times, but his atheist ideology, fight to eradicate casteism and promote women’s empowerment while dominating public discourse, did not percolate to the desired extent to the future generations, researchers and scholars said on the eve of his 136th birth anniversary.
According to veteran journalist T N Gopalan, there is a dire need to revive Periyar’s legacy without the shrill anti-Brahminism of his times and more importantly to focus on the injustices meted out to dalits by the newly empowered intermediate castes.
“Periyar is relevant because he is seen as an arch icon of the past who fought irrationality on every front. All this still holds good as I see people steeped in superstition and caste notions,” he said. Despite uninterrupted rule of Dravidian parties since 1967, the fact that his messages have not percolated down shows that somewhere his approach or tactics were flawed, he said. “On the positive side, he dethroned Brahmins from positions of power and influence, but the other part of the story is that right before his eyes, Karunanidhi-led DMK government ran amok from 1971 to 1974, but Periyar kept quiet and hugged him as his disciple. Part of the blame should go to Periyar himself,” he said.
Author of a biography on Periyar, V Geetha, reckons that if young people are made aware of his life and work, they are bound to connect with him. “He asked people to think for themselves, and he insisted that women are equal, self-respecting and do not need to be married or be mothers to be valued. Rather he wanted them to be educated and stand on their own legs,” she observed. His fearless opposition to caste and religious authority, upholding the right to criticise what appears untenable in terms of self-respect and rationality, his feminist understanding of society, great capacity for friendship across ideological divides, and his great capacity for not compromising on ideals attract people even today, she said.
City-based professor Rajukumar M said Periyar had championed total prohibition to the extent of even cutting all coconut trees in his farm to ensure they could not be used to tap toddy. Dravidian parties have not whole heartedly followed his principles, says his grand nephew E V K S Elangovan who is the current state Congress chief.
Maharashtra to develop places linked with Ambedkar
PTI Mumbai, | 17 September, 2015
Developing places closely associated with Babasaheb Ambedkar as tourist spots, providing hostel facility for working women of Scheduled Castes in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, are among key plans of the Maharashtra government to celebrate 2015-16 as “Equality and Social Justice Year”.
2015-16 is being celebrated as ‘Equality and Social Justice Year’ to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar and Rs 125 crore has been earmarked for the purpose, State Finance and Planning Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
A provision of Rs 125 crore was made in the supplementary demands during the Monsoon Session of the state Assembly, which was cleared by the state Cabinet.
The minister said writings and speeches of Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Annabhau Sathe and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj will be published through Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI).
The various plans under the initiative include setting up of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Samata Pratishthan on lines of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Foundation at the Centre, establishment of 50 hostels for girls at 50 talukas, upgradation of Pune- based Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) and all round development of select dalit localities.
Mungantiwar said the ‘bhoomi poojan’ (ground-breaking ceremony) of Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills compound in Mumbai will take place in a month or two.
On the government’s move to buy the house where Ambedkar lived while studying in London, he said the purchase process has been completed.
Fellowships will be granted to 125 people from different castes and religions for pursuing M.Phil/Ph.D on issues of equality,social justice by BARTI.
An amount of Rs 1.95 crore has been earmarked for providing a framed copy of the Preamble of the Constitution to every police station and gram panchayat.
Workshops, seminars will be organised throughout the year to commemorate Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary.
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET