Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 23.02.16

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RohithVemula march: Two of six students Dalit, one from BPL family – The Indian Express


KuruvithuraiDalits want separate ration shop – The Hindu


Benefits denied to dalit students at RLV – The Times Of India


Garbage lifters raise a stink in city – The Hans India


Dalit temple pujari suicide case hearing posted to March 1 – The Hindu


Ambedkar’s London bungalow won’t house Dalit students – DNA


Congress’ ‘manifesto’ promises quota for Dalits in party, law to stop atrocities in edu institutions – The Indian Express



The Indian Express

RohithVemula march: Two of six students Dalit, one from BPL family


The families of the two Dalit students, Rama Naga and Anant Prakash Narayan, say they cannot even afford to travel to Delhi to meet their children.

By: Express News Service

New DelhiUpdated: Feb 23, 2016, 7:31

There is more than one reason why the RohithVemula march tomorrow finds an echo at JNU. Two of the six students wanted by police are Dalits, one the son of a bangle-seller with a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card from a village in Odisha.

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“They come from poor socio-economic backgrounds and are trying to make something of themselves, which is why I feel so sad about what is happening. JNU has taught them to fight for their rights but never in violent ways. I feel ashamed to be a teacher of JNU today, considering what has happened,” said Aditya Mukherjee, historian and professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU.

Of the six, students union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested on February 12, three days after the protest on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised. The other five — Umar Khalid, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya and Anant Prakash Narayan — went into hiding before surfacing on campus late on Sunday night.

The families of the two Dalit students, Rama Naga and Anant Prakash Narayan, say they cannot even afford to travel to Delhi to meet their children.

Rama Naga, 24, is the youngest of three siblings from Ramgiri village in the Maoist-hit Boipariguda block of Koraput district in Odisha. His father, Bhima Naga, sells bangles for a living.

“He is the most educated person in our family where no one else has gone beyond matriculation. I could not clear Class 7. Rama was a good student throughout,” said Khyama Naga, Rama’s elder brother, who tills a small patch of land that the family possesses.

Rama’s sister Parvati in an anganwadi worker in the village.

Rama, a second-year MPhil student at JNU, contested the union elections last year for the CPI (ML)’s All India Students Association (AISA) and defeated ABVP’s Devendra Singh Rajput for the high-profile post of general secretary.

After completing his schooling at Ramagiri high school and intermediate at Boipariguda, Naga joined VikramDev Autonomous College of Jeypore from where he completed his graduation in political science in 2012. The same year, he enrolled for an MA in the subject.

“We hoped Rama would get a job after his studies. We have not been able to fund his education as much as we wanted to. Sometimes, we would send Rs 500-Rs 2,000 to him and urge him to take loans from his friends. But Rama has never ever asked for money,” said Khyama.

Asked about the sedition charges his brother faced, Khyama said, “We are helpless. Forget getting lawyers, we don’t have the money to travel to Delhi to meet him.”

Asked about Rama’s early education, Khyama said, “Our block did not have a government college, so he had to travel 45 km so that he could study political science.”

Rama says he came to know about JNU from his college teacher in Odisha “as this great university where big people teach far away in Delhi”. “When I cleared JNU, the whole block celebrated. I was the first person in my block to clear the JNU entrance test,” he said.

The story of the other Dalit student, Anant Prakash Narayan, is not too different. The son of a Class III worker, Narayan is from Chandoli district in Uttar Pradesh and a second-year PhD scholar on rape law reform. He has three sisters, of which two are primary health workers, and is the first in his family to study in Delhi. His association with AISA began in 2006. He was the students union vice-president in 2014.

“I come from a humble background and my parents are scared now. I was forced to go underground because of the mob hysteria after the first two days. There was a lynch mob at the gates of the university that branded us,” said Narayan.

Ashutosh Kumar, another student under the police scanner, is an OBC from Barh near Patna and was JNUSU president in 2014 after AISA swept the polls. He is a second-year PhD scholar of Russian Studies at the School of International Studies at JNU.

CPI (ML) Bihar secretary Kumaer Pervez told The Indian Express: “Ashutosh rose from a very humble background to represent JNUSU in 2014. His father is a non-gazetted officer posted with Indian Railways at Danapur.”

Pervez said Ashutosh used to stay with his family at Patna and completed his early education from here.

“I recall him as a JNU student leader who would not only raise campus issues but also take up social causes such as farmers’ suicides. He would raise the problems of the weaker sections effectively,” said Pervez.

A final-year PhD student of History from the School of Social Sciences (SSS), Anirban Bhattacharya is from Dum Dum in West Bengal.

Kolkata-based SoumoMandal, general secretary, United Student’s Development Front (USDF), says he has known Anirban “for years”.

“Anirban has always supported the cause of the oppressed. He was there to support the farmers at Singur and Nandigram, he also spoke for the starving tea plantation workers of North Bengal,” said Mandal.

(Reporting by Pritha Chatterjee and AditiVatsa in Delhi, DebabrataMohanty in Odisha, Premankur Biswas in Kolkata and Santosh Singh in Patna)

The Hindu

KuruvithuraiDalits want separate ration shop



Allege discrimination at shop in the area dominated by caste Hindus

Around 150 Dalits from Kuruvithurai village near Sholavandan, which witnessed caste violence in January, petitioned the Collector here on Monday, demanding opening of a separate ration shop in their area at the earliest.

  1. Muniyandi, district president of the PuthiyaTamilagam, who led the petitioners, alleged that Dalits were discriminated at the ration shop, which was located in the area of the village dominated by caste Hindus.

  2. Karupaiah, another resident, said that discrimination existed at the ration shop even before the recent violence.

“Whenever fresh stocks arrived at the shop, only caste Hindus could buy them first. We were not allowed to buy essential commodities along with them,” he alleged.

On January 16, an issue over playing of songs in loudspeakers resulted in violent attacks by a mob of caste Hindus, in which about 10 Dalits were injured and 28 houses belonging to Dalits damaged.

Following the incident, Dalits demanded, among other things, setting up of a separate ration shop, to which the district administration agreed.

“The shop, however, has not been set up yet. Last month, we bought essential commodities at the ration shop in their (caste Hindus) area in the presence of police personnel to ensure that nothing untoward happened. We do not want to do the same this month,” said P. Gurusamy, another Dalit.


District Supply Officer R. Jeeva said that the administration was in the process of sending a proposal to the government seeking exemption from norms to set up a new ration shop. “As per norms, to set up a new ration shop, there should be a minimum of 150 ration cards and the nearest ration shop should be at least 1.5 km away. Here, there are only about 110 ration cards in the area where Dalits reside and the existing ration shop is nearby,” she said.

The Dalits also complained that compensation for affected Dalits had not been sanctioned yet.

However, a revenue official said that they were awaiting final approval from the government and the money would be handed over to the victims soon.

The Times Of India

Benefits denied to dalit students at RLV


TNN | Feb 23, 2016, 11.57 AM IST

Kochi: While authorities of RLV College of Music and Fine Arts, Tripunithura, are yet to get over the clash between SFI and ABVP over the suicide bid of a dalit student, a section of students have now alleged that SC/ST and OBC students werenot getting lump sum grant and stipend for over a year.

When some of the students approached the office staff of the college raising the issue, they were reportedly sent back saying that they had other ‘duties’ than helping students avail these benefits.

“The plight of students from backward communities came to light in the wake of the suicide bid of a dalit girl student of the college two weeks ago,” said advocate K A Balan.

He said the college staff were not cooperative with such students who were trying to avail the benefits. He added that several such students could not finish the course due to financial difficulties.

“When some of us took up the issue, the office staff in charge said that applications by students have been forwarded to the department concerned. The district welfare officer told us that applications of several students have not been received,” said a student on condition of anonymity.

Though TOI contacted the principal, he was not available to comment on the allegations.

The Hans India

Garbage lifters raise a stink in city


THE HANS INDIA |    Feb 23,2016 , 08:05 AM IST

Beneficiaries allege that 900 of the 1,600 Swachh auto-trolley tippers were sanctioned to family members of local political leaders and cleaningcontractors .

*GHMC officials accused of denying auto trolleys to sanitation workers despite paying principle amount and submitting necessary documents.

*Delay in handing over vehicles is resulting in huge interest outflow on loan amounts, mostly borrowed from private money lenders.

Hyderabad: Scores of applicants in the 24 circles of GHMC limits are crying foul over the undue delay in handing over Swachh auto-trolley tipper vehicles despite having paid the prescribed amount and submitting necessary documents.

Several sanitation workers alleged that despite making payment (Rs 41,000 for  SC/ST beneficiaries and Rs 82,000 for BC beneficiaries) out of the total Rs 4 lakh amount, the newly introduced auto-tippers, launched by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, were sanctioned to local political leaders and cleaning contractors.

Speaking to The Hans India, C Ramakanth, a BC beneficiary from Kapra division said that despite having paid the principle amount of Rs 82,000, which is 20 per cent of about Rs 4 lakh in October last, he was being made to run from pillar to post to get his auto-trolley sanctioned.

“Officials are busy making excuses and passing on the buck to other officials even though the required documents sought by the civic body are in place,” he rued.

Another eligible SC beneficiary, M Natheem, who hails from LB Nagar division said he had borrowed money from a local moneylender in order the pay the principle amount. “I borrowed Rs 41,000 from the local money lender on huge interest with a three months agreement. Despite providing documents including my driving licence and community and nativity certificate, I am yet to receive an auto-tipper.”

“Three generations in my family eke out livelihood by segregating garbage after transporting it in tricycles. The local leaders are influencing GHMC officials to hand over these new auto-tippers to their family members, who are non-residents of Hyderabad and hail from other neighbouring states,” Natheem said.

Another garbage collector Vinay Kumar from Amberpet division said even after providing driving licence and paying challan amount, officials denied him an auto-trolley because he did not submit his PAN card. “I do not know what a PAN card is. But when enquired I was told that it is used for tax deductions. For daily wage workers like me I do not know the purpose of a PAN card,” he said.

“How can Chief Minister KCR’s dream of keeping the city clean come true if the purpose of providing Swachh autos is not served,” asked Kishore, a sanitation worker from Shalibanda division. Nearly, 1,600 auto trolley tippers have been distributed, mostly to the non-sanitation workers who do not have any knowledge in lifting and transporting of garbage. “There is no visible change in the clearance of garbage in several circles only because of this reason,” he added.

When GHMC officials were asked for their response to allegations levelled by the beneficiaries, they said that they had received about 5,000 applications, mostly from rickshaw pullers. “There are only 2,500 auto tippers and they have been distributed on a first-come first-serve basis.

So far, we have distributed 1,600 auto-trolley tippers. Those who are complaining now are late comers. We have informed them that their applications were under process and they would have to wait for some more time,” said a senior official.

He, however, admitted that they were indeed some discrepancies in the auto-trolley tipper distribution. He said, “In order to control some of the beneficiaries from seeking out-of-turn allotment, we have been delaying the process to ensure transparency.”

GHMC Commissioner B Janardhan Reddy said that they there would be no compromise in the sanctioning of auto-trolley tippers to existing sanitation rickshaw pullers. He said first preference would be given to sanitation workers and rickshaw pullers.

The Hindu

Dalit temple pujari suicide case hearing posted to March 1



Principal District Judge R. Poornima adjourned the temple pujari suicide case till March 1 on Monday as the copy of the Madras High Court’s order to appoint the petitioner’s lawyer as public prosecutor to hear the case did not reach the district administration.

All the seven accused, including the prime accused, O. Raja, brother of Finance Minister O. Paneerselvam, appeared before the court in the morning. However, petitioner Subburaj and his lawyer did not appear. Defence counsel S. Kannappan informed the court that the trial could be conducted on the arrival of the new lawyer. Then the judge adjourned the case.

Sources said that the district administration had not received the copy of the High Court’s order regarding the appointment of a new lawyer, as sought by the petitioner, instead of the Public Prosecutor. The Collector would have to issue an order on the appointment of a Public Prosecutor as directed by the High Court.

But the Collector would certainly consult the Government Pleader in the High Court before appointing the lawyer preferred by the petitioner. Then, the new lawyer would present the copy of the appointment order in the court and argue the case on behalf of petitioner, the sources added.

Later, the case would be heard on a daily basis as directed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

Earlier, Collector T.N. Hariharan had turned down the demand of the petitioner to change the Special Public Prosecutor.

Charges were framed against Mr. Raja and others on December 15.

Theni District Court transferred the case to Dindigul District Court on November 25 on the direction of the Madurai Bench.

The case pertains to the suicide of S. Nagamuthu (22) of T. Kallupatti village, a Dalit, who worked as pujari in Sri Kailasanathar Hill Temple in Periyakulam, on December 8, 2012, after he was allegedly subjected to harassment.

The district administration has not received copy of HC order for appointment of a lawyer


Ambedkar’s London bungalow won’t house Dalit students


 KANCHAN SRIVASTAVA | Tue, 23 Feb 2016-07:45am ,dna

DrBabasahebAmbedkar’s London bungalow is possibly the best example in recent times of how tokenism and vote-bank politics take precedence over welfare of people.

It has emerged that the three-storey bungalow, which was purchased by the Maharashtra government last year amid the controversy of spending a whopping Rs32 crore for it, will not house Dalit students at all. In fact, there was never any proposal to set up a hostel for Dalit or other students at the bungalow, highly-placed sources at the social justice and special assistance department told dna. The department acts as the nodal agency for the entire project of developing the bungalow.

This is at stark contrast with the previous announcements made by several ministers including RajkumarBadole, who handles the social justice portfolio. Interestingly, no government resolution pertaining to the purchase ever mentioned what the government intended to do with the bungalow.

dna has learnt that the bungalow is set to be converted into a memorial and library related to Ambedkar’s work, for which Badole is set to make another trip to London soon.

Incidentally, the money spent by Maharashtra government to acquire the property at plush 10 King Henry Road in London was drawn from the Mahatma PhuleMagasvargiyaVikasMahamandal (roughly translated as Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation). This included the bungalow’s cost, solicitor’s fee and expenses of London trips of ministers and babus.

Ironically, the corporation is meant for financial assistance of below poverty line OBCs, SCs and neo-Buddhists.

dna had highlighted this matter in several news reports last year. The government had then claimed it had loaned the amount and it would be replaced later, a promise which is yet to be realised.

While official statements regarding the usage of the bungalow were vague in nature since beginning, Badole himself had given an impression that setting up a Dalit hostel in that property was also being considered, apart from constructing an Ambedkar memorial and a library to showcase his work. The bungalow was inaugurated by prime ministerNarendraModi and chief minister DevendraFadnavis in November last year when both were visiting UK for a business meet.

This had given a hope to potential Dalit students as a hostel would not only have given them a chance to stay under the same roof where the Dalit icon once lived while studying at London School of Economics in 1921-22, but also would cut down their boarding expenses considerably.

Europe, especially London, is considered as one of the costliest places in the world where a significant portion of education expense goes into hostel fee.

“There was no such proposal to establish the hostel for Dalits students at the London property,” UjjwalUke, the secretary of social justice and special assistance department said.

Interestingly, corporation which funded the project has no clue who the owner of that property was. An RTI query in this regard filed by activist Anil Galgali a couple of months ago stated that the corporation had no clue about the owner.

Even the total deal amount of Rs32 crore was transferred to the solicitor M/s Sedon’s account, rather than the owner of the property, said the RTI response.

The Indian Express


Congress’ ‘manifesto’ promises quota for Dalits in party, law to stop atrocities in edu institutions


Congress on Thursday released a “Lucknow Manifesto (Declaration)” at its conclave, which was addressed by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Written by Maulshree Seth

LucknowUpdated: Feb 19, 2016, 1:12

With an aim to strengthen its connection with the Dalit community in Uttar Pradesh before the assembly elections next year, the Congress on Thursday released a “Lucknow Manifesto (Declaration)” at its conclave, which was addressed by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Reading the declaration and promising to implement it “after the Congress comes to power in the state in 2017”, RajyaSabha member and Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, P L Punia, said: “In every 18 minutes, one Dalit family becomes the victim of atrocity, every day three Dalit women face harassment, every week at least 13 Dalit families are killed in the country.”

Punia promised “20 per cent reservation” for Dalits in the Congress organisation in Uttar Pradesh as well as withdrawing new revenue code once the party comes to power. The revenue code has made sale and purchase of Dalit land holdings easier in the state.

The party also promised to bring an Act “to stop atrocities against Dalits in higher educational institutions”.

The manifesto puts forth some measures the party intends to take at the government level. These include:

** Construction of Navodaya schools for Dalit students in every development block

** Law to ensure proper use of funds under SC/ST sub-plan in UP

** Reservation for Dalits in various skill development programmes

** Reservation in government jobs, both permanent and temporary.

** Restore demoted officers to their original posts.

** Make provision for reservation of Dalits in private jobs.

** Representation to Dalits in appointment of government lawyers.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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