Dalits Media Watch – English News Updates 11.05.16


‘Dalit families attacked over use of village pond’ – The hindu


Temple land dispute has Patiala village divided – The times of india


Dalit woman stripped naked, beaten up in Uttar Pradesh: Report – Zee news


Perumbavoor murder: Cops launch fingerprinting drive – The times of india


The bald reality of life – The hindu


Adopt pro-Dalit attitude, SC/ST panel chief tells officials – The hindu


Statues in cages the new form of untouchability in Madurai Dna



The hindu

‘Dalit families attacked over use of village pond’


Dalit families are allegedly facing caste-related atrocities at Panchabhuti village under Jagananthpur police station in Ganjam district of Odisha over use of village ponds.

The local sarpanch and husband of the nayab sarpanch, who have links with the ruling party, are alleged to have led an attack on Dalit families of the village on March 24. A joint fact-finding team of representatives of various organisations reached Panchabhuti village on Monday to enquire about the issue.

Caste issues:Dalits outside their houses with doors broken allegedly by upper caste persons and (right) the pond.

This team included State secretariat member of the CPI(M) Santosh Das, Odisha Bahujan Kranti Dal secretary-general Madhusudan Yadav, Sankar Sahu of CPI-ML (Red Star) and Odisha Dalit Adhikar Manch coordinator Basant Mallik among aothers.

The team made detailed enquiry about the attack on the 46 Dalit families by the upper castes on March 24 as well as the present situation.

On March 24, houses of these Dalit families had been attacked and ransacked. The police had arrested 14 persons in the case, including four from Dalit families and ten of upper castes.

As per this fact finding team, situation has not improved much at the village. Although a peace committee has been formed, Dalits have less confidence in it as it is dominated by the elements of the ruling party who are from the upper castes. “The sarpanch, who had led the attack, is yet to be arrested.

Even the administration has not provided adequate relief and rehabilitation measures to the affected Dalit families as per the norms,” said Mr Das.

This fact-finding team would submit its report to the Odisha CM, human rights cell of State police, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Collector and Ganjam SP for necessary action.

Speaking to The Hindu , the team members said their enquiry has revealed that the tussle over use of three public ponds was at the root of trouble between Dalits and upper castes.

All these three ponds on government land have separate points of entry for Dalits and upper castes. While the portions used by Dalits are in a dilapidated condition, those used by upper castes are properly developed.

A person had also put a fence to restrict entry of Dalits to their side of the pond. The issue had been simmering which turned violent because of a small misunderstanding between the two groups, said Mr Mallik.

It is alleged that on March 24, a group of upper castes had attacked and beaten several Dalit persons, broken doors of their houses to ransack them, had looted valuables and made serious threats.

Till now, these families have not received any relief from the administration except for two quintals of rice, said Mr Sahu.

The times of india

Temple land dispute has Patiala village divided


Patiala: A police probe has been ordered to look into a land dispute between members of the Dalit community and upper-caste Jat Sikhs and Rajputs in a village near Patran town of Patiala. Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurmit Singh Chauhan on Tuesday ordered Patran deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Swaranjit Singh to investigate into the alleged illegal occupation of a part of the 14-acre land attached to a temple-cum-samadh (tomb) by members of the Dalit community in Rasauli village.

The probe was ordered after a delegation of Rasauli residents led by Dharni Nath, the custodian of the temple, met the SSP and complained that the Patran police were not acting on the complaint sent by the followers of the temple – mostly Jat Sikhs and Rajputs. Rasauli has 35% population of Jat Sikhs and around 20% Rajputs besides others.

A member of the delegation, Ravinder Singh, alleged that a few years ago, the Dalits were allowed to use a part of the temple land for keeping cow dung and making its cakes. “Now, the Dalits have started constructing a wall on the temple land,” he alleged.

He said the temple management committee had filed a police complaint, but no action had been taken. “Instead, Patran police registered an FIR against 28 Jats and Rajputs. The accused have been asked to sit in the police station while no arrest has been officially recorded,” he claimed.

When contacted, Patran SHO Narain Singh said the Dalits were using the land for many years. “An FIR has been registered regarding the dispute, but no arrests were made,” he confirmed.

The SHO said they were not favouring any group. He denied the temple followers had filed any complaint. He said the village stood divided on caste lines and the police were alert.

Meanwhile, Rasauli sarpanch Raj Bala said, “As per land records, Baba Dharni Nath is the owner.”

Zee news

Dalit woman stripped naked, beaten up in Uttar Pradesh: Report


Lucknow: A Dalit woman was stripped and paraded naked in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday night, a report said on Wednesday.

The Deccan Chronicle reported that the incident happened in Hareva village in Shahjahanpur district, where five Dalit women had faced a similar ordeal exactly a year ago.

The latest incident happened over a land dispute between two groups in Khairatia village in Khutar.

As per the report, people belonging to one group forcibly dragged the Dalit woman out of her house on Sunday night when she was alone.

The accused stripped naked the woman and beat her up with sticks and rods after pulling her out of the house.

Her husband and other family members were not at home during the time of the incident.

The woman was later dumped her near a pond.

As per the the report, the local police refused to register a case on Monday morning saying the allegations levelled by the woman were due to the family dispute.

The times of india

Perumbavoor murder: Cops launch fingerprinting drive


Kochi: In a desperate move, the police team probing the rape and murder of the Dalit woman in Perumbavoor has started collecting fingerprints of men in the locality where the gruesome crime took place.

A squad of the special investigation team (SIT) started collecting the fingerprints on Tuesday.

A senior officer said the biometric information is being collected for a massive analysis to trace the culprit. Police strongly believe that the perpetrator could be a person known to the family who had easy access to the house.

“Fingerprints of about 2,000 men from wards 1 and 20 in the Rayamangalam panchayat will be collected for the analysis,” said DSP K M Jijimon who is heading the probe.

During search at the scene of crime — a single-room house on the side of a canal at Vattolippady near Perumbavoor — the forensic team had collected two fingerprints suspected to be that of the accused.

On Tuesday, two police teams collected the fingerprints of over 150 persons with the support of the residents’ association there. However, the procedure could not be continued till evening following heavy rain in the area.

“As per the voters’ list, there are about 2,000 men aged between 18 and 70 in the two wards. Male migrant workers living in the area will also be asked to provide their fingerprints. If the public cooperates, the exercise can be completed in another two days. The turnout was poor on the first day,” said an officer.

Apart from collecting biometric data for scientific analysis, the SIT will also keep an eye on men who skip the process. The biometric data collection is being checked by officers from the forensic science wing of the police. Impressions of all fingers and both palms are being collected by the team.

On Monday, the SIT had obtained a favourable order from the judicial first class magistrate court at Kuruppampady to seek the help of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to analyse fingerprints collected from the scene of crime.

The police decided to approach UIDAI, after two sets of fingerprints collected from the scene of crime did not match with that of the suspects in police custody.

The woman, an LLB student, was found murdered inside her house on April 28 with 38 injuries on her body.

The hindu

The bald reality of life


The Dalit families making wigs see nothing wrong in accepting cash for votes

: Seventy-six-year-old Aandavar gets up at 4.30 in the morning every day to fish in the local canals and rivers around Cumbum. And, this head of a family who walks around with a thin stick in hand for support says that he is eagerly awaiting the cash distribution by political parties.

“We have nothing else with us. The Rs. 500 each of us get will help us with our food for a few days. I have spent 60 years in this same place and no one has ever done anything for us,” he says, his anger palpable in his voice. By implication, money is the only thing they care for when voting.

For about 20 Dalit households in this small settlement in Hanumanthapatti, life is an excruciating challenge. Their damaged houses — with their half-done walls and plastic sheets to cover the roof — have no electricity and bear testimony to the abject poverty of the families.

The community calls itself Urukayar Naicker. Traditionally, the members of these families have been making wigs (savuri). Theni and Cumbum being popular shooting spots for Tamil cinema, their wigs were once in demand. “We also rear pigs. But ever since the old make-up men gave up their jobs, we are no longer approached for our wigs. Now, we stand on the main road and try to sell them to cars that ply by.

Hardly two or three are sold on a good day,” rues Krishnan.

The wigs are sold for Rs. 70 to Rs. 250 based on the length of the hair. Wigs with grey hair cost more. “When you get old, your hairline thins. That is when women start thinking about savuris,” adds Malarkodi, the wife of Aandavar.

Ask her about her voting preference and she snaps. “Whether it is Rising Sun or Two Leaves, are they going to help us? We have been here for five decades but our petitions seeking pattas are still pending,” she says. Her husband says the officials cite the burial ground right behind the settlement as a reason to deny them pattas. “But this burial ground came here later. We settled here first,” he claims.

About 15 years ago, the entire family left for Chennai on the advice of an astrologer. Aandavar apparently had a dangerous ‘dosha’ in his horoscope and was asked to move away from the burial ground with the entire settlement. He took them to Tondiarpet.

The other younger women explain how difficult it is to live without electricity. While the government did give them mixies and grinders, there was no way to use the appliances. For a while, a decade ago, they tried to use the electricity from the lamp post nearby. But after this was detected by the local electricity board officials, the connection was cut and they were served a warning. Now, even the streetlight does not work.

“If you come in the night, this place will look pitch dark,” the women add.

These men allege that ration cards with their addresses were issued for the sake of their votes. While most of them have traditionally backed the AIADMK for the charisma of former Chief Minister M.G.

Ramachandran (the women say they have a soft corner for Chief Minister Jayalalithaa), the lure of cash has caught up with some of them over the last few years. There is also a charge of discrimination even in the distribution of cash, with claims that the OBC houses nearby get a few hundred rupees more than them.

“Why should we not take cash they give? They have not given us anything else and denied us a life of dignity,” says Murugan.

The people here have two primary demands: “If not here, give us another place to stay. And, please give us electricity so that our children can sleep well.”

The hindu

Adopt pro-Dalit attitude, SC/ST panel chief tells officials


Andhra Pradesh State SC/ST Commission Chairman Karem Sivaji on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction over the style of functioning’ of revenue and police officials and warned of stern action if they did not mend their ways.

The officials starting from the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police to the functionaries at the grassroots level should adopt a pro-Dalit attitude to put an end to continuing atrocities on them, he told the media here on his maiden visit to Prakasam district after assuming charge.

He lamented that different forms of discrimination against Dalits documented in the past continued with revenue and police officials not doing enough to end the injustice meted out to them by upper caste people.

Poor conviction rate

Mr. Sivaji, who later conducted a review meeting with the officials, expressed concern over the poor conviction rate in cases filed under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and said “this trend is not only witnessed in Andhra Pradesh but also in other States.”

“As a Dalit activist I have been running from pillar to post fighting against injustice to Dalits. Now heading the Commission, I will prove my capabilities,” he asserted.

It had come to his notice that police personnel at the grassroots level were facilitating filing of counter cases by those who perpetrated atrocities on Dalits, he said adding stringent action would be taken against erring personnel.

The Commission would also come to the rescue of Dalit employees against whom disciplinary action had been taken with ‘ulterior motives,’ promised Mr. Sivaji, who received petitions from a large number of Dalits.

Students floored Mr Sivaji by reciting verses from Upanishad when the latter joined them in having breakfast at the Bala Sadan.

Sivaji says the Commission will also come to the rescue of Dalit employees against whom disciplinary action had been taken with ‘ulterior motives’


Statues in cages the new form of untouchability in Madurai


The locality of Avaniapuram in Madurai, best known for being the centre of the bull-taming sport of jallikattu, is also home to a unique form of untouchability.

Abolished under Article 17 of the Constitution, untouchability in Avaniapuram, an area known for inter-caste violence, has metamorphosed into something completely new – a discrimination that plays out through simulacrum.

It now involves the upper castes installing statues of their icons in cages, to keep them away from the ‘polluting touch’ of the Dalits.

Avaniapuram is a locality divided among caste lines, where the lowest of India’s castes, the Dalits, stay in a pocket called Ambedkar Nagar. While the upper caste Thevars, classified as Most Backward Class (MBC) in Tamil Nadu, stay separately in other pockets down the road. Numerically, both the Dalits and the Thevars are almost equal in number. The show of caste strength and dominance is exemplified by the number of statues of the leaders of these two castes.

The Dalits installed the statue of their icon BR Ambedkar, the father of India’s Constitution outside their pocket on September 14, 1993. The figure installed in Avaniapuram is a typical Ambedkar sculpture – a man wearing a blue suit with a red tie, a book in his left arm and the index finger of his right hand pointing towards the sky.

A few years later – October 23, 1998 — the Thevars installed a statue of their icon and former Parliamentarian Muthuramalinga Thevar outside their pocket.

The difference between the Ambedkar and Thevar statues are that while the former sits atop a pedestal open to elements, the latter is enclosed in a cage. There are two statues of the Thevar icon installed in the village. The other one is ‘protected’ by a sliding steel shutter.

Periyaswamy (80), a wizened resident of the Thevar pocket, says that their icon’s sculpture was caged to “protect it from Dalit miscreants.”

Ironically, Muturamalingam Thevar was one of the most vocal supporters of the Temple Entry Movement in the 1940s vociferously advocating for the entry of Dalits to Hindu shrines.

Pandi (32), a CPM worker and a Dalit himself, points to an affiche pasted on the wall adjoining the statue of Muthuramalinga Thevar. The poster depicts the Maruthu Pandiar brothers – icons of India’s independence movement in Madurai. The two brothers mounted on stallions and charging with swords in hand have now become a symbol of the Thevar’s aggression towards the Dalits. A few metres down the road and adjoining the state highway are the busts of the Maruthu Pandiar brothers. Surprisingly, even these have been caged by the Thevar community. “The Thevars paste the posters and cage their icons to intimidate Dalits and to show their superiority” says Pandi.

“It just takes a small spark to ignite caste violence in this locality. When tension erupts, even local buses do not ply in the area” explains Velmurugan (37), a resident of Avaniapuram.

The sensitivities of the castes about the sanctity of the statues of their leaders came to simmer in Madurai in August last year when a truck rammed into the pedestal of yet another Muthuramalingam Thevar statue at a busy intersection in the city. Though the damage caused by the truck to the pedestal was cosmetic, protests erupted in no time and the police were called in to restore order.

Madurai has always been a caste tinderbox waiting to explode. Earlier this year, Dalit houses were burnt during Pongal celebrations. Last year, inter-caste violence broke out over temple festivities in the district. There have been several instances involving lynching of Dalit men and dishonourable killing of Thevar women across the state.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures show that Tamil Nadu recorded 77 murders of Dalits in 2014, which was higher than the murder rates against Dalits in Bihar, the other hotbed of caste violence in India.

What exacerbates the situation in Tamil Nadu is that the Dalits themselves are a divided lot. Dalits in Tamil Nadu are divided into three sub sects – Pallars, Parrayars and Arundhatiyars. The Arundhatiyars are the “lowest of the low” among the Dalits and are frowned upon by the other sub sects.

In the 2016 elections, the party that represents the Arundhatiyars called Puthiya Tamilagam (New Tamil Nadu), is an alliance partner of the DMK.

The party representing the superior Dalits like the Parrayars is the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) led by former Lok Sabha MP Thirumavalavan. The VCK is fighting the elections as part of a third front called the People’s Welfare Alliance (PWA). The two Dalit parties have never joined hands in elections and have been content with splitting the residual Dalit votes among themselves.

Kumaraiah , a local DMK leader at Avaniapuram says, “As long as Dalits remain divided they will continue to be intimidated like they have been in Avaniapuram. The real freedom will come to this place when the upper castes take their leader’s statue out of the cage and put it on a pedestal like that Ambedkar statue.”

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s