Dalits Media Watch – English  News Updates 05.10.15  

Teacher beats up Dalit boy for touching non-Dalits’ meal, held – The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Teacher-beats-up-Dalit-boy-for-touching-non-Dalits-meal-held/articleshow/49222445.cms

Dalit anger erupts – The Tribune

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/dalit-anger-erupts/141522.html

Absconding Leader Accused of Dalit’s Murder Appears on TV – The Quint

http://www.thequint.com/india/2015/10/05/absconding-leader-accused-of-dalits-murder-appears-on-tv

An uncommon fight for common land – The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/An-uncommon-fight-for-common-land/articleshow/49221590.cms

 ‘Govt. will be asked to help Devadasis’ – The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-will-be-asked-to-help-devadasis/article7724929.ece?ref=tpnews

From dirty drains to smart cabs: 1,150 women from manual scavenger families to train as Uber and Meru drivers under Modi government scheme – Mail Online India

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3259808/From-dirty-drains-smart-cabs-1-150-women-manual-scavenger-families-train-Uber-Meru-drivers-Modi-government-scheme.html

Do Maharashtra’s Neo-Buddhists really want – and need – a separate marriage law? – Scroll.in

http://scroll.in/article/759841/new-bcci-chief-shashank-manohar-has-his-task-cut-out-for-him-clean-up-the-boards-image

Learning with the times — In India, there is no law that defines hate speech – The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Learning-with-the-times-In-India-there-is-no-law-that-defines-hate-speech/articleshow/49225313.cms

Please Watch :

Gandhi’s Last Month –

Prof. Apoorvanand Jha

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTVyHohOHfM

Save Dalit Foundation:

Educate, agitate & organize! – Dr. Ambedkar.

Let us all educates to agitate & Organize to Save Dalit Foundation !         

Please sign petition for EVALUATION of DF by click this link : https://t.co/WXxFdysoJK

The Times Of India

 Teacher beats up Dalit boy for touching non-Dalits’ meal, held

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Teacher-beats-up-Dalit-boy-for-touching-non-Dalits-meal-held/articleshow/49222445.cms

TNN | Oct 5, 2015, 08.43 AM IST

JODHPUR: State education department on Sunday suspended a school teacher for allegedly beating up a Dalit student for touching the mid-day meal meant for non-Dalit students on Thursday. The teacher was arrested by police on Saturday evening following a complaint from the student’s father.

“Based on the evidences found at the spot and statements of the students and other independent witnesses, the charges against the teacher, identified as Hemaram Jat, have been substantiated primarily,” said a police official.

A delegation of Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) had met the IGP (Jodhpur Range) on Saturday morning and demanded quick action against Jat ahead of his arrest. State coordinator of DSMM, Kishan Meghwal, claimed that the local police refused to register the complaint earlier and it was only after they took up the matter with senior officers, the complaint was registered by local police.

Following his arrest, the education department also swung into action and issued the order of his suspension. Nutan Bala, deputy director (secondary education), while confirming his suspension, said he has been ordered to report to the head office in Jodhpur. “A departmental inquiry would also be initiated against him,” she said.

Hemaram Jat, a teacher and the mid-day meal in-charge at Government Secondary School in Berdon ka Bas in Osian block of Jodhpur, had allegedly beaten up Dinesh Meghwal (11) of Class IV mercilessly for touching the plates meant for non-Dalit students of the school on Thursday.

Dinesh’s father Malaram said when he saw his son coming home crying, he asked him about what happened and when told about the incident, he personally saw the teacher with complaint but he abused him also on his caste.

On his condition turning worse, Dinesh was referred to Jodhpur’s Umaid Hospital from the village’s CHC, where he is under treatment. According to the doctors, he is out of any danger and is recovering.

The Tribune

 Dalit anger erupts

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/dalit-anger-erupts/141522.html

Police bias contributes to flare-ups in Haryana

The killing of a Dalit youth led a mob to torch two Haryana Roadways buses in a Hisar village on Friday. The incident of arson and rioting is blamed on police inaction against wanted criminals and is an indication of the simmering Dalit resentment, which easily reaches the boiling point in the Jat belt, especially Hisar. Mirchpur, where two Dalits were burnt to death and 18 Dalit houses were torched in April 2010, is located in this district. The one-man Justice Iqbal Singh Commission set up to probe the Mirchpur violence blamed the police for acting as “mute spectators” and “failing” to prevent the rioting. Of the 100 people named as accused only 15 were convicted. The victims, now living in tents in Hisar, are still fighting for justice.

Hisar’s another shame was the rape of four Dalit girls at Bhagana village in March 2014 which led to protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, police atrocities against them in August this year and the conversion of 50 Bhagana Dalits to Islam in a  desperate act of protest. Jat excesses against Dalits have often hit the headlines. But on April 23 this year RSS men beat up Dalits of Sonepat’s Rajendra Nagar over a minor incident. The police forced Dalits to reach a compromise and turned the “attack” by RSS men into a “clash” and omitted the use of the word “Dalit” in the written compromise forced on the Dalits.

Dalits in Haryana have suffered rapes and murders, social boycott and economic sanctions, denial of drinking water and work on farms. Apart from repression by Jats, their persistent complaint is about police bias in favour of the upper castes. While former Haryana Chief Minister Hooda was often accused of shielding the Jats, his successor, Manohar Lal Khattar, too has conspicuously failed to uphold the rule of law. In fact, his regime has seen a new dimension to communal violence: attacks on Muslims in southern Haryana. If he does not act firmly against criminals, regardless of their caste and religion, Haryana is in danger of going the UP way.

The Quint

 Absconding Leader Accused of Dalit’s Murder Appears on TV

http://www.thequint.com/india/2015/10/05/absconding-leader-accused-of-dalits-murder-appears-on-tv

 The News Minute

First Published: Today, 2 hours ago

Today, 2 hours ago

 In what could add further pressure on the Tamil Nadu police department and the Jayalalithaa government in investigation (in the case of Dalit youth Gokulraj’s murder and consequent death of DSP Vishnupriya, the main accused in the murder case), President of the caste-outfit Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai, Yuvaraj has appeared on a popular Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai. He said that the case against him is false and he does not have the need to get arrested if the police are acting ‘unlawfully’.

In the edited interview which was aired on Sunday morning, he says that he is not worried about the Gokulraj case investigations as he had no role to play in it. He also requested for a public debate in front of the media. He says that he will get the directions from the court if the police agree to have an open debate on the case where he will prove that he is not guilty of murdering Gokulraj, and that if he is proven guilty, he will accept any punishment then and there. But if the police are found to be wrong, then the officers who he accused of impropriety will have to resign and leave the force. He says that if the police give the assurance that this is acceptable, he will surface without wasting the state’s resources.

He accused the police of having political intentions in ‘targeting’ him in the Gokulraj murder case, and says their real motive is not justice for Gokulraj. It is laughable to say he has political support, says Yuvaraj.

Yuvaraj says he is absconding in self-defense and has no reason to surrender as the police are acting unlawfully.

The Times Of India

 An uncommon fight for common land

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/An-uncommon-fight-for-common-land/articleshow/49221590.cms

Amaninder Sharma,TNN | Oct 5, 2015, 05.53 AM IST

This year, for the first time ever, 60 Dalit families of Jhaneri vil lage in Punjab’s Sangrur dis trict have organised themselves into a collective to bid for their share in village common farmland. “For the first time, Dalits will not beg upper caste to get some quintals of wheat,” says farmer Surjan Singh (65).Today, Jhaneri has one of the largest farming collectives -spread across 30 acres -organised by Dalits. 

As per a provision of the Punjab village Common Land Act, 1961, 33% of the total village common farmland is reserved for Dalit families. But this is rarely followed in practice. “Rich farmers, in connivance with panchayat and rural development officials, use dummy Dalits to bid for the lands,” says Gurmukh Mann, general secretary of the Zameen Prapati Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC) which is anchoring the movement across Punjab’s villages. 

The initiative seems to have worked.Apart from Jhaneri, several villages in southern Punjab are now seeing the rise of farming collectives run by Dalits.Mann says that in just a year, Dalits have claimed right over 300 acres of land for collective farming. Each collective is managed by an 11-member committee that handles a variety of responsibilities, from preparing the duty roster to maintaining accounts. There is a reason why the movement is gaining momentum across Punjab.”Dalit families in Punjab have changed in the last decade. Today, you see many of their youth entering college and universities. They aspire for self-respect and dignity for their families back in the villages. And they understand that these elements are directly related to issues of possession of land and economic independence,” says Jatinder Singh, assistant professor of political science at Punjabi University , Patiala. 

In April this year, this movement nearly led to bloodshed. Surjan Singh says a group of 16 rich farmers landed up to threaten the 200 Dalits in Jhaneri who had claimed their right to the vil lage common land. 

“They had guns. Some of those leading them were panchayat members.Fortunately, the police reached in time,” says Surjan Singh. “But both the administration and the upper caste farmers realised that there would be bloodshed if the Dalits’ share of land was forcibly acquired.” 

Days after the incident, Jhaneri Dalits borrowed Rs 3.6 lakh from a private moneylender and pooled in their own funds to pay Rs 6.8 lakh as annual advance rent to the government. They got possession of the land, and families now collectively sow paddy over 28 acres and reserve two for fodder. 

Another successful agitation was held in Baupur village of Sangrur. It was led by BSP leader Krishan Jassal and it involved 105 Dalit families demanding a fair auction. In the face of severe hostilities between the Dalits and upper castes, panchayat officials had to cancel the bidding five times.Three months into the agitation, the Punjab State Scheduled Caste Commission intervened, and the Dalits were given possession of 25 acres of common land in June last year. 

Apart from Balad Kalan, where a collective tilled 121 acres and just cut their first wheat harvest, Baupur is the only village where Dalits have reaped at least one crop since they took possession of the land. 

“Around 100 Dalit families are sustained by these 25 acres. At the end of Rabi reason this year, each family got four quintals of wheat and half trolley of dry fodder free of cost,” says Jassal. 

Mukesh Malaud, president of the ZPSC, says the movement is also fighting for lower rents. “The government says that lands should be auctioned at prices higher than last year’s. But these lands are meant not for profit but for the sustenance of Dalits,” he says. 

With additional reports Neel Kamal in Barnala 

THE FEMALE BIGHA BRIGADE 

What is really remarkable is that Dalit girls are leading some of these agitations. In February last year, Sandeep Kaur, a 25-year-old diploma holder in computer applications from Matoi village in Sangrur, floated an Ekta Club along with a group of 10 Dalit girls. 

They launched a two-month long agitation, and managed to convince the Dalit families of Matoi of the need to bid collectively for the land. 

There was another problem -the government base rent was Rs 7,200 per bigha, which the agitators thought was too steep for the poor Dalits. They wanted it down to Rs 3,200 per bigha. “We were fighting two battles -high base rents and proxy biding.The auction was cancelled four times because of our protests last year,” says activist Mandeep Kaur. 

The girls, in fact, represented their community during the bidding last year.There were clashes on auction day and rich farmers managed to win using a dummy candidate, says Kaur. “But we have won this time,” she says. 

“Now we don’t need to beg upper caste farmers for even cattle fodder. This land is enough to feed cattle of all Dalits in Matoi,” says 45-year-old Amarjit Kaur. 

The Hindu

 Govt. will be asked to help Devadasis’

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/govt-will-be-asked-to-help-devadasis/article7724929.ece?ref=tpnews

PRADEEPKUMAR KADKOL

The State government would be asked to provide all eligible facilities to Devadasis with immediate effect, Karnataka High Court Judge N.K. Patil has said.

Speaking after inaugurating a legal awareness programme for Devadasis, organised by the district administration, District Legal Services Authority, zilla panchayat and District Bar Association here on Sunday, he said that Devadasis cannot improve their living conditions only by getting pension from the government.

Instead they should be extended to all government facilities to improve their condition. So the government would be instructed to provide all facilities as early as possible, he reiterated. Since poverty, unemployment and illiteracy were major reasons for people getting attracted towards such practices , the government should take utmost care in creating awareness among , he added. Another High Court Judge L. Narayanswamy said that every individual in society should cooperate to avoid superstitious beliefs and practices to build a good society.

The conditions will not improve merely by rehabilitating persons involved in such practices, instead sustained effort should be made to stop people from indulging in such practices, he said. Deputy Commissioner S.T. Anjankumar said that there are a total of 47,000 Devadasis in the State and it’s the responsibility of every official of concerned departments to help them live a dignified life.The State government has made arrangements to provide Rs. 1,000 as pension every month to Devadasis and the process of providing loans and sites for construction is under progress.

SP Borlingaiah and ZP CEO R. Girish were present.

Mail Online India

 From dirty drains to smart cabs: 1,150 women from manual scavenger families to train as Uber and Meru drivers under Modi government scheme

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3259808/From-dirty-drains-smart-cabs-1-150-women-manual-scavenger-families-train-Uber-Meru-drivers-Modi-government-scheme.html

By DARPAN SINGH

PUBLISHED: 22:40 GMT, 4 October 2015 | UPDATED: 22:40 GMT, 4 October 2015

In Tigdi Camp, one of the largest JJ clusters in Delhi, Malini sets out for her driving class, walking through a labyrinth of small, dilapidated houses. 

“Collecting someone’s excreta in a bucket, and carrying it away on your head is the worst job in the world. My mother did it with her head covered in a veil. I hope to bring some dignity to our lives. I can exercise choice. She could not,” says the beaming 20-year-old as she gets into the car. 

A wind of change is quietly blowing in Delhi, and is set to reach some of India’s other big cities soon. The Narendra Modi government is trying to tweak an age-old caste narrative, and improve lives trapped in extreme poverty and widespread discrimination. 

Deepu, 22, a trainee whose father is a sanitation worker in Noida, says she hopes to bring some dignity to her family’s lives  

2D17A95800000578-3259808-Neelam_Gulshan_and_Poonam_are_the_coordinators_of_the_ongoing_tr-m-20_1443998204384

Every day, 250 young women – whose parents sweep streets or clean dry toilets and sewers – hit the road here to become ‘fighting fit and modern’ cab drivers who will earn several thousand rupees a month.

Having attended short classes in spoken English and martial arts in neighbourhood parks, these slum women, some of them sanitation workers themselves, are getting commercial driving lessons to work for taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola. 

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The union ministry of social justice and empowerment (SJE) has planned similar programmes for 900 women from other parts of the city. 

 “Not just that. We will also do it in cities such as Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai,” says SJE minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot. 

Soni’s father suffered serious injuries twice, becoming incapable of any labour. 

“It’s a wretched job he had to do. My mother has been doing his job for 10 years. I can see some hope in our lives now,” says the 22-year-old, gripping tightly onto the steering wheel, struggling to negotiate the morning peak traffic. 

These trainees, all aged 17-25 – come from the slums of Madangir, Sangam Vihar, Lal Kuan and Ambedkar Nagar in south Delhi. 

Laxmi has studied till class XII. She wants to have her own travel agency. 

“It’s a change I never imagined would happen,” she says. 

To begin with, 10 cars from motor driving schools have been engaged for training.

Women’s security 

Senior SJE official Muniappa Nagaraj takes Mail Today to a city park where some of these women are repeating mannerism lessons. 

“We hear of molestation and rapes all the time. These drivers would also give a sense of security to women who travel at odd hours. We hope to have 3,000 women cab drivers in Delhi at some stage,” he says. 

For women like Malini’s mother, their fate is a result of lack of options. Dalits, the lowest caste in India’s social pecking order, do the job that others won’t. 

In their home in a Lal Kuan slum, Soni’s mother Geeta Devi is back from work. Wearing a tattered cotton saree, she sits quietly and talks about a vicious cycle. 

“Bhedbhav ke kaaran ham aur kuchh kar nahi paaye. Jo kaam kiya usse aur bhedbhav mila (We could not do any other job because of social discrimination. And because of what we did there was more discrimination),” she says, her voice choked and eyes welled up. 

When the seven-month programme started in May these women were extremely low on confidence. They had perhaps never dreamt they would sit behind a steering wheel. Back in his Greater Kailash office, Nagaraj says they’re turning out to be quite smart. 

“They will be given loans to purchase their own vehicles. They can work for Uber and Meru with whom we have planned to sign agreements,” he says. 

As part of the scheme, these women also get Rs 1,500 per month as a stipend.  

Neelam, Gulshan and Poonam are the coordinators of the ongoing training programme.

Dunu Roy of NGO Hazard Centre says this is a good initiative, but fears the sheer numbers may defeat the programme. 

“Delhi officially has some 60,000 safai karmcharis, who go without pay for months, to sweep streets, dispose garbage and clean drains – many carrying sewage and industrial waste – without any safety gear,” he says. 

No rehabilitation 

Census 2011 data says Delhi had 583 toilets which needed daily manual cleaning because they were not connected to a septic tank or a sewer line. 

But municipal corporations have failed to identify these people for rehabilitation. Roy says the actual number of scavengers and headloaders is much higher. 

“And this number has to be first officially traced before the government can improve their lives,” he says. 

There are 26 lakh dry latrines in India which are manually scavenged by 1,80,000 people, mostly in Uttar Pradesh, the census data says. Only 13,000 have so far been identified for cash assistance and skill training. 

(A few names have been changed on request)

Big leap, but challenges remain 

By Darpan Singh in New Delhi 

Experts have welcome the Modi government initiative, but also caution that much more needs to be done to end widespread discrimination that safai karamcharis and their families face. 

“The programme is very exciting in terms of breaking both the glass as well as class and caste ceilings and demonstrates that there is a dignified place for working women in today’s society,” Dunu Roy of NGO Hazard Centre said. 

However, he says the sheer numbers may defeat the venture. 

“The government is looking at a maximum of 3,000 taxi drivers’ jobs, when the number of safai karamcharis in Delhi is officially 60,000. This means that not more than 5% of the acknowledged workforce will benefit.” 

It is well known that sanitation workers operate under what is called the ‘Lahori’ system. In other words, the officially designated employee will be from a higher caste. They sign in, and give a small part of the salary to a Dalit who does the actual work.

“Hence, the 5% dignified jobs on offer may be grabbed by the upper castes once they know how the system works,” Roy said. 

However, activist Manoj Misra says: “In many areas of Delhi, storm water drains carry sewage because of inadequate closed pipe networks. So cleaning drains is also scavenging.” 

Misra says scavenging is an essential civil and economic activity. 

“What needs removal is the demeaning manner in which it has been done till date. Machines are useful, but man’s role cannot be washed away,” he said. 

In Delhi safai karamcharis sweep streets, dispose of garbage and clean drains without pay for months, or access to safety gear. A sanitation worker recently killed himself when he did not get his salary for five months. 

India banned manual scavenging in 1993, but the ban remained largely unenforced. In September 2013, Parliament passed a new law to prohibit the practice. But findings of an ongoing government survey show it is still quite widespread across states, especially in Uttar Pradesh. 

States were required to survey existing dry toilets by February 6, 2014 and ensure their subsequent destruction and conversion into flushing ones within six months of that date. 

The 2011 census figures showed Delhi had 583 toilets cleaned by manual scavengers and 633 ‘serviced by animals’.

Scroll.in

 Do Maharashtra’s Neo-Buddhists really want – and need – a separate marriage law?

http://scroll.in/article/759841/new-bcci-chief-shashank-manohar-has-his-task-cut-out-for-him-clean-up-the-boards-image

 . As the state government appoints a committee to consider the issue, a debate rages within the community of Ambedkarite Buddhists

 Aarefa Johari  · Today · 11:30 am

Once every few years, sections of Maharashtra’s Neo-Buddhist community rise up to assert their religious identity by demanding their own personal law, separate from the Hindu Marriage Act that currently governs them.

Last week, the community was back in the headlines as the state government, heeding these demands, constituted a 13-member committee to consider the need for a draft legislation to govern Buddhist marriage and inheritance. The committee includes state social justice and empowerment minister Rajkumar Badole, other senior office-bearers of the social justice and legal departments, lawyers, a retired judge and some representatives of the community.

A separate personal law, according to those who support the demand, would ensure that Buddhist marriage rituals are always considered valid in a court of law. In Maharashtra, they claim, there have been several cases in which the High Court or various district courts have deemed Buddhist marriages illegal under the Hindu Marriage Act.

The government’s decision to form a committee, however, is facing opposition from another section of the Neo-Buddhist community. According to this group, Babasaheb Ambedkar, who led the conversion of lakhs of Dalits to Buddhism in 1956, would never have approved of personal laws on the grounds of religion.

While the supporters of a separate law have been more vocal than the latter, both groups claim to be speaking for the majority of the community.

Hindu Act, customary laws 

Maharashtra is home to more than 70% of India’s 84 lakh Buddhists, most of them descendants of the Dalits who converted along with Ambedkar to break away from Hinduism’s oppressive caste system.

By this time, Buddhists had already been clubbed together along with Jains and Sikhs to be governed by the set of four Hindu code bills: the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Hindu Succession Act, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956.

Technically, for a marriage to be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, the wedding must include the ritual ofsaptapadi, or the seven steps around the holy fire. “But this is a purely Vedic ritual applicable only to Hindus,” said lawyer Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar and leader of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh political party.

For non-Hindus – Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Scheduled Tribes and even some Other Backward Class communities whose rituals don’t involve saptapadi – the Act makes provisions for customary laws, said Prakash Ambedkar. “Under customary provisions, marriages based on the rituals of these other communities are also considered valid.”

This has not satisfied minority communities. In 2012, after years of persistence, the Sikhs were granted their own personal law with the passing of amendments to the Anand Marriage Act of 1909. For some Buddhist leaders in Maharashtra, however, the struggle still continues.

Three court cases 

Nitin Raut, a Congress leader and former legislator from Nagpur, describes the draft Buddhist Marriage and Succession Act as his “baby”. In 2007, after framing the draft law and proposing it in the state Assembly, Raut went on a day-long hunger strike to demand that his “non-official bill” be passed.

Raut believes that the provisions of customary laws within the Hindu Marriage Act have not been enough to safeguard the legal status of marriages that take place with Buddhist rituals.

In Maharashtra, Neo-Buddhist weddings typically require the bride, groom and an officiating priest to chant prayers and take oaths before images of the Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar. The union is then registered under the Hindu Marriage Act with the local government registrar.

But as examples of how things often go wrong, Raut and other activists frequently cite three landmark cases in the Bombay High Court where marriages of Buddhist couples were declared invalid. The first is the Shakuntala-Nilkanthcase of 1973, which involved a woman whose husband had abandoned her and remarried. Shakuntala’s maintenance allowance plea was dismissed because the court held that her marriage was not valid: the couple had married through Buddhist rites even though they had not legally converted at the time of marriage and were still “Hindu” on paper. The High Court ruled that “the fact that such marriages are taking place for the last 10 to 15 years is not enough to establish custom”.

After the similar cases of Baby-Jagtap in 1981 and Rekha-Ashok in 1985, says Raut, the court itself directed the state government to consider making amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act. “So far, nothing has been done,” he said.

‘We don’t need a separate law’

While Raut’s demand for a Buddhist marriage law focuses heavily on these cases of “wronged” couples, other community leaders see the issue as simply a matter of identity.

“Buddhism is entirely different from Hinduism – the point of converting with Babasaheb was to assert that we are notHindus anymore,” said Jogendra Kawade, president of the Peoples Republican Party and former MP from Nagpur. “We don’t walk around holy fires. Our marriage rituals need legal recognition of their own.”

For Prakash Ambedkar and his supporters, however, this idea is against the spirit of Ambedkar’s teachings. “Babasaheb strongly believed that there should be a common personal code for people of all religions,” said Prakash Ambedkar, referring to his grandfather’s decision to resign from the Cabinet in 1951 when the government refused to pass his inclusive draft of the Hindu Code Bill. Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews already had their own personal laws, but with the Hindu bill, Ambedkar did not want codes that favoured any one kind of conservative Hinduism.

The current versions of the Hindu Code Bills, amended over the years, are more inclusive than they originally were. “Today the inheritance laws in the Hindu Succession Act, for instance, give women equal right to property and reflect the spirit of Buddhism that Babasaheb had envisioned,” said Sandeep Nandeshwar, a lawyer working at the Nagpur bench of the high court. “We don’t really need a separate Buddhist law.”

Some community leaders believe that the government’s committee was appointed without widespread consultation with the community, and claim that the demand by Raut, Kawade and others is politically motivated.

“The feeling of community identity among Buddhists is a little weak in Maharashtra right now, so a small section of radical Buddhist leaders is demanding a separate law,” said Maruti Kumbhar, Mumbai president of the Satyashodhak OBC Parishad, an organisation that is trying to convert OBCs to Buddhism.

According to Nandeshwar, there can simply be no legal debate about his view that Maharashtra must not have a separate law for Buddhists. “There are many Buddhists outside the state and personal laws are clearly a national subject,” he said. “The state has no power to make laws for specific religions.”

The Times Of India

 Learning with the times — In India, there is no law that defines hate speech

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Learning-with-the-times-In-India-there-is-no-law-that-defines-hate-speech/articleshow/49225313.cms

TNN | Oct 5, 2015, 12.48 PM IST

What is hate speech? 

Hate speech is a term used for a wide range of negative discourse linked with the speaker’s hatred or prejudice against a certain section of society. It could be degrading, intimidating and aimed to incite violence against a particular religion, race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, political views, social class and so on. History has many examples when hate speeches were used to trigger eth nic violence resulting in genocide, as happened with the Jews in Nazi Germany and the Tutsi community in Rwanda. Regulation on hate speech is a post-Second World War phenomenon. 

Isn’t restriction on free speech unconstitutional? 

Issues related to hate speech are often countered with the argument about freedom of speech. Given India’s diversity, the drafters of the Constitution felt it was important to ensure a culture of tolerance by putting some restraints on freedom of speech. Sub-clause (a) of clause 1 of Article 19 of the Constitution states that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression. However, it also states that the state can put reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the country , security of state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality and in relation to contempt of court. 

What are the laws against hate speech in India? 

Various sections of IPC deal with hate speech. For instance, according to Sections 153A and 153B, any act that promotes enmity between groups on grounds of religion and race and is prejudicial to national integration is punishable. Section 295A of IPC states that speech, writings or signs made with deliberate intention to insult a religion or religious beliefs is punishable and could lead to up to three years of jail. Similarly the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, which was en acted to abolish untouchability, has provisions penalizing hate speech against Dalits. De spite the existence of all these laws, the Supreme Court in March 2014 asked the law com mission to suggest how hate speech should be defined and dealt with since the term is not defined in any existing law. 

Can a community, class or caste be targeted in a political speech? 

Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act restrains political parties and candidates from creating enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens of India. Also Section 123(3) of the Act states that no party or candidate shall appeal for votes on the ground of religion, race, caste, community, language and so on.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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