Jan Sanskaran (An initiative of “Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC”) Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.
The Rajput woman absconded with her Meghwal Dalit partner soon after the two got married.
Tension prevailed at Kundal village in Barmer district on Wednesday after the dominant Rajputs launched an agitation against an inter-caste marriage involving a woman from their community.
The woman absconded with her partner – a Meghwal Dalit – soon after their reported marriage on May 9. Her relatives responded by registering a case of kidnapping against the groom under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code, claiming that she was a “minor”.
However, police said the woman’s school transfer certificate clearly shows she was over 18.
The Rajput community has submitted a memorandum to the Barmer administration, demanding that they locate the “missing” girl. Police said the agitators also announced a partial bandh on Monday, which – fortunately – received a lukewarm response.
Balotra deputy superintendent of police Rajesh Mathur dismissed reports of Dalits being beaten up by members of the dominant caste during the bandh. “Those are just rumours. The bandh was unsuccessful, and no incident of violence was reported,” he said.
Many activists expressed concern for the village’s Dalit community on social media. Sudhindra from Barmer told HT that the police must brace themselves for the worst, given the delicate situation in the village. “Kundal is a Rajput stronghold. None of the Dalits are willing to speak up because they are terrified. Is the state waiting for another Dangawas to happen?” he asked.
PL Mimroth, chief functionary of the Centre for Dalit Rights in Jaipur, demanded increased security for the Dalit community in Kundal village. “These people are unwilling to accept inter-caste marriages even 69 years after Independence. We have seen many cases where Dalit men are harassed by relatives of upper-caste girls. The police must protect them,” he said.
The Barmer police say they have taken every precaution to ensure peace in the area. “We have deployed police personnel across the village, and intend to increase security levels at night too,” said Paris Deshmukh, Barmer superintendent of police.
Coimbatore: The widow of Dalit youth Shankar, Kowsalya was discharged from hospital after being admitted for consuming poisonous cow dung powder, police said on Wednesday.
Kausalya, 19, had taken the extreme step at her in-laws’ house in Komaralingam on May 12 and was admitted to the government hospital here. As her condition improved, Kausalya was discharged on Tuesday and sent to Komaralingam amid tight security, they said.
Kausalya had survived the March 13 attack, when she and her husband Shankar were attacked by three persons in full public view near a bus stand in Udumalpet, allegedly at the behest of her father, a caste Hindu, who was opposed to their inter-caste marriage.
Man climbs up cell phone tower, threatens to end life
A 35-year-old man, a Dalit, created a flutter by climbing up a cell phone tower at Theppakulam here on Wednesday, protesting against the local police for “not taking action” against those who assaulted his mother.
Around noon, D. Sarath from Kottakudi climbed up the 297-foot-tall cell phone tower maintained by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). After climbing 200 feet, he threatened to commit suicide by jumping on the ground, alleging that Sivaganga Town police harassed him and failed to take action against those who assaulted his mother.
Soon the police and fire and rescue services personnel arrived at the scene with an ambulance and appealed to him to come down.
Sarath condemned the visits by the police to his house on Tuesday and Wednesday in search of him based on a complaint filed by one Kannadasan of the same area after he allegedly assaulted the complainant.
Even as the police were holding talks with him, Sarath said that he would climb down only if Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi district treasurer Muthuraja arrived at the scene and gave an assurance in this regard. Soon the police brought Mr. Muthuraja to the spot, and he appealed to Sarath to climb down, the police said.
After high drama for 30 minutes, Sarath climbed down, giving a sigh of relief to the police and the fire service personnel.
The police said that Sarath was facing a couple of criminal cases.
A large number of people gathered around the tower and spent anxious moments till Sarath climbed down.
MLC’s son accused of protecting men who attacked Dalits
Narasimhalu Madagiri, Deputy Secretary of the District Congress Committee, on Wednesday alleged that Ravi Boseraju, son of MLC and Congress general secretary N.S. Boseraju, was protecting Murali Yadav and his associates, who are accused of attacking three Dalit youngsters last week.
At a press conference at the Reporters’ Guild here, Mr. Madagiri said, “Some Dalit leaders, including Ambanna Aroli, have falsely accused the entire Congress party of trying to protect Murali Yadav and his associates. The fact, however, is that only one Congress leader is protecting the accused. Congress general secretary N.S. Boseraju’s son Ravi Boseraju, who has close ties to the attackers, is making all efforts to protect them using his influence in the power corridors.” He demanded that the police to nab those who attacked the youth and triggered group clashes as a result. He also slammed the Dalit leaders who attempted “to malign the Congress party” by falsely holding the party responsible for the incident.
“Ambanna Aroli and other so-called Dalit leaders have no right to blame the Congress for whatever happened. They are unaware of what happened on the ground. They also have no knowledge of the political dynamics in play at Harijanwada locality. Just to impress their boss, Ravi Boseraju, they held a press conference and levelled baseless allegations against the Congress,” he claimed.
Congress leaders R. Ramaswamy, J. Anjankumar, P. Nallareddy, Muniswamy, Ravikumar and others were present.
Sandeep Kumar did his BA through correspondence course, studied for the test without coaching.
In a transit camp for slum dwellers displaced from the Kathputli colony in west Delhi, youngsters are discussing everything from studies to national politics. One among them in the small room is Sandeep Kumar, who cleared the civil services examination this year.
The 28-year-old son of a Dalit autorickshaw driver lives in a 10 x 12-feet makeshift cabin at Anand Parbat, along with his mother and younger brother. It is in this camp that he transformed his dream into reality, without coaching or help from anyone. He won the 780th rank. For the past two years, he had been putting in 10 to 12 hours of hard work every day in a small room next to the cabin to do what seemed impossible then.
The odds were always heavy against him. Mr. Kumar, who graduated in Political Science through a correspondence course in the Hindi medium, left his accountancy job in 2014 after his father passed away. He wanted to prepare for “something better” in life. His younger brother Surendra Wankhade, who works in a private company, has been the breadwinner since then.
“It was my father’s dream that I become an IAS officer and this achievement is like fulfilling his dream. However, I am not completely there. With this rank, I will be able to get either IPS or IRS. I want to make another attempt next year to improve my rank,” Mr. Kumar said. His neighbours, mostly migrant labourers, see a ray of hope for their children after Mr. Kumar’s success.
“I am extremely happy that my brother has been selected for the civil services. I feel that all my hard work has paid off,” Mr. Wankhade said.
Mr. Kumar, who will soon join the country’s newest batch of bureaucrats, mostly depended on books rather than online notes, which are popular with English medium students, to clear the exam. He believes that it is the quality of what you study that matters more than the time. “Dedication and continuous hard-work is the only key to success,” he said.
He also teaches youngsters from his locality in the same room. With the batch of students he is currently teaching, he wants to set an example like “Super 30” in Patna, where children from underprivileged background prepare for admission to the IITs. He wants to call it “Special 26”.
His mother says: “I am very proud of him and always believed that he will do something big in life.” Mr. Kumar cleared the exam in his second attempt. He, however, wants to go for another attempt next year to improve his rank.
On the call of Zamin Prapati Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC), Dalits burnt effigies of the state government and the administration in several villages of the district today.
They were protesting the giving away of reserved lands in auction on lease to landlords in the name of Dalits and the “injustice” being done to their community members by not giving them lands at low rates.
Yesterday, land of Jhanerri village was auctioned by the administration but the agitating Dalits took the possession of the land forcibly, terming the auction as a “sham”.
Besides, members of the community have also taken possession of lands in three other villages — Kherri, Nidampur and Jhaloor — in Sangrur district so far. Due to this, a confrontation is likely between Dalits and administration officials.
An effigy of the state government and the administration was also burnt in front of the district administrative complex here today.
Besides, effigies were also burnt in Deh Kalan, Ladda, Lidran, Badrukhan, Bharur, Ghabdan, Kherri, Chathe Sekhwan villages.
District president of the ZPSC Mukesh Malaud today asked the district administration to cancel the auctions of the lands and give the one-third share of the panchayat land reserved for SCs to Dalits at low rates.
He said effigies had been burnt in about 50 villages of the district today.
Early in the morning of February 29 this year, Raju Bairwa was awakened by a phone call. A wedding was taking that day in his small village, which lies on the outskirts of the Dausa district in Rajasthan, and somebody was calling him to ask for help with the preparations. Three hours after Raju left the house, his wife Gita received another phone call. Her husband had been beaten up, a voice informed her.
Half an hour later she found him by the riverside severely wounded. The perpetrators had put sand in his mouth, so he wouldn’t be able to scream. After Gita had cleaned his mouth, Raju asked her how she would survive, knowing that if he died, he would leave a jobless wife and three young boys.
Raju did die, a couple of hours later, on his way to the hospital. He was just 28 years old. His death was hardly a surprise: The family had been harassed and threatened for 25 years over a piece of land they had acquired in the village. Raju’s family is Dalit, a caste considered untouchable and landless in the ancient Hindu caste order. Although the Bairwas legally own the land, their ownership is disputed by the upper caste villagers, who still control the plot.
In India, national crime statistics show that violence against Dalits is on the rise. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crime against Dalits – ranging from rape, murder, beatings, and violence related to land matters – increased by 29 percent from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, 47,064 cases of crimes against Dalits were registered, up from 39,408 in 2013 and 33,655 in 2012.
Recent figures for Rajasthan, the state with the highest rate of atrocities committed against Dalits, indicate that this violence continues to rise. Between April 2015 and March 2016, 617 severe incidents were registered by the Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR) in Jaipur, the only organization in Rajasthan monitoring these atrocities. It should be noted that these numbers are the tip of the iceberg. Among them, 161 cases related to land disputes, 127 cases included violence against women and rape; and 97 were physical assaults. In 2014-2015, 566 cases had been reported.
“Our feudal history, high poverty rate, and the important role religion has in society, are among the reasons why Rajasthan is at the top,” CDR Director P.L. Mimroth told The Diplomat.
While modern Indian law has officially abolished the caste hierarchy, untouchability is in many ways still a practice. In most villages in Rajasthan Dalits are not allowed to take water from the public well or to enter the temple. In public schools, Dalits are not allowed to serve meals to superior castes; they often have to sit outside the classroom; and are made to clean the toilets.
“Recently a Rajasthani teacher asked a Dalit student to dispose of the dead body of a street dog,” Grijesh Dinker, the state coordinator of the National Dalit Movement for Justice, recalls. “When he refused to do so, he was beaten. Last year, two 8-year-old Dalit children drank water from the pot of their teachers. After beating them brutally, the school dismissed 11 children from school, but just two had drunk from the pot. We took this case to the national level, but the police investigation was closed down.”
In recent years, because of affirmative action policies, some Dalits have managed to escape the vicious circle of poverty and discrimination. A growing number can buy land, although this often meets with resistance from the community.
“Half of all atrocities committed against Dalits are related to land disputes,” says Mimroth, “The overall number is rising because Dalits have increasingly started claiming their rights. On the one hand, cases are more likely to be reported now. On the other hand, the fact that Dalits tend to speak out more results in more violent confrontations. In Rajasthan, every day two or three Dalits are raped or killed.”
Raped and Poisoned
On March 28, 2016, Delta Meghnal, a 17-year-old Dalit girl was raped in her school in Bikaner, a city in Rajasthan. Her physical trainer allegedly attacked her when she was cleaning his room, a task she had to fulfill every day. Later that night, Delta called her father to explain him what had happened. He promised to pick her up the next morning. But when he arrived, he found that Delta had been poisoned, and her body was thrown into a water tank.
The post-mortem established both the rape and the murder. The teacher, the principal and the warden, the latter two suspected of being accessories to the murder, were arrested. But neither Delta’s family nor the Dalit community carry high hopes for justice. According to Grijesh, “The warden’s husband is associated with the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and the other accused are affiliated with the BJP ruling political party. Because of their powerful ties, I don’t think a charge sheet will be filed in court within 60 days, and thus the investigation will be dropped. Even the recently recommended Central Bureau of Investigation probe into Delta’s death will not change this.”
In Rajasthan, 60 percent of rape cases are closed during the investigation; 20 percent of cases are lost after filing them in court. Of the 20 percent that result in a guilty verdict, only 4 percent receive a punishment. The overall conviction rate for crimes against Dalits in Rajasthan is 7 percent – compared to a 28.8 percent conviction rate for crimes against Dalits for the whole of India.
This relative impunity persists despite India’s strong laws. The 2014 amendment of the Prevention of Atrocities Act introduces offences such as garlanding with footwear, compelling to dispose of or carry human or animal carcasses, or undertake manual scavenging, and abusing Dalits (Scheduled Castes) and Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) in public. The law even seeks the establishment of a special court at the district level to try the offences it defines.
But enforcement appears to be very weak. In Rajasthan, Mimroth blames law enforcement: “Police, the revenue department, and judiciary – they all belong to the superior castes and have biased attitudes towards Dalits.”
Also in Gujrat, a state bordering Rajasthan, which has the highest rate of sexual violence against Dalit women, weak enforcement of the law due to a lack of political will is a major issue according to Manjula Pradeep, a well-known activist. “In this state, atrocities committed against Dalits are on the rise as well. Apart from increasing violence against Dalit women, lots of Dalits are killed over land issues. They increasingly stand up for their rights, but the state is not ready to listen to them. Registering a complaint doesn’t mean you will get justice. Gujrat does not have special courts or police stations, such as obliged by the Prevention of Atrocities Act.”
Three years ago three young Dalit boys were killed by police fire in Thangadh, a town in Gujrat. So far, there has been no trial. “We have been raising this issue since September 2012,” Pradeep says, “We presented the case to the United Nations, and launched a petition in the Gujrat High Court. But we don’t expect any result. Whenever police are involved in killings we are not able to get justice for the Dalit family.”
In his last statement to the police, just before he died on the way to hospital, Raju Bairwa identified the nine men who had attacked him. He knew them well, as they were the same men who had been harassing his family for 25 years. In one incident, 500 people gathered around the Bairwa family’s house. When they started shooting, three family members were wounded, Raju among them. Some years later, Raju’s elder brother was found dead under suspicious circumstances. The case remains unresolved.
Three years ago, these same nine men were sentenced to three years imprisonment for multiple instances of harassment of the Bairwa family. But as they belong to upper caste families with powerful political ties, they were able to bail themselves out.
At the time of writing, only six of the nine accused have been arrested for Raju’s death. Three remain free due to “insufficient evidence.” Meanwhile, the upper caste community continues to occupy the Bairwa’s land, and is holding meetings to have the case settled.
“We were wrong to believe that education would eradicate untouchability,” sighs Mimroth, “The dominant mindset in Rajasthan is still guided by the caste system. It will take more than 100 years to change that.”
Hanne Couderé is a Belgian freelance journalist specializing in South Asia who writes for various print media about international politics, migration and conflict.
While Cricketers Make Crores, This National Level Boxer Is Forced To Collect Garbage To Make Ends Meet!
That we treat cricketers like gods is probably India’s most ill-kept secret. While cricketers sign deals worth hundreds of crores to endorse hair oils, shoes and just about everything they can get their hands on, they buy motorsports teams, launch their own clothing labels, date actresses, buy bikes worth your 3-years salary – in a nutshell – they are living it up like rockstars. And they should too – cricket is a huge sport in India. The problem is not that cricketers make a lot of money, but the fact that several other sportsmen don’t make any.
A prime example of this is national-level gold medal-winning boxer Kamal Kumar who is now forced to collect garbage from door to door to make a living. Kamal said that he wanted to become the pride of the nation, but the government remained ignorant and so he didn’t get any financial support.
“I am sad because even after playing at national level I was not able to get a fourth class job. I am doing this job of collecting garbage for a living, as I have a family who is dependent on me,” Kamal is quoted as saying by ANI. “I have four children and two of them are boxers. I train my elder son, who is also a national level player. I was very much passionate about boxing but got no financial support. I am sure my children will fulfill my dream,” he added.