Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 18.09.15

Beaten Dalit dies of brain haemorrhage – The Times Of India


One more booked for minor’s rape after SC body intervenes – The Times Of India


Tamilisai kept in the dark about Dalits’ meet with Modi – The Hindu


‘Non-violent Stir Twice as Effective as Armed Action’ – The New Indian Express


SC stays educational barrier for Haryana panchayat candidatesThe Times Of India


Changing political equations in Uttar Pradesh – Live Mint


Dangers Of Teaching Dalits – Tehelka


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The Times Of India

 Beaten Dalit dies of brain haemorrhage


Ishita Bhatia,TNN | Sep 17, 2015, 11.21 PM IST

MEERUT: A Dalit resident of a Muzaffarnagar village died after suffering a brain haemorrhage caused by a money lender slapping him, according to officials.

Naresh Kumar, 35, from Behra-Through village under Bhopa police station of Muzaffarnagar, died in a Delhi hospital on Thursdaymorning. According to the police, Kumar was slapped by Neelu, to who he owed money, on September 5, which caused a haemorrhage in his brain. He was rushed to a local hospital, from where he was referred to Meerut. With his condition deteriorating, he was brought to Delhi, where he died. An FIR has been lodged against Neelu under the SC/ST Act based on a complaint by Kumar’s family.

According to the complaint, Kumar had borrowed some money from Neelu for constructing his home, for which he had submitted the documents concerning the plot as collateral to Neelu. However, Kumar could not pay the money back on time, and when he asked Neelu to return the documents, the latter allegedly slapped him.

Agitated villagers protested at Bhopa police station, demanding the arrest of the accused. Sub-divisional magistrate of the area, Umesh Mishra, reached the spot along with the circle officer of Bhopa and tried to calm the agitated villagers.

On Thursday, villagers created ruckus at Bhopa police station after getting news of Naresh’s demise. According to the agitators, Naresh had borrowed some money from Neelu for constructing his home. Neelu has taken the plots documents from him while giving money to Naresh. The villagers alleged that Naresh could not repay the money on time and when he asked Neelu to return his plot’s paper back, the latter got annoyed and beaten him with some of his friends on September 5.

“According to the complaint, Neelu slapped Kumar when the latter asked him to return his property documents. Kumar got depressed because he was beaten in public, and was diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage the next day. He was taken to Meerut and later to Delhi but died during treatment. A report has been lodged in the matter and the circle officer of Bhopa is investigating the case,” said station officer Pramod Panvar, talking to TOI.

The Times Of India

One more booked for minor’s rape after SC body intervenes


TNN | Sep 18, 2015, 06.38 AM IST

MOGA: Police added charges under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against an accused in the rape case of a minor Dalit girl in Moga district following the intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).

Ajitwal police also included the name of another accused in the case after NCSC vice-chairperson Raj Kumar Verka visited the police station. Earlier, the police had registered the case against only one accused, though the victim girl had stated that two youths had raped her on September 7.

Verka directed the Moga SSP to appear before NCSC office at Chandigarh on September 21, with the action taken report in the matter. The daughter of a truck driver was abducted by one Balwinder Singh alias Binda with the help of his two friends. Two youths, including Binda, had allegedly raped the girl.

When contacted, Moga SSP Charanjit Singh said, “A case of rape was registered against one accused as per the statement given by the victim and he was taken into custody on Wednesday. Since the victim has accused two persons, one more name has been added in the case and efforts will be made to arrest him at the earliest.”

The Hindu

 Tamilisai kept in the dark about Dalits’ meet with Modi



The widening differences within the Tamil Nadu BJP came to the fore yet again on Wednesday, when a delegation of Devendrakula Vellalars met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, apparently without the knowledge of the State party president Tamilisai Soundararajan.

Sources in the BJP said the meeting was facilitated by Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan and national general secretary P. Muralidhar Rao without keeping Ms. Tamilisai in the loop – she reportedly learnt about the meeting from other party leaders.

The development has exposed the fault lines in the Tamil Nadu unit, which has been marred by factionalism over the last few years.

A senior leader said this was not the first time the State party chief was kept in the dark about crucial developments.

“Each leader functions like an island these days. Mr. Radhakrishnan, who has considerable clout, deals with the national leadership on his own. The running feud between H. Raja, a national secretary, and Ms. Tamilisai, is well known since they competed for the State president’s post. Even minimum coordination on statements does not take place,” the leader said, requesting anonymity. The Devendrakula Vellalars met Mr. Modi to stress on finding a solution for a long-held demand of uniting six sub-castes under a common name.

Why no women?

Meanwhile, sources said Mr. Modi was not happy with the fact that there were no women representatives from the Dalit community in the delegation and questioned the leaders as to why women were not being part of such meetings.

The New Indian Express

‘Non-violent Stir Twice as Effective as Armed Action’


By Navamy Sudhish  Published: 18th September 2015 05:04 AM Last Updated: 18th September 2015 05:04 AM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Mary Elizabeth King first encountered racism on the sidewalks of North Carolina. As a sevenyear- old, she noted black men stepping down to let her pass and was stricken by the injustice involved. “It was my grandfather who awakened my sensitivity to racial exclusions. Discrimination was a norm and atrocities against blacks hardly made any news. When I was 22, I went to work with the Civil Rights Movement, where I was one of the few whites involved. We believed we were improving things for everyone, not just for blacks,” says the renowned peace activist and political scientist who was in the city for the release of her latest book ‘Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924-25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change’.

She says discrimination has a perceptible pattern and what she found in Kerala was just another form of it. “I have been involved in social justice concerns all my life and during the early years, a lot of Americans travelled to India to find out what was happening in the subcontinent. They visited sites of the various satyagrahas and interacted with volunteers. We heard all the time about India and Gandhi,” she says.

It was Dr Gene Sharp, a leading campaigner of nonviolent resistance, who approached Mary to investigate what exactly happened in Kerala. “He felt that we had been fed with incorrect information on Vaikom Satyagraha. It was then that I started my research scouring through archives and newspaper morgues. I found Dr Sharp was right. Exaggerated, glorified accounts about the struggle had travelled to the West. Reputed Gandhi scholars were publishing reports about an extraordinary struggle in Vaikom, where Brahmins had embraced the untouchables. There is no substantiation for this, and in fact Dalits were back to where they started at the end of the 604-day-long struggle. A kind of contrived solution was worked out between Gandhi and the police commissioner. If we want to be charitable, we can call it conflict management. But we could also say it was a gimmick,” says Mary, who later travelled to Kerala to dig deeper. “The more I read the more perplexed I got about these grandiose reports,” she says.

During her research, Mary came across startling accounts of discrimination as there were strict rules that segregated lower castes from mainstream. “During Vaikom Satyagraha, the whole subcontinent became aware of extreme practices of untouchability in Travancore that didn’t exist anywhere else in India. It was not just untouchability, but unapprochability and unsayability as well. There were meticulously prescribed distances depending upon the caste. If it was 60 metres for Ezhavas, it was 90 for Pulayas, and it was followed with extreme precision,” she adds. Mary considers patriarchy the largest form of oppression known to human race in terms of the number of the people affected. “In many parts of the world, there are severe systems where women are kept under tremendous pressure.”

A professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, she believes the concept of non-violence is still relevant. “We have millions of people living under various forms of oppression. But the use of violence will create a deep-seated urge for vengeance, generation after generation trying to get back at those responsible for the affliction. In a non-violent resistance, you have a better chance of bringing about reconciliation and negotiation.” She adds that political scientists have strong data showing that non-violent movements are twice effective compared to guerrilla warfare or armed rebellions. “In the past we suspected that this was the case, but now we have the data to substantiate it,” she says.

The Times Of India

 SC stays educational barrier for Haryana panchayat candidates


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Haryana panchayati raj law stipulating educational qualifications for contesting the forthcoming local polls, which according to the petitioners created an insurmountable barrier for an overwhelming majority of women and Dalits. 

After hearing senior advocate Kirti Singh, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre stayed the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, which mandated educational qualifications for candidates – Class 10 pass for men, Class 8 pass for women and Class 5 pass for Dalits – to be eligible to contest the grassroots-level elections. 

Importantly, the law, which was stayed, had an element of the nationwide sanitation drive started by the Modi government as it mandated that a candidate would be eligible only if she/he had a toilet at her/his residence. 

Three women from Fatehabad, Hissar and Jhajjhar had moved the court challenging the law, saying 83.06% of rural women above 20 years of age in the state would be disqualified from contesting panchayat elections as they did not possess the requisite educational qualifications. “Almost 67% of women in urban areas would also be disqualified,” they said. 

Their writ petition, moved through advocate Pukhrambam Ramesh, said the other disqualifications prescribed by the legislature included non-payment of agricultural loan dues, electricity bills and failure to have a toilet in the house. 

The petitioners asked why such qualifications were imposed on persons desirous of contesting panchayat elections when no such qualification is mandated for “a person to become a member of Parliament or legislative assembly, or a Cabinet minister, the prime minister or the President of India”. 

The petitioners said Haryana had a preponderance of farming families and it was common knowledge that the farm sector was in distress across the country, warranting peasants to sustain agriculture through easy loans made available by governments through rural banks. 

They said the provision disqualifying those who had not repaid agricultural loans was meant to keep out a huge section of farmers. “There is no nexus between this classification and the object of the Act, as the default contemplated could arise for any number of reasons that in no way hinders a candidate’s ability to discharge his duties,” the petitioners said. 

Questioning the disqualification provided on account of non-payment of electricity dues, the women said, “In Haryana, 59% of rural households and 80% of Scheduled Caste households earn less than Rs 5,000 per month. Disqualifying those failing to pay arrears of electricity bills amounts to penalizing the impoverished section of the rural population, whose lot has not improved because of failures of state policies.”

Live Mint

 Changing political equations in Uttar Pradesh


Badri Narayan

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in last year’s general election with a massive and unprecedented public support under the leadership of Narendra Modi, who was the party’s prime ministerial candidate. Analyses by political critics present an indicative explanation that the Dalit vote bank had a major share in this victory.

However, even on this, the critics seem to be divided in their opinion. There is one camp which still believes that the Dalit votes will be mobilized in favour of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, and that what actually happened was that the loop of this tight mobilization got loosened in 2014.

The opposing group of political critics believe that the Dalit votes have fairly shifted in favour of the BJP.

Despite the massive setback her party faced in the 2014 elections, Mayawati insists that the Dalits are still in her favour. She has tried to maintain silence whenever asked about the issue and prefers to avoid giving any explanation for it.

Recent observations amid Dalits, media and political critics indicate that the Dalit vote bank is now getting remobilized towards the BSP and Mayawati. A strong reason for this observed change is the callous attitude of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) of Uttar Pradesh towards Dalits. Under the SP government led by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, a complete decline in the law-and-order situation has been seen, and injustice to Dalits by dominant groups has worsened. The state has not only been indifferent to Dalit welfare issues, but has also introduced policies detrimental to Dalit interests.

Recently, the SP government decided to remove the fixed reservation in jobs designed for employment promotion among scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs). Along with this, the state government through an office order demoted the assigned promotions of SC and ST servicemen, potentially affecting 200,000 of them. The order has already been circulated for action for demotion of the promoted officials in the state’s irrigation department. The Dalit community is feeling hurt and insecure, which is transforming into silent support for Mayawati’s party. And Mayawati has come to the forefront to reap the benefits of this politically opportune moment.

In a similar move, the SP government recently removed a restriction in the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950, which mandates that Dalits can sell their land to non-Dalits only with the district collector’s approval. Under the law, such transactions were permissible only for land above 1.26 hectares. If the land size was less, it could be sold only to a Dalit after scrutiny by the responsible officer of the district administration.

The UP cabinet on 4 August removed this armour of protection to enable non-Dalits to purchase such land, a move which has pleased land mafias. The decision has worsened the feeling of insecurity among Dalits and increased support for Mayawati. There are also some land-owning Dalits who visualize immediate benefits, though their numbers are few. Most Dalits disagree with this decision.

Though BSP supremo Mayawati has been vocal in her criticism of the Akhilesh Yadav government’s twin decisions, she has not been able to reap political mileage from them. However, the Dalit class is now emerging to express its support for Mayawati, so that she may help reverse these orders.

Interestingly, now when the Dalits seem to have shifted their allegiance to her, Mayawati does not look keen on speaking much about the development. It seems she is carefully observing the changing game of politics. The stage for the 2017 assembly election has been set and new political equations are developing. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Badri Narayan is a professor of political science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.


Dangers Of Teaching Dalits


The road to change has a million hurdles


2015-09-26 , Issue 39 Volume 12

You can feed them, you can clothe them. But how dare you teach them?” thundered the village sarpanch. “Who will work on our farms then? Who would do all the menial labour?” The headman was shouting at my friend John, who had taken on the onerous task of helping Dalit children, and also some of the adults, to read and write. A few days later, a gang of 20-plus men barged into the home where John lived with his wife and threw the couple out on the street. They had to spend the next two days on the corridor of the police station.

I met John, a Travancore Malayali evangelist, eight year back on a train from Delhito Barauni, a town in Bihar. I was smoking beside the loo and we started talking. That’s when he told me about what he had to face while working in a village near Barauni 16 years earlier. He said he would be visiting the village again and that was enough to pique my curiosity. I decided to go along with him.

The journey to the village was an adventure in itself. We walked and walked, until we found a vehicle run by an engine improvised from a water pump used for irrigation. That, after all, is the thing about the great Indian tradition of jugaad in which anything can be transformed into virtually everything it was not meant to be.

Of the 8,000 people living in the village, most are Dalits, including many who are known as “Mahadalits” in Bihar — the most oppressed among the oppressed castes. The Mahadalits in this village were Musahars, which means “those who eat rats”. Indeed, the Musahars are so impoverished that many of them have no choice but to hunt rats for their food. Traditionally, they were known as people who forage for edible stuff that rats store in their burrows.

The rest of the village hated the Dalits, taking a cue from what they were told about how their gods saw the lower castes. “The gods despise them” is a refrain in their everyday references to the Musahars in particular. No wonder the Dalits were not even allowed to show up in front of Brahmin households.

It was in this caste-ridden village that my friend had set up a school for the Dalits. When he thought of doing something for them, it was not charity he had in mind. True to Christian gospel, he was interested more in teaching people how to fish rather than give them fish to eat. And it was precisely that which infuriated the powers that be.

“There was a government school in the village, but students from the Brahminand other upper castes alone were allowed to sit on the benches,” he told me. “The Dalit students sat on the floor at the back of the classroom. No teacher would talk to a Dalit student. I knew that only if the Dalits could get an education could they stand up against the oppression and overcome the deprivation.”

ohn developed a syllabus for the Dalit children and his wife joined him in teaching them. The one-room house the couple lived in doubled as a classroom. So keen were the Dalits to learn how to read and write that even adults started coming in for the classes. John’s wife, a trained nurse, also attended to the medical needs of the villagers. They also tried to impress upon them the need to maintain hygiene for avoiding diseases.

These efforts, obviously, didn’t bring them praise from the powerful men in the village and that is when the backlash started. But they were undeterred even in the face of allegations of converting people to Christianity. John said he knows the people need food and education, not another religion. “I have never converted anyone,” he said. “The powerful men of the village were pissed because when people could read and write, they started refusing to work in the barter system and demanded reasonable wages.”

When we reached the village, more than 500 people were waiting to welcome us with garlands. In the eyes of the Dalits, I saw the joy of waging a battle against oppression. And I saw how much they loved John for helping them initiate it.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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