Dalits, ‘upper castes’ clash over water – The Hindu
Social rise of dalits sharpens caste animosities – The Times Of India
SC panel rejects SIT in dalit boy’s death case in Gohana – The Times Of India
SC panel chief dubs RSS ‘anti-Dalit’ – The Hindu
Two persons detained under Goondas Act – The Hindu
No justice for SC/ST victims of atrocity – Deccan Herald
Villain of upward social mobility – Free Press Journal
‘Only a radical Ambedkar can give us mukti’ – The Hindu
प्राइम टाइम : मुसहर जाति की स्थिति के लिए कौन है जिम्मेदार
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Dalits, ‘upper castes’ clash over water
Fight broke out after Dalits were stopped from using tank water for their crop
An eerie silence prevailed at Mannenahalli in Mulbagal taluk of Kolar district after the Dalits and ‘upper caste’ Hindus clashed over a couple of Dalit families using water from a particular tank.
The Nangali police have registered a case under section 124/15 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act following a complaint filed by Dalit farmer H. Srinivas alias Seenappa.
Additional Superintendent of Police P.A. Koravar said that Mr. Srinivas and his brother-in law Mohan were reportedly using water from a small tank in the village for their potato crop.
When they were working in the field, 15 members of Changalaraya Reddy’s family from the same village gathered and objected to this, triggering a brawl between them. Two sons of Mr. Srinivas were injured, he said. The caste Hindus have dumped an irrigation motor in the tank and spoiled the crop, Mr. Srinivas said. He also said in the complaint that the caste Hindus had set his house on fire.
Assistant Commissioner C.N. Manjunath, Taluk Social Welfare Officer D. Narasimhappa and other officials visited the site.
A fact-finding delegation, comprising a number of organisations led by CPI (M) district secretary Gandhinagar Narayanaswamy, also visited the village on Sunday and spoke to the Dalit families.
Police security has been tightened in the village, Mr. Koravar told The Hindu on Monday. “Complaints have been received from both sides,” he said.
The problem over using tank water had cropped up in the past too. Had the administration taken proper steps to solve it then itself, the incident would not have recurred.
The Times Of India
Social rise of dalits sharpens caste animosities
Durgesh Nandan Jha,TNN | Oct 27, 2015, 04.15 AM IST
SUNPED (Ballabhgarh): The caste divide in this village runs deeper than ever after the death of two dalit children in an arson attack in which the accused are upper caste Thakurs. The brutal murders only reignited caste animosities sharpened by the gradual leveling of social disparities as education and more refined occupations saw dalits shed their lowly status as farm labour.
The upending of social equations led to Sunped’s dalits, who worked as labour in fields owned by local Thakur zamindars, resent and resist being typecast as “outcastes”. The earlier acquiescence to living in segregation, visiting upper caste houses only when required and near total exclusion from social gatherings gave way to more assertive ways.
“In Sunped village, there are around 50 households belonging to dalits. Many of them are well-educated and working in local factories. Some of us are also in government jobs. We are not dependent on the upper castes for livelihoods anymore. But they don’t like it,” said Master Ram Singh, who retired as a teacher.
He added that dalit families are still not invited to social occasions or marriages at upper caste households except for cleaning purposes. “Some of them arrange a separate tent for us to eat leftovers,” chipped in Hukum Singh, a labourer, one of those dalit residents who still engage in manual work.
On Tuesday, when the attack on the house of Jitender – the father of the children – took place, none of the villagers offered their vehicles to take the kids and his wife to hospital, say family members. “A police officer, Ali Mohammad, rushed them to hospital in his personal car when no one came forward,” one of them said. The local police confirmed this.
On the other hand, the upper castes insist they have never wronged the dalits. “We gave them our land to inhabit and work. For years, our forefathers have taken care of them, by employing them in the fields or assisting with money when needed,” said Rajendra Singh, an ex-sarpanch.
Anger over alleged pandering of dalits wells over. “No politician cares for Baniya, Brahmin and Thakurs. They run after the dalit votes. Where were Hooda (ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh) and Rahul Gandhi (Congress vice-president) when our children were stabbed to death by them?” a Thakur asked. The reference is to deaths of three Thakurs – relatives of ex-sarpanch Balwant Singh — in a fight with Jitender’s relatives last year.
Surinder S Jodhka, professor of sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said changes in social structure was not reflected in attitudes. “The upper castes believe their superiority as natural justice. They are not able to accept insubordination which is behind this confrontation,” he said.
Attacks on dalits in Haryana have happened before, in Mirchpur in 2011 and in Bhadana in 2012. In both cases, the dalits were forced to flee the village. With the increase in reservations for lower castes in panchayats in the 1990s, many have gained political clout.
The Times Of India
SC panel rejects SIT in dalit boy’s death case in Gohana
Sukhbir Siwach,TNN | Oct 27, 2015, 08.38 AM IST
CHANDIGARH: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has pulled up the Haryana police for forming special investigation team (SIT) of its own men to probe the death of 14-year-old dalit boy Govinda at Gohana last week. The panel questioned how a special police team could probe the charges levelled against its own men.
According to NCSC member Ishwar Singh, the police had conducted the autopsy of the body on the basis of an application filed with a fake signature of the boy’s brother.
The dailt boy was allegedly killed by cops in custody, hours after he was questioned for stealing pigeons in Sonipat’s Gohana town. The boy was picked up by cops on October 21. His body was found hanging in an empty house in Govindpura locality of Gohana the next morning.
The family had blamed the police for killing the boy, leading to the registration of an FIR against two cops.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had termed it as a suicide. Amid demand for a CBI probe into the matter, the state police had formed an SIT of three police officers from Rohtak, including a deputy superintendent of police.
Gohana’s sub-divisional magistrate Dharmender Singh and DSP Vinod Kumar appeared before the NCSC in Delhi on Monday. The commission also summoned Rohtak range inspector general of police, who had formed the SIT, on November 16. Sonipat deputy commissioner and superintendent of police have also been asked to be present before the commission on the same day.
“We are not satisfied with the police’s action taken report submitted to the commission. They have mentioned in the report that Govinda was found dead. Nowhere does it say that he hanged himself or they removed his body,” Ishwar Singh told TOI.
According to the police, the autopsy report stated that Govinda died due to hanging. “They (officers) said that his neck was found broken because of hanging. The neck can be broken by the cops also,” Singh added.
According to the commission member, Govinda’s brother Gautam told the NCSC that being an illiterate, he couldn’t sign any documents. However, the cops claimed that they conducted the autopsy by a panel of doctors after the boy’s brother made a written request which was signed by him. “This has become another case against the cops and we can even issue directions for registration of FIR in this connection,” he said.
“Initially, they were stating that one of the accused cops was not on duty when the incident occurred. Later, the officers told us that the accused was posted at some naka. The record is prepared by the cops and it’s easy for them to show the cops’ presence anywhere as per their convenience,” Singh said.
SC panel chief dubs RSS ‘anti-Dalit’
Weeks after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat courted a controversy by calling for a committee to look into “which categories require reservation and for how long,” the Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, P.L. Punia, has dubbed the Sangh “anti-Dalit.”
“Mr. Bhagwat has said this two-three times. The RSS and the BJP are anti-Dalit and anti-reservation. They [the government] have no commitment to the pending Bill on reservation in promotion, too. The constitutional amendment Bill is pending, why don’t they push for it,” he asked in a conversation withThe Hindu. He is also a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress.
“The Prime Minister’s speech on terminating interview for Group B, C and D jobs smacks of obsession with ‘merit.’ They talk about Dr. Ambedkar. Mr. Bhagwat praised Dr. Ambedkar in his Dussehra speech. But he did not say a word about his previous comment on reservation. He made no clarification. And the BJP hasn’t said once that it disagrees with him — they have just said they agree with the present policy.”
The BJP strongly disagreed with this view. “The PM has made it clear that none can finish quotas till he lives. Our party chief Amit Shah has also upheld quotas as they exist. Even the RSS chief had said these may continue for a 100 years. Mr. Punia’s comments are motivated,” BJP spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri said. “He is in a constitutional position. He should clarify whether he is acting as SC Commission chief or a Congress spokesperson.”
Mr. Punia had days ago strongly reacted to Union Minister Gen. (retd.) V.K. Singh’s “dog” analogy in the deaths of two Dalit children in Haryana, and has called for cases to be registered against him under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the IPC.
Asked whether there should be exclusion of the creamy layer among Dalits from the purview of reservation, Mr. Punia said this did not seem legally possible but he did not have any personal objection to it. “The creamy layer concept was discussed in detail by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney case. It said creamy layer exclusion would apply only in relation to OBCs. So, legally speaking, the SCs are a special class and different from OBCs,” he said. “But so far as my personal opinion is concerned, I don’t have a problem in the exclusion of the very well-to-do, who have benefited from the reservation in the past.”
Asked about Congress leader Jitin Prasada seeking a debate on Mandal and asking for quotas for the poor among the upper castes and a focus on the most backward castes, Mr. Punia said: “Our 2014 manifesto said we can consider other proposals without prejudice to the existent 50 per cent quota for the SCs and STs and the OBCs. All Congressmen are committed to this. This is both my individual and party position.”
Two persons detained under Goondas Act
Two persons, who were involved in hurling petrol bomb at a Tasmac outlet in Pudupalayam in Attur that led to the murder of salesman T. Selvam (41), were detained under the Goondas Act here on Monday.
When the anti-liquor protest was taking place across the State after the death of Sasi Perumal, miscreants hurled petrol bomb at the outlet on August 8. Selvam, who was sleeping inside the shop, died of suffocation. Based on a complaint from Selvam’s father, the Vazhapadi police registered a case of murder and also under SC/ST Act and arrested six persons.
Recently, A. Manivannan (31) of Pudupalayam and T. Muthusamy (38) of Mannarpalayam were detained under the Goondas Act. On Monday, Ramachandran (23) and Illayaraja (33) were also detained under the Act.
No justice for SC/ST victims of atrocity
Bengaluru: Oct 27, 2015, DHNS:
The Karnataka government’s dismal performance in securing convictions of those charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, is a damning indictment of the failure of state functionaries to ensure justice to victims of caste violence. According to a report that examined implementation of the PoA Act, of the 1,633 cases booked under this legislation in Karnataka in 2014, not even one case ended in conviction; in 273 cases, the accused were acquitted and in 384 cases, B-reports were filed and police dropped the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
The State’s zero conviction rate under the PoA Act is reason for serious concern. It indicates that perpetrators of atrocities against SCs and STs are getting away without having to face punishment. The Constitution prohibits the practice of untouchability in all its forms. In 1955, the Protection of Civil Rights Act was enacted to protect the fundamental and socio-economic, political, and cultural rights of SCs and STs. Still, violence and humiliation continued to be heaped on them. It was in this context that the government enacted the stringent PoA Act in 1989. Under it, the violence perpetrated by non-SC/STs against SC/STs is not just a crime, it is an atrocity. It provides for special courts to ensure speedy trial and stringent punishment to those convicted in the hope that it would deter such atrocities in future. However, the enactment of the PoA has not prevented atrocities against SC/STs; instead, they have only increased in frequency and ferocity.
The PoA is not being imple-mented. Often, the police connive with perpetrators to destroy evidence and intimidate the victims into withdrawing the case. SC/ST activists point out that police are often unwilling to file a case under the PoA Act and instead pressure SC/ST victims to file a case under the more lenient Indian Penal Code, which among other things allows bail to the accused. Out on bail, the accused often file ‘counter cases’ against SC/STs so that a ‘compromise’ settlement can be reached.
Karnataka has the dubious distinction of standing third in the country in terms of the number of atrocity cases registered in 2014. It tops the county with regard to the rate of atrocities which is the number of atrocity cases per 100,000 population of SC/ST in the state. It can change this by diligently implementing the PoA Act. Civil society must strengthen the hands of SC/ST organisations in their fight for justice.
Free Press Journal
Villain of upward social mobility
— By G Ramachandram | Oct 27, 2015 12:10 am
THE caste system has degraded a mass of human beings – educationally, culturally and economically. In the present context of modernisation, the caste system, being reactionary and restrictive, stands as a villain of social upward mobility.
The atrocities on Dalits are increasing by day. The caste system has been a stumbling block to progress and development in India. It is the anti-thesis of democracy and directly negates the fundamental right to equality, guaranteed to all citizens by the constitution. Caste is not only playing a dominant role in Indian politics, but also occupying the centre stage in social life as well. Article 14 is emphatic that “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” And as per Article 17, “Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.” There are numerous laws protecting the Dalits and the depressed classes but they remain merely on paper because of the failure on the part of the state to enforce them.
Untouchability continues to be practiced and atrocities on Dalits remain unabated. The evil consequence of the caste system is that it promotes exclusiveness, touch-me-not(ism) and shunning social relations with the so-called low caste people. This social segregation is unknown anywhere in the world. It has led to nearly 17% of Indian population being treated as ‘untouchables,’ whom Gandhiji called Harijans. The stigma of birth is held against them throughout their life, no matter what their achievements are. The depressed classes have been excluded from the common social life of villages, as they are forced to live in separate ghettoes of their own, away from the caste Hindus. The practice of untouchability is predominant, cutting across the social hierarchy.
The Dalits – people at the bottom of the social structure – are denied human dignity and equal opportunity of growth and development. The caste system has degraded a mass of human beings, giving them no opportunity to get out of that condition – educationally, culturally and economically. In the present context of modernisation, the caste system, being reactionary and restrictive, stands as a villain of social upward mobility. According to a report of the Human Rights Watch, the “Dalits and indigenous people continue to face discrimination, exclusion, and acts of communal violence.” And though the “laws and policies adopted by the Indian government provide a strong basis for protection,” they “are not being faithfully implemented by local authorities.”
In Rajasthan, between 1999 and 2002, the crimes against Dalits averaged at about 5024 a year, with 46 killings and 138 cases of rape. Recently, two Dalit children were burnt alive in Haryana’s Sunped village of Faridabad district and a 14-year-old Dalit boy died under mysterious circumstances. A Dalit in mid-forties, Badan Singh committed suicide in his house in Bhatla village of Hisar district, Haryana. He was pressurised by the police not to give any statement in his cousin Gurbachan Singh’s suicide case, since he died following a dispute with his employers, who happened to be upper caste Hindus. A young Dalit, Huchangi Prasad, was attacked for criticising the caste system in his book ‘Odala Kichchu.’
These are not stray incidents. The atrocities against Dalits are committed across states throughout the country under different political dispensations. The social discrimination of Dalits is total. General V K Singh’s statement, “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is not responsible,” is an indication of a regressive mindset that justifies the atrocities by the upper caste people.
We need a mass social movement to educate the people about evils of the caste system and the damage it is inflicting on the social fabric of Indian society. The evils of caste system and gender inequality should form an integral part of our secondary school curriculum.
The Khap panchayats impose their diktat on the people in the name of custom and tradition. They justify ‘honour’ killings. They are a law unto themselves. The State’s writ does not work on them. Even young people, though they receive modern education and are active on social media, have not come out of caste prejudices prevalent in the society. Their mindset is not much different from the medieval mindset of the illiterate and semi-literate elders.
The depressed classes are denied social status. In spite of the IT revolution, we are not able to bring about the desired social transformation because of caste prejudices and the social stigma that continues to be attached to birth. Even in advanced countries like the US, which witnessed the golden age of technological innovation, social mobility has stagnated. This realisation has made Kentaro Toyama, author of the book ‘Geek Hersey: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology,’ to quit Microsoft to work on social issues.
This is even truer in developing countries like ours where socio-economic inequalities are greater. Social discrimination based on caste system in India is depriving the under privileged and the Dalits of equal opportunities of education and upward social mobility. We should address earnestly the social issue afflicting the Indian society, if we have to secure our freedom and democracy and emerge as a strong modern nation state.
The writer is author of ‘Nehru and World Peace’, Professor of Political Science and a retired Principal, Founder Secretary, Association of Indian College Principals.
‘Only a radical Ambedkar can give us mukti’
Activist and lead actor of Marathi film ‘Court’, Vira Sathidar, says unless the Dalit movement is active, discontent among the Dalits will only continue to grow
“I am not an actor, I am an activist,” asserts Nagpur-based Vira Sathidar. The 55-year-old gritty lead actor of the Marathi film ‘Court,’ India’s official entry to the Oscars, feels he has depicted his own struggle as a Dalit rights activist through the role of Narayan Kamble in the film. He met Omar Rashid in Nagpur on October 14, the 59th anniversary of B.R Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism, to talk about what is ailing the Dalit movement today. Excerpts:
What meaning does Ambedkar’s conversion have for you?
It has a personal connect. My parents (who belonged to Ambedkar’s caste, Mahar) got married in June that year. My father didn’t have the money to attend the conversion day, so he mortgaged all the utensils in the house to be able to travel to Nagpur. Babasaheb was the icon who struggled to give human dignity to people enslaved and most deprived. For that, he has a place in our hearts. People today understand the Buddhism he adopted in terms of a religion. But for me, Buddha was not the founder of any religion. He was a scientific philosopher, a guide.
How do you relate to the character of Narayan Kamble?
Until I was cast, I had no idea who the filmmakers were or why they wanted me. I am a street fighter [smiles], not an actor. But in the course of the film, I realised that the on-screen character of Narayan Kamble was being lived out every day in the form of activists like Vira Sathidar. The way he was intimidated and mistreated by the state, I have faced similar torment in my life… When [the] police raided my house twice, they seized many magazines and books, including the Annihilation of Caste by B.R. Ambedkar and the Communist Party of India’s mouthpiece Yugantar.
Has the fame achieved following Court changed that?
The police and intelligence bureau are always after me. They followed me even during the shooting of the film! In May, Gondia police came to our studio in Mumbai looking for a “Naxalvadi actor.” The crew, including the director and producer, were scared. I was in my make-up van. I knew the police had come for me, but to ease the tension I lied to my crew. I tried to assure them that if the police had come to arrest me, they would have done it from Nagpur. The police wanted to intimidate me and disturb work. And the crew was disturbed; we had to cancel two days of shooting. Their (police) political bosses knew that if the film hit the big screen, I would get emboldened and become taller than an ordinary activist. They would not be able to control me. In a way, I am emboldened. Court has given me strength.
How has the government responded on the Oscar nomination?
After the film’s release and despite winning many awards, policemen came to my house and asked me, ‘Why have we been asked to keep a tab on you?’ I told them, ‘It’s obvious, I fight for common people.’ Not a single member of the State or Central government has come to congratulate me. The Chief Minister [Devendra Fadnavis] is from my city but I have not received a single word or intimation of acknowledgment.
You were a product of the Dalit Panthers. Why is the Dalit movement so shaky today?
When Babasaheb began his movement, the generation of my father and grandfather stood by him. Only a handful of Dalits were educated then. They had no access to education, resources or means of livelihood. If an animal died in the village, Dalits would feed on it for survival. Babasaheb educated and ‘politicalised’ such a generation. But today we talk of the ‘ghar wapsi’ of Dalits. And with Dalits visiting temples and installing Ganpati idols at home, we must realise that we have already completed our ‘ghar wapsi.’ Babasaheb sacrificed a lot for his community. It’s unfortunate that Dalits have betrayed him.
Where are the shortcomings?
You need to go back in history. When the Dalit Panthers was formed in 1972, by people like Namdeo Dhasal and J. Pawar, they presented a manifesto that they would dismantle the present system and bring in a new one. It took inspiration from the Black Panthers movement in the U.S. Today, however, we have no such legacy. The Dalit Andolan has erased its history and ideology. If the Dalit movement needs to stand again, the Dalits must understand the historical trajectory of the Naxal movement, which ran parallel to it. How and why a tiny movement spread to over 200 districts. One reason was that they never compromised on their ideology. There was no Ambedkar born in that movement. But Dalits, regrettably, do not have any role models other than Babasaheb.
You say Dalits can learn a lot from the Naxal movement. Without endorsing the violence, of course.
“ When Babasaheb began his movement, the generation of my father and grandfather stood by him.”
Without endorsing the ways of the ideologies, we can learn a lot from it. Both were honest attempts at change and had committed activists who knew their goals — achievable either through guns or elections. The Dalit movement was spread across India. But look at it today. It’s on the verge of annihilation. What are the reasons for it? Personal limitation of its leaders? Problems in its structure? Or its leadership? Or faults in its ideology? The state offered similar baits to cripple both movements. In a very short time, a lot of Dalit leaders jumped on those little crumbs. The Naxals didn’t even bother and footed their movement on the support of poor tribals. So, one movement sustained despite the resistance of the state, its machinery and armed forces. They have no scope to print material, or meet or propagate their ideology. But the Dalits have full scope, are allowed to hold big sammelans, hold press conferences, take our rallies, or shout slogans on the road. Yet, their movement is missing.
Is that why Dalits are being saffronised today?
They don’t have honesty towards themselves or their society or ideology. Dalits don’t have faith in their ideology and doubt if they can achieve their goals through Ambedkar’s movement. They consider it a failure. Ambedkar never compromised with the State. If ever he stepped back, it was due to compulsions or to buy time for another strategy. Ambedkar always stood against radical Hindutva. In history, he emerged as a friend of Muslims. One reason why Dalits are being saffronised is that even today the jati sytem is prevalent among the Dalits. That is a gift of Hinduism. The Buddhism Dalits adopted has been in the form of a religion, not as an ideology. For them, Buddha is not a progressive icon or Ambedkar a ladaku sainik. He is a god. Saffron forces are trying to eliminate those who stood against Hindutva, and it that fails, co-opt them. And today, the process of saffronisation of Dalits is catching pace. The current system does not solve the problems of the masses but only of a few. The saffron forces are capitalising on that discontent among the Dalit youth. Previously, no Congress or Jan Sangh jeep would dare enter my village even during elections. Now, in my village Dalits are organising RSS ‘path sanchalans’ (customary route march). This is a betrayal of Ambedkar.
Is there a way back?
Time will tell. When Dalits will learn that despite coming into the saffron fold, their status has not changed, discontent will grow. They do not have commitment towards anybody, how can they be committed to saffron forces? But we should not rush and blame it on the Dalit youth. The damage was done long back, when Republican Party of India leaders like R.S. Gawai joined hands with the Shiv Sena. Then Dhasal, Ramdas Athawale and Joginder Kawade followed suit. The Dalit movement needs to be aggressive. There is no other way.
But doesn’t the co-opting of Ambedkar pose fresh obstacles for any revival?
Today, Ambedkar is projected as an anti-Muslim, anti-communist, samriddhavadi (prosperous) Ambedkar, a social reformer of Hinduism. A saffron Ambedkar is being erected. It is our responsibility that we project what he actually was, a radical Ambedkar. Only a radical Ambedkar can give us mukti.
News monitored AMRESH & AJEET