Right to decent burial still a dream – The Hindu
Midday meal: parents of children want all cooks to go – The Hindu
Educated caste Hindu youth campaign against inter-caste marriages – The Hindu
SC categorisation: State to approach Centre – The Hindu
Pride and Prejudice: How resurgent caste identities breed clashes and polarisation amongst youth of southern Tamil Nadu – First Post
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Right to decent burial still a dream
No land earmarked for burial and cremation of Sanampatti Dalits
For around 100 Dalit families of Sanampatti, a village along Madurai-Dindigul highway near Vadipatti, the right to a decent burial is still a distant dream as no land has been earmarked for them to use for burial and cremation.
While the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) asserted its ownership over a small patch of land outside the village along Vadipatti main road that was traditionally used by the Dalit families as burial ground, Madurai district administration is yet to provide an alternative land.
The Dalits, belonging to a particular sub-caste, are unwilling to use the common burial-cum-cremation ground inside the village, which is used by caste Hindus and a few Dalit families of other sub-castes.
“Caste Hindus say they have always used the burial ground outside the village and the tradition cannot be changed. The Dalits also do not want to use that place as it may affect the already fragile social harmony in the village,” said G. Seeni Raja, councillor of Vadipatti town panchayat representing Sanampatti (ward 15).
Though these Dalit families had been reportedly using the land along the Vadipatti main road as burial ground for generations, the issue started when Mr. Seeni Raja, a Dalit, prepared to provide some basic amenities at the place through the town panchayat a few months ago.
“We needed a hand pump to fetch water for performing the last rites for the dead and also a shelter. As soon as the work was started, a person owning an adjacent piece of land petitioned revenue officials and intimated the NHAI,” he said.
The NHAI authorities stopped the work claiming that the land belonged to them.
On October 7, when A. Sangiliammal (60) belonging to the Dalit community died, the Dalit families staged a protest demanding a permanent solution. Police and revenue officials pacified them and allowed the body to be buried at the same place.
Acknowledging the need for a separate burial ground, an official from the Vadipatti town panchayat said that even underground telephone cables were running through the present burial site as it was is located close to the main road. Vadipatti Tahsildar R. Thirumalai further added that the government had already identified a few places in consultation with the town panchayat and a site would soon be finalised and provided to the Dalits.
Midday meal: parents of children want all cooks to go
A meeting to resolve the controversy ends in impasse
In what is seen as another veiled attempt by parents of children in a government-run school in Kolar to prevent Dalits from cooking midday meals, they have now demanded that all cooks in the school be replaced if their children are to return to the school.
A meeting convened on Wednesday to resolve the controversy failed to come to a decisive conclusion as the villagers placed several demands before the authorities. In early November, parents of most of the students of a government higher primary school in Kagganahalli of Mulbagal taluk had withdrawn their wards after raising objections to Radhamma, a Dalit cook, being one of the cooks of the midday meal scheme at the school. Only 18 of the 118 students have been attending school since the controversy broke out. The Hindu had published a report on it in the November 10 issue. Bhaskar Rao, Additional Director-General of Police, Civil Rights Enforcement Directorate, visited the school recently, and instructed all concerned to solve the issue by November 18. Deputy Commissioner K.V. Thrilokchandra also sent a directive in this regard.
In this backdrop, a meeting with parents was convened and their demands that all cooks be changed has put the officials in a “fix” said Devaraj, Block Education Officer.
The villagers, however, refused to say anything specific to the question posed by officials in regard to Ms. Radhamma being engaged as the cook according to school guidelines, he added.
The villagers also demanded that the School Development and Management Committee be dissolved and a new committee selected. The Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) N. Anjanappa reacted to this saying it was up to the parents and villagers to select a new committee.
The villagers told the authorities that they would bring back their wards within a month if their demands are fulfilled.
Educated caste Hindu youth campaign against inter-caste marriages
“I have known girls (friends and relatives) of our community fall in love with boys from other communities and marry them. It not only affected them but also their families that were pushed to shame from which they were unable to recover even many years after the marriage”, says P. Karthik (22), an engineering professional.
He was among other educated youth who were busy distributing pamphlets at the launch of the ‘Campaign Against Inter-Caste Marriage Movement’ – organised by the Kongu Velala Goundergal Peravai in Namakkal on Sunday. He claimed that boys from downtrodden communities targeted wealthy girls from their community.
His fellow campaigner N. Saravanan (20), a third year B.Tech student, told The Hindu that inter-caste marriages cannot be accepted even if the boy is from a well-off family among Forward (FC), Backward (BC) or other caste Hindu communities.
“India is known for its rich tradition that is preserved by communities in the country over the years. Inter-caste marriages will put an end to this tradition”, he added. However, they denied that they opposed inter-caste marriages due to shortage of brides for grooms of that community.
Their friend R. Muthukumar (25), an MBA from Sankari said they were united by the movement. “We are talking to girls in love with youth from other communities and have emphasised the need to protect our tradition. But many girls are deeply infatuated,” he lamented.
State president of the Peravai Pongalur R. Manikandan who presided over the inauguration told The Hindu that they launched the movement in April this year after closely observing nearly 900 inter-caste marriages involving girls of their community in the 10 districts in Kongu region in about a year.
He alleged that some political parties and organisations supported inter-caste marriages to gain votes.
“We want to save girls from the sufferings that they would undergo after such marriages. Many girls regret their marriage after experiencing cultural differences in the boy’s house. Sadly, the girl’s family also does not accept them,” he observed.
Mr. Manikandan made it clear that they would not resort to forcible means to prevent inter-caste marriages. “We will campaign in the district headquarters in Kongu region and then focus on village-level campaigns and other awareness programmes among adolescent girls and boys in colleges and schools,” he added.
“Other caste Hindus have also extended their support for our movement and we are planning to jointly organise a mass ‘Anti Inter-Caste Marriage Conference’ in 2014 in Coimbatore,” he added.
While the Government is taking steps to promote inter-caste marriages by providing financial assistance and extending other benefits for those couples, the event that was organised with publicity through newspaper advertisements and wall posters shocked quite a number of people of this town.
Superintendent of Police M. Sathiya Priya said that it was an indoor meeting for people of that community to avoid inter-caste marriages. “Stern legal action will be initiated against persons who try to stop inter-caste marriages as it is an offence”, the SP warned.
SC categorisation: State to approach Centre
The TRS government will send a delegation to Delhi seeking the Centre’s help in categorisation of SCs, said Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari.
The State government had passed a unanimous resolution in favour of categorisation of SCs into A,B,C and D groups long ago. However, it was pending with the Centre. The government will send a delegation shortly before the next Parliament session and impress upon the Centre to implement the same at the earliest, he said.
‘BJP promised MSP for cotton’
Meanwhile, Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao refuted the allegations of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya that the State government was unnecessarily blaming the Centre on farm crisis.
It was the BJP and Narendra Modi who promised to enhance the minimum support price for cotton and they failed to deliver it. The farmers were forced to commit suicide across the country, not just in Telangana State, because of BJP’s failure to deliver its promise, he said.
“Mr. Modi during elections promised to enhance the MSP for cotton by 50 per cent. We are asking the same now. We have taken up the issue with Central Ministers on several occasions,” he pointed out.
Mr. Harish Rao explained that the Centre allocated just Rs 10,000 crore for cotton procurement which was not enough even for a single state like Telangana where cotton is grown extensively. In addition, the Centre did not heed the request for opening up more CCI procurement centres.
“In all, the CCI purchased only just 13 per cent of total cotton produce in Telangana. We wanted it to increase the procurement and open more centres, but in vain,” he said.
Mr. Harish Rao said apart from free power supply and other sops to farmers, the Telangana government gave Rs 70,000 crore input subsidy.
State government had passed a unanimous resolution in favour of categorisation of SCs into A,B,C and D groups long ago. However, it was pending with the Centre
Pride and Prejudice: How resurgent caste identities breed clashes and polarisation amongst youth of southern Tamil Nadu
by Sandhya Ravishankar Nov 18, 2015 19:15 IST
The Muthalamman temple stands grand and tall in the main square of Uthapuram village, around 55 kilometres from Madurai in southern Tamil Nadu. The deity’s gates have been shut for the past two weeks and a posse of police personnel guards the ornate wooden doors. A recurring battle for equal rights between the Scheduled Caste Pallars, known as Devendrakula Vellalars, and the Backward Class Pillais, called Vellalars, in Uthapuram since the late 1980s continues to be fought in Goddess Muthalamman’s name.