Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates(B)08.02.16


Caste came up in 3 suicide probes at Hyderabad University – The Indian Express


Gujarat: Patan shifts kids, no more separate caste anganwadis – The Indian Express


Dalits and tribals should defeat caste with capital, says MilindKamble, DICCI chief – The Indian express


Brahminical faculty and Dalit goondas: Conversations at the distressed Hyderabad University campus

RohithVemula’s suicide hangs over the institution like a cloud that won’t burst. – Scroll.In


HRD min calls meeting of VCs to end discrimination – Kashmir Reader


MLA harassing me as I’m a dalit, claims Ambala mayor Mal – The Times Of India



The Indian Express

Caste came up in 3 suicide probes at Hyderabad University


The HRD Ministry wants a judicial commission to probe the events that led to the suicide on January 17 of Vemula.

Written by Apurva | New Delhi | Updated: February 8, 2016 9:36 am

The University of Hyderabad had all the warning it needed before Dalit research scholar RohithVemula committed suicide last month. Three red flags, in the form of three suicides by Dalit students within six years. And three probes that arrived at the same conclusion: this was no campus for the marginalised.

The room where Rohith killed himself . (Source: Express photo by Harsha Vadlamani)

The HRD Ministry wants a judicial commission to probe the events that led to the suicide on January 17 of Vemula, who was among five Dalits suspended by the university for allegedly assaulting an ABVP leader. But the findings of the three committees that probed the three suicides on campus between 2008 and 2014 were clear: the Dalit students faced a “sense of alienation” and “institutional discrimination” owing to “caste consideration”.

One of those committees, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice K Ramaswamy, stated in its report: “Because of the insensitivity towards problems faced by the students belonging to the aforesaid social groups, frequent occurrences of suicides are taking place.”

Senthil Kumar committed sucide in 2008 while P Raju and MadariVenkatesh killed themslves in 2013. The three suicides, like that of RohithVemula, happened inside the New Research Scholars (NRS) Hostel on campus.

The Indian Express

Gujarat: Patan shifts kids, no more separate caste anganwadis


Nine children from anganwadi No. 159, which had only Dalit children, have been shifted to No. 160, while 19 children from the Thakore, Patel and Rawal communities in No. 160 have now gone to No. 159.

Written by RITU SHARMA | Hajipur (patan) | Published:February 8, 2016 3:28 am

Three months after The Indian Express reported about a separate anganwadi for Dalit children in Gujarat’s Patan district, the state government has taken corrective steps.

Nine children from anganwadi No. 159, which had only Dalit children, have been shifted to No. 160, while 19 children from the Thakore, Patel and Rawal communities in No. 160 have now gone to No. 159.

The anganwadis house children between the ages of six months and six years.

Three years after the anganwadi No. 159 had been set up in Hajipur village, the Patidars and Brahmins had demanded a separate anganwadi and moved into the premises of the adjoining primary school, giving rise to the anganwadi No. 160.

“Things are good now, we are happy. We do not have any complaint against anyone,” said the mother of a four-year-old Dalit child, who is among the children shifted from anganwadi No. 159 to No. 160.

The grandmother of a three-year-old Dalit child, who has also been moved, nodded in agreement.

Following the November 5 report, government officials who inspected anganwadi No. 159 had noted in their observations that it was built under the state government’s KhaasAngbhootYojana — a Special Component Plan, now known as the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan — which was introduced for the welfare and development of Scheduled Castes. This, they said, explained why only Dalit children were admitted to this centre

The children were exchanged between anganwadis “on the request of villagers”, they had added.

But according to a top official of the Social Justice and Empowerment department — responsible for the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan — the KhaasAngbhootYojana did not mandate construction of anganwadicentres.

Later, it was found that anganwadi No. 159 was built under the Gokul Gram Yojana, and not the KhaasAngbhootYojana.

Following The Indian Express report, the National Human Rights Commission had sent a notice to the Gujarat government, taking suomotucognisance of the report. It had said the report “raises a serious issue of violation of human rights of Dalits” and sought a reply within two weeks.

When contacted, NHRC joint registrar Anil Kumar Parashar said, “So far, there has been no response to the notice issued to the Gujarat government.”

When contacted, Additional Chief Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, M S Dagur, said, “Since this scheme (KhaasAngbhootYojana) involves individual-oriented benefits such as roads and bridges, irrigation, drinking water and health services, we cannot build schools or anganwadicentres under this scheme, since it would mean isolating them (the beneficiaries) from other castes.”

Asked if any school or anganwadicentre had been built in Gujarat under this scheme, Dagur said, “Not to my knowledge and under my term.”

However, Integrated Child Development Services Director Ranjeeth Kumar J, who was one of the inspecting officers who visited anganwadi No. 159 after The Indian Express report, said, “The anganwadi has been built under the KhaasAngbhootYojana, so villagers and workers were under the impression that it was only for Scheduled Caste children. That’s why there were only Scheduled Caste children in No. 159. There is nothing wrong in building an anganwadi under this scheme.”

It was after Ranjeeth’s visit on November 10 that children were shuffled between the two anganwadis.

District Child Protection Officer Patan K H Vaniya, an inspecting officer who visited the anganwadis in December, also said the reason for only Dalit children at anganwadi No. 159 was because anganwadi workers thought it was from the KhaasAngbhootYojana.

Documents accessed from the Patan’stalukapanchayat office on January 28, 2016 in turn, state that “the building of anganwadi No. 159 in Hajipur, talukaPatan, in 2000-2001 was constructed out of Gokul Gram Yojana. For this, a grant of Rs 87,056 was received against which expenditure of Rs 86,978 has been done”.

The Indian express

Dalits and tribals should defeat caste with capital, says MilindKamble, DICCI chief


Time has come when we have to work to ensure that Dalits and tribals evolve as job providers and not seekers, he said.

Written by ShubhangiKhapre | Mumbai | Updated: February 8, 2016 4:56 am

The economic empowerment of Dalits and tribals through policy reforms under the Make in India initiative is the only way to beat prejudices entrenched in the socio-political system, says chairman of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MilindKamble. In an interview to The Indian Express, he said, “Dalits and tribals should pursue a simple motto. Defeat caste with capital.”

Time has come when we have to work to ensure that Dalits and tribals evolve as job providers and not seekers, he said.

DICCI is all set to sign MoUs worth Rs 700 crore with the state government during the Make in India Week in Mumbai, to be held from February 13 to February 18. In Maharashtra, Dalits form 10.8 per cent of the population and tribals 8 per cent.

While appreciating the Maharashtra government’s decision to reserve 20 per cent industrial plots for SC/STs, Kamble said, “We have to come to terms with reality. Jobs in government (public) sectors are shrinking. The industrial growth is an opportunity to strengthen the SMSE.”

The Dalits and tribals with no land holdings will be the direct beneficiaries of the industrial growth, he said. “The generation-next Dalits and tribals, who are educationally empowered, have become very aspirational and are willing to take on the entrepreneurship challenge,” Kamble said.

According to Kamble, the DICCI has 3,000 millionaires, out of which 100 entrepreneurs have turn-overs of more than Rs 100 crore. “In 2001, total strength of SMSE in India was one crore. In 2016 the total number of SMSEs has multiplied to six crore. Now take the comparative figures for SC/ST. In 2001, the total SC/ST-run SMSE was 15 lakh. Today, it is 90 lakh. The SC/STs account for 15 per cent of the total SMSE sector in the country,” he said.

The DICCI chairman believes Make in India can offer solutions to the agriculture sector, on which almost 50 to 55 per cent of the population is dependent. He said, “When we talk of foreign investment in the food or textile sector, its beneficiaries will be farmers and farm labourers.” However, the government will have to come out with an integrated policy for that, he said.

Dismissing apprehensions raised in some quarters that Make in India would be industry-focussed and would ignore agriculture, Kamble said, “It is illogical. If the textile sector grows, benefits will trickle down to farmers who cultivate the cotton.” Similarly, industrial growth helps to grow and sustain SMSEs, he said.

“In 1952, DrBabasahebAmbedkar, in his first election manifesto released under the banner of SC Federations, talked about corporation farming as a must,” Kamble said. Ambedkar warned that the present farming model with small landholdings and disintegrating families would not be affordable in the long run. He had clearly said, ‘We cannot afford farming. We will have to bring mechanisation and modernisation to evolve a new model that would being cost down and higher productio’,” the DICCI chairman said.

DICCI, with presence in almost 18 states across India, has been working to promote entrepreneurship amongst the backwards castes. Kamble said, “In the past decade, there has been visible change, with the generation-next no longer willing to be at the mercy of the political system. From Maharashtra to West Bengal, the mood among the Dalits and tribals is to attain self reliance.” The new-age Dalits and tribals are aware that economic well-being can provide them not only financial, but also social security, as it elevates their stature in society, Kamble said.


Brahminical faculty and Dalit goondas: Conversations at the distressed Hyderabad University campus

RohithVemula’s suicide hangs over the institution like a cloud that won’t burst.


Dilip D’Souza  · Yesterday · 05:30 pm

By the third day, even the mundane started taking on meaning, or at least provoking questions. So it was with the sign that read “Regular Lunch” with a hand-drawn arrow pointing to a dining hall. Innocent no doubt, though occasion for a little head-scratching – what’s an “irregular lunch” then? But was there another way to read it: a subtle sign of discrimination perhaps? You folks of one type this way, you other folks over there?

No matter how far-fetched, in this climate, such trains of thought came easy.

It began with one of the first few people I met on the campus of the University of Hyderabad – G, a member of the staff. (Like some others, he wanted me to say no more to identify him than that much.) Otherwise genial and helpful, he turned serious as he himself brought up the protest that had shut down the campus. “These people, they are all Dalit goondas. What else can we expect from them?”

We discussed that a bit, but desultorily. What was there to say to someone who would so summarily dismiss an entire protest?

The story

RohithVemula’s suicide hangs over his sun-baked University like a cloud that won’t burst. His name, visage and lines from his eloquent suicide letter are everywhere. “Justice for Rohith” marks bus-shelters and hostel walls and road surfaces. (One stretch of road had “Resist Saffron Surge” in enormous letters). “Missing” posters feature the absent Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile. Some embellish his image into a rodent-like caricature; others are placed, meaningfully, above a “Ladies Toilet” sign and a “Sports Shooting Range” board. Several students turned up at my writing workshop wearing gags as a statement of protest. Several more wrote and spoke – heartfelt, passionate – about Vemula, what this tragic episode had come to mean to them, their wish that they could have done more, understood more.

Like G, most people I spoke to were eager to recount the episode. They invariably started from months earlier when an ABVP leader posted some less-than-complimentary remarks about campus Dalits on Facebook. Thirty students from the Ambedkar Students’ Association, or ASA – including Vemula – visited him that night. By nobody’s telling was this a friendly pow-wow. But whether it was a shouting match or worse, events then took on a momentum of their own. They went something like this, though not necessarily in this order: the ABVP leader claimed to have been assaulted; he was admitted to a hospital; he (or his mother) complained to local BharatiyaJanata Party Member of Parliament BandaruDattatreya; Dattatreya wrote a letter to Minister of Human Resource Development SmritiIrani alleging that University of Hyderabad was a hotbed of “casteist” and “anti-national” sentiment; a university inquiry absolved the ASA students; Irani’s office wrote to the University five different times over two months asking what action it had taken against the ASA students; another university inquiry suspended five of them including Vemula; they protested by settling into tents on campus; Vemula took his own life on January 17; the protest then engulfed the entire University, shutting down classes for two weeks; various politicians, including Rahul Gandhi and AkbaruddinOwaisi, arrived on campus.

With some variation, addition and omission, everyone offered up essentially this story.

Divided campus

Yet to this outsider, it seems to have utterly divided the campus. If you agreed with the protests, there were those like G to brand you “lazy” at best and a “Dalit goonda” at worst. If you fretted at the shutdown of classes, there were those who would accuse you of being “elitist” and an “upper caste sympathiser”.

People on both “sides” told me about a team of professors who arrived at the protest site on January 21 to attempt a dialogue, only to be driven away with this chanted slogan: “Brahminical faculty go back”. One side saw this as reprehensible. But R and P (names withheld again), presumably on the other side, told me that these professors had “a record of being Brahminical”, and if the label fits …

If professors deserve that label, do protesters similarly deserve the “Dalit goonda” label?

And all through my few days there, three other currents flowed like a river in spate through the campus.

One, the feverish hand-wringing about the “politicisation” of the tragedy, referring to the arrival on campus of Gandhi and Owaisi and others. Yet somehow that earlier letter written by a politician named Dattatreya occasioned no such hand-wringing. What else was that but politicisation?

Two, the wrangles over Vemula’s caste that disturbed, for example, even some who wanted classes to resume. Rather than address the concerns this sad episode raises, there were strenuous attempts to suggest that Vemula was not a Dalit. That by itself tells a tale of how deeply rooted caste is in us all. As an off-campus Hyderabad friend, HarimohanParuvu, wrote on his blog, “What does it make us, whom [Vemula] left behind?”

Three, the anguish of the “middle-grounder”, expressed eloquently in a short essay on Facebook by a faculty member, Anjali Lal Gupta. Was it no longer possible to consider nuance, to listen, to attempt dialogue? Where was the space for people who wanted those things – who believed they lived them – and yet were met with scorn for merely speaking about them? M, a student I met, actually wiped tears from her eyes as she spoke of how her good friends from just two weeks earlier now sat apart from her in their classes.

Speaking at the protest site on February 2, the thinker and writer YogendraYadav summed up the import of all this. The real impact of this wrenching upheaval on the University of Hyderabad campus, he said, would not be evident in a few days or weeks. Instead, it will be judged by what the campus is like in 20 years.

Indeed. What will we, whom Vemula left behind, be like in 20 years?

Kashmir Reader

HRD min calls meeting of VCs to end discrimination


By Press Trust of India on February 8, 2016No Comment

NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of dalit scholar RohithVemula suicide case, the HRD ministry has convened a meeting of Vice Chancellors of all central universities on February 18 to discuss ways to end discrimination against disadvantaged sections.

The ministry has decided to call all VCs and heads of 46 central universities to Delhi for the meeting days ahead of the Budget session of Parliament where the opposition is likely to vociferously raise the issue to corner the government.

Opposition parties have repeatedly raised questions over the role of Union Minister BandaruDattatreya and also attacked HRD ministerSmritiIrani over the incidents related to Vemula’s suicide.

Earlier, after the massive outrage over the Vemula suicide incident at Hyderabad central university, the HRD ministry had said that a programme will be launched for sensitising academic administrators about understanding and handling problems faced by socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged students.

The ministry had also said that all VCs and senior administrators would be sensitised to reach out to such students.

The HRD ministry has also announced that all wardens, administrative staff and registrars would be compulsorily put through an orientation programme for which a special module will be prepared.

It had also declared that a special mechanism would be set up at the Ministry for receiving and taking expeditious action on the grievances from students belonging to disadvantaged sections.

Dalit scholar Vemula had earlier committed suicide on January 17, this year triggering protests and outrage across India and and bringing the focus on the problems faced by students of SC/ST and other backwards communities in institutions of higher education.

The Times Of India

MLA harassing me as I’m a dalit, claims Ambala mayor Mal


Manveer Saini | TNN | Feb 8, 2016, 09.22 AM IST

Chandigarh: Ambala mayor Ramesh Mal has alleged that he is being targeted by the state government for being a dalit. Mal not only alleged having being stripped off of his security cover and sanitation staff by local authorities, but also accused Ambala Municipal Commissioner Ajay Singh Tomar of harassing him at the behest of BJP MLA from Ambala City AseemGoyal.

Mal has now lodged a complaint before the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). “My first fault is that I am a dalit. Secondly, I had criticized local MLA AseemGoyal for having failed to bring any major project in the municipal areas of Ambala. Since, I belong to an anti-BJP group of the Congress and Haryana Janchetna Party (HJCP), it is another reason for my persecution,” said Mal here on Saturday.

Ambala Municipal Corporation has 20 corporators. One of member had resigned two years ago. The mayor came to Chandigarh with 12 members to levelled allegations against the MLA and municipal commissioner.

Referring to Tomar, the mayor accused him of spying on him. “Recently, the municipal commissioner had a CCTV camera installed in my room, which was focused on me. Since this was done without taking approval from the House, we objected to it. We got the camera removed, now the commissioner has sent me a notice under Section 34C of the Haryana Municipal Act, while blaming me for damaging civic body’s property,” said Mal.

Despite repeated attempts, municipal commissioner Tomar was inaccessible for comments. Goel dismissed the allegations levelled by the mayor. “Mal is frustrated as he and his team are not able to accept the defeat of their political guru HJCP chief Venod Sharma during the 2014 assembly elections. Since our government is working on the principles of zero tolerance to corruption in the civic body, he and other corporators are not able to work at their will. Hence they resorted to such allegations,” he said.

The MLA said, “You give me one instance wherein I have made castiest remarks against Mal. Or anybody in the government has done so. Please ask him to count the number of development works he has got done before we took over.”

Haryana chief minister ManoharLalKhattar’s officer on special duty (grievances) BhupeshwarDayal also supported Goel’s viewpoint. “All we can say is that Ramesh Mal is resorting to low-level of politics by playing caste card. He is the first citizen of the city and we give regard to everyone because of their stature not due to their party affiliations. His allegations are a non-issue.”

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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