Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 09.11.15



 ‘Act against those denying temple entry to Dalits’ – The Hindu


Dalit bodies back Anjaneya, demand probe into cash for contract sting – Deccan Herald


From Black Lives Matter, activists for India’s discriminated Dalit learn tactics to press for dignity – PRI


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The Pioneer



Monday, 09 November 2015 | PNS | MAHANGA | in Bhubaneswar

A team of the State Human Right Commission recently visited Mahanga in Cuttack district and inquired into the death of a Dalit woman, who died on October 11 due to alleged negligence by health workers at the Mahanga and Basudevpur CHCs.

The team met the family members of deceased Gitanjali Mallick (28) at Koliatha village under Mahanga block and also visited Basudevpur for the inquiry.

Notably, Gitanjali was pregnant and had come to the Basudevpur Community Health Centre for delivery. After receiving preliminary treatment, she was referred to the Mahanga CHC, where the Gaenic doctor was absent. Later, her family members rushed her to the SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack; however, she died on the way.

Besides, district Collector Ramesh Panda also visited the village on Friday. The villagers held the local administration, the Family Welfare Minister and local MLA for the death of Gitanjali.

The Hindu

 ‘Act against those denying temple entry to Dalits’



 ZP president calls for strict enforcement of Article 17 of the Constitution

 Dalits are barred from entering into the Malleshwaraswamy Temple in Biligere village in Hunsur taluk for some time now and repeated appeals of the Dalits to authorities to take action seem to fall on deaf ears.

The Dalits have been offering their obeisance to the deity from outside the temple.

Scores of Dalits who assembled at the Jana Samparka Sabhe on Saturday night at Hunsur complained to president of the Mysuru Zilla Panchayat Pushpavathi Amarnath about the prohibition on Dalits entering the temple. They said they had appealed to the temple authorities to allow them to pray but in vain.

Evidently shocked by the complaint, Ms. Amarnath said that denying the Dalits entry into the temple or putting any conditions on them was in violation of Article 17 of the Constitution, which prohibits untouchability in any form.

Muzrai Department

Assistant Commissioner A. Soujanya and tahsildar Venkatachalapathy told the ZP president that the temple was a Muzrai temple. She took strong exception to the authorities for not taking any action. “If you do not put an end to this, the next generation of ‘upper castes’ may inherit the same anti-Dalit mindset,” she said.

She directed the authorities to take appropriate measures immediately to facilitate the entry of Dalits into the temple, and strict enforcement of Article 17 of the Constitution not only in the village but in the entire taluk.

Meanwhile Ms. Soujanya told The Hindu that since the temple belonged to the Muzrai Department, the authorities cannot stop Dalits from entering, but a few people residing around the temple were preventing the Dalits from entering the temple. She noted that she had conducted a peace committee meeting at the village in the presence of Hunsur MLA Manjunath a few months ago and prevailed upon the elders to allow Dalits into the temple. Elders of the village had agreed at the time, she noted.

The Assistant Commissioner said she would bring this to the notice of the higher-ups and conduct another peace committee meeting next week.

She said that people would be sensitised about Article 17 and made aware of the consequences of practising untouchability.

Deccan Herald

 Dalit bodies back Anjaneya, demand probe into cash for contract sting


Bengaluru,Nov 7, 2015, DHNS:

Dalit organisations on Friday rallied behind Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya a day after a private Kannada news channel aired a sting operation claiming that the minister’s wife had accepted Rs seven lakh bribe for award of a contract.

About a dozen dalit organisations held a meeting at a private hotel and decided to back the minister. The sting operation was a “conspiracy” by the opposition parties to “malign” Anjaneya, a dalit leader. Even the media house that conducted the operation is part of the conspiracy, M Venkataswamy of Samata Sainik Dal told reporters. The dalit organisations urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to back the “maligned” minister and not ask him to resign, failing which a State-wide protest would be staged.

The government should order a probe to bring out the truth. The minister should not be removed from the Cabinet until such time, D G Sagar of Dalit Sangharsha Samiti said.

The BJP mounted an attack on the government and demanded that the chief minister immediately sack the minister. The BJP leaders have also decided to petition Governor Vajubhai Vala on Saturday, for the minister’s ouster. BJP State president Pralhad Joshi will lead the delegation, which will comprise former deputy chief minister R Ashoka and party MLAs from Bengaluru.

Joshi said the party’s SC morcha would hold agitations across the State until Anjaneya is removed from the Cabinet. But the government chose to remain silent on the issue. The chief minister neither ordered a probe nor sought an explanation from his colleague. Anjaneya, however, met both Siddaramaiah and KPCC President G Parameshwara and gave his point of view.

Parameshwara, who is also Home minister, told reporters, “We are yet to receive a report on the issue. Once that is available, the matter will be discussed with the chief minister and with the central leadership and a decision will be taken.”

The government, instead, suspended Deputy Director of Backward Classes Development Department Prabhakar, who was seen in the sting operation. Prabhakar was reportedly heard telling the representatives of TV channel, who approached him posing as businessmen seeking award of a particular contract, to meet the minister’s wife to clinch the deal.

Later, Prabhakar takes the representatives to Anjaneya’s official residence at Jayamahal, where they meet the minister’s wife. The representatives place a black bag on a table. The TV channel claimed that the minister’s wife accepted Rs seven lakh in bribe. 

Anjaneya said the question of him resigning didn’t arise. “It is neither a fit case nor a scam to resign. The sting operation was conducted by vested interests to finish me off politically. I have not done anything wrong. It is BJP leaders who looted the State. I have directed the Social Welfare department Principal Secretary to conduct a probe into the issue,” he added.


 From Black Lives Matter, activists for India’s discriminated

 Dalit learn tactics to press for dignity


November 08, 2015 · 9:30   Sonia Paul

Thery were once called Untouchables. There are an estimated 260 million of them across the world and some 100 million women in India.

Discrimination against the Dalits remains deep-rooted in India and has been making headlines in the countryrecently. But the topic remains a difficult one for Dalits to bring up, let alone change.


A new campaign is taking on caste violence, though, and they’ve been reaching out to activist movements like Black Lives Matter in the US. The Delhi-based All India Dalit Women’s Rights Forum has just wrapped up a two month tour of college campuses and other venues, where they exchanged strategies and told some harrowing stories of people they’ve tried to help back home.

First, though, the activists have to explain India’s 3,000-year-old history with the caste system, especially Untouchability. It’s the practice of upper-caste people not touching anything that has come into physical contact with Dalits. The practice is now outlawed, but the activists say its history still leads to everything from discrimination to outright crimes against Dalit people — especially against women and girls. According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, the top two crimes last year against lower-caste people were sexual assault and rape.

At the University of Texas, Activist Sanghapali Aruna Lohitakshi explained one of the cases the group got involved with three years ago, that of a 12-year-old Dalit girl who had been raped by 16 men. The men actually videotaped their crime, Lohitakshi says.

“Then they took the footage of the rape and then circulated it in the whole village so that she will be humiliated, her family will be humiliated, and she will not be sent to the school. After the footage was shown to her family, her father committed suicide,” Lohitakshi says.

It’s the kind of incident so horrible that some people, both in India and in the US, might not believe it. But just as video evidence is forcing the US public to contend with police brutality against blacks, it can make the reality of caste violence in India much more apparent. Still, Lohitakshi says, prejudice against Dalits is so pervasive, even video is not always enough.

“This girl took this footage as an evidence in the courtroom to show that she was raped, gang-raped. And then the judge said — he laughed out loud — and he said, ‘Wow. We know. You enjoyed the act. And you should be glad they touched you,’” she says.

In this case, the Dalit women activists helped the girl move to another village, where she now lives with her grandmother. She’s enrolled in school there. But the lack of justice in her case is all too typical, they say.

There’s even a saying in some parts of northern India: “A man does not know his land unless he has had the women who work on that land.” Historically, caste governed where a person lived and what she did for a living. Lower-caste people lived in poorer places and had the most menial and labor-intensive jobs, such as working in the fields owned by upper-caste men.

“When somebody is raped, it is said that she has lost her respect, her respect is stolen, or something like that — you know, looted,” Lohitakshi explains. “So, rape is associated with respect.”

Often when a Dalit woman is raped, she says, “Nobody bothers. Not even the police, not the administration, not the doctors, not the state. Because how can you take away respect from someone who doesn’t even have the respect? Who is actually made for that?” she says, her voice trembling.

So to talk about sexual violence in India without mentioning caste would be like talking about rape during the time of slavery without mentioning slavery, the Dalit activists say. But they find many people in India are reluctant to talk about the problem of caste violence at all.

“Everywhere we go, the moment we talk about caste, no one wants to talk about it,” Lohitakshi says.

The Dalit women see a parallel between this discomfort with caste at home and the discomfort in the US around race. A big reason they raised money to come here was to exchange strategies with US activists.

In San Francisco, they spoke at the historic Women’s Building with members of Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name.

Brianna Gibson, a movement leader in the Bay Area, says the similarities to their experiences are striking.

  “So, someone saying you know, ‘We’re post-caste,’ versus ‘post-racial.’ It’s like ‘Wow, that’s exactly the same thing.’ Or they’ll tell you, ‘You’re being divisive.’”

The exchange between the two groups was at times emotional, but also really educational, Gibson told the audience during the discussion.

“I know in my experience, growing up in deep East Oakland, everybody who was South Asian or Asian in general were wealthy people in my mind, because that is what I was taught,” she says. “That they all came here as tech workers and that they didn’t understand our struggles. Well obviously, we’ve been lied to.”

The San Francisco meeting ended with a rousing chant and the historic civil rights song “We Shall Overcome” in both English and in Hindi. But the Dalit women know they have a lot of difficult work ahead of them. But they say the fresh energy and support from activists here has given them new ideas to train more women back home — so they can continue to raise their voices.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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