Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 18.04.16


Dalit student of EFLU faces discrimination – The siasat daily


Dalit youth beaten up, denied milk by caste Hindus in Tirupur – The news minut


How a Dalit Journalist Was Boycotted in an Ex-PM’s Village – The quint


Dalits Cry Foul Over Violence by Caste Hindu Youth – The new Indian express


After son’s death, family may not take part in Sidi in future – The hindu


What The News Doesn’t Tell You About Rural India, P Sainath Does – The huffington post


Azaadi from caste system – Greater Kashmir


Nallampatti Dalits want case registered against upper caste community – The hindu



The siasat daily

Dalit student of EFLU faces discrimination


Hyderabad: The incidences of discrimination against Dalit students are on the increase day by day. A dalit student of EFLU was allegedly subjected to discrimination by professor K. Prakash. Osmania University Police registered a case under SC/ST act against Prof. Prakash. EFLU management has also registered a case against the student Mr. Duggal.


It may be noted that in 2013, a research scholar from Kashmir, Mudassir hanged himself in his hostel room vexed up with the harassment of the management of EFLU. In 2011, a Ph.D. scholar D. Koteshwar was also subjected to discriminatory behavior.

The news minut

Dalit youth beaten up, denied milk by caste Hindus in Tirupur


Dalits from Kaarapalayam village in Tirupur on Sunday filed a petition with the Uthiyur police station on Sunday morning for beating up a youth and bing denied milk by the co-operative milk society which is run by caste Hindus.

The Dalits also alleged that the women who did have toilets in their houses were not allowed to use the fields and moreover, the Dalits have been denied working on the fields owned by the caste Hindus, according to The New Indian Express.

This began when a Dalit youth Sasikumar (20) was beaten up by two caste Hindu youths in the village. One of the accused, Makesh is a member of the caste outfit Kongu Ilaingar Peravai and a schoolmate of Sasikumar.

In the petition, it is written that Sasikumar was stopped by two caste-Hindu youths by blocking the road. When he asked them to move their bikes, they asked him to return. Later, he was beaten and abused by the two men, according to The New Indian Express.

There are about 30 Dalit families and 50 caste Hindus living in the village.

On Sunday evening, the caste Hindu community elders told the police that they will give access to Dalits to enter the village. A police official told TNIE that it was a personal problem and it had been sorted. However, Sasikumar said that he did not have any personal problem with the two caste Hindu youth. He also said that he will register a case under SC/ST Act.

The quint

How a Dalit Journalist Was Boycotted in an Ex-PM’s Village


Vijay Kumar, a journalist and a Dalit, was in Class 10 when a man from a neighbouring village became India’s Prime Minister of India. Like everyone else, he was happy. After all, Sigaranahalli was just two kilometres away from the village in which the first and only Prime Minister from Karnataka was born.

Vijay’s Journey

Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda, who hails from Haradanahalli village in Hassan district, was India’s Prime Minister for less than a year between June 1996 and April 1997. But that short stint was enough to give him a certain kind of clout, Vijay feels.

Vijay’s sense of dejection comes from the events of the last few months. As a reporter for Kannada daily Vijayavani, Vijay’s reportage including covering instances of caste discrimination. But covering an incident that occurred in his native village Sigaranahalli, turned his world upside down.

Entry of the Dalits

In September 2015, he was the first to learn that Vokkaligas of his village had fined four Dalit women because they had entered the Basaveshwara temple, whose presiding deity is the Nandi. He and a journalist with a national daily reported on it.

Of around 300 houses in the village, around 30 houses of the Holeya caste are located in the Holageri (the Holeya-keri. Keri refers to the lane on which Dalit houses are located). The rest of the houses belong to the Vokkaliga caste, which is a socially and politically dominant land-owning group. One house, is of the Vishwakarma caste.

After these reports appeared, other journalists in the district followed suit. Eventually, the district administration intervened and conducted a temple entry programme. However, angered by this, the Vokkaligas closed down the temple for months.

Clash Between Dalits and Administration

Towards the end of March, the temple had been “purified” for the Durga Parameshwari Jatre, an annual temple fair. Deciding that the worst had already happened, the Dalits of the village submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner urging that the district administration enable them to offer pooja during the jatre.

Things took an ugly turn on 1 April. The district administration had arranged a meeting near the temple between representatives of the Vokkaligas and the Dalits, to enable the latter to offer puja during the jatre. However, a group of villagers, many of them women, assaulted two photo journalists, locked up the Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Superintendent of Police and another official in the room of a government school near the temple, and even pelted stones at the police. The ASP and AC have since said that they locked themselves up in the school for their own safety.

They chased us, hit us with their hands, with clubs, pelted stones at us. Krishnaiah (the other photojournalist) was wearing a helmet. They hit him on the head and it broke. The police came to our rescue, and they too were hit. We thought we would die that day. When we reached there to cover it, there were other journalists too, but they left some time before the violence. The attackers said that they had sent a message to some journalists.

Vasanthaiah, Stringer with Vijayavani

Vijay Kumar happened to be in Sigaranahalli on the day of the violence. Although he moved to Hassan 10 years ago owing to his work, his family still lives in the village. “If I had gone to the temple to cover the meeting, I would not have returned,” he said.

Police have arrested 29 persons, mostly women, for the assault and violence. Protests and counter-protests followed.

Vasanthaiah is saddened by the attitude of his fellow journalists. “They protest when something happens to journalists in Delhi, but they didn’t say a word for us.”

Neither Vijay nor his fellow Dalit villagers anticipated the backlash from the stories he did on Sigaranahalli. Besides the denial of entry into the temple, Vijay also reported on a Samudaya Bhavana built by MPLAD funds sanctioned by HD Deve Gowda, but allegedly renamed Vokkaliga Bhavana and taken over by the Vokkaligas.

The “Father-Sons Party” of JD(S)

Practically everybody in the keri blames Holenarsipura MLA HD Revanna, Deve Gowda’s son, for the hostility over the temple entry. In the immediate aftermath of the fine in September, they allege Revanna allegedly scuttled a peace meeting, and did not allow it to be officially documented. During a meeting of JD (S) workers in Hassan city in November 2015, Deve Gowda had blamed “a print reporter” for all the tension, misrepresented the demand for temple entry by the Dalits, and called the whole episode a pack of “lies”.

In past several years, the JD(S) has been accused of discarding its socialist legacy in favour of casteist and nepotistic politics. It’s often been called the “father-sons party”. Raju, of the Dalits of the keri, adds another nickname: “The JD(S) should be called Jaati Dala, not Janata Dal.”

All Dalit villagers allege that Revanna has consistently carried out a vilification campaign against Vijay. Revanna has publicly blamed Vijay and the journalist from a national daily for “creating trouble”.

Vijay also alleges that Revanna and Deve Gowda brought pressure on his newspaper Vijayavani, because of which, he was transferred out of the district. He was first posted at Gangavathi (Koppal district) and when he requested a posting closer to home, they moved him to Mysuru.

I tried it for two months in Mysuru, but I was away from my family and it was very difficult to meet the expenses of two houses.


Vijay’s Life Now

Vijay has two daughters – one is six and the other is one-and-a-half-years old.

Now, he works two jobs – as a stringer for a local television news channel and as a journalist with Jana Mitra, a local daily. As a permanent employee – Vijay was the only one from his village with a salaried job; the rest are daily wage workers – Vijay earned around Rs 18,000 per month. Now, his earnings from both jobs put together are around Rs 10,000 or less.

Nothing like that happened. There were other reasons for his transfer. Those are internal matters which I cannot discuss with you.

Hariprakash Konemane, Editor-in-chief, Vijayavani

HD Revanna responded all questions posed to him about the situation in Sigaranahalli, including those on the district administration confirming social boycott in a village in his constituency, his role in conflict resolution as an MLA, allegations that he was targeting Vijay Kumar, and Deve Gowda’s remarks during the JD(S) meeting in November.

Whatever I’ve told you so far is off the record. If you write any of this, I will refute it.


A Dalit resident of Sigaranahalli, pointing to Dewe Gowda’s native village, said,

You know where the Dalit keri of Haradanahalli is? It’s outside, two kilometres away from the village. That’s a former Prime Minister of this country for you.

The new Indian express

Dalits Cry Foul Over Violence by Caste Hindu Youth


TIRUPUR: A group of Dalits from Kaarapalayam village, near Kangayam, filed a petition with the Uthiyur police on Sunday morning about  being beaten up and abused along caste lines, and the local co-operative milk society run by caste Hindus refusing to sell them milk.

It was also alleged that Dalit women, who do not have toilets in their houses, were prevented from going to relieve themselves on Saturday night. Besides, the Dalits have been asked not to work in the fields owned by caste Hindus.

There are some 30 Dalit families and 50 caste Hindus families in the village. The incidents began on Friday night with a Dalit, Sasikumar (20), being beaten up two caste Hindu youth in the village. In a complaint to the police, Sasikumar alleged that the two – K Tamilselvan, of the same village, and S Makesh, of Sammanthampalayam – had thrashed him after a verbal altercation.

Makesh is a member of the caste outfit Kongu Ilaingar Peravai and a schoolmate of Sasikumar.

According to the petition, the two caste Hindu youth had parked a two-wheeler blocking the path along which Sasikumar was riding his motorcycle. When Sasikumar asked them to move it, they told him to go back and also took away his vehicle’s key. When he resisted, he was beaten and abused using casteist slurs. Sasikumar’s relatives, who intervened, were also beaten up and abused.

On Sunday evening, during talks facilitated by the police, elders of the caste Hindu community agreed to solve the issue amicably and to provide access to the Dalits in the village. However, the two caste Hindu youth did not turn up at the police station for the peace talks.

Meanwhile, a senior police official told Express that it was a personal issue and that it had been settled.

However, Sasikumar told Express he had never had any personal problems with the two youth. He said he would not give up until case is registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against them.

The hindu

After son’s death, family may not take part in Sidi in future


Family members of Lakkaiah, at Hebbal village in Belur taluk, are contemplating not taking part in the Sidi ritual held as part of Doddamma-Chikkamma jatre, an annual fair, from next year. Lakkaiah’s 21-year-old son Sunil Kumar died on Saturday evening as the wooden pole used to perform the ritual broke and hit him hard. He collapsed on the spot and was rushed to a hospital in Belur, where he was declared brought dead.

Sidi is one of the risky rituals performed in different parts of the State during festivals of local deities. One person is tied to a wooden pole with the help of hook inserted into his body and a group of people rotate the pole at a height of about 20 ft. Often, Dalits are chosen to perform the ritual.

The ritual began around 5 p.m. on Saturday. Jagadish (23), a Dalit, was tied to the pole, and some youths, including Sunil, were rotating the pole at a height of 10ft above the ground. At one point, the wooden pole snapped and the sharp edge of one piece hit Sunil. Jagadish also suffered minor injuries in the incident.

“He had been doing this for last three years. We never anticipated that the ritual could end his life. We are still not over the shock of losing our son,” said Shivamma, Sunil’s mother.

Sunil, the youngest of the three children, had joined a bakery in Hubli after completing his II PUC. He had visited the village only to take part in the annual fair. “He would never miss the fair. No matter where he was working, he would visit the village during this fair,” said his elder sister Suma. After losing an earning member of the family, they are contemplating avoiding participation in the unsafe ritual from next year.

Sidi is one of the inhuman rituals listed in the Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013. Many intellectuals and activists have demanded the passing of the Bill to put an end to rituals which violate human dignity and pose a risk to people’s body and health.

Ahmed Hagare, district coordinator for Anti-Superstition Awareness Committee in Hassan, said that the inhuman rituals should be stopped immediately. “I wish that the death of the youth, while performing the risky ritual, strengthens public demand for the passing of this Bill, which will go a long way in prohibiting inhuman practices. Dalits are often forced to take up hard and risky jobs in the name of keeping age-old traditions alive. Wherever such practices are held, it is the Dalits who are forced to carry out unsafe tricks to entertain others,” he said.

The huffington post

What The News Doesn’t Tell You About Rural India, P Sainath Does


  1. Sainath wroteEverybody Loves a Good Droughtin 1996. Two decades later, it remains a terrific read for anyone seeking to understand rural India.

For most young, urban Indians, an understanding of rural India comes in the form of floating anecdotes. “Farmers”, “villages” and “poverty” are the limited keywords associated with this complex population of 850-million. As ties to ancestral villages thin with increasing urbanization and media channels become the primary but inadequate source of rural news, the chasm between the two Indias is becoming dangerous. To progress together, both Indias must understand each other.

In Everybody Love’s a Good Drought P. Sainath writes short stories on the various activities of village life. The sections are divided into schooling, access to medicine, loans and loan sharks, issues of displacement and resource shortages. His stories are of men, women and families as told to him from their homes.

Schools with no teachers and disappearing headmasters, villages wiped out by malaria because of health budget cuts, farmers carrying 2000 kilos of bricks a day for ₹9 ($0.13), families suffering from coal diseases as rewards of industrial projects, and displaced individuals moving around India as refugees with no land or employment. His narration is straight and stoic–and, crucially, non-romanticized. Much literature on rural life in India tries to put forth nobility in the simple life, at the cost of veiling an ugly truth.

Sainath implores the reader to see the anecdotes we hear of as regular “processes”, and not as isolated occurrences. Much of mainstream news media tends to frame rural issues as events–a failing farm district because of this year’s drought, or lack of electricity provision because of a corrupt officer. This sort of framing gives the events the twist of a “scandal”, making it easier to gain an audience and hence ratings. India is a vast country with a lot of good and bad, and so the reader can justify the occasional ugly.

Sainath’s book, however, shatters that facile approach for a much more difficult one; drought, dysfunctional schools, abysmal healthcare, and financial exploitation are continuous outcomes of a web of brutal social, economic, and political forces.

These processes, he explains, run in a well-oiled manner with caste and class biases playing a greasy role. Welfare schemes fail to make their mark because implementers favour their own kin and kind over lower castes. Dalit or OBC children are denied their legal right to sit in a classroom for fear of mingling with upper castes. Mothers are permitted medicine and nutrition based on the social group they belong to. Industrial projects get designed with little consideration for tribal rights, or with inappropriate rehabilitation and compensation. Adivasis and landless labourers are, it is presumed, the inevitable sacrifice of a modernizing economy. There comes a point while reading the book, where these ‘events’ converge into a recognizable pattern, and you see the reality of the regularity. A reality that prevails for 850-million people–a figure larger than the populations of all of Europe, Australia and Turkey combined.

The 2014 national elections brought forth a debate on the meaning of “development”. It was the golden word of the Modi campaign, and the promise of roads and GDP figures to an aspirational India. Currently, we are in the midst of an intense debate on caste identity–about who feels defined by it, and who denies its existence. The two debates are yet to meet at the question that joins them at the hip–which India is benefitting from this development? There are indeed certain improvements and betterment to rural life that modernization has brought, but to not weigh these against the overarching stagnation and damage would be a miscalculation.

Much of the discussions on traditional and social media are shaped by middle to upper class, urban, and English-speaking voices, and therefore skewed towards their experiences. For example, the conversation after the suicide of Rohith Vemula is stuck obstinately over the existence of caste discrimination, an established fact wearing the nifty garb of an opinion.

Sainath’s stories are a way to understand hardships that one may have been privileged enough not to experience. For much of the younger and urban generation, lack of awareness about caste bigotry is inevitable–opportunities for exposure to rural life are few, Dalit literature has thus far largely been vernacular, and formal education does little to overcome the misperceptions created by the 2000s ‘India Shining’ propaganda.

Sainath spent over 35 years travelling across various states in India, to those villages and districts deemed poorest by the government. Often spending months in one place, he explains that understanding a community or group’s life requires gaining their trust and acceptance. The book narrates the quiet confessions that unfold thereafter–the constant struggles against hunger, disease, and oppression, and the devastating toll it takes. His book creates a critical emotion in the reader–empathy.

Walking six hours a day to school and back, putting up an unborn child as loan guarantee, or contemplating suicide due to poor rainfall are circumstances that can only be understood through experience. One can never fully feel these misfortunes or even contextualize some of the better changes happening in rural without knowledge of the base depravity, but exposure through literature and documentation is critical. Much of Sainath’s work, written while a journalist with The Hindu and Times of India, was driven by a need to fill the gaps in rural reporting he saw in mainstream news. He now maintains a vast, volunteer-driven web platform called the ‘People’s Archive of Rural India‘. Here the content is in the form of text, photographs, and videos, and serves as a public warehouse of knowledge providing an insight into rural India.

Using ignorance as a survival mechanism is dangerous. The less you know about the dark space that is rural India, the less you have to be concerned about lighting a candle. In times of troubling patriotism and nationalism, contemplating on how cruelly 850 million Indians live is a first step towards a better future.

Greater Kashmir

Azaadi from caste system


Radhika and Naga Chaitanya Vemula, brother and mother of Rohit Vemula embraced Buddhism on the 125 birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar. Rohit Vemula, a PhD student in Life Sciences, was suspended from the Hyderabad University for assaulting a leader of the ABVP, student wing of the BJP. His suspension case was upheld by the Vice-Chancellor in December. All along this period his stipend from the University was not given to him due to a delay which the administration blamed on “paperwork.” This loss of stipend put the student and his family in financial crisis. His father was a security guard at a private hospital and mother at home working as a tailor. During this period he borrowed Rs. 40000 to sustain himself. Later Rohit Vemula committed suicide on January 17 in the hostel room of Hyderabad University. He and others, who had been accused of the assault, had denied the charge and written accordingly to the administration.

He had written a number of letters to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Appa Rao, before hanging himself. In most of those letters Rohit referred to the manner in which the University was discriminating against the Dalit students. The last letter he wrote before hanging himself carried an implicit critique of the Hindu caste system.

He does not specifically blame anyone in the letter. He does not want anyone to be blamed for his suicide. However, he does mention that “my birth is my fatal accident” and that he “can never recover from my childhood loneliness.” The idea of birth being a fatal accident can be properly understood when placed in the context of the Hindu Caste system in which you are born to a caste. You do not choose a caste but you have to live with what you are born with. Rohit knew caste and its implications like no one else. He was born into it and understood its fatal conclusions. In the letter he mentions how his soul has severed from his body, turning him into a “monster.” In one of his earlier letters to the vice-chancellor he had requested him to give euthanasia facilities to students, perhaps because the system did not allow the likes of him to even die honourably. No one knew Rohit and his condition more closely than his family. At the conversion ceremony, his mother said that they have converted in order to get “azaadi” from the caste system.

After Rohit committed suicide exactly that was done which he had insisted against in his pre-hanging letter. He wished things to remain calm. But that did not happen. The post-suicide situation took a political turn with people blaming institution, vice-chancellor or the local BJP minister who had written a letter to the HRD ministry against the anti-national activities of some students in Hyderabad University. No one seemed to blame the actual culprit. An offender which is identified, magnified and held up for shake-up by the conversion of the family members of Rohit. That culprit is the demon of caste system. There are hundreds if not thousands each year who are forced to death by this cruel system, which go unmourned just because they are not as sensational as Rohit Vemula’s. Others manage to survive its discriminatory practices. The discussion after his death went in the direction of reservation, national/antinational, injustice on campus and many other side issues. At the Deeksha ceremony the brother and mother told the audience that Rohit was by heart a Buddhist. The letter also ends with the slogan of “Jai Bhim,” a reference to Bhim Rao Ambedkar. It was to respect his cherished style of life and to escape the daily humiliation of caste system that the family decided to leave Hinduism and became part of Buddhism. Rohit’s last rites were also performed like that of a Buddhist.

The conversion of Rohit’s brother and his mother has a message which ought to be at the center of discussion between rival political factions; the rival political factions which created a different kind of message for themselves and played musical chairs until dust settled and everything fell quiet. The message is that his hanging was not instigated by the suspension letter or the stopping of the critical stipend. No doubt these were reasons but subsidiary ones. The real ground which incited his decision to blow out his life or which turned him into a “monster” is the inhumane caste system; a system, which, according to some honourable scholars is the “essence” of Hinduism. The familiar sound of the “poora naam batao” in the Indian cultural milieu echoes well with the “essence” argument. How often do we hear this in offices and outside?!! It was due to this caste system that B R Ambedkar, the icon and architect of the Dalit Movement, converted to Buddhism at a grand ceremony in 1956. Rohit might have been alive if he had been able to recover from the loneliness of childhood inflicted by the isolating social practices perpetrated by the caste system. With all that they saw happen to themselves and to Rohit, it is no surprise that his brother and mother decided to find azaadi outside the Hindu system.

The hindu

Nallampatti Dalits want case registered against upper caste community


Dalit residents of Rice Mill Pudur Colony at Nallampatti on Sunday demanded the Thingalur police to register a complaint against members of upper caste community over denial of livelihood for the last one month.

The Dalit community members wanted immediate action on a petition they had submitted a couple of days back complaining about what they termed as socio-economic boycott by upper caste community members. Police officials had reportedly told them that the case could be registered only after a consultation on the relevant Sections with legal experts.

Police sources said there were complications involved in registering a case since the upper caste members cannot be intimidated into providing employment to Dalits in their fields.

According to a police official, the cordiality in the relations between the two communities was being vitiated by some organisations claiming to champion the cause of Dalits.

Ever since a face-off erupted between the Dalits belonging to Arundathiyar sect and upper caste members a month back after the death under suspicious circumstances of a 55-year-old Dalit worker Chinnasamy, there has been an uneasy calm in Nallampatti.

A week back, the affected Dalits had submitted a petition to the district administration pleading for intervention for their economic sustenance, citing a resolution adopted by upper caste members not to engage for farm work any Dalit worker from the Rice Mill Pudur locality. They had asked for interest-free loans with subsidy component as a remedy.

Earlier this month, a team from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) visited the Rice Mill Pudur locality and held inquiries.

The Dalit residents had complained to the team that Chinnasamy was murdered by an upper caste group over his strident stand on a PCR (Protection of Civil Rights) case registered in Thingalur police station. The Dalit residents had also expressed unhappiness over the Police Department’s handling of the case.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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