Dalits Media Watch- English News Updates 02.12.15

Dalit girl raped – The Tribune


Jharkhand cop shot dead by girlfriend’s brother – The Times Of India




B.R. Ambedkar media awards announced – The Hindu


Will Krishna sing for Ambedkar? – The Statesman


Lust In The Name Of God: Temple Prostitution In India – Youth Ki Awaaz


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Untouchable Country – The Black “Dalits” of India


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The Tribune

 Dalit girl raped



An 18-year-old Dalit girl of a Peoda Road locality here has lodged a complaint at the all-woman police station that she was raped by two youths, Ankit and Parveen, of the same locality on November 29 night . One of the accused belongs to the Valmiki community while the other is a barber by caste. The police have registered a case under Section 376-D, IPC. — OC

The Times Of India

 Jharkhand cop shot dead by girlfriend’s brother


Alok KN Mishra,TNN | Dec 1, 2015, 10.33 PM IST

RANCHI: Brother of a tribal girl shot dead a policeman Deepak Ram (30) on Tuesday evening in Latehar district reportedly because the police constable was in a relationship with his sister, and the relationship was disapproved by the family. The deceased belonged to a scheduled caste. The police constable was returning home from a marketplace on a bike in the evening when a group of armed persons stopped him midway at Morger village under Latehar police station. An argument took place between them before they came to blows and finally one of them shot him dead.

DIG Palamu, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place, said the love affair seems to be the reason behind the murder. “An investigation was launched immediately after the murder. As per unconfirmed reports the shooter was the brother of the girl. The details would come out only after the investigation progresses further,” Singh said.

Ram was currently posted at Jharkhand Jaguar, an elite anti-Naxalite force, headquarters in Ranchi. For the past few days he was on official leave and spending time at his native village in Latehar.

The tribals do not easily accept inter-caste marriage, said Giridhari Ram Ganjhu, retired head of the department of tribal and regional languages at Ranchi University. A section of them however are becoming liberal to such developments, he added.

DIG Singh also said there could be another angle of attempt to loot in the murder which the deceased resisted.

The Pioneer



 Wednesday, 02 December 2015 | PNS | Lucknow | in Lucknow

The dalit state employees agitating for the restoration of the facility of reservation in promotion will have given a call for a rally at Ramlila Maidan Delhi on December 7.  The rally has been organized to drum up support and mount pressure on the BJP led NDA government at the Center for the passage of the Constitution (117th amendment) bill 2014 pending in the LOk Sabha.

The convener of the Arakshan Bachao Sanghrash Samiti Avadesh Verma said here on Tuesday that several lakh supporters of reservation in promotion from several parts of the country will participate in the rally in Delhi. The Supreme Court in April 2013 had quashed the reservation in  Promotion for the schedule caste employees. The Supreme Court had fixed September 15, as the last date for the compliance of the order.The state government had demoted over 15,000 schedule caste officers and employees who had benefited from the policy of reservation in promotion. Following the court order the then UPA government had introduced the Constitution (117th) amendment bill in parliament. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in early 2014 and is now pending in the Lo Sabha. For over a year the dalit organizations have been demanding the passage of the pending legislation from the Lok Sabha. The rally in Delhi on December 7 has the tacit support of the BJP. Udit Raj, BJP MP from Delhi (North West) addressing a   meeting of the dalit officers and employees here on November 8 had given a call for the rally in Delhi.  Udit Raj, also the chairman of All Indian Confederation of Schedule caste and schedule tribe organizations had asked the dalit employees to take to the streets of Delhi for realising their demand.

“The battle for reservation in promotion is not to be fought in Lucknow. This battle is to be fought in Delhi. Shun the habit of looking towards your MPs and MLAs, mobalise the strength of dalit samaj and fill the streets of Delhi. The political parties are scared of voters and they will bow before you if you have the capacity to demonstrate the united strength of the dalit Samaj and then they will readily agree to pass the `Constitution (117th amendment) Bill 2013’ from the Lok Sabha ’, the BJP MP had said. 

The BJP MP had also urged the anti reservationists to see reason in the demand of reservation in promotion and drop their agitation against their demand. The BJP MP   had said that the southern states were first to implement reservation for dalit s and they have surged ahead in all sphere of development be it social or physical parameters.  The northern state continues to lag behind in development because reservation in these states was implemented much later and yet sentiments against reservation are still strong in these states. In 1936 following the Poona pact dalits got reservation in political institutions like state Legislative councils and in national assembly and in 1943 they got reservation in government services in south India and that region of the country has developed.

The Hindu

 B.R. Ambedkar media awards announced



Reji Joseph, staff correspondent of Rashtra Deepika daily has won this year’s B.R. Ambedkar media award, in the print category, for the best news report relating to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He is being given the prize for the series Attappadiyil Maranathinte Tharaattu that focused on death of children in the Attappady tribal colonies.

The prize in the visual media category goes to S. Maheshkumar, Malappuram correspondent ofManorama News . He is being given the award for the report Vaadunna Baalyam .

The awards are given by the Scheduled Castes Development Department and comprise a cash prize of Rs.30,000 and a citation.

Mustafa, correspondent, Madhyamamdaily and Vidhu Vincent of Media One TVwould be given a special jury award. This award comprises a cash prize of Rs.10,000 and a citation.

The awards would be given away at a ceremony at the K.P. Kesava Menon memorial hall in Kozhikode on December 6, a press note issued here said.

The Statesman

 Will Krishna sing for Ambedkar?


 Jawed Naqvi

| 02 December, 2015

Raised on a staple of Cecil B. DeMille and Homi Wadia films taken from religious epics, many Indians of my generation became readily knowledgeable of Hindu and Christian legends early in life. Muslim stories in movies were not there, partly because of the severe restrictions on the human portrayal of men and women from Islamic history.

We are not talking about Aalam Aara but stories about icons of Islam at par with Wadia’s Sampoorna Ramayana or DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. When a religious Muslim film finally reached Lucknow in the late 1960s, it did brisk business though it was only a documentary about an annual pilgrimage. The movie was called Khaana-i-Khuda.

Zahirun Bua, the unlettered cook, was promptly dispatched by Amma to watch it with Sartaj — the rented family clown who masqueraded as our housekeeper. “Wo dekh aab-i-zamzam,” he nudged Zahirun in the darkened hall, lying through his teeth that the scene was about the sacred water that pilgrims take home in plastic cans. Zahirun was in her late 60s and Sartaj still in his impish teens. Unlike the patently immoral prankster of an escort, Zahirun was a serious believer. It was her first movie and she went there for ziyarat, a glimpse of true religion to her. The shot Sartaj showed her was of a washing powder ad. Zahirun gazed at the soapsuds and wiped tears of devotion with her dupatta. The irreverent man changed his religion according to the home he worked in. Actually he never had any religion. He was Gopal in Mrs Puri’s house, a Hindu. In ours, he was a grudging Muslim never to be found near a mosque, ever. Religion you can change or walk out from. Someone can become Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Bahai or desert the fold if they are already there. There can be stiff consequences but that’s a separate issue. If you are not a believer you can become a believer and vice versa.

Caste is a different thing. It is irrevocable no matter how many religions you change. A Dalit cannot become a Brahmin or the other way around. When Bhimrao Ambedkar became a Buddhist, mainly to underscore the fact that he was walking away from the hierarchical Hindu fold enforced on him, he still remained a Dalit. There are thus Sikh Dalits, Muslim Dalits, Christian Dalits and, of course, Buddhist Dalits who converted en masse under Ambedkar. Gandhi threatened to fast to death if the Dalits, officially called the Depressed Classes, walked out on the Hindu fold and accepted the British offer of separate electorates, which Ambedkar said they badly wanted.

Ambedkar opposed the fast but Gandhi’s ‘emotional blackmail’ trapped him. He rued the consequent Poona Pact for the rest of his life. India’s dominant caste parties, primarily the Congress and the BJP, carefully hide this Ambedkar story from public view. They did so again while celebrating Constitution Day last week. The Indian constitution was perhaps the least brilliant of Ambedkar’s works. There was no dearth of men and women who could have strung it together. Had the pious poet Maulana Hasrat Mohani written it, for example, the Indian constitution would be modelled on the Soviet state. The Muslim League leader was Jinnah’s tormentor and an ardent fan of Lenin.

T.M. Krishna would agree with much I have said about the Dalits and Ambedkar’s struggles against the Brahminical order. The 40-year old singer is himself a Brahmin, and what a sensation he has been on the Carnatic music firmament in recent years. Krishna sang in Delhi at the weekend. His mastery over deep kharaj, sur and laey has to be heard to be believed. Krishna is also branded a communist for his outspoken views against Hindutva, and perhaps for his apparent soft corner for Jinnah. He has been critical of some, not all, non-resident Indians for doing what upstarts would do with music. To highlight his protest against the takeover, Krishna decided not to sing at the season’s Chennai ‘kutcheri’ usually held in December.

Krishna believes that the rationalist Dravida movement of Dalit and backward caste Tamils is threatened by the Hindutva upsurge, possibly in collusion with the movement’s Trojan horses. Krishna’s fluid thinking on social issues is of a piece with his unorthodox approach to music, including its spirituality. Yet, Ambedkar would have probably frowned at a composition he sang.

Gopalakrishna Bharati’s opera Nandanaar charitram is highly acclaimed among Carnatic music’s upper caste patrons. In VarugalAmo, ayya? the low-caste Nandanaar seeks the Lord’s permission to come into the temple. Ambedkar would have seen in it shades of the “temple entry movement” of the 1930s, which Gandhi supported and he opposed.

Arguing that the Dalits needed education, healthcare and jobs with equal respect more than the right to enter a temple, Ambedkar said: “Why should an Untouchable beg for admission in a place from which he has been excluded by the arrogance of the Hindus? This is the reason of the Depressed Class man who is interested in material welfare. He is prepared to say to the Hindus, to open or not to open your temples is a question for you to consider and not for me to agitate. If you think it is bad manners not to respect the sacredness of human personality, open your temple and be a gentleman. If you rather be a Hindu than a gentleman, then shut the doors and damn yourself for I don’t care to come.”

This is the realism with which Ambedkar ticked off Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. What a far cry from the riveting illusions conjured by the DeMilles and Wadias. Ambedkar seems broadly in consonance with Krishna’s thinking, minus the wooing of a low-caste supplicant. He needed a Krishna song that would free his people from the talons of caste Hindus.

Youth Ki Awaaz

 Lust In The Name Of God: Temple Prostitution In India


By P. V. Swati:

After centuries of traditionally imposed prostitution, young girls in Wadia village near Palanpur for the first time are getting ready for a mass marriage. Wadia is known for being the village of prostitutes in Gujarat, where young girls are trained to provide sexual services as soon as they attain puberty. The sex workers mostly belong to the Sarania community, mainly from Rajasthan and Saurashtra.


The mass marriage of 15 girls is scheduled on March 11. Invitations have been sent out and 1,500-odd baraatis are expected to come. The excitement is palpable in the village. After years of forced exploitation, this act of marital alliance will ensure a stable monogamous relationship for these girls and will change the course of this small village’s history. For the first time, the girls will not be forced into the flesh trade.

Vicharti Jaati Samuday Samarthan Manch, a local NGO convinced boys from the community to marry the girls by building trust among them. Seven girls above 18 years of age and eight girls who are younger will take part in the mass marriage. This is commendable since most families are reluctant to get a girl from Wadia as daughters-in-law as real identity of their fathers is not known. Wadia has a population of 750 people of which 100-odd women are believed to be involved in prostitution since pre-Independence days. The men of the families often live off their women’s income, pimping clients.

The fate of girls in the village of Wadia might be on a road to transformation, but what about the countless number of women in India who are still engaged in forced temple prostitution under the garb of traditional customs like the Devadasi system?

The caste system is in Hindu religion has many manifestations. It has not only divided the society in to various layers of graded hierarchy but has also created inhuman practices in the name of God. One of it is Devadasi system prevalent in different forms all over India.

This cult is prevalent even today throughout India with some regional variances. Young girl are dedicated to or married not to a mortal-man but to an idol, deity or object of worship or to a temple. The barbarism of the tradition reflects in the very rituals it involves. The initiation ritual was said to include a ‘deflowering ceremony’, known as Uditambuvadu in some parts, whereby the priests would have intercourse with every girl enrolled at his temple as part of his religious ‘duty’. So much that a Marathi saying states “Devadasi devachi bayako, sarya gavachi”, meaning servant of god, but wife of the whole town. The Devadasis girls are from the lowest caste whose parents have given them to local goddesses or temples as human ‘offerings’. She has to remain unmarried, and maintain herself by ceremonial begging to meet the ends.

There are various myths around this inhuman practice. This system is based on the traditional belief in Andhra Pradesh that evil over the family or the village can be avoided by dedicating a girl in the family to the temple deity. As soon as she reaches puberty, she becomes the exclusive concubine of the feudal gentry in the village.

In Maharashtra, the poor deluded women are made to sacrifice their first-born daughters. When she becomes of marriageable age, she is formally married to Khandoba, the deity and becomes his nominal wife.

In Karnataka, there is a traditional belief that when there is famine, drought or epidemics, to appease gods and goddesses a lower caste girl is dedicated to the local goddess Huligamma. The Banchara, Rajnat, Dommara and Bedia tribes in Madhya Pradesh also practice traditional prostitution.

There has been influence of Devadasi tradition on Muslim community as well. Some of the Muslim sects started offering girls to Dargas. Such girls were called ‘acchutis’. There is a colony of such people in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh even today. The girl is married to the Koran. After the Nikah is performed, the girl is called as ‘bibi’ and is condemned to lead a life of prostitution.

Married to God before puberty, the Devadasis or Joginis, many of whom live in the temples, become sexual servants to the villages’ upper-caste men after their first menstrual period. In some villages, the men who bought them keep Devadasis as concubines. In others, they are public chattels, who are used by men free of charge. Socially they are outcastes but they do suffer from severe venerable and sexually transmitted diseases from the men. Majority of the Devadasis after they reach a certain age migrate to the towns where they enter in to the brothels and become commercial sex workers.

Some of the states where the Devadasi practice are still prevalent, tried to eradicate it through state laws like the Bombay Devadasis Prevention Act, 1954, the Prohibition of Dedication Act 1982 of Karnataka and the Andhra Pradesh Prohibition of Dedication Act, 1988.

However, the practice lives on in the states in South India mainly in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Districts bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka are known as the ‘Devadasi belt’ of the country. According to the National Commission on Women of India it is estimated that around 2, 50,000 Dalit girls are dedicated as Devadasis to Yellamma and Khondaba temples in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border.

There is a separate residential area allotted for the ex-Devadasis families, which is outside the village just like the Dalits. All the families of ex-Devadasis are women-headed. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka Government have also allotted few acres of land to each Devadasi family. But the stigma attached to their identity cannot be removed through these mere rehabilitation program.

The village communities are not ready to accept the ex-Devadasis families. The Devadasis through the support of the local NGOs organised themselves to form cooperatives. Through this, they have started income generating activities. Very few of them are able to get married legally.

The glimpse through the lives of Devadasis signifies their plight and suffering. The case of women of the Sarania community in Wadia is on the same lines. But, they now have discovered a new leap of life. The very opportunity to break through the age old tradition is a significant step towards their social liberation.

But, this mobility out of the traditionally prescribed structure cannot be without obstacles. The decision to marry off the young girls in Wadia has not gone down well with the male touts of the community, as young girls fetch a higher price when first introduced to the trade and their absence would be long terms lose. Fearing they will lose the girls, they have made some threat call to the organizers. Sharda Bhati, local guardian of the girls and leader of Vicharti Jaati Samuday Samarthan Manch which has got the girls and their families ready for marriage, has filed a complaint with the Tharad police station.

Nevertheless, there is a ray of hope. The women of the community have built a support system for themselves and are determined to move out of the oppressive flesh trade they have been caged into for centuries now. The example of the Sarania women in Gujarat should be seen as breakthrough and should inspire women suffering under the Devadasi system to move out of these traditional shackles.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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