Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 23.12.15

SC-ST Prevention against atrocities amendment Bill 2014 passed by RajyaSabha – Prepsure


Bill bans, SC/STs still clean sewers – The Times Of India


Transgenders worse off than Dalits: Akkai – The Hindu


Law enforcers take rape of Dalit women lightly – The daily Star


Balmiki community demands justiceThe Tribune


Dalits in colony forced to defecate in the open – The Hindu


Atrocity Act slapped against 22 for ‘assaulting’ corporator – The Indian Express


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SC-ST Prevention against atrocities amendment Bill 2014 passed by RajyaSabha


Current Affairs 2015: The RajyaSabha passed a bill on prevention of atrocities against ST’s and SC’s unanimously without a debate.

Peter Nathanael | December 22, 2015 11:47 AM

The RajyaSabha passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Amendment bill 2014 on December 21, 2015. The amendment bill seeks to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. The bill was earlier passed by the LokSabha on August 4, 2015, and now has been passed by the upper house of the Parliament.  The President of India had earlier passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled castes amendment ordinance 2014 on March 4, 2014. The ordinance had lapsed after the Parliament failed to ratify the bill in next 6 months.

SC-ST Prevention against atrocities amendment Bill 2014 passed by Rajya Sabha

The bill was passed unanimously without a debate as was decided earlier in aall party meeting held on December 18, 2015. The bill seeks to amend certain existing categories in the act and also add new actions to be treated as offence under the act.

Provisions regarding elections- Forcing an SC or ST individual to vote or not vote for a particular candidate in a manner that is against the law is an offence under the Act.  The Bill adds that impeding certain activities related to voting will also be considered an offence.  Wrongfully occupying land belonging to a person falling under the category of SCs or STs is an offence under the Act.  The Bill defines ‘wrongful’ in this context, which was not done under the SC and ST prevention of atrocities Act 1989.

The Bill has introduced certain measures for women falling under the category of SC/ST. Assaulting or sexual exploiting an SC or ST woman is an offence under the Act.  The Bill adds that:

(a) Intentionally touching an SC or ST woman in a sexual manner without her consent,

(b) using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature

 (c) Dedication of an SC or ST women as a devadasi to a temple, or any similar practice will also be considered an offence.  Consent is defined as a voluntary agreement through verbal or non-verbal communication.

New offences added under the proposed amendment Bill includes-

(a) Garlanding with footwear

 (b) Compelling of any person to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or do manual scavenging

(c) Abusing a person belonging to the category of SCs or STs by caste name in public

 (d) Attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs or STs or disrespecting any deceased person held in high esteem

 (e) By anyways imposing or threatening a social or economic boycott based on caste.

  • Preventing  persons falling under the category of SCs or STs from undertaking the following activities will be considered an offence: using common property resources, entering any place of worship that is open to the public, and entering an education or health institution.

  • The court shall presume that the accused was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim if the accused had personal knowledge of the victim or his family, unless the contrary is proved.

Role of public servants:  The Act specifies that a non SC or ST public servant who neglects his duties relating to SCs or STs shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of six months to one year.  TheAmendment Bill- specifies these duties, including: registering a complaint or FIR (First Information Report) reading out information given orally, before taking the signature of the informant and giving a copy of this information to the informant, etc.

Role of courts:  Under the Act, a court of Session at the district level is deemed a Special Court to provide speedy trials for offences.  A Special Public Prosecutor is appointed to conduct cases in this court.  Amendment- The Bill substitutes this provision and specifies that an Exclusive Special Court must be established at the district level to try offences under the Bill.  In districts with fewer cases, a Special Court may be established to try offences.  An adequate number of courts must be established to ensure that cases are disposed of within two months.  Appeals of these courts shall lie with the high court, and must be disposed of within three months.  A Public Prosecutor and Exclusive Public Prosecutor shall be appointed for every Special Court and Exclusive Special Court respectively.  The courts established under the Bill may take certain measures such as: concealing the names of witnesses, taking immediate action in respect of any complaint relating to harassment of a victim, informant or witness, etc.  Any such complaint shall be tried separately from the main case and be concluded within two months.

Rights of the victims and witnesses:  The Bill adds a chapter on the rights of victims and witness.  It shall be the duty of the state to make arrangements for the protection of victims, their dependents and witnesses.  The state government shall specify a scheme to ensure the implementation of rights of victims and witnesses.

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, will now be presented to the President of India for his assent. Once the bill receives the assent of the President the bill shall become an act and the proposed act would stand amended. The Bill was first introduced in the LokSabha by the Union Minister of Social Justice Thaawar Chand on July 16, 2014.

The Times Of India

Bill bans, SC/STs still clean sewers


DivyaChandrababu | TNN | Dec 23, 2015, 01.24 AM IST

CHENNAI: On Monday, the RajyaSabha unanimously passed the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill making it an offence to compel SC/STs to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses, or do manual scavenging. This is yet another law that bans the inhuman and dangerous practice of manual scavenging. It has been banned since 1993, but both contractors and the public continue to exploit them to clean their sewers and septic tanks.

Though no death has been reported in Chennai this year, workers Murugan and Bhaskaran, died inside a septic tank in Ambattur due to asphyxiation last March. Tamil Nadu saw at least 17 deaths last year.

Activists say the numbers could be more as several deaths go unreported. In his petition in the high court, director of ChangeIndia, A Narayanan, had listed 150 names of victims who had died in Tamil Nadu since 1993 and haven’t been compensated.

For 15 years, BabuDevayya of Tambaram has been a manual scavenger. “Even two weeks ago I went to clean a septic tank. I know there is a rule, but I haven’t stopped because we get 900 each,” says the father of four. A few months ago, he was fined 1,000 for doing this job, but it hasn’t stopped Babu as he has to eke out a living.

“Whether manual scavenging happens in a public place or within a private space, the law has been broken and government is accountable,” says DeeptiSukumar, national core member of SafaiKaramchariAndolan.Local bodies began to take the rule with more seriousness after the Madras high court began monitoring the progress made by officials in implementing Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. Chennai Corporation and Metrowater, responsible for storm water drains and sewage lines began sourcing machines to desilt these systems. “But, manual scavenging continues silently and invisibly,” says A Narayanan, director, ChangeIndia. “As long as there open defecation, this can’t be eradicated in total.” Around 150 people died inside sewage or manhole pits since 1993.

The Hindu

Transgenders worse off than Dalits: Akkai



AkkaiPadmashali, transgender rights activist, said that the state of transgenders has been worse than Dalits in the country.

“A major section of the society is not yet ready to consider us as human beings. We are fighting a long battle just so that we get the rights to use a public toilet,” she said, after being felicitated by the AmbedkarYuvaSene for receiving the Rajyotsava Award.

Expressing displeasure over the little support that transgenders got, she said, “The highest decision-making body, Parliament, is itself not concerned about us. Where should we go then? We have failed to convince the courts also. Unless the mindsets of people change, we cannot get justice,” she said.

The daily Star

Law enforcers take rape of Dalit women lightly


Community alleges at public hearing in capital detailing other discrimations as well

She was gang-raped six months ago at Shamshernagar Tea Garden in Moulvibazar. Police only registered the Dalit woman’s case six days later in the face of protest. Although she identified four out of the 10 accused, Kamalganj Police Station is yet to produce a charge sheet.

“What can I do now?” the victim’s husband asked a panel of jurists in a mass hearing yesterday.

The five-member jury suggested they lodge a complaint against officers of Kamalganj Police Station to the superintendent of police of the district and the inspector general of police.

NagorikUddyogorganised the programme on “Redressing Existing Discrimination and Torture on Dalit People” in the capital’s Cirdap Auditorium.

Retired senior district judge ShamsunNahar Begum, Honorary Executive Director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) Barrister Sara Hossain, Associate Professor of the Department of Law of Dhaka University Sheikh Hafizur Rahman and lawyer Narayan Chandra Charmokar were the members of the jury, led by Honorary Member of National Human Rights Commission Selina Hossain.

Seven other members of the Dalit community also shared their plights.

A father said his daughter was kidnapped on June 7, 2013 and was confined for a month and 28 days.

They filed a case and police arrested the accused but released them two days later. Police produced a charge sheet on March 19, 2014.

He said the date of hearing has been deferred nine times.

“The accused are moving freely and giving death threats to us. What will we do?” he asked.

Another Dalit man said his eight-year-old daughter was raped and killed on October 12. But they could not move forward with the case as Joydevpur Police Station is yet to give them the autopsy report, he said in tears.

Other people of the Dalit community narrated how their land has been grabbed and how they were victims of social discrimination.

After hearing their stories, Sheikh Hafizur Rahman said, “Our legal system is not poor friendly. Victims are harassed at hospitals, police stations and courts in seeking justice.”

Charmokar said it was not possible to achieve Sustainable Development Goals if 65 lakh Dalits are deprived of their rights.

“It is clear how Dalits are falling victim to discrimination in seeking shelter of law,” said Sara and urged them to draw attention of the chief justice regarding delay of case disposal.

The Tribune

 Balmiki community demands justice


 Bathinda, December 22

The BalmikiSamaj took out a protest march here today against the Abohar incident in which Dalit Bheem was murdered to death.

The protesters were demanding justice for the family of Bheem by arresting the accused.

The protest march passed through various markets, including Railway Road, SadhbhavnaChowk and Dhobi Bazaar. In the end, they staged a dharna at the Fire Bridge Chowk. They raised slogans against the state government. Balmiki community leaders said the incident, which took place at Abohar in Fazilka district, had shaken the dalits across the country.

They demanded that the inquiry into the case should be handed over to the CBI and the victim family should be given compensation of Rs 1 crore, along with a government job to one of his family members. They also demanded that the accused be hanged to death. They said the main accused, liquor baron Shiv LalDoda, should be arrested and sent to jail at the earliest. They also warned to intensify the protest if justice to the victim’s family was not given at the earliest. — T

The Hindu

Dalits in colony forced to defecate in the open



A couple of months ago, a second-year computer science student, Devi (name changed), turned sick. She suffered an insect bite. Her father P. Shanmugam, a daily wager, borrowed Rs. 20,000 to meet the 10-day hospital expenses. He is yet to repay the loan, and the girl is yet to recover fully.Devi suffered the insect bite when she went out at night to attend nature’s call. Her neighbours in the Dalit Colony in Kendaiyur in Ward 24 of Mettupalayam Municipality too have suffered but none as bad as Devi.

They, however, remained as vulnerable as she was, said K. Vanitha, a resident.

Insect bite was just one of the many problems the residents, particularly the women, faced when they went out to attend nature’s call. The residents of the colony had been defecating in the open for over two generations for want of toilets.

During emergencies, a few affordable residents took their two-wheelers to the Mettupalayam bus stand to use the pay-and-use toilet. This had been the practice for over four decades now, said K. Bhadran, the community leader. They had petitioned the elected representatives, municipal officials, Revenue Department officials, and the District Collector too, in vain.

  1. Nagarajan, councillor, said that in the last 20 years, he and wife Usha Rani (a former councillor) took efforts to construct toilets but had to stop it because of legal hurdles. The absence of land delayed the construction of a public toilet. A public convenience facility was available a few yards away from their habitation, in Thekkampattypanchayat limits. The panchayat had constructed the toilet complex at a cost of Rs. 2.50 lakh in 2007-08 for the residents of RamegoundenPudur. The Dalits at Kendaiyur, however, did not use it.

“We are denied access to it because caste Hindus of the village objected to it,” said Mr. Bhadran.A community toilet exclusively for their use is the solution. How about individual household toilets that the Swachh Bharat mission talks about?

“When the entire house measures around 100 or 150 sqft where is the question of toilet,” Mr. Bhadran asked.

Officials, however, denied the caste angle to the problem. They insisted that absence of land was the reason. Mettupalayam Municipal Chairman D. Satheesh Kumar said that on two occasions, the toilet construction project came to a naught as a few people opposed the project. The municipality was ready to fund them under the Swachh Bharat mission, he said.

The civic body had identified a piece of land measuring around two cents in a crematorium to construct the toilets. The municipality would construct it at a cost of Rs. 10 lakh after the Municipal Council gave its approval, he added.

The Indian Express

 Atrocity Act slapped against 22 for ‘assaulting’ corporator


GeetaMancharkar was allegedly assaulted during a zonal committee meeting.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published:December 23, 2015 12:14 am

THE Pimpri police have slapped the Atrocity Act against as many as 22 people, including two corporators, of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) for alleged murder bid and use of derogatory remarks against corporatorGeetaMancharkar. They were booked under the Act after Mancharkar filed a complaint against them.

Mancharkar was allegedly assaulted during a zonal committee meeting of the PCMC in Kharalwadi area. Mancharkar was allegedly beaten up after she opposed certain “wrongdoing” in her ward, police said. Mancharkar had lodged a complaint against two corporators and four others. Following this, police arrested the six, includingCongress corporators Kailas Kadam and SadguruKadam, both brothers. After a cross-complaint, Mancharkar’s husband, advocate SushilMancharkar, and four others too were arrested. All were first sent to police custody and then to magisterial custody.

On Monday, Geeta, who was recuperating in YCM Hospital, complained to police that those who attacked her and some others had used derogatory remarks. Following this, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohan Vidhate said they applied the Atrocity Act against 22 people, including two corporators. “Six have been arrested,” he said.

Meanwhile, the court last week reserved its order on Sushil’s bail plea. The court was to pronounce the order on Tuesday. His lawyers said because of court holiday, the order would be pronounced on December 28.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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