Dalit students threaten suicide: Bihar govt must look into matter without delay, says Dharmendra Pradhan – Zee News
Nawada ‘gave’ 60 Dalit students scholarships, probe finds only 1 real – The Indian Express
U’khand has more manual scavengers than MP, WB, Chhattisgarh, Punjab – The Hindustan Times
Aspiring pilot’s wings tied in red tape – The Times Of India
Cong picks LU teacher to oversee Dalit issues across UP – The Times Of India
Sampla meets Dalit students of BHU – The Times Of India
Centre to gift Ambedkar Chair, hostels to BHU Dalit students – The Times Of India
The Dalit-Hindutva paradox – The Hindu
RohithVemula’s Colleague DonthaPrashanth Addresses Massive Mumbai Rally
Dalit student’s suicide: Are central universities vested with too much power?
Dalit students threaten suicide: Bihar govt must look into matter without delay, says Dharmendra Pradhan
Last Updated: Thursday, February 4, 2016 – 15:36
Mumbai: Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that the Bihar government needs to look into the matter of sixty Dalit students threatening to commit suicide.
He was responding to reports that 60 Dalit students from Bihar who were studying at the Rajdhani Engineering College in Bhubneshwar had threatened to commit suicide after the Bihar government allegedly stopped paying their college stipends.
“The Bihar government delayed in paying scholarship money to some SC/ST students in college in Bhubaneswar. I have spoken to the college administration to speak to Bihar government so that these students are not driven to extreme steps. Bihar Govt needs to look into this matter without any delay, and come to the aid of these students as soon as possible,” Pradhan told ANI here.
The action from the college administration came after the Bihar government failed to pay their stipend despite several reminders sent to it from the college.
The students had taken admission in Rajdhani Engineering College in 2014 under the Dalit stipend scheme of the Bihar government.According to students, the college administration provided them free education, boarding and lodging for more than a year but later refused to carry with free services.
The stipend which Bihar government has to give to these students is approximately Rs 1,10,000 per student annually.
The Indian Express
Nawada ‘gave’ 60 Dalit students scholarships, probe finds only 1 real
Of 60 students given scholarships in 2015 for the session 2012-13, only one was found genuine by probe by the district administration following the intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published:February 9, 2016 1:04 am
A possible racket around one of the Nitish Kumar government’s flagship schemes —post-matriculation scholarships for Dalit students for technical education — has begun to unfold in Nawada district of Bihar.
Of 60 students given scholarships in 2015 for the session 2012-13, only one was found genuine by probe by the district administration following the intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. And of 12 technical institutes in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Punjab and MP where the students are supposed to have studied, five could not be traced, said the probe report of Nawada’s deputy development commissioner (DDC), accessed
The amount disbursed was Rs 1.03 crore. State-wide, the scheme costs the government about Rs 50 crore annually. The SC and ST department pays an annual tuition fee, usually in the range Rs 1.5 lakh-Rs 2 lakh per student. District welfare officers invite applications with documents and a screening committee finalises the students. On an average, about 2,500 SC students get the scholarship, often flaunted by Nitish as one of two dozen schemes for Mahadalits.
A complaint about irregularities by a Nawada resident, SubodhPaswan, led to the national SC panel raising the matter with the state SC/ST department’s secretary last August, followed by the DDC’s probe.
The probe report said the DDC asked district welfare officer Dinesh Kumar Pandey for details of names, addresses and cheques issued between February and March 2015.
After the probe, the SC/ST department’s deputy secretary wrote to the joint secretary alleging that five Dehradun institutes to which Pandey issued cheques — the highest was Rs 26.42 lakh — either could not be located at the given addresses or did not exist at all. Five institutes were in Bhopal and one each in Bhattal and Bengaluru.
The Nawada DDC report said that of the 60 beneficiaries, the only real student was from Akbarpur. And none of the 60 named, real or fake, was mentioned in the verification list of block development officers.
State SC/ST welfare secretary S M Raju told The Indian Express a separate probe by his department found scholarships issued to 50 students. “The department has suspended the DDC and the nazir,” he said, adding an FIR was lodged against the district welfare officer.
“We are now making payments through RTGS, only after students furnish applications” (with papers). He felt it should not be called a “scam”. Asked if there would be a state-wide probe, he said: “We have put a system in place and must not make rules too stringent; it could discourage Dalit students. Most of them are unfamiliar with rules.”
The BJP plans to make an issue out of it in the budget session. BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “The Nawada case looks like the tip of the iceberg. There seems to be a well-entrenched racket involving Bihar government officials and those running fake institutions. The Nitish Kumar government should immediately order a probe for all districts. Government benefits not reaching Dalits is as much a concern as the amount being swindled.”
The Hindustan Times
U’khand has more manual scavengers than MP, WB, Chhattisgarh, Punjab
Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Updated: Feb 04, 2016 16:37 ISTDespite claims of manual scavenging being a thing of the past — where people were hired to collect ‘night soil’, or human faeces, from cesspools and privies for disposal at night — a survey report suggests the medieval practise is alive and well in the country.
The survey report based on the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 shows that a total of 1,82,505 manual scavengers still exist in rural parts of almost all states and Union territories — Sikkim, Goa, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep being the only exceptions. In fact, a survey conducted by the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) in 2011 revealed that eight people were working as manual scavengers in the state capital.
The survey also lists 12 states where 12,236 manual scavengers were found in urban centres — with Uttarakhand and Bihar having 137 manual scavengers each active in city and town areas.
Interestingly, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and West Bengal have fewer manual scavengers than Uttarakhand, suggesting that these states have done a better job in eliminating the inhuman practise.
The state governments have now been asked to verify the data so that the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (MS Act) could be more effectively enforced.
“Most of the manual scavengers are based at Haridwar. However, we have received funds from the government of India for their training and rehabilitation, which we would be doing soon,” said Bhupinder Kaur, secretary, social welfare department.
The MS Act prohibits construction of insanitary latrines in addition to engaging of manual scavengers. It also provides for the identification of insanitary latrines and their demolition or conversion on a time-bound basis.
Local civic bodies had been mandated to construct an adequate number of sanitary community latrines within a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act to eliminate the practice of open defecation.
However, achieving the targets set under the law is an uphill task for the administration.
According to a DMC survey, there are 2,984 unhygienic toilets in Dehradun alone that still use scavengers to dispose untreated human waste into water bodies or drains through pipes.
The Times Of India
Aspiring pilot’s wings tied in red tape
SubhroNiyogi | Feb 9, 2016, 12.00 AM IST
Kolkata: A scheduled-caste youth’s quest to become a pilot has crash-landed. Smothered by bureaucratic red tape, the 36-year-old who borrowed lakhs to train as a pilot is now homeless, jobless and staring at an uncertain future.
Though he has written to the President, Prime Minister, finance minister and civil aviation minister in desperation, the odds are so enormous that it will take only a miracle for the dream to take wings.
Like many kids, Probal Biswas wanted to be a pilot. Into his teens and then adulthood, Biswas kept the dream alive. After schooling and graduation, he joined Hyderabad’s AP Aviation Academy in December 2004. He cleared the general and technical papers in 2006, but there were hardly any flying opportunities due to either non-availability of aircraft or flight instructor. He managed to clock just 11.5 hours in one year.
With 200 hours of flying mandatory for CPL, he realized it would take years at the current rate and decided to take an education loan to complete the flying abroad.
“The cost of training at AP Aviation increased from Rs 6-7 lakh to Rs 12-15 lakh. I tried for scholarship, but no fund allotment had been made. So in December 2007, I took out an education loan of Rs 15 lakh from Vijaya Bank with the family home as secured asset so I could do the training at an academy in Philippines. I opted for the Philippines as there is a provision for a person with commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) from there to convert it to an Indian CPL,” he said.
After joining Fliteline Academy in Philippines, he completed theory, secondary pilot’s license and 50 hours of flying by April 2009 and achieved the Civil Aviation Authority Philippines (CAAP) FAA type Category 1 licence. He also cleared the theory papers of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for a second time as validity of previous papers had expired by then.
Biswas renewed the CPL at Technoair in Philippines with 30 hours of flying between July and September 2010. Thereafter, on February 24, 2011, he submitted all necessary documents (logbook, certifications, licences) duly stamped and signed by CAAP to DGCA for converting the foreign CPL to an Indian one. The conversion is mandatory for a rookie pilot to fly in India. The process should have taken six months. However, it has been five years since then and Biswas’ life remains in limbo.
“DGCA started processing the documents late and then, based on an unofficial report that misrepresented the academy, debarred me and four others from obtaining CPL in spite of the initial verification report from CAAP. It took me another year-and-a-half to set the record straight. For at least six months, the licensing department was sitting on the CAAP report. They took two more years to remove the debarment on August 5, 2014, that too, only after wrote to the President and the PM. The delay has led to the expiry of six months’ proficiency test, as well as five-year CPL validity. With no job, I don’t even have the money to spend on flying to renew the documents,” Biswas rued.
In India, flying single engine aircraft costs Rs 10,000 per hour. To renew his licence and get the documents in order, Biswas has to cough up Rs 25 lakh in addition to the Rs 20 lakh he has already spent.
If that wasn’t daunting enough, Vijaya Bank imposed the Sarfaesi Act for his failure to repay the loan and evicted him and his parents from the family home in Bisharpara near Birati.
“Even as I continue to wait for the licence conversion, the bank has violated the loan agreement that requires me to pay after not only completion of flying training in Philippines, but also conversion of the foreign CPL to Indian CPL. I have lost five years in my prime and don’t know where to go next for justice. Everyting has fallen apart. I don’t know when the harassment, negligence and intentional delays will end,” Biswas said.
The Times Of India
Cong picks LU teacher to oversee Dalit issues across UP
Swati Mathur | TNN | Feb 9, 2016, 01.43 AM IST
Lucknow: Sensing an opportunity for the Congress to bolster its presence on university campuses around the state, and to appeal to the largely unrepresented on-campus Dalit constituency, the scheduled caste cell of UP Congress on Monday appointed Ajay Kumar Arya, a teacher in LucknowUniversity’s geology department, to oversee all Dalit related issues among students and teachers on campuses across UP.
Arya, who is also joint secretary of LU Teachers Association, will be Congress’ representative and nodal authority for coordinating with all state and central universities on campus-related Dalit issues in Uttar Pradesh.
UPCC SC cell chairman, Bhagwati Prasad Chaudhary, said, “We want to create a platform where Dalit youth, students and teachers are able to come together and voice their concerns. This has been a plan that we had been working on for sometime. It is only a coincidence that Arya’s appointment follows the death of Dalit scholar RohithVemula, in Hyderabad.”
The SC cell led by Chaudhary, UPCC president Nirmal Khatri, and Arya is expected to prepare a formal roadmap for the party’s Dalit student and faculty outreach over the coming days. The programme is also likely to feature in UP’s report to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during the Dalit leaders’ conclave in Lucknow on February 18. “We hope that some of these points will be incorporated in the party’s manifesto, as we close in on the UP elections,” Chaudhary said.
Speaking to TOI, programmeconvenor of the AICC SC cell, Christopher Tilak said, “A recent survey of the strength of Dalits on Indian campuses showed that Dalit students and teachers together account for less than 10% of the total numbers. It is our attemptto offer students and teachers a platform from which they can voice their concerns.”
Chaudhary, back after completing the second phase of the BhimJyotiYatra through 14 districts of UP — Congress’ mass outreach programme to emphasise the party contribution in giving Bhim Rao Ambedkar the recognition he deserved and carrying forward his ideology — also said the party had successfully demolished attempts by other political outfits to coopt Ambedkar as their own. “While Ambedkar had proposed reservations for SCs for a period of 10 years, the Congress, even after Ambedkar’s death, decided to extend reservation for Dalits,” he said. In the next phase of its journey, the BhimJyotiYatra is scheduled to cover West UP, Chaudhary added.
The Times Of India
Sampla meets Dalit students of BHU
Rajeev Dikshit | TNN | Feb 8, 2016, 05.59 PM IST
VARANASI: Alerted by Hyderabad University’s RohithVemula suicide case the BhartiyaJanata Party led NDA government at the centre is leaving no stone unturned to prevent the recurrence of any trouble for it on the issues like discrimination with Dalit students and scholars.
An example in this regard was evident on Banaras Hindu University campus when the union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla held a meeting with students, scholars, employees and officials from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe sections on Monday to discuss their problems and find out amicable solution.
During this meeting one research scholar PukhrajMeena, who was running from pillar to post with his complaint regarding alleged discrimination by his guide for past many weeks, also appeared before the minister. He had also threatened to initiate step like Vemula in case of delay in providing solution against his problem. Following a discussion with this research scholar Sampla contacted the BHU vice chancellor Prof GC Tripathi.
Sampla told TOI, “The VC informed me that Meena’s problem had already been solved by him by changing his guide. When I asked Meena regarding his view following VC’s action he expressed satisfaction over the decision of changing his guide.” The minister said that about 50 students, research scholars and staffs from SC/ST met him during the meeting with their complaints and suggestions. “I discussed all those issued with VC and other varsity officials, who assured to fully cooperate with those students, scholars and staff in finding out solution against their problems and also to ensure that no discrimination is done to them”, added Sampla.
The Times Of India
Centre to gift Ambedkar Chair, hostels to BHU Dalit students
Rajeev Dikshit | TNN | Feb 8, 2016, 05.54 PM IST
VARANASI: The 639 thbirth anniversary of Guru Ravidas on February 22 will be showering gifts from the NarendraModi government on dalit students and scholars at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
Through its Dr. Ambedkar Foundation the union ministry of social justice and empowerment is going to establish an Ambedkar Chair at Banaras Hindu University, and the varsity will also get separate hostels for Scheduled Caste boy and girl students.
Formal announcement for gifting this chair and hostels to BHU may be done by the Prime Minister NarendraModi himself when he will reach university campus after attending RavidasJayanti celebration at adjacent Seer Gowardhanpur village. Stage for establishing Ambedkar Chair and opening hostels for SC students at BHU was set by the union minister of state for ministry of social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla, when he met the varsity’s vice chancellor Prof GC Tripathi and other officials on the campus before leaving the city for Delhi on Monday.
Disclosing the plans of ministry to TOI Sampla said, “I asked VC to send a proposal to the ministry for establishing the Ambedkar Chair. The ministry will establish this chair at BHU through its DrAmbedkar Foundation to provide scholarships to the PhD and other research scholars. The VC was also asked to send proposals for opening separate hostels for SC boys and girls. The ministry will release funds of Rs three crores for these hostels.”
When contacted BHU VC admitted that the minister sought proposals for establishing Ambedkar Chair and also hostels for the SC students. “Issue of establishing any chair in varsity is approval by academic body. The university will follow the prescribed provisions for the approval of proposal and forwarding it to the ministry within five days”, said Tripathi mentioning that BHU has already 52 chairs and the Ambedkar Chair will be the 53 rd one. He said that the proposals on hostels for SC boys and girl students would also be sent to the ministry very soon.
The time frame being set for forwarding proposals on Ambedkar Chair and hostels for SC students and intentions being shown by the ministry to approve it at the earliest are clear hint to enable the PM for making formal announcements for these projects during his proposed participation in BHU’s centenary year convocation and celebration event on February 22.
The Dalit-Hindutva paradox
The SanghParivar’s strategy to integrate Dalits into their fold is within a framework unacceptable to assertive Dalits who believe that traditional Hinduism is responsible for their low social status
At a time when the BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) — indeed, the entire SanghParivar — has been making a concerted effort to reach out to Dalits, the insensitive response of its members to Hyderabad student RohithVemula’sdeathappears inexplicable. As in the aftermath of Mohammad Akhlaq’s murder in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri last year, the BJP’s handling of Rohith’s suicide has only sharpened an existing fault line.
Three weeks after the incident, BJP leaders privately acknowledge that endorsing Union Minister of State for LabourBandaruDattatreya’s partisan approach — backing the AkhilBharatiyaVidyarthiParishad (ABVP) against the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) of which Rohith was a member — has cost the party dearly. With orders coming from the top, they say, BJP leaders took their cue from Mr. Dattatreya, while a SanghParivar representative who initially adopted a neutral line publicly was reportedly ticked off by two Central BJP leaders for not defending the ABVP.
When Prime Minister NarendraModi broke his silence on the issue at the Ambedkar University in Lucknow on January 22, saying he could feel the agony of the Dalit scholar’s family, jeering students told him to “go back.”
But why did the BJP go so wrong? In the case of Akhlaq, who was wrongly accused of eating beef, the SanghParivar’s traditional hostility towards Muslims came into play. But in Rohith’s case, was the way the BJP handled it only a mistake? Or did it reflect the Parivar’s views on the place of Dalits in Hindu society?
Integrating Dalits into Hindu society
In 1983, the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS) chose April 14, B.R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, to establish the SamajikSamrastaManch, or social harmony platform, that would celebrate AmbedkarJayanti every year. On that occasion, RSS ideologue DattopantThengadi, the SSM’s website says, made a speech on ‘Equality Impossible Without Harmony’ and claimed that there were “common points in the social ideology of Dr. Ambedkar and [RSS’s founding sarsanghchalak] Dr. K.B. Hedgewar”. Subsequently, the SSM “started trying to harmonise the Phule-Ambedkar thought with the Hindutva philosophy. The problems they took in hand belonged to the entire Hindu society and, therefore, it would be quite appropriate to call them Hindu reformers.”
This campaign’s objective was aimed at ending untouchability and “integrating” Dalits into Hindu society, a necessary precondition for Hindu consolidation. For the BJP, in particular, “Hindu unity” was of paramount importance to enlarge its support base.
But the unstated part of the RSS agenda was that Dalits should be integrated into Hindu society without upsetting the hierarchy of the caste system, a far cry from Ambedkar’s call for annihilation of caste.
Then, in 1990, the Mandal Commission’s long-pending recommendations to extend reservation to the Other Backward Classes (OBCS) were accepted — quotas for Scheduled Castes (Dalits) had already been enshrined in the Constitution. But Mandal also triggered a political challenge to the hegemony of the upper castes, with OBCs and Dalits now seeking parity in decision-making.
K.N. Govindacharya, who was the BJP general secretary then, drew his party’s attention to the need for social engineering, or social justice, to cope with this challenge. “Social unity without social justice would mean continuing with the status quo,” he told The Hindu. The BJP was quick to absorb the lesson of social engineering and was rewarded with success, first in Uttar Pradesh and later in Bihar.
A senior BJP OBC leader had told this writer in the mid-1990s, when asked about the RSS’s experimental single teacher EkalVidyalayas that encouraged students of all castes to eat together: “That era is long gone when someone like me would be honoured merely because a Brahmin shares his food with me. I want to sit at the high table, taking decisions along with the upper castes.” That has been achieved today by many of the party’s OBC leaders.
And yet, last year, almost two decades later, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an RSS-affiliate, announced a nationwide yatra to persuade upper-caste Hindus to make friends with at least one Dalit family, share their food, stand “with them in their moments of joy and grief”, and work towards eradicating untouchability.
In an India where BahujanSamaj Party chief Mayawati is a contemporary Dalit icon, this method of “integrating” Dalits into the SanghParivar is not just out of sync with the times; it is within a Hindutva framework that is unacceptable to assertive Dalits, such as those in the ASA, who believe that traditional Hinduism is the reason for their low social status. They see its limitations and are suspicious of the RSS, an organisation that, they believe, has an essentially upper-caste mindset.
Clash of ideologies
It was this clash of ideologies that surfaced in Hyderabad when the ABVP objected to the ASA’s protest against the hanging of Mumbai blasts-accused YakubMemon and its criticism of the ABVP’s disruption of a recent screening of the documentary ‘MuzaffarnagarBaaqiHai’ in Delhi University. Indeed, this sort of tension is visible even within the BJP: after Rohith’s suicide, several BJP Dalit leaders publicly expressed their discomfort with the party line.
The government’s plan to celebrate Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary year has put the spotlight on the Dalit issue again, even as the SanghParivar’s efforts to win Dalit support have become increasingly visible over the last few years through gestures that are largely symbolic.
Little has changed since 1989, when the VHP ensured that a Dalit, KameshwarChaupal, laid the first brick at the shilanyas for the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya. In 2016, ahead of next year’s Uttar Pradesh elections, the BJP is planning to celebrate the anniversaries of Dalit saints Guru SantRavidas and Gadge Baba, while BJP chief Amit Shah will visit Bahraich to pay homage to Raja Suheldev, an 11th century Pasi king who had apparently vanquished a Muslim warrior, Salar Masood Ghazi. The Pasis are a significant Dalit community.
Honouring Dalit icons cannot be faulted as a political strategy, but Hindutvaorganisations have also been known to use less wholesome methods to draw Dalits into their fold. Exhorting Dalits to prove their loyalty by defending Hinduism in communal riots has been an old tactic, and in September 2013, the Parivar worked to include Dalits into its BetiBahuIzzatBachao campaign to “protect the honour” of Hindu women. In the 2014 LokSabha elections, it paid off, with a substantial number of Dalits in western U.P. voting along with Jats for the BJP.
Rohith, who battled economic deprivation and social prejudice to get where he had, did not want to be a pawn in the RSS’s game of social harmony: he wanted to live life on his own terms — and when that seemed impossible, he decided this life was not for him.
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET