Dalits Media Watch – News Updates 11.03.16


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Damoh: Day after, students allege rotis are thrown on platter – The times of india


Residents fight to save pond from encroachers – Nyoooz


Will fight for Dalit women’s rights, says Rohith’s mother – The hindu


Freed from bonded labour, but in difficulty – The hindu


Law College Students to Stage Protest in Thiruvananthapuram – The Indian express


Dalit Christians protest for SC s – The hindu


Inter-Church meet clarifies stand on liquor, education, dalit rights The times of india


The closure of Forward Press print edition is a backward step for journalism Scroll.in


Please Watch:
125 Houses of Dalits burnt & destructed in Bihar


The times of india

Damoh: Day after, students allege rotis are thrown on platter


Bhopal: A day after dalit student paid with his life following refusal to drink water school from hand-pump, another incident of social discrimination at institute has come to light in Damoh district of backward Bundelkhand region.

When a team of government officials visited primary school of Khamaria Kalan in Tendukheda tehsil of the district for inquiry on Thursday, students alleged that chappatis are thrown on platter when mid-day meals are served to them in the institute.

After the shocker, officials promptly cancelled SHG contract for serving meals.

JC Jadia, chief executive officer of district panchayat Damoh told TOI, “I received such complaint and discontinued services of SHG serving food at primary school of Khamaria Kalan in Tendukheda tehsil.” But he hastened to add, “You cannot term the SHG act un-touchability

Veeran Ahirwar, who was a student of Class 3, had drowned in a well after access to tubewell water was denied to him. Sevak Ahirwar, brother of Veeran told officials, “When mid-day meals are served, rotis are dropped from a distance. Some time, chappatis fall on ground and we have to remove dust before we eat.” He said “We also have to wash our utensils.”

Other students belonging to scheduled caste also raised the issue of discrimination. They alleged that only two small rotis are served and many times they remain hungry. And after lunch they are not allowed to touch school hand-pump. Sevak alleged that after his brother fell into the well, he had sought help of teachers, but they refused.

After Veeran’s death, Manish Bagri, CEO Janpad had suspended all teachers, including head master of the school. Police registered a case.

Jadia said investigations were on and a report would be submitted to district administration.


Residents fight to save pond from encroachers


Summary: Also in the French document No.R.V.253 No.85 dated October 14, 1959, the Cadastre No.84 is described as ‘Water Pond’. Having decided to clean the water pond, which was left abandoned for the past three years, the residents collected up to Rs. Residents of Annamalai Nagar in Puducherry have taken up the cudgels to protect a water pond, which is the only surviving water body in their area. They have petitioned the Directorate of Survey and Land Records to ascertain the ownership of the pond and declare it a government property. The residents have petitioned the Directorate of Survey and Land Records to ascertain the ownership of the pond and declare it a government property in order to preserve it.

Residents fight to save pond from encroachers

They have petitioned the Directorate of Survey and Land Records to ascertain the ownership of the pond and declare it a government property. Residents of Annamalai Nagar in Puducherry have taken up the cudgels to protect a water pond, which is the only surviving water body in their area. Known as ‘Mottai Thoppu Kulam’, this pond has long been central to the rituals of the 175 families residing in the predominantly Dalit area. Once an agricultural area where paddy, coconut trees were grown in the land spread across 80 acres, the 10,600 square feet pond is now the only remnant of the rich green past. Even this natural resource is facing the threat of encroachment. The residents have petitioned the Directorate of Survey and Land Records to ascertain the ownership of the pond and declare it a government property in order to preserve it. In 2005, the Annamalai Nagar Residents Welfare Association had submitted a petition stating that the land at R.S.No 296/3 of Saram Revenue Village (Mottai Thoppe) was a government poramboke pond and during the re-survey, the survey number has been erroneously mentioned as patta land and that land grabbers are trying to convert the pond into housing plots. They had requested the government to safeguard the pond by correcting the records. The Taluk Office of Oulgarpet had conducted an inquiry and submitted a report to the Deputy Collector (Revenue/North) on May 18, 2005, and reported that the official gazette published by the French government, the Cadastre no.84, which is correlating to the R.S.No 296/3, has been described as Poramboke vide no.13 dated March 3, 1935.

Also in the French document No.R.V.253 No.85 dated October 14, 1959, the Cadastre No.84 is described as ‘Water Pond’. The Director of Survey and Land Records was directed to explore the possibility of converting the settlement records in respect of that survey number as government poramboke (pond) instead of patta land in the name of Rathinasabapathy and the land in question still remains a pond and no action has been initiated by the legal heirs to convert it into layout plots. Upon receiving the enquiry report from the Taluk office, then Deputy Collector (Revenue/North) A.Vincent Rayar in 2007 had directed the Department of Survey and Land Records to ascertain the ownership of the land and furnish a suitable reply to the association. Since then the files have not been cleared by the Director of Survey and Land Records. Waiting for response, the residents, when pursued the case, found to their surprise the files were missing. Later, they again sent a copy of all the documents they had with them to the office in 2014.

The hindu

Will fight for Dalit women’s rights, says Rohith’s mother


Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith Vemula, the deceased Dalit research scholar of University of Hyderabad, said she will fight for Dalit women’s rights till the end of her life.

She was addressing a gathering at UoH on the occasion of 119th death anniversary of Dalit women leader Savitribai Phule. Explaining how she had faced caste discrimination right from her childhood, Ms. Vemula said here on Thursday that she has made the conscious choice to fight for Dalit students in educational institutions in the country. “I thought caste discrimination that Rohith faced along with me would end when he entered a university. But all my hopes were shattered as my son fell prey to caste discrimination,” Ms. Vemula said as she inaugurated the meet. At the occasion she reminded students that Rohith Vemula had organised the last anniversary celebration of Savitribai Phule in UoH. “I came to the university today as I remembered that my son had organised this event last year,” an emotional Ms. Vemula said. Describing how she had faced discrimination at her workplace and the adoptive home she lived in, Ms. Vemula said she was not allowed to sit in common dining places at the tailoring shop she worked in as she was a Dalit. “After I separated from my husband I had moved into the house of the family that adopted me. My children were not fed well in that house. We were treated badly as we were Dalits,” Ms. Vemula said. Ms. Vemula also said she and her younger son Raja Vemula have adopted Buddhism and will be following the footsteps of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and other Dalit leaders in India. “It is because of Rohith that I could speak here.

The hindu

Freed from bonded labour, but in difficulty


Eight Dalit families, freed from bonded labour and provided land in Sakleshpur taluk as part of a rehabilitation package, are facing difficulty in cultivating the land and settling down in their new homes.

The government has granted them houses under the Ashraya scheme, but they have not been able to build these houses.

Borewells have been sanctioned under the Ganga Kalyana scheme, but there is no road to take borewell drilling trucks to the land.

Futile effort

Ninety Dalit families in Ganguru, Arakalgud taluk, used to work for a pittance as bonded labourers for years. They were freed in the early 1990s, but 24 of them were allotted land in different parts of Sakleshpur taluk only in 2013.

Eight of them were allotted three acres each at Hosagadde village in Belagodu hobli of Sakleshpur taluk. “We are in possession of the land, but we are not able to cultivate it. There is no road to reach our land. The place is surrounded by coffee estates, which are not ready to part with the land earmarked for the road,” said Mahadeva, son of Rangaiah, who was a bonded labour. His family was also allotted three acres of land.

Fear of cancellation

“We have got letters sanctioning houses for us. But there is no road to carry construction materials. The gram panchayat officials have threatened us of cancelling the allotment if we don’t start construction soon,” said Mr. Mahadeva. Some of the families are living in rented houses in Mandinakere, another village.

No borewells drilled

The Social Welfare Department has sanctioned borewells for all eight families. Not even one borewell has been drilled so far. Kanniganahalli Gram Panchayat development officer Shantharaju told The Hindu on Monday that the houses were sanctioned, but none of them have been built yet.

“There are differences with their neighbours regarding the land for road. The Revenue Department authorities have to sort this out,” he said.

The families have appealed to senior officers of the Revenue Department to provide them with a proper road so that they can construct their houses and dig borewells.

“As per the survey map of the land, 32 guntas have been earmarked by the government for the road. Powerful people have encroached upon the land and are not ready to part with it,” a member of one of the families alleged.

The Indian express

Law College Students to Stage Protest in Thiruvananthapuram


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The students of Government Law College (GLC) under Team GLC will stage protest in front of the college on Friday, demanding medical care for the students who were allegedly beaten up by SFI members.

The protest will start at 2 pm. The aggrieved students said they were targeted by SFI members after the college election in February in which Team GLC managed to garner substantial share of votes.

“The violence was unleashed by SFI district leaders Nitish, Rahul and Gerin. Incidentally these people were involved in the attack against former diplomat T P Sreenivasan,” alleged Muneer, a third year student of the college in a press meet on Thursday. He was accompanied by students Akhil, Jishnu and Arun T. They alleged that the SFI members were unleashing terror on the campus and the college authorities remained mute spectators. “After elections they brutally attacked me and Anver. Anver is still recovering from the attack. They also ousted Dalit students Akhil and Sharan from the university hostel,” said Muneer.

The hindu

Dalit Christians protest for SC s


In a show of strength, Dalit Christians from across the country came together here on Thursday demanding that the Scheduled Caste status be extended to both them and Dalit Muslims. The rally, held at Jantar Mantar, saw participation by dozens of Christian religious heads, who appealed to the government to end discrimination based on religion.

Bishop Neethinathan, the chairperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said: “Even after 65 years of Independence, we are struggling for our rights. Sikhs first were included into the Act and later Buddhists were also given the status. Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims have been demanding SC status since, but to no avail.” The matter is with the Supreme Court but the case was supposed to be heard by a Higher Bench, which has not been done, he added.

Samuel Jeyakumar, the executive secretary of the National Council of Churches in India, said: “We demand that paragraph III of the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, which excludes Dalits among Christians and Muslims from its purview, be scrapped.” The rally was organised by the National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christians.

The times of india

Inter-Church meet clarifies stand on liquor, education, dalit rights


Kottayam: In the wake of the assembly elections, the church has voiced the need to reduce the availability of liquor, irrespective of which government assumes power.

In a meeting of the heads of various denominations organized by the Inter-Church Council at CSI Retreat Centre here on Thursday, the leaders reiterated the church’s stance on the liquor policy. Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, who presided over the meeting, raised concerns about the degradation of the quality of education.

He demanded clarity in the package for teachers in the aided sector and sought that the problems created by the government order 60/2016 in the higher secondary department should be solved. The order relates to the revised non-teaching staff pattern in private aided arts and science colleges, training colleges and Arabic colleges. He said the church would jointly work against any move to deny the rights of dalit Christians and financially weaker sections.

The meeting hosted by the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese, also decided to form three committees, by including the laity, to deal with issues related to education, health,etc . The leaders also lauded the High Range Samrakshana Samithy for its stand in the Lok Sabha elections.

Archbishop Susai Pakyam, Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam, Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil, Joseph Marthoma Metropolitan, Archbishop Kuriakose Mar Severios Metropolitan, Archbishop Thomas Mar Koorilos, Bishop Mar Aprem, Bishop Sebastian Edayanthrath, Kuriakose Mar Gregorios Metropolitan, Kuriakose Mar Ivanios Metropolitan and Mathews Mor Anthimos Metropolitan participated.


The closure of Forward Press print edition is a backward step for journalism


Silvia Maria Fernandes Kostka and Ivan Kostka do not give up easily, and I am still hoping that they will not close down the print edition of the Forward Press, the Hindi-English bilingual Dalit-Bahujan magazine they founded in New Delhi in 2009.

Silvia Kostka, the chair of the holding company, Aspire Prakashan, says they just cannot carry on, but after June, the monthly magazine will continue in a digital version with the same editorial staff bringing it out pro bono, without any payment. For these two, Forward Press is a labour of love, and of some pain. And a bit of an impossible dream. She is a surgeon, he a poet and journalist from Mumbai, who lived and worked in the United States and Canada for decades before making New Delhi their home, and workplace. Both are in their early sixties, evangelical and just a trifle revolutionary.

Voice of the opppressed

The impossible twin tasks they undertook was to bring out a bilingual magazine that would speak for the marginalised, at the very bottom of India’s caste structures but going against the popular wisdom of appealing either to the Other Backward Classes or to the Dalits. The two are often at war, and not just in the Jat- and Yadav-dominated landscape of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar, but also in the Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka region of the Deccan peninsula. As Kancha Ilaiah, the mercurial Telugu Yadava professor of Osmania University, who features often in the magazine, said, the Dalits and Other Backward Castes are united in their common enemies in the Upper Castes obeying the Brahminical Code, a point he spelled out in his controversial books Why I Am Not a Hindu, and Buffalo Nationalism.

Publishing a bilingual magazine has not always been a success. Though it has been tried often in the past, it remains a fraught experiment. Ivan Kostka does not take the easy way out of two separate sections in English and Hindi stapled together. The English and Hindi pieces run in parallel columns on every page, even on the website. An English reader, if familiar with the Devanagari script, could sentence by sentence, learn Hindi over a period of time, and pretty idiomatic language too. In the process, he or she would also get an insight into some very complicated caste discourse. That, in fact, was the whole point when the magazine was being thought through. Ivan Kostka signs his editorials wearing a Mahatma Phule turban in the Hindi one, and his casual “western” attire in the English editorial.

Mapping the common ground between the two is a more difficult task. It goes beyond the political discourse of Mayawati, or of the Lohiaite positioning in Eastern India. Forward Presshas been able to bring on board a rich stable of writers, and a slew of arguments and personalities who have shaped the political consciousness and articulation of the subaltern groups. When it shapes up, the web archives will be a rich mine of data on the subject.

Mahishasur made his full-blown buffalo-headed appearance in the Forward Press in this context, when the magazine, together with the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, celebrated him in October 2014 as the victim of Goddess Durga, presented as the incarnation of upper caste supremacist politics. For good measure, the now-iconic cover page of the magazine had an inset of Mary Kom, arguably the most prominent aspirational woman icon of tribal India – Central or North East.

Sangh target

Ivan Kostka had been in the cross-hairs of the Sangh Parivar almost from the first issue of the magazine because of what were perceived to be his Evangelical Christian connect. Anniversary functions of Forward Press, some held in the Constitution Club, had featured senior Opposition leaders such as Sharad Yadav. The writers, poets, journalists and activists present had been ruthless in their attack on caste hegemony and Brahmanism.

The Mahishasur cover story was the trigger. The Sangh’s mouthpieces sounded the bugle, its student and youth wings agitated, and the police cracked down. Long before intolerance and anti-national issues brought the Jawaharlal Nehru University to a boil, Delhi police went on arampage in its Nehru Place office on October 9, 2014. They vandalised the cabins, and detained four staff members. The Mahishasur special was carted away to the police station.

The Kostkas went underground, incommunicado to all but their closest confidantes. The magazine continued to be published though.

It is a shame that the journalistic fraternity did not align itself with the harried publishers and the magazine itself at the time of its most severe trial. It was largely left to its own devices. I would call it a betrayal.

My friend and senior colleague in Patriot and the Observer, Bhawa Nand Uniyal, in his now-historic column in The Pioneer published in 1996 exposed the utter absence of Dalits in the senior echelons of the national media – English and Hindi. Not that the situation has been much redressed by the passing of time. And while there is a visible, though seemingly reluctant, effort at investigating the Dalit universe, TV coverage alternates between the patronising and the cover up.

We need more than one Forward Press, in Bangla, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Marathi and in Punjabi. People seem to have forgotten that the land of the Badals has a large Dalit population, which faces violence as vicious as in any of the badlands of the East, or of central India.

The closure of the magazine will be a backward step for Indian journalism.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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