Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 16.12.15


Dalits in U.P. can now sell their land to non-Dalits – The Hindu


Abohar farmhouse murder: Main accused among 3 held, Dodas yet to be named in FIR – The Indian Express


Rural police suspends PSI booked for rape – The Times Of India


A Dalit village in Cuddalore was left to fend for itself through 36 days of flooding –Scroll.In


Not a single transgender student registered at Mumbai University – The Hindustan Times


Breaking the caste barrier – Live Mint



Abohar Case: People protest after limbs of two Dalits were chopped off by SAD leader



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The Hindu

Dalits in U.P. can now sell their land to non-Dalits



Dalits in U.P. can now sell their land to non-Dalits

Dalits in Uttar Pradesh would soon be able to sell their land to non-Dalits without the approval of the administration.

This comes into being after Governor Ram Naik on Tuesday gave his consent to the Revenue Code (Amendment) Ordinance proposed by the Samajwadi government. Chief Minister AkhileshYadav’s Cabinet had passed the ordinance last month but the Governor had withheld approval.

The ordinance would bring radical changes in prevailing revenue laws dating to the British era, speeding up disposal of litigations in rural areas over land ownership. It also contains a contentious clause regarding Dalits, which has led to the BSP gunning for the SP.

The ordinance will allow Dalits to sell their land to non-Dalits even if their remaining holding is less than 3.5 acres. To safeguard land ownership of Dalits and protect them from being forced to sell their land to upper caste persons, the existing land revenue laws did not allow them to sell their land to OBCs and Upper Castes if their remaining land was less than 3.5 acres.

In 2006, the Mulayam Singh government proposed a similar amendment but it could not be implemented.

The Mayawati government, which came to power in 2007, opposed the move.

When the SP came back to power in 2012 it got the President’s assent, as the ordinance involved the repealing of more than 30 Acts, including Central Acts.

While the SP has contended that the ordinance would safeguard Dalit interest and protect them from “distress selling,” the BSP has accused the party of conspiring to make poor Dalits landless and further push them towards the periphery.

Major issue during polls

The issue could heat up during the 2007 Assembly election. Ms. Mayawati is hoping for a strong consolidation of her traditional voters, the Dalits, to regain power.

The Indian Express

Abohar farmhouse murder: Main accused among 3 held, Dodas yet to be named in FIR


Police said they are investigating the Dodas but are yet to find any evidence against them.

Written by RaakhiJagga | Abohar | Published:December 16, 2015 3:04 am – See more at:

Four days after a Dalit man was murdered at a SAD leader’s farmhouse in Abohar, the police arrested main accused Harpreet Singh Harry, alleged leader of the Harry gang, and his accomplices Radhya alias Radhiya and Gulab on Tuesday. They were sent to seven days’ police custody by a local court.

This brings the total arrests made in the case to four. Another person, VikramPandit, was arrested on Monday. Ten people have been named in the FIR.

Police sources said the accused were traced through cellphone call records after they were mentioned in the FIR. They were arrested from National Highway-22 at Lalru. Of the four arrested, Harry is a Jat Sikh and the rest are Dalits.

The victim’s family has alleged that the attack was carried out at the behest of SAD leader Shiv LalDoda and his nephew Amit Doda, but that despite being named in the daily diary report (DDR), they were not mentioned in the FIR.

Police said they are still investigating the Dodas but have not mentioned them in the FIR as they are yet to find any evidence against them.

This angered the Valmiki community as they continued their dharna against police, state government and even Dodas in Sant Nagar on Tuesday.

On Friday, Bheem Tank was killed and JantaLohoria was injured after, according to the police, a compromise meeting turned sour. Initial reports said that the incident was the fallout of gang rivalry.

Kaushalya Devi, mother of Bheem, was inconsolable. “We are poor and hence we know that we will not get justice. My son was forced to work for Doda. Six months ago, he left them and ever since, they started lodging false cases against him and finally killed him brutally.”

The Times Of India 

Rural police suspends PSI booked for rape


Soumittra S Bose | Dec 16, 2015, 04.53 AM IST

Nagpur: Police sub-inspector VinodMandre, posted at Kamptee police station, has been placed under suspension by the superintendent of police (Rural), Aarti Singh, this week after the cop was booked for rape and also charged under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on December 12.

Mandre was booked by Hudkeshwar police for rape earlier this week after Sunita (name changed) approached the cops along with activist NutanRewatkar. The rape survivor had claimed before the cops that she was being exploited by Mandre promising marriage for more than nine years. Having duped Sunita, Mandre learnt to have settled with another woman officer from the city police whom he had met during the training at the police academy.

Mandre, who belonged to the same village as that of Sunita in Bhandara district, had befriended the survivor when she was in her teens. After joining police department as a constable, Mandre later qualified in selection examination to become an officer. Sunita had stated before the cops that she was being exploited by Mandre at police quarters at Sakkardara too for considerable period. She had also developed medical complicity during their courtship.

Police inspector MadhukarGite of Bhandara said that the documents of the case have already reached which would prompt the cops to swing into action now. “We had been trying to nab Mandre too but he seemed to have sneaked away from Kamptee after the offence was registered,” said Gite, who would be conducting the inquiry.


A Dalit village in Cuddalore was left to fend for itself through 36 days of flooding


 The 45 houses of Ambedkar Nagar received no flood warning, no relief material and no visit from the authorities for a least a month.

Nayantara Narayanan  · Today · 09:15 am

“For 36 days no one has come to check on us. Forget bringing us things and giving us help – no one has even come to ask ‘how are you’ll doing?’, ‘are you’ll safe?’, ‘are you’ll alive?’” L Pavai was in tears as she spoke of the neglect her hamlet – Ambedkar Nagar in the Parangipettai block of Cuddalore district – during the rains and floods of the past month.

There are 45 houses in Ambedkar Nagar of which only 11 are made of concrete. There others are all mud and thatch structures. On the night of November 10, as the rest of the country was caught up in Diwali festivities, Ambedkar Nagar, along with large parts of Cuddalore experienced its worst flooding in a century. The district got 50% more rainfall on November 9, 10 and 11 than the normal rainfall for the entire month of November.
As water rushed in from a nearby river, some of the mud houses were completely washed away. Others were severely damaged. As the rain continued for the rest of the month and into December, the stubborn waters refused to recede from the streets and houses of Ambedkar Nagar. Residents like A Subramaniam say that little help has come to them and they have nowhere to go.

“My wife, five children and I have been staying here only,” said Subramaniam, who had to wade through shin-deep water to enter his house a month after the first floods, when at least two feet of water entered his house through the thatched back wall and destroyed, among his other belongings, his refrigerator. Subramaniam acquired a plastic poster from a nearby temple to cover the gaping hole in the back wall.
“My feet are full of sethupunnu from walking around in all this water,” Subramanian said while displaying the wounds on his feet due to intertrigo, a condition in which sores develop due to bacterial or fungal infection of moist skin. When asked if he had reached out to authorities or other people in the district for help, Subramanian only said quietly, “No relief material has come to us. We can’t go and ask anyone also.”
Dalit villages like Ambedkar Nagar have not only been the hardest hit by the floods, they have also been excluded from relief operations, according to a report by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and the Social Awareness Society for Youth in Tamil Nadu. The report, based on a survey of 8,400 houses in Cuddalore district, found that out of 1,337 houses that were damaged 1,276 belonged to Dalits. Among the 433 acres of crop lost, 378 belonged to Dalits.

This unequal damage, the report says, is due to the fact that Dalit settlements are relegated to low-lying areas near rivers, streams or canals at an average distance of 1.5 kilometers from the main villages they are attached to. Ambedkar Nagar, for example, is located on the near the Kollidam river about half kilometer away from the main Kavarapattu village that consists of about 400 Kallar households, a Most Backward Caste group. Ambedkar Nagar residents said they hadn’t received any warning about flooding in their area or a visit from any government official in the aftermath.

Subramaniam and his neighbours have been left in the cold when it comes to aid because of the inherent caste-bias among government officials too, according to Pandiyan Kamal, director of the Social Awareness Society for Youth. “Whenever disaster occurs, Dalit people are excluded from relief assessment and emergency response,” he said. The report also alleges that political strongmen in neighbouring villages are blocking the flow of relief material into Ambedkar Nagar.

Flood after flood after flood

This isn’t the first time that Ambedkar Nagar has battled flood waters. When the tsunami hit in 2004, the waters flooded the village and receded in a day. Then came Cyclone Nisha in 2006 and then Cyclone Thane in 2011, each one slamming into the village. Most of the 11 concrete houses that have been built or are under construction are from the funds allotted for rehabilitation of Cyclone Thane’s victims.

“Each household gets Rs 120,000 to build a concrete house but the money can only be claimed after submitting the bills,” said Pavai, who is the cluster leader of a grassroots federation called InaindhaKaigal – joined hands – set up by the Social Awareness Society for Youth. “So people here are slowly building their houses from their savings. For some people, building has been going on for more than three years. They build a little more each time they have saved up enough.”

Near the entrances of the few houses completely constructed from Cyclone Thane funds, are mandatory pictures of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

Kalkunam village in the Kurinjipadi block west of Parangipettai was one of the worst affected villages this season, registering two deaths and at least 250 houses of its 300 houses destroyed.  “For at least a week, we were in the same clothes,” said John Bose, who lives on the Dalit and Christian side of Kalkunam. “We normally get 20 kilos of free rice from the ration shop. We are making full use of that. For vegetables we are making do with whatever little comes from the NGOs.” Aid has started trickling into Kalkunam since local press started reporting the destruction, but only after Chennai had its worst rains in the beginning of December.

Jasmine Mary has been living in the community hall of Kalkunam church with her seven-month baby and son attending third standard at the local school. She has been struggling to get by on the Rs 3,000 compensation the government has given her for her destroyed hut. “I have already spent Rs 1,500 to buy my son’s school books that got washed off in the rain. Then there is milk for the baby and lots of other things.”

While the people in Kalkunam are struggling to get back on their feet, those in Ambedkar Nagar don’t even now how. Ambedkar Nagar hasn’t got the meager attention or compensation that Kalkunam has. It has neither a house of worship or a community hall to serve as temporary shelter. Families are scrounging for any sort of covering to lay on still damp floors before they sleep.

More than ten years ago, the families of Ambedkar Nagar lived on higher ground but were moved to their present location to make way for a road. “For the last four or five years, every time the water comes, it’s same problem over and over again,” said Pavai. “In this place, there isn’t even space to bury our bodies when we die.”

The Hindustan Times

Not a single transgender student registered at Mumbai University


Shreya Bhandary, Mumbai

Updated: Dec 16, 2015 00:47 IST

Although colleges under University of Mumbai (MU) are making their campus friendlier for the third gender, they are yet to get students from the community.

Following orders from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the MU had made it clear to all its affiliated colleges that their admission forms will henceforth incorporate ‘others’ (for transgenders) under the gender category along with male and female.

Statistics made available by the MU shows that in the academic year 2014-15, seven students had applied to five colleges under the ‘others’ category. But, none of them took admission.

In the academic year 2015-16, not a single application was received under the category. “We had received applications under the new category and accordingly their applications were forwarded for admission, but I don’t believe they took admission,” said a spokesperson for MES Pillai HOC College of Arts, Commerce and Science in New Panvel.

He added that the college has conducted several workshops for the staff members and students to sensitise them towards the third gender.

The Supreme Court in its judgment dated April 15, 2014, had asked the Centre to treat transgenders as socially and economically backward and that they be allowed admission in educational institutions and given employment on the basis that they belonged to the third gender category. In August 2014, the UGC opened all its scholarships to people from the third gender and requested universities to make similar changes to their admissions process.

The 5 colleges that received applications under the ‘others’ category in 2014-15 are DG Ruparel College and VeermataJijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) in Matunga, MES Pillai HOC College of Arts, Commerce and Science in New Panvel, SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Sion and MPSS’s AnandibaiRaorane College of Arts and Commerce in Sindhudurg district. “We checked and re-checked our records but couldn’t find the applicants,” said Tushar Desai, principal of DG Ruparel College.

Principal of SIES College, Harsha Mehta, said that even if students did apply under ‘others’ category, they might not have gotten through if they had scored low marks.

Live Mint

Breaking the caste barrier


In 1991, Siddhant changed his surname to avoid the shadow of caste discrimination. Today, the 31-year-old Dalit from Bihar’s Ghorghat village owns a business with revenue of Rs1 crore

In 1999, at the age of 15, SiddhantPaswan became Siddhant Kumar. With just a few months to go for the secondary school board exams, he followed the example of his two elder brothers—he picked a neutral surname.

Hiding their identity was the Paswan brothers’ way of avoiding the shadow of caste discrimination when it came to joining the job queue. “What else was the option,” says Kumar. They are Dalits, the lowest rung in Hinduism’s social hierarchy.

Kumar is 31 years old, nearly 6 feet tall, and has a body that looks gym-sculpted—a reason people in his village assumed he would join the army.

Last year, when Kumar visited his village, the upper castes wanted to know what he was doing in Delhi and whether completing higher education had done him any good. When Kumar told them that he was an entrepreneur and ran a business of his own, they smirked, thinking Kumar was lying and blew him off.

“Dalits don’t do business. This is not the traditional job that they are supposed to do, is what they told me,” recalls Kumar. But the reality was they were shocked, slightly jealous, he says. At the most, they would expect a Dalit to set up his own neighbourhood corner shop, not run a business in one of the biggest cities in India.

While the majority of Dalits in village Ghorghat of Bihar’s Munger district are working in the Indian Railways, Kumar has a master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and is the founder of a start-up company designing and producing tabletop games.

Around three years old, the company employs seven people. From July 2014 to March 2015, Kumar’s FunRally Games had a turnover of Rs.1 crore.

The decade after economic liberalization saw many Dalits move away from their traditional caste occupations,such as leather work, barbering and manual scavenging and choosing to work for themselves.

MORE FROM ASPIRING INDIA Clearing the first hurdle

“Post-liberalization, the country witnessed a transition from the caste-based occupations and services to modern businesses. Looking at so many self-made people from different communities across the country, aspirations among more and more people started rising, they started taking risks and are now competing with the market (irrespective of the caste),” says MilindKamble, founder of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), an organization that brings together all the Dalit entrepreneurs in India under one umbrella.

According to DICCI, there are more than 30 Dalit crorepatisin the country.

Although, there is no reliable data on the profile of scheduled caste entrepreneurs, as per rough estimates of DICCI, there are 1,000 Dalit entrepreneurs with combined turnover of Rs.60,000crore.

When he was growing up, during all the village functions, Kumar and his family had to wait till the Brahmins had finished their meal and left—in case they “polluted” their neighbours’ food.

This happened despite Dalits being a majority caste in his village, about 150km from Patna, says Kumar.

Before his 12th class examination, Kumar and his friends rented a room for preparation away from the village. When they were looking for a room, the landlords they met kept asking about their caste.

They didn’t get a room.

It became so bad that Siddhant and his friends wore a janeu—the sacred thread that only Brahmins wear. “This was another way we used to hide our caste,” Kumar laughs.

This is 2015 but the situation is still the same, he says.

Kumar didn’t want to blindly follow what everyone else from his caste did. For his father, fighting meant having heated discussions on the discrimination he faced and continues to face. For Kumar, fighting means to make it so big that no one asks him about the suffix of his name—and caste becomes irrelevant. “I can’t be dominated by anyone. I always felt like breaking away from the entanglement of caste. Unfortunately, still, every time I come home, I see the conversations are exactly the same. It’s all about caste,” he says.

A study by New Delhi-based Indian Institute of Dalit Studies on what motivates Dalits to go into the business, the typical response is “doosronkigulami se achhahaikiapnakaamkarlein” (it is far better to have one’s own business than to slave for someone else). For some of the respondents, business was also a way of proving to themselves they too could do something meaningful, which would not only give them income and dignity but also generate employment for other members of the community.

Kumar’s journey began with painting signboards, election banners, school walls. “I couldn’t define my ambition then. Growing up in a small village, with absolutely no exposure, I wasn’t sure where painting would take me,” he says. He enrolled in a college for a Bachelor of Arts course but failed in the first year. Kumar didn’t even try to pass the exam and instead enrolled in Patna Arts College.

In his village, with almost 450 houses, and around 2,500 people, most men look for a job in Indian Railways, the nation’s biggest employer, as soon as they finish their 10th standard schooling. Women, without the pressure of getting a job, go in for higher education which, in turn, increases their marriage prospects.

“Everyone seems satisfied with what they have because they don’t want to take the risk of breaking free,” says Kumar. “I have always wanted to fly.”

Despite being in a college full of young people sharing a passion for the fine arts, Kumar, in his second year, realized every one else actually dreamt of securing a government job.

He didn’t want to do any of it. He was sure he had the skills for doing something better than painting people’s houses; he was confident he was good. “I thought if I am doing fine arts, why not do it in a good place,” he says.

Using all of his pocket money, Kumar took a train to Delhi. There he sat for the entrance exam to JamiaMilliaIslamia University’s Faculty Of Fine Arts and then went back home. When a friend called him to tell him that he had qualified, Kumar asked about the fees. Kumar has six siblings, and the only earner in his family then was his father. He worked in the railways, and took home a salary of Rs.7,000.

When Kumar told his father about the Rs.4,500 admission fees, he slapped him and told him he was not the only child he had to educate.

“Obviously, he had responsibilities, but I didn’t want to live my life doing what everyone around me was doing. The only people who made it big in my village were from the upper castes. Being there, with the caste hanging on me constantly, I couldn’t have progressed. I had to leave,” says Kumar, admitting his mother had to sell her jewellery to send him to Delhi.

Despite having lived his life in a village, Kumar’s father wanted him to study but his earnings wouldn’t allow him to send Kumar to the city for education. “He did not want caste to decide our future like it did for him,” he says.

A recent analysis of government survey data by economists at University of British Columbia found that the education gap between other castes and Dalits has halved between 1983 and 2005.

Kumar studied by day and painted walls and ceilings at night—earning Rs.200 per day. Initially it was small scale, but since his drawing attracted attention and he networked, Kumar got more opportunity to work with interior designers. In his fourth year at Jamiahe started gettingRs.2,000 per day and started getting more lucrative contracts. In his fourth year, he took the IIT entrance exam, cleared it and, with scholarships and savings, completed his masters in design from IIT Bombay.

One summer afternoon, seeing Kumar dressed up in formals, his professor asked what he was doing. Kumar was sitting for an interview. The professor didn’t say anything then, but later said: “You aren’t someone who should run after jobs, you should create jobs.”

In rural India, in 33.7% of scheduled caste households, self employment is the major source of income, while in urban India, the proportion of households with self-employment as the major source of income among scheduled castes is 26.8%.

A 2011 paper by Harvard Business School found that even after the economic liberalization, Dalits “were significantly under-represented in the ownership of private enterprises, and employment generated by private enterprises.”

Out of his batch of 60, Kumar became the only entrepreneur. With a friend from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Bhopal, and another who was working at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Chennai, Kumar founded FunRally Games in November 2012.

The company designs board games, card games, dice-based games and miniature war games —mostly exploring how to use different concepts to make instructional games and reinvent the traditional games from villages.

“For one-and-a-half years, we had absolutely no money,” he says. There were a few months when they had to stop working because they fell short of funds, by as little asRs.10,000.

“We had used every penny we had. There was no way we could move forward. Our parents’, our own money, everything was in it,” says Kumar.

“While all entrepreneurs in India face obstacles because of lack of credit from the formal banking system, potential Dalit entrepreneurs are doubly handicapped because they almost invariably lack the collateral and also because of their more limited access to informal credit through community networks,” according to the book Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs by DeveshKapur, D.ShyamBabu and Chandra Bhan Prasad.

A few months later, when the team returned to work, they started going to traffic signals and selling their games because they didn’t have any human resource. It was Kumar who hit upon the idea of exploring e-commerce. Investing almost Rs.10 lakh from savings, borrowed money from relatives and friends and two profitless years, from July, 2014 to March this year, the company has made a turnover of Rs.1 crore.

Kumar says he is still struggling—for his identity, and to realize his dreams. He plans to launch his own mobile and mobile accessories company under the brand name Labho, a word in Angika language which means “take it”.

It will be a Bihar-based company. “All we have here is from China. I will make the quality so good, and the prices so reasonable that we will find our place in the market and people will start trusting us,” he says.

Even now when Kumar goes back home, he looks at the electric pole near his house with a banner he had painted as a teenager, directing everyone to the salon next door. And every time he looks at it, it strikes him that had he not moved out, he would probably have still been the man with a paintbrush, painting people’s houses.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET





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