Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 16.01.16


We Have Neither Money Nor Education: TN’s Manual Scavengers – The Quint


Pejawar seer for elimination of untouchability to stop forcible conversion – Deccan Herald


NCSC to hold inquiry on ‘discrimination’ against Dalits – India .Com


Husband of AAP MLA PromilaTokas arrested – The Indian Express


After 400 years, Garhwal temple allows entry to Dalits, women – The Times Of India



Note: Please find attachment for DMW Hindi ( PDF)


The Quint

We Have Neither Money Nor Education: TN’s Manual Scavengers


The News Minute

Yesterday, 2:20 pm

The common refrain among the scheduled castes of Tamil Nadu is that they are forced to take up manual scavenging as, unlike upper caste people, they are neither educated nor have the money to invest in a business.

In 1993, the government banned manual scavenging – the handling of human faeces directly by humans. In 2013, it also banned the handling of human excreta in any form by expanding the definition of the term to include people who descend into manholes to unclog blocked drainage or to clean septic tanks.

However, in Tamil Nadu people of the Chakliyar, Domban, Parayar, Koaravan castes continue to do this work.

Manual Scavengers Limited by Lack of Other Opportunities

Thirty-nine-year old Koppaiya’s life is a summary of the problem and the contradictions of the system. Belonging to the Chakliyar caste, he works both under private contractors hired by the Chennai Corporation to clean the city’s clogged sewerage system and also cleans septic tanks in private houses.

He says that cleaning of septic tanks is the only work he knows.

Unlike people of the upper caste, we are not educated and do not have money to start our own business. So we are forced to continue to do what our fathers were doing.– Koppaiya, Sanitation Worker

Like other sanitation workers who end up doing manual scavenging, Koppaiya too is exposed to health risks and even a threat to his life.

The gases inside the septic tank are very harmful. Our eyes burn and they cause skin allergies. It can also cause breathing problems.—Koppaiya

For 32-year-old Zechariah, the profession has, in a manner of speaking, passed from father to son.

My father Lazar suffered from tuberculosis for 10 years and died in 1996 because he did this work. At the age of 17, I also started working as a sewage worker and have been doing it for 15 years now.– Zechariah, Sanitation Worker & Resident of Tambaram

Sewage workers earn between Rs 300 and Rs 600 for cleaning one septic tank. In a month they would be called to clean between four and six septic tanks, meaning that their earnings will not exceed Rs 3,000. Many of them also do domestic work and take up clerical jobs in hospitals when they are not hired by contractors for cleaning septic tanks.

In Madurai district’s Usilampatti village, Amutha’s story is slightly different.

Municipal Corporation officials come and threaten us not to go for sewage work but what other work can we go for?– Amutha, Sanitation Worker

Her husband died in a septic tank, but their son, Paalapati continues to do the work in Chennai to feed their family.

To add insult to injury, the children of sewage workers are ridiculed for their parents’ work.

Pushing For Implementation of Ban

In order to remind the state governments that they are supposed to put an end to this practice and also implement a 2013 Supreme Court order regarding the rehabilitation and compensation of manual scavengers, the SafaikaramchariAndolan has organised a 125-day BhimYatra.

The yatra, which began on 10 December last year, will cover 500 districts across the country and culminate on 13 April.

Currently in its Chennai leg, the Andolan urged the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh to the families of all deceased workers since 1993 and cash payment of Rs 40,000 as immediate relief to individual manual scavenging workers.

Time and again, deadlines and dates were set to end manual scavenging. Nothing changed. Manual scavenging is a manifestation of untouchability and caste oppression and is followed shamelessly till date.– Samuel Velankanni, Tamil Nadu Convenor of the Andolan to The News Minute

The law must be followed, but it must be supplemented with the provision of alternatives for people like Koppaiya, who say, ‘We are not educated and this is the only work that we know so we tend to do this for supporting our families.’

(The author Pheba Mathew works with The News minute.)

Deccan Herald

Pejawar seer for elimination of untouchability to stop forcible conversion


Manjushree G Naik, UDUPI, Jan 16, 2016, DHNS:

‘Dalits and other backward classes should be brought to mainstream’

Pejawar mutt seer Sri VishweshaTheertha Swami is all set to ascend the ParyayaPeetha for the record fifth time on January 18. 

Pejawar mutt seer Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swami. DH file photo

The countdown for the biannual has already started. In this backdrop, the seer shared his views on various issues, future plans, traditions and practices in the mutt and his love towards Dalits in an exclusive interview with Deccan Herald. The excerpts of the interview:

Deccan Herald: Your stance and feelings at this momentous occasion… 

VishweshaTheertha Swami: I am happy that I have been blessed with the gift to serve Lord Krishna for the fifth time. Pressure from my junior seer made me accept the idea of ascending the ParyayaPeetha for the fifth time. I was of the opinion that it is better if he takes up the charge of the temple administration for two years. But he compelled me to accept the Peetha. Performing four Pary-ayas itself ensures the completeness of being a Sanyasi.

Would you introduce ‘Ede Snana’ replacing ‘Made Snana’ during your term?

‘Ede Snana’ would be held, but there would be no place for ‘Made Snana’.

What are your views on untouchability, forcible conversion, Dalits and their love for Buddhism? 
Untouchability is the main evil that has increased the forcible conversion. Dalits and other backward classes should be brought to the mainstream of the society. Untouchability should be eliminated to stop forcible conversion. Dalits will have a red carpet welcome in the (Krishna) temple and also will be treated at par with any other devotees.

They will also dine with all other caste people inside the temple. The two-year term would witness revolutionary attempts to bring Dalits to the mainstream of Hinduism. Dalits would also be invited for Paryaya celebrations. Buddhism is part and parcel of Hinduism.

If Dalits want to accept Buddhism, there is no harm. But the people, who have worshiped idols and have followed the concept of God, will find it hard to accept Buddhism as there is no concept of God in Buddhism.

Would you oppose the extension of UPCL?

A mass movement is needed to protest against the expansion of UPCL’s second phase project. The extension should be done ensuring zero environment pollution. Adani was told about the pollution the plant has created, during his visit to the temple. The water and air pollution should be stopped. I would not be able to lead the protest. But I will support the agitation. But I am supposed be within the premises of Krishna mutt and the Car Street during my two-year Paryaya term.

How would you bring along the minorities in your walk towards discrimination less society? 

Eid celebrations would be held in the temple and all attempts would be made to  create harmony among the religions. Minorities are also a part of Paryaya celebrations. There is no truth behind the so called intellectuals’ claim that Pejawar seer is anti-Muslim. Muslim and other minorities should be treated equally and they should get all the rights mentioned in the Constitution.

What is your opinion on Yettinahole project?

There should be an open debate on Yettinahole project, including the experts. The government should take the affected into confidence and also convince them about the feasibilities before executing the project.

The problems that require urgent attention…

The atrocities against wom-en and Dalits should be curbed. The women are victimised. There should be protection for women  and also there should be harmony among religions and castes.

Your opinion on reservation…

The time has not come to stop reservation and instead, the reservation should be extended to the most backward classes.

Your opinion on government’s decision to ban astrology predictions on media channels…

It is better to ban the astrology predictions being aired on media channels. They mislead the people. There should be restraints as the human and animal sacrifice and Devadasi system are still in prevalent owing to the fake astrologers.

Banning cow slaughter…

Cow slaughter should be banned and livestock resources in the country should be protected.

Any plans to invite Puttige seer to (Paryaya) Durbar…

There is a dilemma over inviting him to the Durbar owing to the fear that other seers might go to the extent of boycotting the Durbar. But, Puttige seer is a part of Ashta mutts and he would be given all the due respect. I do agree that there are a lot of internal differences among the seers of Astha mutts. I would not discuss it in the media. It is an internal issue and would be sorted out within ourselves.

India .Com

NCSC to hold inquiry on ‘discrimination’ against Dalits


the Madras High Court had directed the district administration and police to swiftly act on a plea from a local whose deceased 100-year-old grandfather could not be buried

By Press Trust of India on January 15, 2016 at 10:10 PMEmail


Nagapattinam (TN) Jan 15 National Commission for Scheduled Castes will hold an enquiry at a village in this district tomorrow on alleged discrimination against Dalits.NCSC chairman Dr P L Puniya would visit Thirunalkondacherry village to hold a spot enquiry on alleged discrimination against dalits in using the funeral path in the village, District Collector S Pazhanisamy said in a release.On January 4, the Madras High Court had directed the district administration and police to swiftly act on a plea from a local whose deceased 100-year-old grandfather could not be buried, allegedly due to opposition from upper caste people to use of a pathway to a burial ground.

Peace talks by the district administration with members of the dominant community failed, following which the family complained of discrimination.Subsequently, taking cognisance of media reports in this regard, the NCSC chairman decided to hold the enquiry.

The Indian Express

Husband of AAP MLA PromilaTokas arrested


Police registered another FIR under sections of outraging modesty of a woman and relevant sections of the SC/ ST Act.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 16, 2016 3:31 am

AAP MLA PromilaTokas’s husband, Dheeraj, was arrested by Delhi Police Friday from R K Puram for allegedly preventing a public servant from conducting his duties, and abusing a woman. Police have asked the MLA to join the probe.

Police said a complaint was received on December 15 from an assistant engineer. He alleged that when a team of CPWD officers had gone to demolish a slum at R K Puram Sector 12, the MLA and her husband tried to obstruct the drive. “A case under sections of obstructing a public servant from conducting his duties was registered,” said an officer. He added that another complaint was registered on December 18 by a woman.

She claimed that Dheeraj had entered her house and used caste-based abuses against her. Police registered another FIR under sections of outraging modesty of a woman and relevant sections of the SC/ ST Act. Dheeraj will be produced before a magistrate Saturday.

The Times Of India

After 400 years, Garhwal temple allows entry to Dalits, women


Kautilya Singh | TNN | Jan 15, 2016, 10.30 PM IST

DEHRADUN: For nearly 400 years, Dalits and women, all in the name of “tradition”, had been barred from entering the famous Parsuram temple in Garhwal’sJaunsarBawar region. All that is set to change now with the management of the Parsuram temple announcing that “everyone will in future be welcome”.

But Dalit leaders and activists, who said they had been fighting a bitter battle to end this discrimination, said a greater war was yet to be won as 339 other temples in the region still have the ban.

The decision, the temple’s management said, has been taken “in a bid to move with the times”. Chairman of the committee, Jawahar Singh Chauhan, told TOI on Friday, “This region is on the path of progress. Our literacy rate has gone up and people want scenarios to change.” In the past few months, Dalits of the region had held several protests condemning these strictures.

The Parsuram temple announcement has come at a time when debates around restrictions placed on menstruating women from entering Sabarimala has been raging across various platforms.

Temple authorities, however, justified the prohibition that was in place till now and said there really had been no official rule stopping Dalits from coming to the temple. “Dalits are hesitant to enter the temple premises because of certain beliefs. We want to send them a message that everyone is equal before the Almighty and no one can be stopped from entering a place of worship,” Chauhan added.

Welcoming the decision, Dalit leader DaulatKunwar said, “They have finally given an official confirmation that the ban has been lifted. We have been raising this issue for the past 13 years. We welcome the move but there are 339 other temples in the region which also need to give their approval for the entry of Dalits.” He rebutted Chauhan’s claim and said Daits were often stopped at the temple gates with brute force.

Know for its animal sacrifices, the temple has also said that there will no more be slaughter of animals of any kind. The temple, which was built over 400 years ago, sees the largest footfall among temples of the belt. Thousands offer sacrifices here before making a wish, or after they feel something has been granted to them by god.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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