Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 21.01.16


Dalit student’s suicide crisis deepens, 10 professors resign – Hindustan times


Dalit student suicide, 2015 hottest year: The top stories today – The Indian express


Dalits humiliated and ostracised in Ambedkar’s birthplace – Hindustan times


15 Dalit Christians ‘re-converted’ in ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremony – The hindu


Rajasthan court acts against university for harassing dalit – The times of india



Hindustan times

Dalit student’s suicide crisis deepens, 10 professors resign


Ten professors of the University of Hyderabad have resigned from their administrative posts, deepening a crisis triggered by a Dalit scholar’s suicide which has turned into a political slugfest between the BJP-led NDA government and the opposition.

Reports said that the professors, all belonging to SC/ST communities, quit in a show of solidarity with students demanding justice for 26-year-old Rohith Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide after he was suspended from the university along with four other students.

The professors are also said to be angry over alleged “misrepresentation” of facts by Union minister for human resource development Smriti Irani who has termed the protests as a “malicious attempt” to project the issue as a caste battle.

“In response to the Honourable Minister’s (Smriti Irani) fabricated statements, we the Dalit (SC/ST) faculty and officers lay down our administrative positions,” said a press statement by UoH SC/ST Teachers and Officers Forum.

The Irani-led HRD ministry has been at the centre of a controversy after it emerged that it had written five letters to the university following Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s complaint that the campus had turned into a “den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics”.

Politics and caste: Who said what on Rohith Vemula’s suicide

The University of Hyderabad SC/SC Teachers and Officers Forum rubbished Irani’s claim that a Dalit professor was among the members of the university’s body that suspended the students including Vemula.

“It was headed by an upper caste professor…and there are no Dalit faculty in this sub committee,” the forum was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

Administrative posts are non-teaching jobs assigned to professors like heading placement committees.

Read more: AP government will offer jobs to Rohith Vemula’s brother, mother

“We express our solidarity with students who are protesting against the death of Rohith Vemula and demand the immediate revocation of suspension and removal of police cases filed against our students,” the forum said.

Facing strong protests and demands for her resignation from opposition parties over Rohith death, Irani has said this was being done to ignite passions for political gains, while labour minister Dattatreya tried to distance himself from the controversy, saying he did not push the university to suspend the student.

“This is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite passion and there is a deliberate attempt to provoke students across the country,” Irani said in Delhi on Wednesday while rejecting allegations that her ministry had put pressure on the university to suspend Vemula.

Vemula ended his life on Sunday at the institution following his suspension after an alleged clash with a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is affiliated to the RSS. BJP leaders are concerned that the nationwide outrage over the suicide may seriously dent its strategy for a slew of crucial state elections this year.

Opposition parties have joined ranks over the issue and attacked the BJP and NDA’s alleged anti-Dalit policies.

Several political leaders including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien and YSR Congress party chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy have already visited the campus.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is also expected 

to visit the university and meet the protesting students, who have been boycotting classes since the incident.

Protests have erupted on college campuses in other parts of the country with clamorous demands for Irani, Dattatreya and the vice-chancellor to be removed from their posts.

The Indian express

Dalit student suicide, 2015 hottest year: The top stories today


Dalit student suicide: The crisis at the Hyderabad Central University over the suicide of Rohith Vemuli, a PhD scholar, shows no signs of abating. In a new move, Dalit professors at the university have resolved to resign from all administrative posts. They also demanded the revocation of the suspension of the students and withdrawal of police cases against them.

2015 hottest year since 1880: A new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that the year 2015 was the hottest in modern times, sparking fears of the acceleration of climate change. “During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 Fahrenheit (0.90 Celsius) above the 20th-century average,” said the NOAA report. According to NASA, changes in temperature are dependent largely on emissions and increased levels of carbon dioxide.

Hizb-ul Mujahideen claims Pathankot attack: In an interview with an Urdu news portal, Hizb-ul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force base. He said the attack was part of ‘our activity’ and that it had nothing to do with the Indo-Pak dialogue. This is a new twist in the case as it is widely believed that the attack bore the handiwork of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terrorist network based in Pakistan.

Court slams CBI over raid on CM’s office: In a boost for the Aam Aadmi Party which cried vendetta over the CBI raid on the office of CM Arvind Kejriwal, a special court has slammed the investigative agency. The court said the CBI “cannot be clothed with divine powers.” After the court ruling, Kejriwal said PM Modi owes an explanation to the country.

Amit Shah’s new termBJP chief Amit Shah will start his new term as the party boss on Sunday. After the 2014 elections, Rajnath Singh, the then party boss, had quit to be inducted into the Modi government to make way for Amit Shah. Shah wants the BJP to be more proactive to fulfil the agenda of the Centre’s schemes.

Hindustan times

Dalits humiliated and ostracised in Ambedkar’s birthplace


Ironically, in a village barely eight kilometres from the birthplace of Dr BR Ambedkar, a strong proponent of inter-caste unity, the Dalits in Mhow’s Harsola village are discriminated against by dominant OBC communities that force them to cremate their dead in a separate crematorium.

The dominant OBCs here — Malis, Patidars and Malviyas — prevent the Charmakars (mostly engaged in skinning animals and as cobblers) and the Bhangis (engaged in scavenging) from using the crematorium for performing last rites of people from their community.

Fear of oppression among the Dalits is so profound that they resist even venturing into the crematorium of the upper castes that refer to themselves as members of the ‘Swarna Samaj’ (golden society), a villager said.

Recalling an incident that took place about six months back, the villager said, “Once, members of the Balai community performed last rites of a person in the ‘Swarna Samaj’ crematorium — it became a big issue in the gram panchayat sabha.” The ‘Swarna Samaj’ community opposed the act, and viewed it as a major violation of their culture.

The Balais too fall under the Scheduled Castes (SC) but are not as discriminated against as the Charmkar or Bhangi communities because they are one of the dominant groups in the village.

And the discrimination doesn’t end there. The various communities also live in well-demarcated settlements across the village.

Mohan Rao Wakode, secretary of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar memorial society in Mhow, accepted that the phenomenon was “widely prevalent”. He recalled that in August 2000, the Charmakars faced stern resistance over performing last rites of their dead in a crematorium in Gawli Palasia. The matter escalated to the extent that the local administration had to impose curfew.

The hindu

15 Dalit Christians ‘re-converted’ in ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremony


Fifteen Dalit Christians belonging to five families were ‘re-converted’ to Hinduism at a ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming) ceremony near Latheri, Katpadi on Tuesday evening.

The ceremony, organised by Hindu Munnani, Vellore, was conducted at an Amman temple in Chengimottur.

Residents of Adi Dravidar Colony

The five families were residents of the Adi Dravidar Colony, Chengimottur, Latheri. The families were primarily involved in agriculture.

“This is the first ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremony to be organised in Vellore district. These persons had converted to Christianity nearly eight to 10 years ago. They were re-converted to Hinduism during the ceremony,” said K. Magesh, zonal president, Hindu Munnani, Vellore.

He disclosed that Hindu Munnani’s branch committee in the area had got in touch with the family members and spoke to them about returning to their “mother” religion. “They also expressed the desire to return to Hinduism. So, we arranged a ritual that was attended by several villagers,” he said.

Hindu Munnani’s State organiser K. Bhaktavachalam was present on the occasion.

The organisation plans to organise more such events across the district.

“We will be going back to the same village as hundreds of them had been converted several years ago. We will organise the rituals in various parts of the district to bring back people to Hinduism,” he added.

Mr. Magesh said,“Many are volunteering for re-conversion, while we are also approaching persons who had converted from Hinduism. We had not conducted ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremonies earlier as it caused too much of political controversy,” he said.

The times of india

Rajasthan court acts against university for harassing dalit


AJMER: A local court here has ordered registration of a case under the SC/ST Act against seven faculty members of Ajmer’s Central University of Rajasthan (CURAJ) for allegedly harassing a dalit scholar.

The order was issued on Monday after Umesh Kumar Jonwal moved the court accusing the varsity of arbitrary termination and harassment at the hands of Jagdish Jadhav, A K Pujari, J P Singh, A K Gupta, R K Pardasani, S N Ambedkar and Atiq Ahmed.

Jonwal pointed out he was issued three expulsion letters on different dates in October for remaining absent from the university for more than 15 days.

He added there is no provision for a scholar like him to remain present in the university daily as he is a recipient of JRF (junior research fellowship).

Jonwal alleged a professor demanded Rs 10,000 from the fellowship per semester. He has submitted receipts of depositing Rs 10,000 three times in the professor’s bank account.

“As soon as I stopped paying the money demanded by professor, they initiated action of expulsion from the university,” he said.

“I submitted illness certificate to the university but it was not accepted.”

Jonwal said he was threatened he will not able to complete his doctorate. “My guide threw my papers out and abused me.”

CURAJ dean student welfare B L Meena said investigation was pending in the case and he cannot state anything on its merit.

But he added rules and regulations for expelling a research scholar from the university have been violated. “Clause 4.7 and 28 of the university ordinance under which the action was taken against Jonwal was not followed.”

He said research scholars are not required to attend the university daily. “Their admission can be discontinued if they remain continuously absent for 15 days but the same is regularized after paying fine of Rs 100.”

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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