Gujarat Dalit clerk’s suicide: End discrimination, say staff in court – The Indian express
Dalit student ‘harassed’ – The hindu
Campus with a difference – The Indian express
3 Held over Caste Clash at Temple Fest – The new Indian express
Scheduled caste sub plan – The hansindia
UNICEF to continue support to MP’s Suposhan Abhiyan to reduce malnutrition – Nyoooz
Vemula and Kanhaiya: Tale of 2 Indian student activists – Asia times
Deputy CM promises funds for Jagjivan Bhavan – The hindu
Dalit boys thrashed: Can ‘Stand Up India’ end Dalit discrimination?
The Indian express
Gujarat Dalit clerk’s suicide: End discrimination, say staff in court
Two days after a 31-year-old Dalit who worked as a clerk in an Ahmedabad court committed suicide, the story of his discrimination was narrated in a courtroom in the presence of a magistrate. As colleagues of Ketan Koradia called for an end to “caste-based discrimination”, back home, his parents recalled how a boy who had made them proud slid into “depression” because he was “harassed” by co-workers.
Before committing suicide on Sunday night, Ketan, who was posted as a junior clerk in the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Ahmedabad’s Gheekanta area, is reported to have written down names of five of his colleagues who allegedly harassed him by making casteist remarks.
“They (the accused) once broke an earthen pot after my son drank water from it. They would never share a meal with my son and would keep him away while eating lunch in office. His colleagues would address him as a Dalit or a BC (backward caste). He dealt with this on a daily basis ever since he joined work,” his 50-year-old father Dalpat Koradia said, sitting at his home in Danilimda, a predominantly Dalit neighbourhood.
“When he was born, we had nothing. My wife and I used to sell clothes on a handcart and we raised Ketan and his sister Sangeeta with great difficulty. He got the court job at a salary of Rs 18,000 per month. We were so happy,” Dalpat said.
A relative said Ketan had got engaged to a teacher in February, and that “he was happy”. Ketan’s mother Jasu said he was a bright student who finished M.Com and got a government job in 2013. Meanwhile, a look at the room where he hanged himself seemed to suggest Ketan was looking for another job, and study books and an admit card pointed to him having taken an exam for the deputy mamlatdar’s post in March last year. One of his friends confirmed he was “unhappy” in his current job. In the FIR, his father alleged five court officials — C K Trivedi, G J Shah, R P Barot, K C Bhavsar and Bhati Saheb — were responsible for his son’s death. “To harass Ketan, he was transferred without any order to court number 7. Again, he was transferred to court number 14 in February without giving any reason, which depressed him further,”
his father said in the FIR. At the court, as a condolence meeting for Ketan got underway at 3 pm Tuesday, the courtroom was packed. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate M F Khatri sat in the middle of about a hundred staff members, mostly clerks. “The true condolence to Ketan would be to talk about casteist discrimination and burden of too much work. He was transferred to this court’s bench despite the fact that he had no knowledge of how courts work. He only knew accounts,” said a young employee. Another said, “Caste-based discrimination does happen here. I won’t name anyone but a judge remarked about a clerk, ‘Aa toh adivasi che (he is a tribal)’ to indicate that the clerk was not competent. This is simply not done.
Dalit student ‘harassed’
A Dalit student of Delhi University has alleged that he was attacked by a group of students at Hans Raj College when he was pasting posters of a protest on the institution’s premises. The student also alleged that casteist remarks were passed to harass him.
The student also approached Maurice Nagar police station for filing a complaint against the group.
“I was pasting posters of a student protest against the rape and murder of a Dalit girl when the group attacked me and passed casteist remarks,” said the victim, Puran. The protest was to be held outside Bikaner House on Tuesday.
He added that he went to the Principal and also the police but nobody entertained his plea. The student, a member of the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), said that he would approach the National Commission for Scheduled Castes demanding action against the college authorities.
Hans Raj Principal Rama Sharma maintained that the student had met her on Monday and when she asked for his ID card, he said he was not a student of the college.
The Indian express
Campus with a difference
Is there more than meets the eye in the BJP government targeting Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad Central University? Since the mid-1970s and early 1980s, these universities have become like Oxford and Cambridge for first-generation SC, ST and OBC aspirants of higher education. They are the most prestigious amongst the top five higher educational institutions in the rankings launched by the human resource development ministry on Monday.
In 1976, when I was in the final year of an MA at Osmania University, Hyderabad, the most serious aspirants for MPhil and PhD courses would dream of getting into JNU. To fulfil that dream, I took a loan and went to Delhi for the first time in my life. I had to expend more effort to go there than the upper-caste rich did to go to Oxford or Harvard. However, I could not make it.
The dream to go to JNU was not because it was a left-activist university, but because of its faculty’s reputation and its academic environment. In the social sciences, several serious teachers were drawn from all over and were known for their credible research. Rasheeduddin Khan and K. Seshadri from Osmania were in political science at JNU. In history, S. Gopal, Bipan Chandra and Romila Thapar were famous. Economics, too, had well-known names. Why did we not dream of going to Banaras Hindu University? We never heard about great teachers there. Even from a rightwing point of view, not much credible work was done at BHU nor was an environment for rigorous research created there. No doubt, the present dispensation treats BHU as its favoured baby. But how many Dalit scholars who have done visible work has it produced? The only known Dalit politician who studied there was Babu Jagjivan Ram. He faced horrible caste discrimination and later shifted to the University of Calcutta, where he finished his BSc.
In a postcolonial nation like India, degrees of foreign universities were more respected than those of Indian universities. But for first-generation rural students, a foreign university education was impossible. The regional universities that SC, ST and OBC students could afford to reach were academically weak. The rigour of both the faculty and students was so poor that the emergence of a scholar of repute with good communication skills in English and grounding in theory and research methodologies was difficult. Not that exceptional scholars didn’t emerge from regional universities at all. There were some. All my research degrees are from Osmania University. Narendra Jadhav, a Dalit economist, did an MA from Bombay University and a PhD from the US. But they were not producing scholars year after year. JNU began to do that.
HCU has gradually become the second-best university in science and social science teaching and research. Those who do not get admission in JNU try to get a place at HCU.
Over a period of 40 years, these two universities have produced some Dalit scholars who have done serious research and been engaged in transforming the life and status of the “untouchable” community. For example, JNU has produced Sukhadeo Thorat, a noted economist and the first Dalit chairman of the UGC, Gopal Guru, a well-known political theorist, Vivek Kumar, a noted sociologist, and so on.
Similarly, HCU products like N. Sukumar, an emerging political scientist presently at Delhi University, P. Keshav Kumar, a serious philosophy teacher, and Bhangya Bhukya, an upcoming tribal historian teaching at HCU, are good examples of the growing talent from among the SC/ ST communities.
Apart from these scholars, several SC/ ST youth who studied in these universities joined the civil services. In fact, Udit Raj, a Dalit BJP MP and former revenue service officer, is a JNU product. Chandra Bhan Prasad, a noted journalist-writer and advocate of Dalit capitalism, is also a product of JNU. Almost all of these people came from first-generation Dalit/ tribal families and became what they are because of the academic environment these universities provided. The BJP’s accusation that these universities are producing “left-liberals” and are, therefore, anti-national is only one side of the story. The core social forces of the Sangh Parivar seem to dislike the intellectual emergence of the lower castes, particularly the untouchables. This core is also uncomfortable with reservations. Most of the Dalit scholars mentioned above came into these universities because of reservation. I did not get admission because, at that time, there was no OBC reservation. There is no denying that most Dalit scholars are left-Ambedkarites; this will be so in future also. Let us assume that a neutral Dalit student reads The Communist Manifesto and M.S.
Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts. The former is written in the European context and the latter in the Indian context. Which appeals to her intellectually? Which holds potential for further research and theoretical enrichment? One needn’t answer this question but ask a BJP JNU product like Nirmala Sitharaman (who has been strangely silent) to give her honest opinion. Theories of social change or development are not nation-specific. Marxism, a theory of universal appeal to minds that search for socio-economic change, whether in JNU, Oxford or Harvard, attracts global youth. No matter how much propaganda is spread, V.D. Savarkar or Golwalkar cannot reach the theoretical heights of Marx. For a serious SC/ ST/ OBC mind, reading Marx and Ambedkar makes sense, and their writings have an intellectual kick. This attracts talented minds that are unhappy with existing hierarchies and inequalities.
The young who work around the Sangh Parivar are taught to maintain the social status quo; they cannot even imagine how a change-hungry mind thinks. Naturally, to them, Marxism appears to be anti- national rubbish. If the BJP government wants to dismantle these two universities and degrade every Central university to the level of a BHU or hand over even social science education to private universities that spend lots of money on advertisements and sell education, the greatest losers will be the SCs, STs and OBCs. This strategy is to stop them from becoming intellectuals without openly opposing reservation. The BJP has every reason to oppose serious social science education because social scientists are not as easily amenable to religious fundamentalist theory and practice as natural scientists. The challenge before left-liberal and Dalit-bahujan social scientists is to stop the BJP’s project of preventing “the other” from thinking.
The new Indian express
3 Held over Caste Clash at Temple Fest
MADURAI: A 23-year-old caste Hindu was arrested on Monday and a case registered against 10 caste Hindus under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in Sattur near Peraiyur on Monday, for allegedly attacking a Dalit youth for bursting crackers during a temple festival. The accused has been identified as P Alexpandian (23) of Salupapatti village near Sattur, said a police source.
The source said on Sunday evening, a group of Dalit families went to Salupapatti in Kudicherri village to attend a festival at the Sellandi Amman Temple.
Apparently, when the group of Dalits burst crackers, it disturbed cattle belonging to caste Hindu Anandhan. This led to a heated altercation between the Dalits and some caste Hindus, said the source. C Pandishwaran (19) of Kudicherri village was reportedly attacked.
Based on a complaint by Pandishwaran, the Sattur Police registered a case and arrested Alexpandian.
On the basis of another complaint, two Dalits, P Muthupandi (32) and P Sundaram (40) of Kudicherri, were arrested and registered a case against nine others for allegedly attacking a caste Hindu. Police said Anandhan claimed that during the festival, there was an altercation over an old issue and 11 Dalits attacked them.
Scheduled caste sub plan
Warangal: “The TRS government is committed for the cause of SCs’ categorisation and efforts were being made to address the issue,” claimed Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari.
The commitment of the government was proved with the fact that it had passed a resolution in the first session of the State assembly seeking to categorise scheduled castes and the resolution was sent to Centre, he said.
Addressing a gathering at the 109th birth anniversary celebrations of Babu Jagjivan Ram at Ambedkar Bhavan in Hanamkonda on Tuesday, he called upon the dalits to be united to protect their rights and to get benefitted from the welfare measures by the State and Central governments.
Kadiyam said that an all-party delegation would be taken to New Delhi before the commencement of next Parliament session to put pressure on the NDA government regarding the categorisation issue.
The State government has allocated Rs 10, 800 crore for dalits development. Guidelines would soon be issued to make use of such funds under SC Sub-Plan. A target was set this year to distribute about 2,000 acres of land this year to landless dalits under land purchase programme, he stated.
Plans were afoot to install a life-size statue of Jagjivan Ram in Warangal town within a year time, said Deputy Chief Minister Srihari. He asked Mayor N Narender to suggest a land for the purpose.
Kadiyam Srihari further said dalits have great talent and what they need was an opportunity to prove themselves. Azim Premji Foundation recently conducted eligibility test to offer scholarships to students in which 50 students were selected from Telangana and of them 36 students were dalits.
Srihari lauded Telangana Social Welfare Residential Education Institutions secretary RS Praveen Kumar’s efforts in encouraging dalit students to excel in studies and in bringing out their talents.
MPs A Seetaram Naik and P Dayakar, MLA D Vinay Bhasker, Warangal Mayor N Narender, ‘Dalit Ratna’ Bommalla Kattaiah, District Collector V Karuna, Rural SP AK Jha, Commissioner of Police G Sudheer Babu, DRO K Shoba and others were present.
At Congress Bhavan, district Congress president N Rajender Reddy, ex-MLAs K Sridhar and P Veeraiah, SC Cell Chairman N Srinivas, TPCC secretary EV Srinivas Rao and others paid tributes to Jagjivan Ram.
Similarly at Northern Power Distribution Company Limited office (NPDCL), company CMD K Venkata Narayana, directors B Venkateshwar Rao, B Narsinga Rao and senior officials have paid rich tributes to Jagjivan Ram.
At Kakatiya University, In-Charge Registrar Prof K Althaf Hussain, SC/ST Cell Director G Brahmeshwari and others have recalled services of Jagjivan Ram and stressed on the need to follow his ideals.
UNICEF to continue support to MP’s Suposhan Abhiyan to reduce malnutrition
Summary: UNICEF officers said the organisation will continue to support Suposhan Abhiyan and its knowledge management. BHOPAL: UNICEF will inform other states about women and child department’s Sneh Sarokar Yojana and Suposhan Abhiyan and motivate them to replicate it, the state government claimed on Tuesday. Women at Ranipura showed them toilets which have been constructed after the village committed to make itself open-defecation free by August 15, 2016. They visited training centre of various women and child related leadership programme, interacted with participants who were undergoing training and mentors for the training.The Sneh Sarokar Yojana was launched from Datia to fight malnutrition with citizen participation. Under the scheme, privileged section of society including businessmen, government officials and social workers have been the responsibility to address the child malnourishment issue.
BHOPAL: UNICEF will inform other states about women and child department’s Sneh Sarokar Yojana and Suposhan Abhiyan and motivate them to replicate it, the state government claimed on Tuesday. Henriette Ahrens, principal officer programmes and Forogh Foyouzat chief of field services, UNICEF India, were on a three day visit to the state.The team visited Sheopur to see work of chief minister community leadership programme and implementation of tribal sub-plan in the district. They visited training centre of various women and child related leadership programme, interacted with participants who were undergoing training and mentors for the training.The Sneh Sarokar Yojana was launched from Datia to fight malnutrition with citizen participation.
Under the scheme, privileged section of society including businessmen, government officials and social workers have been the responsibility to address the child malnourishment issue. Nourishment is provided not just for malnourished children but also to pregnant and lactating mothers. These women are given cooked lunch daily along with a fruit and sweets like ladoos and halwa.UNICEF officers visited Ranipura and Sesaipura village to meet with the community.
Vemula and Kanhaiya: Tale of 2 Indian student activists
Student unrest in India, as elsewhere in the world, had serious political consequences. In the 1970s, it even led to the imposition of ‘Emergency’ (1975-77) by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Student unrest again led to the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations on reservations in government jobs and admissions to educational institutions for the so-called Other Backward Classes. Such reservation already exists for marginalized ‘Scheduled Castes’ and ‘Scheduled Tribes’ (‘Dalits’– oppressed — and Adivasis — indigenous people — as they are popularly called).
The student unrest in the neglected north-eastern state of Assam in the 1980s transformed politics in the region as never before.
Recently, two major universities witnessed student protests against the government’s political interference in their internal affairs despite the autonomy they enjoy.
On 17 January 2016, Rohith Vemula, a ‘dalit’ and Ph.D student, was forced to take his own life (described as ‘institutional murder’) in the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in south India.
What drove him to this extreme step was the caste-based discrimination and mental torture inflicted on him by the university administration for being a ‘dalit’.
Vemula, who got university admission on his own merit, was treated with contempt by caste-minded university authorities. Things took a serious turn when two central ministers started meddling over what they thought was his alleged ‘anti-national’ activities as a member of the radical Ambedkar Students Association (ASA).
ASA is named after Dr. BR Ambedkar, a dalit icon and social reformer who campaigned against social discrimination.
The so-called ‘anti-national activities’ by Vemula boiled down to a demand for social justice and equality of treatment mandated by the democratic, republican Constitution of India. In his searing suicide note, Vemula deplored his treatment as a ‘thing’ rather than as a human being endowed with a ‘mind’.
The Ambedkar Students Association in the HCU has matured over the years and has begun to deal with not only ‘dalit’ issues but also those affecting other deprived communities. This was perceived as a threat by caste-oriented power structure in the university administration and more importantly by the right wing student organisation, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP), affiliated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A massive protest march demanding justice for Rohith Vemula took place in New Delhi on February 23. Students and teachers of the JNU and other universities joined the protest.
On 12 February 2016, another student unrest erupted, this time in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) when a ‘dalit’ (in a slightly larger sense) student leader and president of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and detained by police on charges of sedition and conspiracy under the colonial and repressive Indian Penal Code, 1860.
A complaint was made against Kumar by a lawmaker of the ruling party charging him with indulging in ‘anti-national activities’ by participating in a campus meeting in which, among other things, slogans favoring independence for Kashmir were raised.
Kumar is also a member of the All India Students Federation (SFI) of the Communist Party of India.
The university authorities had initially given permission for holding the event organized by another students’ group in which Kumar had taken part. However, on learning the exact nature of the event and its purpose, the permission was later withdrawn.
Kumar was not guilty of raising the alleged ‘anti-national’ slogans. In fact, he had publicly opposed them. The video footage of him shouting slogans at the meeting was fabricated by interested elements.
Students belonging to the ABVP had gathered near the venue to protest against the “anti-national” nature of the controversial meeting. Hearing about this, those of other groups like the All India Students Federation came out to support the organizers. The groups clashed and the police were called in to restore order.
According to the JNU Students’ Union, their leaders and left organizations opposed some of the ‘regressive slogans’ raised at the event. At the same time, they also objected to the cancellation of the program by the university administration acting “under ABVP’s pressure to silence any kind of differing view point.”
The union also questioned the role of police who failed to act when ABVP students began attacking their members.
ABVP, with the support of like-minded students from the Delhi University, beat them up while the police stood mute spectators, the union said.
Kumar was arrested based on the evidence cooked up with police connivance. He was later beaten up by some ‘lawyers’ while being taken to a court for hearing. The ‘lawyers’ were allowed to go scot-free.
These two incidents led to massive student protests.
While the protests were raging in the two universities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained silent because of his loyalty to BJP and the Hindu fundamentalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of which he had been a devoted ‘propagandist’ before joining the government.
Opposition parties tried to whip up public sentiment against the government as ministers took an aggressive stance on the two student issues and even blamed them for their ‘anti-national’ activities.
Instead of responding positively to the situation, BJP bigwigs began whipping up ‘nationalist’ sentiments to distract public from the real issues.
The lesson from these developments is that the institutional design and autonomy of public universities in India have successfully provided room for independent thinking enabling the survival of the intellectual tradition of radical thought.
Marginalized groups have gained access to universities impacting the larger political field.
But the emerging new forms of solidarity are perceived as a threat by the ruling circles which mount attacks on university and its institutions.
The following trends have to be noted: i) Rise in violent attacks against students for presumed insults to Indian culture and Hindu religion; ii) brutal police repression against alleged ‘anti-national’ and ‘seditious’ activities; iii) criminal role of elements in the media and others who fabricate evidence, flout legal norms and subvert police impartiality; iv) public announcement by BJP-friendly elements of a cash reward for anyone willing to kill student leader Kumar; v) apparently instigated threats of violence against JNU inmates by outsiders and v) random attacks by some against the so-called ‘subsidized anti-national students’ in public universities.
While the BJP is busy erecting a personality cult around the prime minister, an alarming decline in governance and development is noticeable.
According to Human Rights Watch, Modi’s government has undermined democracy, restricted free speech by using colonial sedition laws and harassed human rights activists. It has advised the government to take immediate steps to help marginalized communities, ‘dalits’, tribes and religious minorities.
Deshpande, Satish and Mary John, 2016, ‘Emptying the Idea of India’ The Hindu, March 2, p. 10
Deshpande, Satish, 2016 ‘The Public University after Rohith-Kanhaiya’, Economic and Political Weekly, March 12, pp.32-34.