Dalits Media Watch – News Updates 27.03.16


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Now, Marriage Halls Close Doors on Dalits – The Sunday standard


Arson Case: Dalits Demand Arrests – The news Indian express


Tension grips Limbdi over dalit man’s ‘murder’call it – The times of india


Leading dalit and human rights activist call for Hyderabad varsity VC’s suspension, criminal investigation into police action – Dna


Dalits in Tamil Nadu continue to pay with their lives for marrying outside their caste while parties look the other way – The economic times


40 Booked for Caste Clash at Temple Fest in Madurai – The new Indian express


Stir Against Ill-treatment of Dalit Students Turns Violent – The new Indian express


‘Don’t divert funds meant for SCs, STs’ – The hindu


Govt to create 2.5Lakh dalit entrepreneurs under Stand Up India – Your story



The Sunday standard

Now, Marriage Halls Close Doors on Dalits


TIRUPATI:  Your caste is one of the first questions that wedding-hall owners in Kanagayam, Tamil Nadu, ask if you want to book it. And if you happen to be a Dalit, there is no question of the facility being rented out to you, whatever the amount you are willing to pay.

The Kangayam region in Tirupur district, famous for its breed of bulls, is becoming infamous for its deep-rooted casteism, which is seen in various forms. The wedding hall problem is a good example. There are over 20 wedding halls in the small town, but only two, both on Coimbatore Road, are rented out to Dalits. One of them, which used to be a warehouse, still looks like one. The other is a small hall, built in a six-cent plot, without any parking space. Their owners are ostracised by the owners of the other halls for renting them out to Dalits, said a Dalit activist.

Dalits conduct weddings and other family functions at their houses, native villages or at the Sivanmalai temple, which is about 5 km from Kangayam. A recently married Dalit youth said, “The first question the hall owners asked was my caste…”

The news Indian express

Arson Case: Dalits Demand Arrests


JAGATSINGHPUR: The activists of Dalit Bikash Parishad, Khole Ambedkar Dalit Parishad, Baba Saheb Ambedkar Dalit Parishad and other organisations took out a rally and gheraoed Balikuda police station on Saturday protesting the failure of police to arrest the persons accused of setting houses of Dalit families on fire in Brahamandi village.

On March 13, the villagers belonging to upper caste set nearly 10 houses of Dalit families on fire for constructing IAY houses on Government land despite protests.

They also vandalised 15 more houses and attacked one Liya Kandi. She was admitted to Balikuda hospital. Police reached the spot and brought the situation under control but most of the villagers had fled the spot.

Though police had registered a case against the accused, no arrests have been made so far. The gherao was lifted after Balikuda police station IIC Balram Nayak assured that the culprits will be nabbed within a week.

The times of india

Tension grips Limbdi over dalit man’s ‘murder’call it


Rajkot: Tension mounted outside the government hospital in Limbdi taluka of Surendranagar following death of a 60-year-old dalit man as his family members alleged that he was murdered by five persons belonging to the upper caste community.

They refused to accept the body until the accused are arrested. On the other hand the accused have stated before police that they had nothing to do with the man’s death.

The deceased, Revabhai Doriya, a resident of Khandiya village in Chuda taluka, was declared brought dead at the Limbdi government hospital on Friday morning. His son, Naresh Doriya has accused one Mayursinh Rana and four others of beating his father with hockey stick on the head causing his death. Naresh further alleged that Rana had picked up a fight with his father over a petty issue of pushing his car that had broken down on Dhandhuka road on Thursday.

According to police, Revabhai along with Magan Vaniya and Mansukh Vaniya were returning from Chachna village with a dead cow on Wednesday in a pick-up auto rickshaw when they encountered Rana and four others whose car had broken down. Rana asked Revabhai to push the car, but he refused. This lead to an altercation that turned into a fist fight, police said. The complaint filed by Magan Vaniya alleged that Rana and others attacked them with hockey sticks. They hit Revabhai on the head causing severe injury. He was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

However, Rana and his family members claimed that they had never fought with Revabhai, said Chuda deputy superintendent of police I K Chauhan. On the contrary, Revabhai’s auto and Rana’s car had collided following which Revabhai fell down and got hurt, he added. “Our investigation revealed that after the accident, Revabhai and others returned to their homes. On Thursday morning, when Revabhai did not get up from his bed, his son Naresh rushed him to Chuda government hospital where he was declared brought dead,” he added.

Chauhan said that investigation in the case is underway and Revabhai’s family members were being asked to accept the body and complete the final rites.


Leading dalit and human rights activist call for Hyderabad varsity VC’s suspension, criminal investigation into police action


In another damning statement against police action and the administrative role at Hyderabad Central University, the report of an independent fact-finding team said, “Violent attack by police and forceful detention of students was used to suppress the protests at Hyderabad Central University”. Put together by leading Dalit and human rights activists from across the country, the team launched a scathing attack on the authorities of the HCU, saying “brute force by police and state apparatus was the only way by which the administration sought to restore in office” the Vice Chancellor Podile Apparao whom the team called “the prime accused of being responsible for the suicide of Rohith Vemula”.

It also called for a “criminal investigation” into the actions of the police.

The team comprised activists, academicians and lawyer such as Paul Divakar, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, Asha Kowtal, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, Burnard Fatima, International Movement Against Discrimination and Racism, among others.

The key interim findings of the report call the Appa Rao’s return “pre-planned with details chalked out with his supporter students and faculty, which triggered the escalation of violence”. The administration has tried attributing part of this violence to the protesting students, alleging that they broke windows and manhandled, the non teaching staff.

The report noted that Appa Rao has a case pending against him in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, with regard to Vemula’s death. No action has been taken against him and “the role of the MHRD in his reinstatement… was not transparent”.

“It has also been observed that the Union Minister Shri Dattatreya and Sushil Kumar also have not been arrested after being booked for non-bailable offences. This inaction of the state, central government has contributed to this situation,” said the report.

It went on to say, “Disruption of the Campus: The return of the Vice Chancellor, Appa Rao, who had proceeded on indefinite leave triggered the disruption of peace on campus. According to the Home Minister, VC Appa Rao expressed a desire to the Minister to return to the campus and was strongly advised against it by the Police Commissioner and the Home Minister, saying that it would cause disruption of University. In spite of the Home Ministry’s advice he chose to return to the university.”

Concerning police violence and negligence it took note of the fact that “Widespread assault of women students and abusive language and threats to rape the women students were heard from the police” and that minority students were targeted and called “terrorists”. The police did not present those arrested before a magistrate within 24 hours of their arrest.

The team called for the suspension of Appa Rao, to restore a peaceful environment to the university and a fair investigation. It raised the trauma and fear students are living with on campus and the fact that the team was not allowed to meet the VC himself, who denied all requests for interviews. The team was also not allowed on campus, just the Amnesty India, which issued a statement on Friday, wasn’t.

Even parents are not allowed inside campus premises, local reporters on the spot told dna. Students can only meet their parents outside the gates.

The only official word from the university is the a report the Registrar submitted to the state Human Rights Commission (APSHRC), identical to a statement he gave to the press two days ago, which lays responsibility for no food or internet services on campus on a strike by the non-teaching staff after a “brutal attack” on them.

The economic times

Dalits in Tamil Nadu continue to pay with their lives for marrying outside their caste while parties look the other way


Mariamma last spoke to her son P Muthukumar around 5 pm on November 13, 2014. It was just before he left with a friend to meet his girlfriend in response to a call from her. The 23-year-old, a chemistry postgraduate and the first Dalit youth in their neighbourhood in Palani in southern Tamil Nadu to complete a master’s degree, was in the middle of his BEd. “I tried calling him an hour later but his phone remained switched off,” Mariamma told ET Magazine earlier this week.

When a worried Mariamma along with her husband, Paramashivam, went looking for their boy later in the evening, they were told that a body had been found in a well in Virupatchi, around 20 kilometres away. “When we reached the spot, the DSP told us that our son had stolen a chicken and was trying to escape when he tripped and fell into the well,” says Paramashivam at the couple’s two-room house, dominated by photos of a bespectacled Muthukumar.

Even then, says Paramashivam, the attempt was to portray his son as a petty thief, to make him fit into the imagined stereotype of a Dalit. Muthukumar’s parents and activists dismiss the accidental death theory and say that those responsible for his death should be brought to book. They allege that his girlfriend’s family got him murdered to safeguard their “honour” — after all, Muthukumar was a Dalit and his girlfriend, Bhuvaneshwari, a Goundar, officially a backward caste but socially dominant .. The police registered a case under Section 174, or suspicious death, but the family has now approached the courts to get justice.

“Look, this is his watch, which stopped at 5.40 pm… that must be when they killed him,” says a weary Mariamma, taking out the dial from a polythene packet that contains the possessions of her only son, in the forlorn hope that it might serve as some kind of evidence that this was no accident.

The site where Muthukumar met his untimely end is just 60 kilometres from the gruesome murder of another young Dalit a fortnight ago. V Sankar was hacked to death in a crowded marketplace and in full view of CCTV cameras. In this case, the assailants were soon hunted down or surrendered on their own.
The accused include Sankar’s father-in-law and the men sent by him. At the time of his death, the 21-yearold had been married to Kowsalya, his junior in engineering college and a member of the powerful Thevar community, for all of eight months.

This sickening plot line of “honour killings,” where a man or a woman in a relationship is murdered to uphold the socalled honour of the dominant community, was long held to be the problem of states like Haryana, where young couples were killed for marrying within the same gotra (clan). Tamil Nadu began to be clubbed with these states since 2012 when hundreds of Dalit houses in Dharmapuri were torched after a Dalit youth from the region, Ilavarasan, married a girl from the Thevar community.

Government data on the number of honour killings is hard to come by as it is yet to be recognised as a separate crime, despite efforts to have a legislation passed to this effect. But according to Evidence, a Dalit rights NGO headquartered in Madurai, 81 honour killings have taken place in Tamil Nadu in the past three years. “Marriage is an individual’s choice, not even families should have the authority to grant or deny permission, leave alone caste,” says Kathir, who founded Evidence in 2005  to work against caste-based violence. “The issue has been out in the open since the violence in Dharmapuri in November 2012. But there are also a lot of cases where the victim’s body is cremated without a postmortem by the family, who then claims it was a suicide,” he says.

The tragic end to the all-toobrief marriage of Vimla Devi and Dileep Kumar in 2014 is a case in point. Vimla Devi, a Thevar from Usilampatti town, fell in love with Kumar, a Dalit working as a driver. Knowing that her family would oppose the union, the couple eloped to Kerala and got married at a temple. But her family, who had filed a missing person complaint, brought her back with the help of the police and got her engaged to a man from their own community.

Vimla Devi managed to escape house arrest but she was again restrained by the police, who took her back to her parents’ house. The 22-year-old died the same night and her family, claiming it was a suicide, hastily cremated her body.

However, aided by activists, her husband filed a complaint that she had been burnt to death by her own family members, and the case was handed over to the CBI on the orders of the Madras High Court.

Convenient Silence While passing its orders, the court had remarked that the role of the police was far from satisfactory. But this is hardly the exception, says SK Ponnuthai, district secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in Madurai. “The local police are mostly anti-Dalit and take the side of the dominant community. If the girl is from a powerful backward caste, the police will even go to the boy’s house and threaten his family. Instead of protecting the couple, they will hand them over to the upper castes,” she says.

The state’s main political parties shy away from speaking out forcefully against honour killings, for fear of alienating the powerful backward communities, particularly on the eve of an election. To the extent that in 2012, former chief minister O Panneerselvam, a Thevar, denied on the floor of the House that honour killings take place in Tamil Nadu. “The major parties never take a stand. Has even one Thevar leader spoken out against the murder of Sankar? They all run their parties based on cast . ” says Henri Tiphagne, a Madurai-based lawyer and human rights activist.

And this is the supreme irony. For, Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of the self-respect movement driven by EV Ramasamy Naicker, which encouraged inter-caste marriages and rejected Brahmin domination.
In a revolutionary move, then chief minister CN Annadurai went a step further and amended the Hindu Marriage Act in 1967 to legalise such “self-respect marriages”, which did away with the need for Brahmin priests and mangalsutras. The two main parties in the state, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), are the inheritors of this legacy.

“What the parties declare in their constitutions and what they practise are very different,” says C Lakshmanan, associate professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, whose specialisation includes Dravidian politics. “The DMK’s constitution even says that if a member is found to belong to a caste or religious group, they would cease to be a member of the party. Yet, tickets are distributed only on the basis of a candidate’s caste.”

TKS Elangovan, DMK spokesperson and member of Parliament, denies this and says that both Karunanidhi and his son and heir Stalin had condemned the recent killing. Elangovan tries to lay the blame for honour killings on the recent emergence of castebased organisations. “Today, there are many casteist parties in Tamil Nadu which talk about caste to muster the support of their community. These groups are involved in such incidents and need to be stopped,” he says.

Another ‘Love Jihad’ Elangovan’s statement is not without some truth. It is widely accepted that backward caste groupings in Tamil Nadu, particularly the Thevar, Goundar and Vanniyar communities, have been asserting their caste identity and pushing back against what they see as the increasing empowerment of Dalits. In December 2012, soon after the Dharmapuri incident, Pattali Makkal Katchi leader S Ramadoss launched a platform explicitly for intermediate caste groups and implicility against Dalits, to fight “intercaste fake love marriages”.

The rhetoric was eerily similar to the Hindutva rightwing’s “love jihad” scaremongering, with Ramadoss accusing young Dalit men of “luring” dominant caste girls by wearing jeans and sneakers. Dalits marrying “their” women was portrayed as a direct challenge to their masculinity. His strategy might not have helped him reap electoral dividends but it had other repercussions.

“Ramadoss’s bravado encouraged Yuvaraj, who in turn encouraged Sankar’s killers. They draw courage from each other’s impunity,” says Evidence’s Kathir. Yuvaraj is one of the main accused in the murder of Dalit youth Gokulraj, who was abducted soon after he was found talking to a girl from Yuvaraj’s Gounder community. President of the Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai, a fringe caste outfit, Yuvaraj made a mockery of the police by giving interviews while on the run. When he finally surrendered after three months, he was accompanied by hundreds of supporters, according to media reports. The message was clear: he was projecting himself as a hero of his community, never mind that he was a criminal in the eyes of the law.

While sustained social interventions would be the only long-term answer to bring about change, Dalit and women’s rights activists strongly feel a separate law against honour killings would go a long way in combating the evil. “It is not as though we are looking at law as the only solution. But it can be an important enabling factor in challenging norms which are anti-constitutional and militate against basic human rights.

Without a legal framework, you cannot ensure accountability. Therefore, the question is, why is there no law?” asks Brinda Karat, CPM politburo member. The AIDWA, of which Karat is a member, had drafted a law in 2010 titled “The Prevention of Crimes in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill”, which sought to deal with various aspects of the crime but the bill, after various modifications, is currently in cold storage.

Madurai-based activist Ponnuthai says if such a law is enacted, it would have provisions to rehabilitate victims like Kowsalya, who now faces an uncertain future. At her husband’s house in the village of Kumarlingam, over 160 kilometres from Madurai, her father-in-law, Veluchamy, says that if she were to return, she might be endangering the lives of other family members, including Sankar’s two younger brothers. “I have to go to work every day. How long will they be here to protect us?” he asks, nodding in the direction of the four policemen fanning themselves under a shamiana in front of the two-room house.

Like Veluchamy, who works as a daily wage labourer, earning around Rs 200 a day, other families too are victims.

Dileep Kumar’s family has been living in a rented hut away from their native village for two years, out of fear of retribution. “We had a house and a little land in our village but now we can’t go back. They have told us that if our son steps into the village, they will kill him,” says Balachandran, Kumar’s father. Kumar himself is now in Chennai, working as a driver.

But for every Yuvaraj in Tamil Nadu, there is Kowsalya, who is determined that those responsible for killing her husband shall be punished, and Vignesh, Sankar’s younger brother. When asked whether he might now think twice about an inter-caste marriage, the 19-year-old says, “Maybe we can decide who we want to marry but we cannot decide who we will fall in love with, right?”


MARCH 2016: V Sankar, a 22-year-old Dalit man, was hacked to death in a crowded market in Tirupur by three bike-borne assailants. The accused are alleged to have been sent by the family of his wife, Kowsalya, who belongs to the powerful Thevar community

JULY 2015: Decapitated body of Dalit youth Gokulraj was found on railway tracks near Namakkal. Yuvaraj, a local Gounder leader, was arrested. He reportedly confessed to the crime. He and his accomplices murdered Gokulraj after they saw him talking to a girl from their community.

OCTOBER 2014: Vimla Devi, a 21-year-old Thevar girl who had married a Dalit, Dilip Kumar, died at her parents’ house in suspicious circumstances, with her body cremated the same night without informing the police. On her husband’s complaint that she was killed, the case was finally handed over to the CBI

JULY 2013: Dalit youth Ilavarasan, 19, was found dead on railway tracks. His marriage to Divya, a Vanniyar, and her father’s suicide over the assumed ignominy had triggered caste clashes in which several Dalit houses in Dharmapuri were burnt down. Succumbing to pressure, Divya left her husband and returned to her mother’s house.

JULY 2003: Murugesan, 25, a Dalit, and Kannagi, 22, a member of the Vanniyar community, married in the face of opposition. It is alleged that the couple were forced to consume poison in public and then burnt, to destroy the evidence.

The new Indian express

 40 Booked for Caste Clash at Temple Fest in Madurai


MADURAI: Police here on Friday registered a case against as many as 40 people following a clash between caste Hindus and Dalits during a temple festival at Thumbaipatti village near Melur in the district.

According to the police, the clash between the two groups broke out when the Dalits were taking out a procession carrying pots containing holy water (theertham) to the Veerakaliamman Temple in the village as part of its four-day Panguni festival.

When they were on their way to the temple, a group of caste Hindus allegedly intercepted them and hurled abuses at them and called them by their caste name.  Police added that the caste Hindus also attacked the Dalits with sticks and logs.

As many as six Dalits reportedly suffered injuries  in the melee and were admitted to the GH in Melur for treatment.

Based on a complaint from a Dalit youth, Melur Police registered a case against nearly 30 caste Hindus.

Periyakattasamy, a caste Hindu, lodged a counter complaint claiming that the Dalits attacked them. Hence a case was registered against 10 Dalits.

In a separate incident, Melur Police registered a case against two Dalits and a caste Hindu for a verbal altercation during the festival.

Three caste Hindus and three Dalits were also booked in a similar incident.

The new Indian express

Stir Against Ill-treatment of Dalit Students Turns Violent


CHENNAI:  A students’ protest seeking the dismissal of Hyderabad Central University Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao and Madras University professor David Ambrose for allegedly ill-treating Dalit Students led to a scuffle between them and the police, which left scores of students with minor injuries.

A police personnel, too, claimed he suffered a fracture in the melee.

When the members of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) representing various educational institutions in Chennai gathered near Shastri Bhavan on Saturday to stage a protest, the students and police entered into a scuffle over a verbal dispute before they were evicted and released near Nungambakkam. A group of students sustained injuries and a police Sub-Inspector Gopinath also claimed to have allegedly fractured his hand in the melee.

Shreeya Manohar, a student, alleged that the trouble began when she and another student Greeshma asked for details of the FIR. “Sub-inspector Gopinath said details can’t be shared. When one of our friends Azhar Moindeen tried to intervene, the SI tried to throw a chair and started hurling abuses before assaulting us. The doctor said I have a concussion and blood clot,” said Shreeya, who got treated at the nearby nursing home.

When contacted, Gopinath blamed the students for the ruckus. “We were good with them until the students turned violent just when we were releasing them. They questioned us about the FIR and used abusive language. I warned them, but they failed to mend their ways, but instead attacked me causing a fracture in my hand. Then they hit themselves to create a scene. We have filed a CSR and action will be taken against them,” Gopinath, who is admitted to KMC hospital, told Express.

Early in the day, the students tried to meet the representative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to express their anguish. A protesting student Charu said the students rights were violated inside educational institutions and they were only fighting for their rights.

The hindu

‘Don’t divert funds meant for SCs, STs’


Social Welfare Minister H. Anjaneya has advised officials not to divert the funds sanctioned by the State government for the development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Inaugurating a State-level ‘Janapara Utsav’, a cultural festival of folklore, organised by the Department of Kannada and Culture and the district administration here on Friday, he said that the government had provided Rs.16,000 crore for the development and welfare of SCs and STs during the current financial year.

He said that there were a large number of talented Dalits who were struggling to sustain their art forms due to lack of proper support and appreciation from society, thanks to the growing influence of realty shows in television and modern audio-visual media.

The government was keen to preserve native cultural traits and was providing musical instruments, monthly honorariums and organising programmes to encourage folk artists in rural areas.

The Kannada and Culture Department was recording and publishing folk songs to popularise them among people. However, efforts need to be made to identify Dalit artists and extend the benefits facilitated by the government, Mr. Anjaneya said.

Suresh C. Angadi, MP, writer Arvind Malgatti, Dayanand, director, Kannada and Culture Department, and Deputy Commissioner N. Jayaram were present.

Earlier, an impressive cultural procession of folk troupes from different parts of the State was taken out from Ambedkar garden to the venue of the cultural festival.

Your story

Govt to create 2.5Lakh dalit entrepreneurs under Stand Up India


The Standup India initiative as a part of the Startup India campaign is all set to create 2.5 lakh SC/ST entrepreneurs. The Standup India initiative is  aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among SCs/STs, women communities as a part of Prime MinisterNarendra Modi’s dream of Startup-India. The campaign is based on an action plan aimed at promoting bank financing for start-up ventures to boost entrepreneurship and encourage start ups with jobs creation. The campaign was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 15th August, address from the Red Fort last year.

At the inauguration of the 5th National Industrial & Trade Fair organised by Dalit Indian Chamber Commerce & Industry (DICCI) , Union Minister for MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Kalraj Mishra has announced that, Under Stand-up India initiative, each of the 1.25 lakh bank branches would be encouraged to fund a SC/ST and woman entrepreneurs to create 2.5 lakh new entrepreneurs in the country

He also said that, there would be a special support structure for innovation based start-ups, including funding from the government . “The government will unveil a blue print for start-ups to ease the process of setting up new venture very shortly”, he said.

According to Mishra’s observation the availability of adequate credit was always been a major issue and his ministry has taken several initiatives to address the challenges .The dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry has been encouraging and facilitating Dalit enterprise as a means of empowerment and has also ensured that the community contributes in the economy, and be the job givers, not job seekers. He said,

On this occasion, Minister for Heavy Industries Anant Geete also added that there is a promising road ahead for Dalit entrepreneurs. As many as 292 PSUs in India have been mandated to procure 20 per cent of their requirements from MSME sector. Of this, 4 per cent has to be from Dalit enterprises, which translates into a sizable market, he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the Trade Fair and stressed on the need of empowerment of SC/ST entrepreneurs. The fair had 350 stalls, including 30 stalls belonging to the Central PSUs. Seminars on MSE procurement policy, B2B meetings, buyer-seller meetings are being organised on themes important for entrepreneurs, in addition to programmes designed to promote business opportunities and capacity- building.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


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