Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 03.02.16


Criminal Case Filed Against Professor Who Harassed and Insulted Dalit PhD Scholar In Kerala – The huffington post


Primary Reports Suggest Rohith Vemula Not a Dalit: Oram – Out look


‘VCK Demand For a Dalit CM Twisted’ – The new Indian express


180 protesting Centre’s neglect of dalits, students, held in Coimbatore – The times of india


IIMC Delhi sets up probe after Dalit, tribal students allege casteism – Hindustan times


The annihilation by caste – the hindu



The huffington post

Criminal Case Filed Against Professor Who Harassed and Insulted Dalit PhD Scholar In Kerala


Deepa M Mohan, a PhD student at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala was first denied entry into the university laboratory. She alleged that once when she insisted she enter the laboratory, she was locked inside it. Nandakumar Kalarickal, the joint director of the International and Inter University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, where Mohan was working, was reportedly behind these acts of aggression against Mohan.


And what was the reason for trying to scuttle Mohan’s career? Her caste. Mohan alleges that she faced such tribulations in the university as she was a Dalit.

She had filed a complaint against the university Syndicate nearly a year back, but nothing materialised for long time. However, the Newsminute reports that the university has finally taken action against the accused professor and initiated a probe against him. He has been suspended from his position and will be terminated if found guilty.

“The syndicate meeting on Monday has recommended that a criminal case be filed against the professor under relevant sections of the SC/ST (Atrocities Prevention) Act. The professor has been asked to explain his conduct, failing which he would be terminated. For now, he has been removed from the post of Joint Director,” reported Newsminute.

“I am happy that the syndicate took this decision after two years of my struggle. For almost a year, my travails at the university had become news, but then people lost interest. I was scared I would not get justice. But my recent Facebook post asking SFI President Sivadasan on why they never helped me went viral and stirred the controversy again. I did not want anyone to be punished, my only demand was that I should be allowed to study there,” Mohan told Newsminute.

Speaking to Outlook on February 1 this year Mohan had said that she was relentlessly harassed and insulted in front of fellow students once she started her PhD in the university. She had completed her MPhil from the same institution. Mohan, who lives with her four-year-old daughter in a PG in Kottayam, admits that she had even broken down in class one day. She had also been branded a Maoist by the professor.

None of the students came to her support either. She didn’t have a chair to sit and had to work out of the library.

“Once when I made a PowerPoint presentation, he accused me of plagiarism in front of my fellow students. I stopped and cried because it was my work. Though everyone knew the truth, no one came to my support. My accuser had powerful Left connections. My family has been Left-leaning, so I felt betrayed. Then began the slow harassment. The (then) joint director would ensure I didn’t get study material and locked me out of the lab. I was once locked in the building. I am a heart patient, so I called the police to rescue me. After continuous harassment, I met the pro-VC, and learnt that the joint director had said he wouldn’t show any favour to Dalits because that would lower the discipline of the centre,” she writes.

The harassment didn’t stop at the university. A group called Prottam, which Mohan says she had no connection with, put up posters in the university declaring that the professor who was harassing her will be killed. Mohan says that was a ploy to frame and trap her. The police swooped down on her in no time and started investigating her family, her husband who works in the Gulf and even went through her phone records of the past ten years. They couldn’t find anything suspicious about her.

Out look

Primary Reports Suggest Rohith Vemula Not a Dalit: Oram


Union Minister Jual Oram today said primary reports available with the Centre have suggested that Rohith Vemula, the Hyderabad University research scholar who was found dead in his hostel room, was not a Dalit.

“Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit but everybody all over the country is trying to give colour to the student’s death. His death was the result of a fight between two groups of students of the university,” the Union Tribal Affairs minister said.

The report of the judicial commission set up to probe the incident will reveal the facts further, he said.

Addressing a ‘Chai pe Charcha’ programme here today, Oram said the law and order situation in West Bengal is now worse than what it was during the Left Front regime.

He said a CPI(M)-Congress alliance, if formed will not affect BJP’s fortunes in the coming assembly polls in Bengal.

“People have seen the rule of both Congress and CPI(M) as well as that of Trinamool Congress which is in power now. They will decide according to their realisation and cast their votes for us,” he said.

The Union Minister added that BJP MPs have been asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit two constituencies other than their own, every month and help the people. His meeting in the state was in line with the directions.

The new Indian express

‘VCK Demand For a Dalit CM Twisted’


MADURAI:  Leaders of the People’s Welfare Alliance (PWA) have alleged that the opposition parties are trying to twist VCK demand for a Dalit chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming Assembly elections so as to create a rift among the partners.

Speaking about the demand for a common Dalit chief ministerial candidate for PWA, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) chief Vaiko alleged that the Dravidian parties are trying to split the alliance by creating misunderstanding among the partners. He said that PWA would choose its CM candidate only after the elections.

Meanwhile, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan said that PWA would not announce a chief ministerial candidate before the elections under any circumstances. He added that the Dalit CM pitch is against casteism in the society. However, he noted that it is being twisted against the alliance. He said that VCK would work towards strengthening the alliance.  Dalit scholar and political critic A Ramasamy said the demand put forth by VCK is a genuine one, but has led to complications in the alliance. He, however, pointed out that VCK has put forth the demand at the wrong time. Raising such a demand even before the elections has led to complications in forming the alliance, he added. He further added that the alliance partners should consider VCK’s demand after winning the election too.

The times of india

180 protesting Centre’s neglect of dalits, students, held in Coimbatore


Coimbatore: As many as 180 people, including 18 women were arrested on Tuesday afternoon for staging a black flag protest condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city. Modi was here to inaugurate the ESI Medical College and Hospital and address a public gathering.

A total of 14 organizations, including political parties, students’ organizations and dalit outfits participated in the protest from noon to 12.20pm. The protest condemned the BJP led NDA government for neglecting dalits and students.The associations protested under the umbrella: Federation for Justice for Rohith Vemula.

District general secretary of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK), K Ramakrishnan, said, “There was no action taken against those responsible for Hyderabad University PhD scholar, Rohith Vemula’s suicide. The Union minister for labour and empowerment, Bandaru Dattatreya and other authorities of the Hyderabad Central University are still free. Dattatreya is in the city today. From the time the Bharatiya Janata Party led NDA government came to power, many dalit students have committed suicide.”

The protesters also raised concerns over the lack of freedom of speech and issues related to the writers in the country. “This is not acceptable. The Modi government is not supportive of dalits,” he added.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) along with the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) condemned the recent attack of students in Delhi. “Two days ago, the attack on students in Delhi involved members of the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS), besides the police. How did the police allow this?” questioned the district secretary of SFI, Deepak Chandrakanth. “The RSS was also involved in Rohith Vemula’s suicide. They also tried to curb student protests,” he added.

The students’ organization also alleged that the Union ministry of human resource and development and its minister Smriti Irani did not respond to their complaints or demands regarding past issues.

Hindustan times

IIMC Delhi sets up probe after Dalit, tribal students allege casteism


The New Delhi-based Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), among the country’s best known journalism schools, has ordered an investigation after a group of Dalit and tribal students complained of caste discrimination on the campus, officials said on Wednesday.

The students have alleged that a section of their peers was harassing them, including running an online campaign against their support for Rohith Vemula, the Dalit scholar whose suicide last month triggered nationwide protests against caste discrimination on campuses.

The students have written to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission, the IIMC authorities and the liaison officer of the Institute’s SC and ST Cell, alleging that social media posts demeaning Dalit and tribal students were circulating since January 18.

“In the campus there is an air of worry… Comments are being passed and remarks made loud when the students pass through the corridors in the college and hostels,” the group said in the complaint letter.

A source at the institute said trouble began with a Facebook post by a student who used “inappropriate words” for reservation and the ongoing protests against caste-based discrimination.

“Based on the complaint of the Dalit and Adivasi students, the IIMC has now decided to set up a committee to examine the issue,” the source said.

The five-member panel, which includes both faculty and students representing the communities, will examine the complaint, propose long term measures as safeguards against such discrimination and also frame a module for carrying out caste sensitisation on the campus.

The committee will also examine how to implement rules for social media use by students and faculty members.

But the complaining students said that wouldn’t be enough and have approached the SC/ST commission.

The students have, however, said they don’t want punitive action against the accused and a public apology and an undertaking that they would desist from such behaviour would do.

They have also asked for a “slot in the academic timetable” to sensitise students on India’s caste and tribal realities and the need for affirmative action.

the hindu

The annihilation by caste


Even as we come to terms with the death of Rohith Vemula, we are witness to the unprecedented churning that he set in motion even as he left — educating, agitating, organising in death as in life.

From all his writing and his associations, there is no doubt whatsoever that Rohith identified himself as a Dalit son of a Dalit mother; as a Dalit Ambedkarite scholar and organiser; and as a co-traveller encountering the oppressions, discrimination and exclusion experienced by his Dalit compatriots on the university campus and outside. For those uneasy with his erudition, his performance, and his total identification with the Dalit identity, there had to be some way to discredit his politics in death.

Searching for this crucial flaw was even more important because what Rohith’s treatment amounts to, resulting in his death, comes within the meaning of caste atrocity, under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and has grave implications for those named in the FIR registered after his death. Whether or not Rohith named people in his suicide note is not material at this point. What is important to consider is whether the chain of events leading to his death gives reason to presume the possibility of discrimination based on caste coming within the meaning of atrocity and leading to his death by suicide.

Caste as the core

There is no dispute about the facts. Contrary to what Ministers Smriti Irani or Sushma Swaraj might assert, this entire issue has to do with discrimination based on caste — the struggles of the Ambedkar Students Association; Rohith’s political and personal struggles; the institutionalised discrimination that Dalit students have been subjected to at the University of Hyderabad; curricular and co-curricular neglect of the social basis of discrimination in institutions of higher education; constant and disproportionate punitive action against Dalit students; their academic neglect and isolation; the simultaneous stigmatisation of “reserved” candidates and the vilification of Dalit students like Rohith who qualify in the open category but persist in identifying themselves as Dalit; the unusual and excessive interest of the Union government in the criminalisation of Dalit student activists who organise as Dalits on campuses; and most importantly, the institutionalised humiliation of Dalits in academia. Ministerial ignorance cannot be excused.

Dalit or not?

Officers and reporters have ferreted out his father and paternal family in an overzealous attempt to roll back the demand that this is a Dalit issue. The old patriarchal argument that since his father was Vaddera, he was Vaddera, negates Dalit women’s struggles in a caste order. In this case, it obliterates the experience of struggle against bondage, violence and humiliation of two generations, Radhika Vemula and her children — their fortitude and determination to defeat the oppressions of caste at all costs. And when they are on the threshold of an unimaginable victory, we witness, yet again, annihilation by caste. An injustice compounded and bolstered by the institutional and political denial of discrimination or atrocity.

There is no need to labour the point about whether the actions that led to Rohith’s suicide prima facie attract the provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. All that is needed at this point is to understand whether the act of suicide by a Dalit points to abetment by a non-Dalit. A complaint may be registered invoking the Act if this fact is established. If the police refuse, the court can intervene. Rohith has a non-Dalit father and a Dalit mother. While there has been a long line of cases in the various high courts and the Supreme Court on this question, the most recent one, decided by the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai, is the law. In Rameshbhai Dabhai Naika vs State Of Gujarat & Ors. (decided on January 18, 2012), the question before the Supreme Court was “what would be the status of a person, one of whose parents belongs to the scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and the other comes from the upper castes” (para 1).

The concluding paragraph of the judgment is self-explanatory: “In an inter-caste marriage [i.e., a marriage between an SC/ST person and a non SC/ST person] the determination of the caste of the offspring is essentially a question of fact to be decided on the basis of the facts adduced in each case. It is open to the child of such marriage to lead evidence to show that he/she was brought up by the mother who belonged to the scheduled caste/scheduled tribe” (para 43). Did his father’s non-Dalit status give him an “advantageous start in life” or did he suffer “the deprivations, indignities, humilities and handicaps like any other member of the community to which his/her mother belonged?” Additionally, was he treated like a member of the community to which his mother belonged not only by that community but by people outside the community as well?

Rohith suffered the exclusions, humiliation and discrimination along with other Dalit students on the campus and in the wider community. Yet, he refused to allow caste to break or confine him — and that was his most poignant struggle. The most important aspect of this struggle — its defining feature — was that it carried forward the tenacious struggles for a life with dignity for her children by Radhika Vemula, who pointed her children to the stars daring them to dream. In a moment of utter collective regret, irreparable loss and grief, this family points the way to the annihilation of caste.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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