Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 27.12.15

20 Dalits, including pregnant woman, injured in attack – The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/20-dalits-including-pregnant-woman-injured-in-attack/article8033025.ece

…court reserves decision, verdict on January 2The Tribune

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/-court-reserves-decision-verdict-on-january-2/175762.html

Conversion led to 2007 riots in Kandhamal: Panel – The Times OF India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/Conversion-led-to-2007-riots-in-Kandhamal-Panel/articleshow/50338949.cms

Prevention Of Atrocities Act: Why A Law Is Not Enough – Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/gaurav-pandhi/prevention-of-atrocities-_b_8857788.html

The Hindu

20 Dalits, including pregnant woman, injured in attack

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/20-dalits-including-pregnant-woman-injured-in-attack/article8033025.ece

KUMAR BURADIKATTI

A group of 50 ‘upper caste’ men, equipped with rods and sharp weapons, barged into the Dalit colony and attacked the residents, leaving three persons, including a pregnant woman, seriously injured in Turvihal village of Sindhanur taluk on Friday.

Another 25 persons sustained minor injuries.

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The pregnant woman, Huligemma, was rushed to Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences in Ballari after she started bleeding and was later shifted to a hospital in Sindhanur where two injured persons are being treated.

Following a complaint lodged by Huligemma’s husband Shivaputrappa, Turvihal police booked 29 persons under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 148 (rioting), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), of Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Superintendent of Police Chetan Singh Rathore told The Hindu that no arrests had been made so far in the case.

As per the information provided by Turvihal police and residents, an ‘upper caste’ youth accidently rammed his vegetable-laden goods carrier against a Dalit youth organisation’s signboard that carried B.R. Ambedkar’s photo on Thursday.

Next day, some Dalit youth associated with the organisation picked up an argument alleging that the act was deliberate. Enraged by this, 50 men attacked the Dalits.

The victims alleged that the attackers had warned that they would not allow them to live in the village.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Janashakti organisation demanded that the police arrest the accused at the earliest. The organisation also sought police protection for Dalits in the village apart from demanding Rs. 5 lakh compensation

for the three persons, who were seriously injured.

The Tribune

…court reserves decision, verdict on January 2

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/-court-reserves-decision-verdict-on-january-2/175762.html

Our Correspondent   Fazilka, December 26

The vacation Additional Session Judge, Jatinder Walia, has reserved his decision in the Bhim Sen Tank murder case of Abohar. The decision will be pronounced on January 2, 2016. On December 22, it heard the arguments on the anticipatory bail application of main accused Shiv Lal Doda.

Advocates Chander Mohan Munjal and Rahil Birla appeared on behalf of Doda, while District Attorney Naveen Girdhar pleaded for the state. Later, advocate Surinderpal Singh Tinna also pleaded for the victims.

Defense counsel Chander Mohan Munjal pleaded that gang war broke out between two groups on Doda’s farmhouse in his absence. He said Doda could not be held responsible for the crime as he was in Delhi and hadn’t spoken to any of the accused for the past several months.

Doda’s younger brother Avinash Doda, who was also present in the court, claimed no serious criminal case was pending against Doda in any court.

The Times OF India

Conversion led to 2007 riots in Kandhamal: Panel

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/Conversion-led-to-2007-riots-in-Kandhamal-Panel/articleshow/50338949.cms

TNN | Dec 27, 2015, 08.22 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Justice Basudev Panigrahi inquiry commission set up to probe the 2007 riot in Kandhamal district has cited conversion as the major cause behind the violence.

Four persons were killed while over 100 churches, religious institutions and about 700 houses and other structures were burnt in the four-day riot beginning December 24. Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, who was shot during the Janmastami celebrations in August, 2008 at his Jalespeta ashram in the district, was attacked and injured on December 24, 2007, sparking tension in the region preceding the riot. The octogenarian seer was a strong campaigner against conversion. The commission was set up on December 29, 2007.

Though details of the probe findings are yet to be officially known, sources said the commission pointed fingers at the government for not ensuring implementation of a strong anti-conversion law, leading to communal tension in Kandhamal. There has also been laxity in implementation of acts like Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Prohibition of Cow Slaughter and Animal Preservation Act, 1977 effectively, the sources said.

“Had these acts been implemented properly, a situation leading to violence would not have occurred in the district,” Justice Panigrahi said while talking to TOI.

The report said some of the religious outfits went berserk to gain political mileage and the district administration did precious little to check them.

The commission has made a number of recommendations to the state government, including reservation in jobs for local people, improvement of road connectivity and establishment of health care institutions and schools in the area.

A separate judicial inquiry commission constituted to probe the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the consequent violence submitted its report to the state government recently. The report held the Maoists responsible for the seer’s murder.

Huffington Post

Prevention Of Atrocities Act: Why A Law Is Not Enough

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/gaurav-pandhi/prevention-of-atrocities-_b_8857788.html

Posted: 22/12/2015 08:54 IST Updated: 22/12/2015 08:54 IST

“…Because I feel, however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot.” – Dr B R Ambedkar at the Constituent Assembly on 25 Nov 1949

Laws are just words which, without a change in the mindset of society, cannot be implemented effectively. The people at the helm of affairs of the nation have to set the moral compass so that it is aligned to the founding principles of the nation, rather than to their personal beliefs.

The advent of the RSS-backed BJP Government led by Shri Narendra Modi in May 2014 has seen a 19% increase in the number of atrocities against Dalits across the country, in stark contrast to the principles of equality, liberty and fraternity on which this nation is based. This trend can end up derailing the vision of our founding fathers – a vision of an India that is democratic not only politically but also socially and economically.

Very few of these atrocities against Dalits have shaken the conscience of the nation at large.

In April this year, poison was mixed in a drinking water tank in Kotputli Tehsil near Jaipur to teach Dalits a lesson. The trigger? A Dalit groom had the audacity to sit on horseback during the baraat.

The advent of the RSS-backed BJP Government led by Shri Narendra Modi in May 2014 has seen a 19% increase in the number of atrocities against Dalits

On 21 October, a nine-month-old girl and her two-year-old brother were burnt alivewhen their house in Faridabad, Haryana, was set on fire by members of a higher caste community. VK Singh, a former army chief and a minister in the Modi government, responded to the resulting outcry by saying that the Centre could not be blamed if somebody threw stones at a dog. This appalling analogy seems to be inspired by Narendra Modi’s infamous comparison of Gujarat riot victims to puppies that were run over by mistake.

Between 19 and 24 October, several hundred security personnel belonging to CoBRA, CRPF and DRG went on a combing operation to five villages (Pegdapalli, Chinnagellur, Peddagellur, Gundam and Budgecheru) in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh. There the security forces indulged in widespread sexual violence, looting, ransacking of homes, etc. There are at least three documented cases of gangrape and numerous instances of stripping the tribal women, beating them and groping them. This has been well documented by a Congress party investigative team led by its MLA Kawasi Lakhma.

The above incidents highlight the intensity of the atrocities that have been committed not only by citizens but by the State machinery as well. Social commentators can give various reasons for the increase in the number of such cases – pushback from the dominant castes to the increasing assertiveness of their constitutional rights by the Dalits and tribals or a greater willingness of the police administration to file such cases — but such reasoning provides no relief and solace to the victims of such caste brutality.

And of course, these three examples merely skim the surface of the range of injustices that Dalits have to face on a daily basis – ranging from restrictions on where they can work and whom they can marry to rape and murder. How these atrocities are experienced can never be captured on paper and in numbers. One needs to be born as a Dalit or an Adivasi to truly understand the discrimination that they face at every step in society. It is hard for the upper castes to be even aware of the stranglehold that Manu has over their minds and actions. In fact, Manu pervades the minds of most Indians – an Indian is usually an expert at identifying the hierarchical organisation of a social structure and adapts his or her behaviour accordingly. It operates subconsciously in all of us, just like a virus lurking quietly in electronic devices.

Unless we drag this subconscious domination of Manu out into the open to challenge it, the laws are not going to be effective.

Unless we drag this subconscious domination of Manu out into the open to challenge it, the laws that are being framed to tackle atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and Tribes are not going to be effective.

Although the Rajya Sabha on 21 December passed the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, it is worth questioning if the lawmakers understand that the law will only be effective if there are deep-rooted changes in society. It is the responsibility of the leaders of the country to ensure that society understands the benefits of relinquishing a regressive mindset in favour of the progressive ideals enshrined in the Constitution. Society takes its cues from the leaders and calibrates its behaviour accordingly.

For the atrocities against the SC/STs to reduce, not only is there a need for robust laws but also their proper and effective implementation and monitoring. The law provides for state- and district-level Vigilance and Monitoring Committees. These committees are supposed to review the implementation of the Act across the state and districts; the Chief Minister of a state is the chairperson for the state Vigilance and Monitoring Committee.

The sincerity of the administrative and political leadership on such serious issues of human rights violations, of course, remains to be seen. Will they deal with the cases honestly or sweep them under the carpet as seen most of the time, irrespective of the party in power?

The stronger and more rigorous the monitoring bodies at the district and state levels are, the more effective the country’s leadership be in setting the moral compass of the nation in the right direction and helping society to confine atrocities against the Dalits and the Adivasis to the past forever.

For India to become the next economic powerhouse, it cannot continue to deny a life of dignity too more than 300 million of its population. It cannot achieve its full potential by allowing certain dominant sections of the society to trample upon the fundamental rights of these 300 million without any remorse or fear of the law. For India to progress and not lose its freedom, it has to let go of its regressive prejudices. For that to happen, every Indian has to become aware of the Manu that lurks unconsciously in our minds and make a conscious attempt to purge this ancient and cruel belief system once in for all.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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