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Dalit medical student found hanging in Tamil Nadu – Ibn live
Karimnagar: 2 held for rape of Dalit girl – Deccanechronicle
Shoddy handling of Rohith Vemula case – Nyoooz
National human rights body seeks report on dalit girl rape case – The times of india
I’m not your child but political opponent: JNU student to Smriti Irani – Ibn live
Sadhvi Prachi sparks fresh row: SP govt conspiring to convert state into Kashmir – Nyoooz
Bajrang Dal questions Maya’s silence over ‘Dalit’ VHP leader’s murder – The times of india
Lucknow University to hold ‘non-political’ national seminar on Ambedkar’s vision – Nyoooz
Jaffer Sharief moots dalit CM – demand for change gains support – Daiji world
Offer Truth and Hope, Not Drama: Teachers – the news click
The one sure-fire prediction for 2016 Budget: Dalits and Adivasis will be tricked again – Scroll.in
Dalit medical student found hanging in Tamil Nadu
A final year medical student from Trichy, Tamil Nadu was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his room on Sunday.
Parithi Semmal was a final year student of MBBS at Sree Moogambika Institute of Medical Sciences.
According to the police sources, no suicide note was found from his room. A case of unnatural death has been registered at the nearest police station.
The postmortem report is still awaited. Parithi’s death comes weeks after three girls allegedly committed Suicide in Villupuram over poor infrastructure and harassment on the part of college authorities.
Karimnagar: 2 held for rape of Dalit girl
Karimnagar: Two youths were arrested in the sensational rape of a dalit girl from Venavanka in uzurabad on Sunday. The incident drew headlines in the national media. Women’s organisations, political parties and student unions condemned the incident. Accused Gotte Srinivas, a resident of Amudalapalli in Shankarapatnam mandal, Moddam Rakesh and Moddam Anji from Kaluwala in Veenavanka mandal were apprehended on the charge of raping the girl, a B. Tech student. Another youth, Moddam Rakesh, who filmed the scene when the other two were outraging her modesty, was detained on Saturday.
Huzurabad DSP M. Ravinder Reddy said the accused were arrested as they were discharged from the hospital. Srinivas was produced before a Huzurabad magistrate and sent to judicial remand. Rakesh and Anji were produced before a juvenile court as they were minors. The accused were booked under SC-ST Prevention of atrocities Act, and IT Act of 2008.
Shoddy handling of Rohith Vemula case
Summary: Continuing protests over the suicide of dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula underscores complete failure on the authorities’ part to deal with the situation, which has now catapulted into a full-fledged national issue. His temporary appointment has also been protested.The gaffes have continued with Irani saying in the Parliament that no doctor was allowed to check on Vemula immediately after the suicide, resulting in a huge protest in the nation’s capital. Srivastava, not new to controversies, was in the eye of a storm following the suicide of dalit student Senthil Kumar, in 2008.After Srivastava, was also forced to go on leave, the mantle has now fallen on senior professor M Periasamy to run the show. She not only defended the actions of the varsity, but also ended up making bloopers in the probe itself.A huge backlash by the opposition and nationwide protests, finally forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak on the issue, but it turned out to be a case, too little too late.Asking Appa Rao to go on leave and appointing Dr Vipin Srivastava from the department of physics, who was chairman of the committee that recommended punishment for the students, was a poor move. A series of blunders by the MHRD and poor coordination with authorities at University of Hyderabad, has not only brought huge embarrassment to the ruling BJP, but also raised questions about its crisis management skills.In the immediate aftermath of the suicide, vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile made the first mistake of not meeting the bereaved family or the agitating students, fearing attacks.While New Delhi also shied away from intervening, in what at that stage, seemed to have a potential to rock several boats.
Continuing protests over the suicide of dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula underscores complete failure on the authorities’ part to deal with the situation, which has now catapulted into a full-fledged national issue. A series of blunders by the MHRD and poor coordination with authorities at University of Hyderabad, has not only brought huge embarrassment to the ruling BJP, but also raised questions about its crisis management skills.In the immediate aftermath of the suicide, vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile made the first mistake of not meeting the bereaved family or the agitating students, fearing attacks.While New Delhi also shied away from intervening, in what at that stage, seemed to have a potential to rock several boats. Opposition parties, mainly the Left and the YSRCP, quickly rallied behind the four expelled students and Vemula’s family in condemning the act.While the TRS government chose not to speak on the issue, inviting criticism from various quarters, the national leaders led by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal started to trickle in and attacked the BJP.As one after the other, national leaders turned it into a caste issue, the BJP finally woke up, but committed the next blunder of allowing Union minister Smriti Irani to question the anti-establishment politics by Rohith Vemula and the Ambedkar Students Association in a media conference.
She not only defended the actions of the varsity, but also ended up making bloopers in the probe itself.A huge backlash by the opposition and nationwide protests, finally forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak on the issue, but it turned out to be a case, too little too late.Asking Appa Rao to go on leave and appointing Dr Vipin Srivastava from the department of physics, who was chairman of the committee that recommended punishment for the students, was a poor move. Srivastava, not new to controversies, was in the eye of a storm following the suicide of dalit student Senthil Kumar, in 2008.After Srivastava, was also forced to go on leave, the mantle has now fallen on senior professor M Periasamy to run the show. His temporary appointment has also been protested.The gaffes have continued with Irani saying in the Parliament that no doctor was allowed to check on Vemula immediately after the suicide, resulting in a huge protest in the nation’s capital.
The times of india
National human rights body seeks report on dalit girl rape case
Rajkot: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Amreli collector and state director general of police seeking an action-taken report in connection with the alleged rape of an 18-year-old dalit girl in Amreli village last year.
Family members of the girl, who was allegedly raped by a 29-year-old man from upper caste, have fled their native Vadli village after being allegedly threatened with dire consequences by kin of the accused.
The girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped on December 25. She returned home at around 3am on December 26 and lodged a complaint against two persons Hitesh and Umesh.
After lodging the complaint, the girl’s 22 member-family of farm labourers, including the survivor’s paralytic father, fled the village and have been camping outside the Amreli district collectorate since January 1. They are demanding to be declared as ‘Hijarati’ (compelled to leave native place). A dalit right activist wrote to NHRC about the human rights violation issue and sought action.
“The petitioner has alleged rape of dalit girl, police inaction and threat to dalit people forcing them to leave their village. Let the complaint be transmitted to Amreli district magistrate and director general of police, Gujarat, calling for action-taken report within four weeks. It is requested that action-taken report be sent to commission within four weeks from the date of receipt of this letter,” NHRC’s letter stated.
Rajula police had also lodged a complaint of criminal intimidation against the accused’s relative Raning Jakhda, who was named by the girl’s father for threatening the family.
“After our repeated calls to declare this family Hijarati, Amreli district administration has asked the concerned department to initiate process and we are awaiting the response,” said Navchetan Parmar, the advocate, who is helping the family get justice.
I’m not your child but political opponent: JNU student to Smriti Irani
New Delhi: Asserting that he is not a “child”, a term used by HRD Minister Smriti Irani to refer to Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Parliament, one of the six JNU students accused of sedition has said in an open letter to her that he is instead her political “opponent”.
“I heard the speech you gave in Parliament. I want to make it clear that this letter is not from a ‘child’ to a ‘motherly’ Minister but from one political person to another political person,” said the open letter by Anant Prakash.
“I also want to make it clear that I do not judge a person’s merit by her educational qualification. In fact, I reject the concept of merit,” he further said.
Prakash said that while the minister asserts her identity as a woman, she had failed to stand with Vemula’s mother.
“You assert your identity as a woman and you must do that because women are among those groups who have been oppressed for long. But Vemula’s mother, a Dalit woman, fought with this patriarchal society to raise her kids and gave them her identity but why is your government associating the identity of her children to her husband.
“Are you standing with a Brahmanical and patriarchal society? Why are you snatching away her right to have an independent identity,” the letter said.
Prakash also asked Irani to read Manusmriti and said that he hopes she would leave BJP once she reads it as a woman.
“You said in your speech that politics is happening over Rohith’s murder but you are not so naïve to not understand that he died due to saffron politics.
“Don’t you know the process of natural justice that a decision cannot be taken without listening to the party concerned. We were debarred by an inquiry committee without even listening to us. Should you not have been cautious to not announce our names in Parliament in the most unconstitutional manner,” he added.
Students and teachers have alleged that Smriti had quoted in Parliament from a “half-cooked” report submitted by the university without any investigation.
“Rohith’s mother is not begging you for justice, my mother is not crying for me too. She is concerned of course but she is encouraging me to fight against the fascist forces and is advising me to not be scared,” he added.
Anant, a former JNU students’ union vice president, is among the five students police were looking for in connection with a sedition case over an event on campus against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
They had disappeared following the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on February 12 and resurfaced back on campus on February 21.
While Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya surrendered before police, the remaining three — Ashutosh, Anant and Rama Naga — are residing on campus. They have refused to surrender but asserted that they are open to questioning by police during the course of investigation.
Sadhvi Prachi sparks fresh row: SP govt conspiring to convert state into Kashmir
Summary: AGRA: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi has stoked a fresh controversy by claiming that there is conspiracy of Samajwadi Party led UP government to convert the state into Kashmir. “Brijesh Mahor, who was the state secretary of the Samajwadi Party, was killed in 2014 during the Lok Sabha elections, while Subhas Mahor was killed in 2013. “She said, “Hypocrites like Mayawati who claims to be a leader of Dalits have not even bothered to meet the families of those three Dalits who had been murdered in last two years – Arun Mahor, Subhas Mahor and Brijesh Mahor. And in this mission, the state government is helping create a sense of insecurity among Hindus and Dalit. “Targeting Azam Khan, she said, “He is supporting and securing those culprits who are slaughtering cow, our holy mother.
AGRA: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi has stoked a fresh controversy by claiming that there is conspiracy of Samajwadi Party led UP government to convert the state into Kashmir. ?She had been in news, recently, over her remarks on Muslim educational instituions and Jawaharlal Nehru University.Sadhavi Prachi, who is in Agra to pay condolence on the death of VHP leader Arun Mahor, said, Akhilesh Yadav government is being partial towards its citizens. Under pressure from UP minister Azam Khan, he compensated the family of Dadri’s farm worker Mohammad Akhlaq with a flat worth crores and also paid them Rs 45 lakh, while he merely gave Rs 15 lakh to a Hindu Dalit, who was shot dead by a gang of five murderers.”Targeting Azam Khan, she said, “He is supporting and securing those culprits who are slaughtering cow, our holy mother.
And in this mission, the state government is helping create a sense of insecurity among Hindus and Dalit. There is a conspiracy to convert UP into a Kashmir.”She said, “Hypocrites like Mayawati who claims to be a leader of Dalits have not even bothered to meet the families of those three Dalits who had been murdered in last two years – Arun Mahor, Subhas Mahor and Brijesh Mahor.”Brijesh Mahor, who was the state secretary of the Samajwadi Party, was killed in 2014 during the Lok Sabha elections, while Subhas Mahor was killed in 2013.. .
The times of india
Bajrang Dal questions Maya’s silence over ‘Dalit’ VHP leader’s murder
Meerut: Bajrang Dal on Sunday here upped the ante on the murder case of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Arun Mahor, who the right-wing outfit claimed was a Dalit. They questioned Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati’s, asking why she was so “actively” attacking the government over the suicide of Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad when she was silent on the murder of a ‘Dalit’ in her home state.
“Arun Mahor, the VHP leader who was shot dead in Agra on Thursday, was a Dalit. Now I want to question all those who claim to represent Dalits and raise their voice against the BJP. BSP chief Mayawati claims to be the saviour of Dalits in the country. We all saw how she jumped at the opportunity to score political points after the suicide of Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad. It seems she cares more about Dalits in other states than she does about those in her own state,” said Balraj Doongar, state convener of Bajrang Dal, addressing a press conference here.
“The reason Mayawati has chosen to stay silent on the brutal murder of a Dalit in her home state is simple. She does not want to draw the ire of a particular community since she wants their vote. Mahor’s killer belongs to a particular community which she does not want to anger. She seems to have forgotten her principles for vote bank politics. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is another leader who claims to fight for Dalits. Gandhi went to a Dalit family’s house for a photo opportunity and has been speaking about the Rohith Vemula case. However, he has been silent on the killing of Arun Mahor. We demand that these so called pro-Dalit parties make their stand clear. Leaders of the BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal have been expressing solidarity with Mahor and his family but these pseudo-secular parties have not done so,” Doongar added.
Lucknow University to hold ‘non-political’ national seminar on Ambedkar’s vision
Summary: Members of Awadh Intelectual Forum hold a protest against JNU Administration at in front of Gandhi Statue in Lucknow on Sunday. The event, scheduled to be held on March 4 and 5, is being organised by departments of Anthropology and Geology. “It is an academic event being organised jointly by the Anthropology and Geology departments… A notice on the seminar has also been put on the official website of Lucknow University,” said Arya. Asked how a seminar on a social topic was being organised by Anthropology and Geology departments, Arya, an assistant professor with Geology department, said: “Sociology, Anthropology and Geology are synonyms. Express Photo by Pramod Adhikari Members of Awadh Intelectual Forum hold a protest against JNU Administration at in front of Gandhi Statue in Lucknow on Sunday.Express Photo by Pramod AdhikariAMID THE ongoing debate over rights of Dalit students, the Lucknow University is set to hold a national seminar in March on ‘Dr Ambedkar’s Vision and Status of Dalits, Women and Tribes in Higher Education’.
Members of Awadh Intelectual Forum hold a protest against JNU Administration at in front of Gandhi Statue in Lucknow on Sunday. Express Photo by Pramod Adhikari Members of Awadh Intelectual Forum hold a protest against JNU Administration at in front of Gandhi Statue in Lucknow on Sunday.Express Photo by Pramod Adhikari AMID THE ongoing debate over rights of Dalit students, the Lucknow University is set to hold a national seminar in March on ‘Dr Ambedkar’s Vision and Status of Dalits, Women and Tribes in Higher Education’. The event, scheduled to be held on March 4 and 5, is being organised by departments of Anthropology and Geology. Organising secretary Ajay Kumar Arya said he has already received about 80 papers from students and teachers of different universities across the country, who wish to put their point forward during the meet in Lucknow. Arya, who was recently made convener of the Congress’ SC/ST department, said: “Permission has been taken from the university vice-chancellor for the event… it is purely an academic programme. With the kind of incidents taking place in educational institutions across the country, it has become significant to discuss such issues rather than run away from it.” However, he added that the event has nothing to do with any political party.
“It is an academic event being organised jointly by the Anthropology and Geology departments… A notice on the seminar has also been put on the official website of Lucknow University,” said Arya. Asked how a seminar on a social topic was being organised by Anthropology and Geology departments, Arya, an assistant professor with Geology department, said: “Sociology, Anthropology and Geology are synonyms. Thus, the two departments have decided to jointly take up the discussion on the issue, which is touching society at large.” A two-page pamphlet giving details about LU and the seminar states: “Education has been seen conducting an emancipator role in each person’s life. The current education system has drawn inspiration from opinions, which are cultured from the authoritative powers of the dominating classes, and seems divorced from exploring the rationale for its relevance in society at large and the youth within.” It further says: “Dr Ambedkar was an impeccable leader, who took up the leadership to light the lamp of enlightment… Dr Ambedkar’s last words emphasised — ‘Educate, Agitate and Organise’.
Jaffer Sharief moots dalit CM – demand for change gains support
Senior Congress leader, C K Jaffer Sharief, has mooted suggestion for replacing the chief minister (CM) with a person from dalit community. He also suggested names of Mallikarjun Kharge and G Parameshwar as able candidates from this community for this post.
This salvo has been fired by Sharief at a time when the CM camp is beleaguered by issues like defeat of party candidate from Hebbal constituency in assembly bypoll, wrist watch fiasco, and unsatisfactory performance in taluk and zilla panchayat elections. It is said that the Congress is preparing to send Karnataka in-charge of party affairs, Digvijay Singh, to the state for collecting opinions from state leaders and submit a report thereof to the party high command, sensing that the opposition might capitalize on the wrist watch issue during the assembly session beginning on Monday.
Speaking in the city on Sunday, Jaffer Sharief had said that the state had got chief ministers from various communities, but candidates from dalit and minority communities had not become CM of the state so far. He added that the people want a dalit CM for the state. His comments, coming in the backdrop of the recent comments of All India Congress Committee general secretary, Hariprasad, who had echoed similar sentiments, have created a sense of discomfort in the camp loyal to the CM.
Sharief said that most of the cabinet ministers in the state hail from Mysuru region, and there are allegations that the CM gives more importance to their suggestions. He had asked the CM to take all leaders together, make use of efficient and honest officers, and use both power and intelligent strategies for providing efficient administration.
In the meanwhile, sensing that the party high command was not happy at the way the wrist watch issue was handled, the CM and his confidants held prolonged meeting extending up to three hours in the city on Sunday. It is said that the meeting decided to submit a detailed report on the wrist watch issue, tackling it from both political and legal angles. The CM hopes that this report would satisfy the party high command.
the news click
Offer Truth and Hope, Not Drama: Teachers
The following is an open letter written by the SC/ST Teachers’ Forum & Concerned Faculty, University of Hyderabad, to Union HRD minister Smriti Irani:
Dear Ms Irani,
Thanks to your stunning performance, we, many faculty members from the University of Hyderabad, are compelled to do what we should have done in the last one month or so, but could not bring ourselves to – write, write about Rohith, write about our other students, write about the state of academics, write about ourselves and write about society at large.
Our first acknowledgement to this therefore goes to you for revealing yourself and for bringing us back from grief, from reflection, from teaching and from various other mundane things we do as part of our job.
As we watched you in disbelief on our TV screens on 24th February 2016, you, in a voice choked with emotion, again and again referred to the “child” whose death has been used as a political weapon. We were left bewildered.
At what precise point, Madam Minister, did this sinister, anti-national, casteist, Dalit student of the University of Hyderabad transform into a child for you? Definitely not in those five rejoinders from MHRD (the ministry of human resource development) between 03-09-2015 and 19-11- 2015 with the subject line “anti-national activities in Hyderabad Central University Campus”? Definitely not when you chose to overlook and endorse what can only be read as extraordinarily aggressive and unfounded allegations by a minister in your own government, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya?
Ms Irani, your constant reference to him as a child is nothing but a patronising attempt to dehumanise his reality. It is also deeply disrespectful to Rohit’s mother whose child he actually is – because she knows how ironic your appropriation of him is, considering your culpability in his death.
Only after more than a month of his death Rohith becomes a “child” for you “whose death was used as a political weapon”. A political weapon by whom, honourable Minister? By the other four students who were expelled with him and who spent those cold nights out in the makeshift velivada (which loosely translates as Dalit ghetto), with nothing but each other for company and succour? By the other students and friends who stood by him? Because you definitely seem to imply that when you say this child could possibly have been revived and yet his body was hidden and no doctor or police was allowed near him.
By now incontrovertible facts have emerged that belie this.
However, we would like to go beyond those facts and appeal to your heart. You were not there that night, Respected Minister. You did not see the grief or the shock, nor were you there to feel the despair. How could you even begin to fathom how desperate the students were when they called faculty members and the medical doctor of the university’s health centre as soon as Rohith’s body was found hanging by students and security officials? As Dr Rajyasree, medical officer, has stated, she rushed to the hostel at 7.30pm and declared Rohith dead at 7.40pm, all recorded in his case sheet on that fateful night of 17-01-2016.
The police arrived at the scene immediately after this. Iraniji, it is beyond our simple comprehension to understand how you with your meticulous preparation, evident in the Lok Sabha speech, ignored these crucial medical documents/preliminary evidences. This also includes the post-mortem report that declares Rohith was dead at least 18-24 hours before the body was examined the subsequent day. From all the medical and post-mortem reports, statements by friends, faculty and university officials – it is clear that Rohith’s body was found hours after he hanged himself.
Not only are your claims factually incorrect but they point to an utter lack of respect and sensitivity for the grieving family, friends and students. You are clearly disconnected from the heartbreaking grief of his friends, palpable to anyone present that night or the accompanying anger knowing the injustice that led to this tragedy. Does it befit our honourable minister to implicate these very grieving people in the death of their beloved friend?
Respected Minister, you have also repeatedly claimed that the committee which suspended Rohith Vemula and four other Dalit students was not constituted by your government, but by the UPA regime. You have also emphasised that there indeed was a Dalit faculty member in that committee.
We are astounded that you can so smoothly pass on the responsibility for this tragedy to someone else. Being at the helm of the MHRD, we are sure you must know that the Executive Council’s Sub-Committee that took the fatal decision to suspend the Dalit students from hostels and other common spaces was expressly constituted by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Appa Rao, following five rejoinders from your ministry goading the university to take action against the Dalit students.
We may also point out that the two-member committee constituted by the MHRD itself points out a curious anomaly – the EC and its sub-committee is the very same body that recommends and ratifies – this simply cannot be.
Just in case your busy schedule has not allowed your attention to the following, permit us to point out further contradictions:
That this subcommittee was composed of all upper caste members except for one. We fail to understand how this one member is expected to overrule the will of five.
Most importantly, Prof. Prakash Babu, the sole Dalit member, was co-opted as the Dean, Students’ Welfare and NOT as an SC/ST representative. Kindly refer to the constitution of the EC sub-committee in its minutes of meeting dated 24-11-2015.
That the EC sub-committee did not hear out the key stakeholders or consider the counter-affidavit filed by the Commissioner of Police on 3rd October 2015 and simply concurred with the much contested Proctorial Board’s decision is matter for another enquiry.
Now let us come to the punishment itself. Let us think of the lives and struggles of the five boys who were suspended – four of them being sons of agricultural labourers and one without both parents. For them, suspension from hostel meant denial of food and shelter. Add to that, denial of right to access common spaces effectively amounted to social boycott in caste terms. Students who had surmounted unimaginable obstacles to reach the university were pushed back right into the velivada, the “untouchable” fringes of the village.
Do you not believe that the administration should have reached out at least when Rohith wrote that 18th December 2015 letter asking the VC to provide Dalit students “(a toxic inorganic compound) and a nice rope” at the time of admission itself?
Ms Irani, for all practical purposes, it was a cry for help. This was an opportunity for us to help this “child” and we lost that opportunity. And we have never heard you quote from this letter that was acknowledged as received by the VC’s office.
For a despondent, beleaguered Rohith, hounded and ignored by the powers that be, death was probably the only way to freedom and the limitless wonder and beauty of the universe that so moved him! Perhaps it was the only way out for someone as conscientious, brilliant and reflective as Rohith was. This was Rohith’s assertion of dignity, a dignity that was not allowed to him or his friends in their lives.
Their lives, in the words of Gopal Guru, mirrored social death, smeared with indignities of caste. To say that his “suicide note” of 17-01-2016 does not name or implicate anyone amounts to gross opportunism and abandonment of moral responsibility.
Permit us to remind you, dear minister, that the VC did not think/feel it worthwhile enough to meet the grieving students on that fateful night. We are reminded ad nauseam of the threat that students posed to him and continue to pose to him. Students who already had lost a dear friend were accused by the ABVP of violence, and, this is important – students who throughout their struggle since those intense first days following Rohith’s death until now have maintained their poise, their maturity, through all their struggles and protests and have never resorted to violence.
Could the Vice-Chancellor of the University not meet and console them in that most vulnerable, heartbreaking moment? Even when nearly 300 teachers requested the VC to come and assured him of a space to meet students along with them, the VC’s sense of authority prevailed over his sense of duty and responsibility. This was a defining moment Ms Irani, when the VC could have regained his moral stature and humanity in the eyes of the students. He clearly let history slip through his fingers.
Rohith is not there with us any more. His four friends suspended along with him are, his larger group of friends in this university and growing group of friends across the country are.
What we expect from you is very minimal. Do not turn this into a fight against students who have nothing to rely upon, no power – political or social – no connections, no money, not even a home.
Please understand this – the minority status you love to claim for yourself cannot in any way be equated with the state of disprivilege and dispossession that many of these students battle on a daily basis. All our students have is the hope of a future which education can possibly bring – to quote Rohith – “from shadows to the stars”.
Do not blight their hopes, their dreams. Help us ensure each one of us is sensitive to cater to their needs inside classrooms, in labs, in hostels, outside, everywhere. As teachers, as ministers, we have much more to offer – truth, equality, justice, hope and inspiration. Not melodrama.
The Prime Minister has extolled your speech tweeting ” Satyamev Jayate”. Whose Truth? We ask.
SC/ST Teachers’ Forum & Concerned Faculty, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.
The one sure-fire prediction for 2016 Budget: Dalits and Adivasis will be tricked again
Carrying forward a long tradition, the 2016-’17 Union budget will probably allocate large sums of money for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. On the ground, though, it is unlikely the funds will actually reach the intended beneficiaries.
In the last budget year of 2015-’16, as much as Rs 77,236 crore was supposed to be allocated for Scheduled Castes out of the Annual Plan Budget of Rs 4,65,277 crore. In actual fact, less than half of this – 30,851 crore – was allocated. And then, of this, only 8,793 crore (a little over a quarter) was directed specifically towards the development of Dalits as per the guidelines of the Planning Commission.
Where did the rest of the money go?
To find the answer, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, a forum seeking to eliminate caste discrimination, studied the Detailed Demand for Grants of several ministries and filed queries under the Right to Information. The research revealed that funds supposed to be allocated to Dalits (according to the 12th Plan) are slashed at two junctures: first, at the point of allocation itself and, second, at the moment of usage. Most of the money allocated for Dalits, it found, gets diverted to general welfare projects by the government.
“The Dalit and Adivasi Budgets, instead of directly reaching millions of needy SCs and STs and planning for their development in education, health, civic amenities, skill development and entrepreneurship, have become mere accounting measures,” said Paul Divakar, general secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. “Specific schemes are supposed to be scaled up or designed to cater to them. Instead, they are spent on general purposes like large hospitals located in cities, flyovers, stadiums, and other large infrastructure which, no doubt may be used by the overall population in general.”
Divakar cites an instance from Bihar. “The Dalit budget was used to connect dominant caste village habitations to the main road,” he said. “But the tract from the caste village to the Dalitbasti has been left untouched.”
The figures for allocation for Scheduled Tribes reveal similar discrepancies. In 2015-’16, Rs 40,014 crore was supposed to be allocated for adivasis, but Rs 20,000 crore actually was. And what went directly to them in the end was just Rs 7,399 crore. Put another way, 18.5% of the allocation due.
Like with Dalits, there seems to be no effective monitoring system to ensure that the spend allocated for tribals does in fact benefit them and doesn’t get diverted into general expenditure.
This state of affairs cannot be blamed on the Modi government alone. The following figures show how this farce has played out in budget years before the last one.
The problem extends from New Delhi to the states.
In each state, the allocation of public expenditure for Scheduled Castes and Tribes should be decided by their percentage in the state’s population. But some states don’t abide by this, allocating less money than the population percentage demands. Worse, in these states – as also where the allocation is fair – the money is often diverted.
For instance, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi budget (2015-’16) assigned Rs 3,214 crore for Dalit welfare. But only Rs 231 crore (or 8%) ultimately went towards the intended purpose – the remaining 92% (or Rs 2,973 crore) was diverted, according to the findings of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. Diverted where? Other welfare schemes that weren’t specifically meant for Dalits.
Here are a few other examples of states diverting the spending meant for Dalits and tribals:
Odisha (in 2014-’15): The ruling party Biju Janata Dal rerouted Rs 172 crore from the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan towards major irrigation and road improvement projects, and Rs 12.41 crore towards the construction of buildings for police welfare.
Jharkhand (in 2014-’15): From the Rs 97.75 crore allocated by the building and construction department under the Tribal Sub Plan, Rs 50 crore was spent on constructing a circuit house. Another Rs 25 crore was diverted towards a court, and yet another Rs 21 crore towards a government residential building. That’s Rs 96 crore out of Rs 97.75 crore gone. In 2013-’14, the previous budget year, Rs 7 crore was redirected towards purchasing a trainer aircraft and a motor glider.
The list goes on. There are many more instances in other states, and other years.
Not surprisingly then, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes castigated state governments in review of the implementation of the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan.
Here are a few quotes from its reports or minutes of its meetings with states:
“When the commission drew the attention to unutilized funds under SCP, principal secretary (SC Welfare) replied that some major departments failed to draw SCP funds due to which funds remained unutilized.”
— – A meeting with the Madhya Pradesh government (June 19-20, 2008)
“The commission desired to know… why less expenditure was incurred as compared to the population of SCs… information sent to the commission was not satisfactory.”
— – A review of Uttar Pradesh (September 20, 2007)
“…There was a wide gap between allocation and expenditure as a whole and also in few of the individual schemes…”
— – A review of Kerala (June 29, 2009)
Funds in education
Let’s now look at a sector that has come under the spotlight after Rohith Vemula’s death – education.
The most recent figures for the University Grants Commission funds for Scheduled Castes and Tribes are from 2012-’13 (this is because, despite RTI applications, the government provided older figures). In that year, in the case of Scheduled Castes (covered under the Special Component Plan), out of Rs 1047.33 crore, only Rs 107.86 crore went directly to the intended beneficiaries in the form of scholarships and coaching.
The rest? There’s no saying.
Instead of transferring the money to individual beneficiaries, Rs 277.48 crore was provided for Grants in Aid to institutions and Rs 609.49 crore for Capital Assets.
And how did these benefit Dalits? Take Rs 44.03 crore (out of Rs 277.48 crore) that was given to central universities for specific programmes, such as paying faculty for additional coaching of Dalit students. Or take the funds allocated under Capital Assets to create assets such as subsidised or free hostels for Scheduled Caste students. Neither of these were used for their original purposes, and were instead used for general institutional expenses and asset building, says the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.
The same holds true for the Tribal Sub Plan. Out of Rs 507.2 crore, only Rs 35.56 crore goes towards scholarship and coaching (directly beneficial to Scheduled Tribe students).
‘Downright fiscal crime’
If governments stated publicly that they wouldn’t abide by the 12th Five-Year Plan’s recommendations on the allocation for Dalit and tribal welfare, or if they spelt out the amounts they intended to divert, such budgets could at least be openly supported or opposed. But this isn’t the case.
“This is basically a downright fiscal crime,” said Divakar.
It does smell like one. What is more worrying is that despite parties having politicians and ministers from Scheduled Castes or Tribes (including Social Justice and Tribal Affairs ministers), they haven’t addressed the loopholes that let this problem continue during and after each budget.
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET