Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 21.10.15

Indian protests after Dalit children burnt alive in caste attack – BBC


 ‘We are like animals for them’ – The Statesman


Burning of Dalit family: Ballabgarh has history of caste violence – The Hindustan Times


To Pay College Fees, Little Drummer Girls Take to Streets – The New Indian Express


Tension in Madurai village as Dalits offer prayer to Pipal tree – The Hindu


Order prohibiting temple fest challenged – The Times Of India


Wrote to senior officials for more security twice: Suspended cop – The Indian Express


 ‘Classroom Scuffle’: 6-yr-old charged with culpable homicide in UP – The Indian Express


‘Women, poor ultimate victims of religious fundamentalism’ – Deccan Herald


Ambedkar books are hot at Dhammachakra fest – The Times Of India


2016 Ujjain Kumbh: Separate akhada comes up to cater to eunuchs – Zee News


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 Indian protests after Dalit children burnt alive in caste attack


Protesters have blocked a key highway in India to protest against the death of two children who were burnt alive in an arson attack near the capital Delhi.

A toddler and a nine-month old died after their home in Faridabad town was set on fire early on Tuesday, allegedly by upper-caste men.

Three people were arrested and police said they were looking for nine others

The parents of the children were also injured and their mother is reported to be still in a critical condition.

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Security has been tightened in the area after a rise in tensions over the incident.

On Tuesday, several young men blocked roads in Faridabad, demanding action against those behind the crime. Many more joined them on Wednesday, local television reported.

The infant and his two-year-old sister were both asleep in their home in Faridabad district, about 25 miles (40km) outside Delhi, when the attackers doused the building with petrol and set it alight.

“We were sleeping when they poured petrol from the window. I smelled the petrol and tried to wake up my wife but by then the fire had started. My children died in the fire,” the father, identified as Jitender, told the Press Trust of India news agency.

“They had threatened me that they will finish my family, that I should never return to the village,” he added.

The chief minister and senior police officials have promised to bring the attackers to justice.

Faridabad police commissioner Subhash Yadav told the AFP that the attack appeared to have been part of a long-running feud between the area’s Dalit community and the higher Rajput caste, which also claimed the lives of three people a year ago.

Dalits, formerly known as “untouchables”, are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system in India. Although caste discrimination is illegal, biases remain in many areas.

The Statesman

 ‘We are like animals for them’


 Abhinav Singh/ SNS

Around 70 Dalit families in Sunped area of Faridabad fight for survival in their village every day.

Being a Dalit in India is a crime, the villagers of Sunped told The Statesman. “In India the biggest sin is that you have been born in the house of a Dalit. From the day of its birth,a Dalit child starts facing discrimination,” said the villagers.

They said around 400 upper caste families live in the village and vastly outnumber the 70 Dalit families, who often face harassment from the former.

“If we died, no one will care as we are like animals for them,” said the Dalit residents of Sunped village.

The village, just 50 km from the heart of Delhi and more than 500 years old, is still wrapped in its caste cocoon. Like in the past, in this digital era too Dalits are not allowed to drink from the same wells, or visit the temples frequented by the upper castes.

This morning at around 2.30 the room in which four members of a Dalit family were sleeping was gutted in a fire set by upper caste men.

In the fire, two minors were killed and their mother is battling for life in Safdarjung hospital, Delhi. The villagers claimed that the main reason behind the incident is that they are Dalit.

“Our sisters, daughters face frequent harassment at the hands of upper caste people. They just wait for an oppurtunity to sexually harass them. Whenever we go to the police station to file a complaint, no action is taken against the accused persons,” said Veena, a villager.

Many Dalit villagers claimed that their family members have been falsely implicated in criminal cases by the upper caste people.

The family members of the victim, who were burnt alive today claimed that their house was burnt earlier too but police did not take any action.

A 78-year-old woman Putan was sitting on the corner of the street, when she was pushed aside by an upper caste man who shouted at her to “just get out of my way”.

“Whenever our daughters go to school they are sexually harassed by upper caste people,” said Rajawati. In another village nearby, Shahjhanpur Kalan, residents, however, claimed that all the castes stay there peacefully.

“Upper castes have been dominant in Sunped due to which our voices are suppressed,” said Rajawati, a Dalit villager. 

The Hindustan Times

 Burning of Dalit family: Ballabgarh has history of caste violence


 Prabhu Razdan, Hindustan Times, Sunperh, Ballabgarh

 Updated: Oct 21, 2015 12:11 IST

No amount of compensation or consolation will bring back my children, says Jitender Kumar, whose two children were burnt alive in alleged caste violence in Sunperh village on Tuesday.

Two-and-half-year old Vaibhav and his 9-month-old sister Divya died after upper caste men allegedly poured petrol from the window and set the house ablaze while the family was sleeping inside their home around 2:30am on Tuesday in Sunperh village, bordering Delhi.

Their mother Rekha, 28, suffered serious burn injuries. Jitender, 31, too suffered burns while trying to save his family.

According to Jitender, the Rajput community could not digest the election of Jagamal Singh, a Dalit, as the Sarpanch of the village. He claimed that to avenge their ‘defeat’ in the polls, the Rajputs framed Jagmal and 10 other Dalits in a case and had them sent to jail.

Earlier in June this year, one person was killed and 12 others injured in a caste clash.

Jitender told HT that ever since that incident he would not step out of his house except for work. He works as an assistant at a medical store in Ballabgarh. “I used to keep myself locked in my house as I was feared for my and my family’s life,” said Jitender. “They have succeeded in their mission,” he said, squarely blaming the Rajput community for the incident.

The father of two victims accused Safdarjung Hospital staff for delay in admitting his children. “The hospital authorities reacted 15 minutes too late,” he claimed.

Jitender’s relatives claimed that they had alerted the police after a minor clash on October 6 but the police took it lightly. “I shifted to Delhi after last year’s incident. I rarely visit this village now,” said Hukum Singh, relative of Jitender.

The police have booked 11 people in the case under various sections of the IPC and SC/ST Act. The victims’ relatives, however, also demanded action against the policemen for inaction.

“We will not cremate bodies of the children till a case is registered against the guilty police personnel,” said Anil Baba, president of the Haryana unit of the Republican Party of India.

The Rajputs, however, rejected the charges and said “internal family feud” led to the incident.

Ballabhgarh has a history of violence between the Dalits and Rajputs.

In April 2013, a 400-strong mob of the Ror community launched an attack on Dalits. Over 200 Dalit families fled the Pabnawa village in Kaithal district to escape the attack. Their houses were allegedly looted and women humiliated. The attack was triggered by the marriage of a Dalit boy with a Ror community girl.

The year 2011 saw the merciless killing of Dalits by Jats in Mirchpur village in Narnaund, a sub district of Hisar. A physically challenged girl and her septuagenarian Dalit father were charred to death by the Jat community. The houses of about 15 dalits were burnt and the victims had to flee.

According to the Socio Economic Caste Census 2011, Haryana has 22.89% Scheduled Castes (SC), while Faridabad has 19.93% SCs.

Haryana chief minister condemned Tuesday’s incident and announced compensation for the family. Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda met the family and assured all help.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the Centre should own up responsibility to curb incidents emanating out of “communal sentiments and caste-based hatred. Underlining that though law and order is responsibility of state governments, he insisted Centre must play its role in cases of violence involving Dalits, adivasis and women.

The New Indian Express

 To Pay College Fees, Little Drummer Girls Take to Streets


By S Lalitha Published: 21st October 2015 05:44 AM Last Updated: 21st October 2015 05:45 AM

QUEEN’S ROAD:  With every beat of their tamate and every dance step, a group of girls from Bengaluru and Hoskote is moving towards a better, brighter future. For, they go out and perform to put themselves through college.

It has been more than five years since the 20-strong girls’ troupe stormed the male bastion of tamate dance folk art. Tamate is a traditional percussion instrument that resembles the tambourine. In Karnataka, the folk art was performed only by men from SC/ST communities until this gutsy bunch of girls chanced upon women practitioners from Tamil Nadu and decided to give it a go themselves. Over the last few years, they have performed on street corners and at major festivals.

For Gayathri, a member of the troupe, college education would have been a distant dream if not for the `500 to `600 she earns for every performance. She is now pursuing BA at the BBMP Primary Grade College for Women in Hoskote. Gayathri’s father passed away years ago and her mother works as a coolie.

V Rashmi, a second year B Tech (Mechanical Engineering) student at Reva University, Yelahanka, says, “I have gained a lot of confidence after so many performances and my grades in academics too have improved.” Her mother Shivamma and uncle K Nagaraj launched the troupe and made it part of Spoorthi, an NGO they run.

According to the girls, the money they earn goes into buying academic books, paying college fees and supporting their impoverished families. “That apart, I have loved dancing since childhood. Our culture is fast vanishing and this troupe gives me a chance to play a role in preserving it,” says T B Lavanya, the only ex-collegian in the group.

Shivamma was impressed when she saw a women’s troupe from Tamil Nadu performing the art form in Bengaluru in 2009. After a long conversation with them, she decided to emulate them. “A few of us picked up skills from them over a three-day period.”

So what were the challenges they faced? According to Shivamma, there was tremendous opposition initially from both the girls’ families and society. “There is an age-old superstition in arnataka that if women play the tamate and dance, there will be no rains in that area and the dancer’s family will soon be hit by poverty.”

To form a team, Shivamma and Nagaraj visited the homes of all the girls who showed interest and sat their parents down to convince them that association with the art form is nothing to be ashamed of. “Even if the parents were okay with it, sometimes relatives would interfere and say that women do not perform tamate,” Shivamma says. After many rounds of talks, the families relented.

However, some girls dropped out of the team unable to withstand family pressure, Nagaraj said. They were eventually replaced by others who showed interest.

The troupe also includes 10 men, none of them dancers. They play an improvised fibre-made tamate to provide background music. Six of them are required for one performance.

The troupe signs up for four or five events a month and charges `15,000 per performance. Because of their different college schedules, all the members are usually not available at the same time. “However, eight or 10 girls are required for a performance,” Nagaraj says.

Every troupe member is alerted about upcoming events and those who can squeeze it into their schedule take part. “To ensure safety of the girls, we pick them up and drop them at their hostel or house,” he added. “As a policy, we never agree for performances during exams as we are also keen that they do well academically.”

The Hindu

 Tension in Madurai village as Dalits offer prayer to Pipal tree



when Dalits offered puja to the Pipal tree at the Muthalamman Temple amidst objection by the Caste Hindus on Wednesday.

Huge posse of police have been deployed in the village near Usilampatti to avert any untoward incident.

The district administration had reversed its prohibitory order on celebration of the Muthalamman festival on Tuesday night after the Caste Hindus pleaded for permission and agreed to allow the Dalits to offer worship at the temple.

“We had given the orders with the condition that the rights of the Dalits to worship at the temple should be upheld,” the Usilampatti Revenue Divisional Officer, M. Balasubramanian, said. Following the permission, the earthen idol of Muthalammman was brought in procession from Elumalai on Tuesday night. In the morning, the caste Hindu devotees brought ‘mulaippari’ and offered their prayers.

Later, some 40 Dalits led by C. Sankaralingam and Ponnaiah, came to the temple and worshiped the deity. Deeparathana and puja were performed by the priest and the devotees were offered the holy ash and kumkum at around 10.30 a.m. Just as they were coming out, the Dalits put up two garlands on the Pipal tree on the temple premises and offered their prayers. They also performed deeparathana and broke coconut.

Suddenly, over a dozen caste Hindus, who were present at the temple objected to it. Even as both sides started arguing over the issue with the police trying to pacify them, somebody pulled down one of the two garlands from the Pipal tree and threw it on the ground. This angered the Dalits, including women, who squatted on the Elumalai Road. However, the large posse of police managed to remove them and took them to their hamlet.

While the caste Hindus demanded that the garlands should be removed, the Superintendent of Police, Vijayendra Bidari, said that he could not allow any such thing. He warned that those who tried to remove them would be arrested. Meanwhile, Vishwa Hindu Parish leader, Chinmaya Somasundaram, and a Dalit leader, Athimoolam, pacified them. The RDO and the SP and at least, half a dozen DSPs were camping in the village.

The Times Of India

 Order prohibiting temple fest challenged


TNN | Oct 21, 2015, 08.49 AM IST

MADURAI: Madras high court on Tuesday ordered notice to authorities on a petition seeking to quash an order of revenue divisional officer (RDO) prohibiting the conduct of a local temple festival in Uthapuram in the district. 

Admitting the petition by president of Uthapuram vellala community N Muthiah, who also sought police protection for the ongoing festival at Sri Muthalamman temple, justice P N Prakash ordered notice to the officials. 

The petitioner charged that the RDO of Usilampatti was prohibiting the peaceful conduct of the festival, when everything was smoothly proceeding, by issuing the order. 

He pointed out that in 2012 itself the high court had ordered that the superintendent of police should monitor and implement the agreement reached between caste Hindus and Dalits in the village and ensure participation of all the communities in the festival. 

The 11-day festival began on October 13 and was being celebrated smoothly when all of a sudden the RDO on October 16 pasted a backdated order prohibiting the holding of festival citing objection by some, the petitioner claimed. 

Then the SC people demanded right to worship in the temple and after clashes the peace committee meeting was convened and it was agreed to conduct the festival smoothly. agencies 

Uthapuram was in limelight for an ‘untouchability’ wall erected separating the entry and exit of scheduled castes people of the village after a clash in 1989 

The Indian Express

 Wrote to senior officials for more security twice: Suspended cop


Assistant sub-inspector Wali Mohammed told The Indian Express he was deployed at Sunpedh village after the triple murder in the village.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | Faridabad | Published:October 21, 2015 1:53 am

Exactly two weeks before the arson attack, assistant sub-inspector Wali Mohammed wrote to his senior in-charge of Sadar Ballabgarh police station and assistant commissioner of police (Sadar Ballabgarh sub-division), asking them to increase the number of security personnel at Sunpedh village.

Mohammed, who was among police officials deployed in the village to protect around 100 Dalit families, claimed Tuesday he did not get a response. Now, he and four other police officials have been placed under suspension for alleged dereliction of duty.

Mohammed told The Indian Express he was deployed at Sunpedh village after the triple murder in the village.

“After the triple murder, the SC/ST Commission had ordered to provide security to Dalit families, especially the family members of 11 people arrested in the triple murder case. Initially 19 police officials including eight women were deployed in the village,” he said.

After some months, however, some officials were transferred to other units and recently some women personnel were sent to newly opened women’s police stations in Haryana.

Mohammed claimed his letter to senior officials on October 6 was not the first time he raised security concerns. “I had written the first letter on July 1 and requested seniors to increase the number of police personnel in the village. At that point, there were only nine officials left from the original 19 deployed. But no one responded. Whenever I asked my senior inspector Anil Kumar, in-charge of Sadar Ballagbarh police station, he assured me he had forwarded my letter to seniors,” said the ASI.

In his second letter, Mohammed claimed, he informed his seniors only four police officials were left for the security of the Dalit families.

The letter was written a day after Jitender’s wife was allegedly harassed by some persons from the Rajput community.

On Tuesday, Jitender alleged that some persons from the Rajput community harassed his wife, Rekha, on October 5, but the police refused to register their complaint.

The Assistant commissioner of police (Sadar Ballabgarh sub-division), Vishnu Dayal, claimed no letter had ever been received from ASI Wali Mohammed.

“Initially, we removed the security personnel after the tension gripped Atali village in Ballabgarh and later we moved personnel to women’s police stations. We removed the police personnel as no incident was ever reported from the village and three cops were sufficient,” said Dayal.

The Indian Express

 ‘Classroom Scuffle’: 6-yr-old charged with culpable homicide in UP


The case has been lodged under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and SC/ST Act.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Updated: October 21, 2015 5:50 am

A six-year-old Class I student has been charged with culpable homicide after a classmate who he reportedly had a scuffle with died on Monday, in Mohammadabad police station area of Fatehgarh district. The boy also faces charges under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The principal of the government primary school where the incident reportedly occurred on Friday has also been named in the FIR.

The case has been lodged under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and SC/ST Act.

Both the boys belong to the same village. The Fatehgarh district magistrate on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the case.

The father of the seven-year-old victim, who is a Dalit, alleged that his son had suffered stomach injuries in the scuffle.

“We took him to a hospital in Mohammadabad area where he died on Monday. I came to know that the school principal was present at the spot when the boys fought. It shows his negligence… I have named the principal and that boy in my complaint,” he said.

Station Officer, Mohammadabad police station, Bhim Singh said there were no visible injury marks on the victim’s body.

He said they were waiting for the autopsy report to know the exact cause of the death.

When contacted, the principal denied any altercation or scuffle between the two boys. “On Friday, uniforms were distributed to students. The students and staff had assembled on the playground. After distributing the uniforms, I left the school at around 1:30 pm. Till the time I left, there was no such fight. The school staff told me that there was no fight after I left the school also,” said the principal.

He said a resident of the area informed him about the boy’s death.

Block Education Officer Sunil Kumar Verma, who is conducting the inquiry, said the school has a total of 45 students, with two Shiksha Mitras and a principal.

Deccan Herald

 ‘Women, poor ultimate victims of religious fundamentalism’


Mangaluru, Oct 12, 2015, DHNS:

Religious fundamentalism is a big challenge to society, said Karnataka Theological Research Institute former director Dr Godwin Shiri.

He was delivering a lecture on ‘Reflection of struggle for justice, mission legacies and the need to move,’ arranged as a part of the session on ‘Towards a just society’ during an international seminar organised in the city on Friday.

The seminar was organised as a part of the bicentenary celebrations of Basel Mission.

Dr Shiri said “all religions have segments of religious fundamentalism. Ultimately, it is the poor, Dalits and women who are the victims of religious fundamentalism. India is a pluralist society. The vision of creating a just society is possible by joining hands with all the religions.”

He said that lopsided economic policies of the country promote injustice in the society. With the growth-oriented development policies being followed by the country, the poor are becoming poorer. There is a need for people-oriented development policies, he added.

Dr Shiri said the introduction of education and industrialisation by missionaries created an awakening on justice and freedom in India. It created a climate for rejuvenation of social order. Injustice is persistent and deep-rooted in India through caste system. Though many claim that casteism is no more an issue in India today, it is deep-rooted in the society. Stating that caste is the “mother of all injustice,” he said that caste in India was well fostered and promoted by the hegemony of religious orthodoxy.

“Lack of political will, corruption, bureaucratic apathy and disinterest of the civil society are the basic reasons for the pathetic condition of the poor, Dalits and backward classes in the society. Christian Dalits continue to face the injustice meted out to them. By denying reservation facilities to the Christian Dalits, the government is doing an injustice to them,” he felt.

Citing the condition of the Dalit Christians in Hyderabad Karnataka region, Dr Shiri said that female literacy rate was very low in spite of the government claiming that female literacy rate had increased over a period of time. They continue to undergo harassment at the hands of men and dowry system has infiltrated into the Christian community, he said.

Dr Parinitha, Professor in English, Mangalore University said the Basel Mission with its missionary zeal and commitment made people to pioneer in the area of education, language and literature. The Mission brought about radical changes in women’s education in the region. The first vernacular school for girls was started in 1855. The education made teaching a respectable position in the society. The early girls’ schools transformed the lives of women in the region.

“The Christianisation” brought in by the Basel Mission enabled radical questioning in society. The Christianisation led to the creation of liminal location where dialogue across religions and traditions were carried out. When the radical questioning is reduced due to various factors in the society, then the possibility of a just society are diminished,” she added. Karnataka Theological College Faculty Dr Gladson Jathanna said, women missionaries in India were like “white subalterns” where male missionaries were free to take a decision unlike women. The voices of the wife of a male missionary went unheard, though they also played a pivotal role in the field of education.

Rev Dr C L Furtado said that peace and justice go together. “All of us have a duty to work towards a just society.” 

The Times Of India

 Ambedkar books are hot at Dhammachakra fest


Barkha Mathur | Oct 21, 2015, 03.59 AM IST

 Nagpur: Eighty five stalls dedicated to just books at the 59th celebrations ofDhammachakraPravartanDiwas go to show that philosophy and teachings of DrBabasahebAmbedkar are strong and growing. “These are the stalls within the Deekshabhoomipremises. How many more would be put up on the pavements would be anybody’s guess. Last year sales from books alone was over Rs2crore,” saysArun Joseph, registrar of Ambedkar College. Most of the stalls are set up by vendors from UttarPradesh, Andhra Pradesh, W Bengal and Delhi.

“Books on Ambedkar’s thoughts and Dhamma are sold only at two places in the country, one at Chaitya Bhoomi in Mumbai and Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur,” Joseph says. Most books are in Hindi, Marathi and Tamil. The most popular titles being Buddha and Dharma, Riddles in Hinduism, Thoughts on Pakistan and Lok Rajya, all written by Ambedkar. “New writers are also emerging now and we get requests from publishers all over the country to set up stalls here,” Joseph adds.

“It would be correct to say this event has also become the biggest fair of Buddha and Ambedkar literature,” says Sultan Singh Gautam from Delhi, who has set up a book stall here. “The most unique feature of this event is that even an illiterate woman goads her child to buy a book. There is always some hope in her heart that her child may follow in the footstep of the great leader,” he says. “The youngsters are the biggest buyers as they want to read about and understand their roots,” adds Gautam.

“This is a very pious place for us. Ambedkar made us what we are today. Through these books we get to read and understand what we have only heard about ourselves,” says Appa Mankale who has come from Karnataka. “Ambedkar’s teachings are about equality and social justice which our Constitution also states. He was the architect of the Indian Constitution and by reading the books penned by him we get an insight into his thoughts,” says Narayan Masane, a student of political science in Belgaum.

Copies of the newspapers, Prabudh Bharat and Mukhnayak, published by Ambedkar and articles which he wrote in them are also reprinted and sold at the stalls. “His writings have various themes on law, economics and labour legislation. A study of these books help us understand these subjects,” says Amol Pawar a student of social work.

“Literates and illiterates both buy these books and carry them back to get them read by others or educate others about Ambedkar’s teachings,” says N M Kharade, who heads the law department at Ambedkar college. “These books tell of social change and how it can be brought about,” he adds.

Zee News

 2016 Ujjain Kumbh: Separate akhada comes up to cater to eunuchs


Last Updated: Monday, October 19, 2015 – 17:08

Bhopal: For the first time, a large number of eunuchs are expected to take a holy dip and participate in the rituals of the 2016 Simhastha-Kumbh in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district, where a separate Kinnar (transgender) akhada has come up.

“Ten thousand eunuchs from India and many transgenders from different parts of the world are expected to take part in the Simhastha which will be held from April 22 to May 21 next year,” renowned spiritual guru of Ujjain, Rishi Ajaydas told PTI today.

“We have already opened a separate akhada (camping ground) for Kinnars in my ashram on October 13. At this inaugural function, eunuchs from 17 states took part,” he said.

“We had talks with eunuchs of Bangkok, who are eager to take part in Simhastha,” the spiritual guru said.

“I have been working for the uplift of eunuchs since last seven years. We create awareness of education, health and other things among this community,” Rishi Ajaydas said.

He said there were nearly 1.25 crore transgenders across the world.

Traditionally there are 13 akhadas for Simhastha. But with the new transgender one, this number will rise to 14.

The setting up of the new akhada might face opposition from the conservative seers, some devotees feel.

“Traditionally, 13 akhadas take part in Simhastha. There are no rules of their government recognition,” Ujjain Collector Kavindra Kiyawat told PTI.

About the possible backlash in the wake of eunuchs’ akhada, he said he would not comment on it.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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