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From September to December 2005

1. Dalit houses in Haryana village set on fire
2. Haryana tense as Dalits call bandh today
3. BJP MP’s sons, brother booked for arson
4. Intra-Dalit friction sparked Gohana row
5. 'Mahapanchayat' rules out caste animosity
6. UP village stops dalit mukhiya
7. NHRC takes note of Gohana incident
8. Dalits block traffic
9. CPI(M) stages protest against Gohana incident
10. Interim relief of Rs 50,000 for Gohana victims
11. Gohana incidents: Hooda orders CBI probe
12. Demand for Hooda's dismissal by "Dalit Mahapanchayat''
13. Gohana spills over to Punjab: 50 hurt
14. Probe ordered into attack on Dalits in Akola
15. 6 held for Gohana dalit violence
16. CBI seizes police records on Gohana violence
17. Dalit-Adivasi alliance for panchayat poll
18. 'Cobra' AP going Bihar way: CPM
19. Dalit’s daughter is hostage
20. Mangal blanks out dalit’s role in history’
21. Dreaded criminal turns Dalit activist
22. Dalit movement goes global
23. Dalits pitch tent in US for a cause
24. Gaya Dalits' last supper: Goat carcass
25. ‘Insane’ Dalit chained for two years in Orissa
26. Scheduled castes panel now serves notice to AAI
27. Scheduled Castes panel warns States
28. Gujarat BJP seeks details of Dalit meet
29. Orissa villagers protest against inhuman practice
30. BJP's Dalit meet a ploy: Jamuna Devi
31. Dalit accuses Petronet of sabotaging appointment
32. BJP calls to end atrocities on Dalits
33. Dalit Sarpanch accuses cops of rape in Rajasthan
34. Dalit woman identifies rapists
35. U.P. Govt. gives SC, ST status to 16 more castes
36. A long wait for justice
37. Action sought against landlords for blocking pathway of Dalits
38. Call for inclusion of Muslim castes SC list
39. Caste row: 28-year-old assaulted by neighbours
40. Two Dalit farmers' bid to commit suicide
41. Dalit grievances to be redressed
42. Uma plays caste card for CM’s post
43. Upper-caste villagers puncture dalit’s nose
44. Barbers by Upper Caste Community and Bonded Labor System in Orissa
45. Gujarat IAS officer sent back from Bihar after he said ‘can’t have Dalit, OBC staff’
46. 50 years after Ambedkar, another conversion wave
47. Haryana's Dalit women give Karva Chauth a beamy touch
48. Dalit woman in UP panchayat poll fray set on fire
49. Panel: Add caste in Art. 17
50. Social justice cast(e) off in JNU polls
51. Girl’s family butchers youth to death
52. First Dalit President Narayanan dies at 85
53. Cong offers sops to Dalits, youth in Punjab
54. NDA: Upper caste in danger in Bihar
55. Rs 45 lakh: Govt ensures SC, ST share in MP fund
56. Special cells will safeguard SC/ST: Centre
57. Ambedkar love letters anger Prakash
58. Economic policies strengthening caste system'
59. Lovers end life on tracks in Gurgaon
60. SC Status for Christians to be examined
61. Rallies to create awareness among Dalits
62. Dalit groups ask rights panel to intervene
63. Dalit rally on Dec. 11
64. Dalit Bihar Speaker ushers in new era
65. Dalit woman's arm chopped off
66. Dalits dissatisfied with UPA Government: Udit Raj
67. Price of Dalit woman's hand: Rs 12,000
68. Six girls barred from entering JNU hostel
69. Dalits fined for entering temple
70. Inter-caste marriage does not confer SC/ST status: court
71. Panel on SCs, STs wants cell in PMO
72. 'Teach abolition of untouchability in schools'
73. Rights panel sends notice on dalit issue

Asian Age, 1 September 2005

Dalit houses in Haryana village set on fire

Chandigarh, Aug. 31: Upper caste Jat villagers, angry over police inaction in a recent murder case, torched more than twenty houses belonging to dalit Balmiki families in Gohana township on the border of Delhi in Haryana’s Sonepat district. More than 500 Jat villagers had gathered at Gohana’s Satsang Bhawan on Wednesday afternoon to protest against the reluctance of the local police to book the culprits responsible for the murder of Manjit Singh, a property dealer from Gadhwal village, who was allegedly done to death by a group of Balmikis two weeks ago. The furious Jats had earlier also held a Barah-Panchayat (twelve-village panchayat) at the victim’s village on Tuesday. Simmering temper flared quickly at Wednesday afternoon’s meeting in Gohana when some of the participants egged on others to "teach the Dalits a lesson they would remember." The Jats poured out of the Satsang Bhawan and proceeded to the nearby Balmiki settlement where within minutes they had set more than twenty homes on fire. The crowd fled the scene soon after. Fortunately, there was no loss of life or injuries since the 150 Balmiki families living there had deserted the settlement several hours earlier clearly apprehending reprisals by the Jats. The local administration was completely helpless in preventing the incident. The angry Jat mob easily overwhelmed the inadequate police contingent present on the scene. The cops who at first attempted to make a stand by letting off a volley of shots in the air, were forced to retreat and quietly watch the Jats make a bonfire out of the Dalit hutments.

Pioneer, 2 September 2005

Haryana tense as Dalits call bandh today

Gohana (Sonepat) : Tension prevailed in Haryana after Dalits, angry over Wednesday's torching of houses by a crowd, blocked the busy Ambala-Delhi highway at Lal Batti Chowk in this industrial town on Thursday, burnt a bus, and raised anti-Government slogans. Police fired in the air to quell arsonists and imposed prohibitory orders to maintain law and order. A Dalit panchayat later held a meeting and gave a call for Haryana bandh on Friday and another bandh on September 5. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who visited the spot on Thursday, said those behind Wednesday's arson attack "would not be spared" and cases had been registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act against 23 people, including a son and a brother of Member of Parliament from Sonepat Kishan Singh Sangwan."We are with the Dalits. They are our brothers. The guilty will not be spared," he said, adding that he would consider the demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into Wednesday's incident. Though no one was hurt, over 1,000 Dalit families have left Gohana, fearing for their lives. Police said they have launched a hunt to nab Pradeep and Ranbir, son and brother of Mr Sangwan, who is also the national vice-president of the BJP. This tiny town in Haryana has virtually turned into a police camp after several houses of Dalits were set ablaze in Balmiki Colony near Baroda Chowk on Wednesday. At least 30 houses were burnt in the fire while 20 others were partially gutted.

Indian Express, 2 September 2005

BJP MP’s sons, brother booked for arson

SONEPAT/NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 1: A DAY after 30 houses in a Valmiki colony at Gohana was burned by a mob, 23 people, including the son and brother of BJP national vice-president Kishan Singh Sangwan, were booked for arson even as Dalit organisations blocked the national highway calling for a Haryana-wide bandh tomorrow and an all-India strike on September 5. The mob torched Dalits' houses in the Valmiki colony reportedly in retaliation to the murder of an upper caste youth on August 27. While Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that an administrative probe would be conducted into the incident, the BJP said it will send a five-member fact-finding team to the area tomorrow. It will be led by the MP and the President of its Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Morcha, Ramnath Kovind. Sangwan is the party's MP from Sonepat. His son Pradeep and brother Ranbir have been booked under various sections of IPC and Arms Act. Both are currently absconding. Meanwhile, alleging police protection to those responsible for the incident, Dalit organisations held up traffic on the Ambala-Delhi Highway at Lal Batti Chowk for nearly 40 minutes and later submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner. Prohibitory orders are in place and senior police officers are in town. Officials added that compensation can only be provided after the approval of the Election Commission, as the model code of conduct was in force due to the coming by-election to the Rohtak Lok Sabha Constituency.

3 September 2005

Intra-Dalit friction sparked Gohana row

Gohana (Sonepat) : The Gohana incident, in which houses of 12 Dalits were torched on Wednesday near Sonepat, has divided the community with the Khatiks - the non- Balmiki Dalits - holding the view that what happened at Balmiki Basti was a fallout of the "criminal indulgences of the Balmiki youths that had enraged the locals". According to Raman Singh Khatik, "After the torching incident, the police recovered 2 kg of charas, two Japanese pistols worth Rs 4 lakh and 250 rounds of live bullets." Some Balmiki youths are allegedly dreaded in the area for having committed "nine murders", three of these this year.According to non-Balmiki Dalits, the horrific Wednesday incident will bring peace in the town as the Balmiki youths, who had become a nuisance, will now be more restrained. These youths intimidated shopkeepers and collected hafta (extortion money) of around Rs 150 from each one of them.When a Pioneer reporter reached Gohana, women complained that these miscreants often harassed women and girls. As a result, women found it difficult to venture out of their houses in the evening hours. "Two girls are still undergoing treatment at the PGI Hospital in Rohtak," said Kavita Rani. These youths did not spare even the policemen. Former DSP Kuldeep Shivach and disrobed and beaten up in his office, informed a villager. "The incident is not an outcome of caste dispute. It represents people's frustration over and anger against their misdeeds," he said. The Haryana bandh called by the Dalit panchayat, meanwhile, received a muted response. Shops and vends functioned as usual in the area.

The Hindu, 3 September 2005

'Mahapanchayat' rules out caste animosity

GOHANA (HARYANA): The "sarvajatiya-panchayat" attended by "sarpanches" of 96 villages, including those from the Dalit community, on Friday termed the burning down of houses at Balmiki Basti in the Gohana sub-division of Sonepat on Wednesday as a fall-out of the murder of a young man on August 27 and not a result of any animosity between the two communities. Attended by over 5,000 people, the meeting began at the Nai Anaj Mandi on Jind Road around 11 a.m. During the meeting, "sarpanches" of different villages expressed their views on the episode. At 1-30 p.m., the "panches" issued a statement demanding immediate arrest of the rest of the accused responsible for the murder of Baljeet, a resident of Gadhwal village. The "panchayat" gave the administration a deadline of two days to arrest the accused, Lara and Kaka, residents of Valmiki Basti, and a constant a source of trouble. The Inspector General of Police (Rohtak Range), V.N. Rai, confirmed that Lara and Kaka had a criminal past and had earlier been arrested in cases of rioting and petty fights. Claiming that most of the people named in the FIR on the burning down of about 35 houses were not the actual culprits, the "panchayat" urged the administration to arrest the real ones instead. After the meeting hundreds of people sat on dharna on Jind Road, blocking vehicular movement and demanding the arrest of those who murdered Baljeet. Earlier, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party president, Mayawati, visited Valmiki Basti and met those rendered homeless due to the incident. She demanded appropriate compensation for them and also a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Asian Age, 4 September 2005

UP village stops dalit mukhiya

New Delhi, Sept. 3: Forty-two-year-old Vitthan, wife of Sonpal, who won the panchayat election from Marriayaa block of Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh, was forced to miss the oath-taking ceremony that took place on Friday as the upper caste community of the village was angry at a dalit woman becoming mukhiya (village head). Ms Vitthan, the elected representative of the people of Marriayaa, can not even enter her village now. She has been on the run since August 28 — the day she was elected — as the village landlords had threatened her of dire consequences if she dared return. She came to New Delhi and lodged a complaint with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. Rupram Nishad, elder brother of Sonpal, blames her political rivals for the misery of Ms Vitthan. "Azad Kumar Yadav, who was defeated by Vitthan, is the main accused who is behind the incident. He, along with Satish Singh Yadav, Chuna Yadav, Ashok Kumar Yadav and Mohan Singh Yadav, attacked Vithan soon after the declaration of result on August 25," Mr Rupram said, adding that they threatened her to resign from the post of mukhiya and leave the village.

The Hindu, 4 September 2005

NHRC takes note of Gohana incident

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday took suo moto cognisance, based on media reports, of the torching of houses belonging to Dalits by a mob belonging to upper castes at Gohana in Sonepat district of Haryana, on August 27. It has directed that the news reports be sent to the Chief Secretary, Haryana, and the District Magistrate, Sonepat, and asked for their response within four weeks.

Hindustan Times, 4 September 2005

Dalits block traffic

OVER HUNDRED Dalit activists jammed traffic for about half an hour at Peeragarhi Chowk in Paschim Vihar area in west Delhi to protest against the Gohana incident in which houses of Dalits were burnt on last Wednesday. The Dalit leaders blocked the traffic at about nine in the morning. They demanded action against the accused and compensation for the victims whose houses were burnt. Few of them also shouted slogans saying "That Dalits all over the country would unite and fight against the atrocities on Dalits in Haryana and will continue to agitate till the victims of Gohana get justice."The commuters had to either divert their routes or wait for hours for the blockade to clear. More inconvenience was caused due to peak hours. The police however claimed that the mob dispersed within half an hour and traffic resumed its normal pace.

The Hindu, 4 September 2005

CPI(M) stages protest against Gohana incident

NEW DELHI: The Delhi State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Saturday staged a protest march here against the burning down of 50 houses of Dalits at Gohana in Sonepat on August 31. Several activists gathered at Windsor Place in New Delhi and marched to Sansad Marg condemning the "dastardly and casteist attack". Addressing a gathering, Inderjeet Singh, secretary (Haryana State Committee), alleged that the police and the administration were involved in the attack. He said the excuse given by the administration that strong action by the police would have resulted in loss of lives was reminiscent of similar justification advanced by them for the lynching of five Dalits in Duleena village, Jhajjar, a few years ago. Jogendra Sharma, Member, Central Committee, CPI(M), said the State Government had failed to provide protection to the Dalits though it claimed to be their well-wisher. The speakers demanded immediate arrest of those involved in the attack. They demanded a CBI inquiry into the role of the local Bharatiya Janata Party MP, Kishan Singh Sangwan, who was allegedly behind the attack and full compensation to the victims. They demanded immediate suspension of the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police.

Pioneer, 5 September 2005

Interim relief of Rs 50,000 for Gohana victims

New Delhi : In wake of the casteist violence that ravaged Gohana in Haryana four days back, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has announced an interim relief of Rs 50,000 to the members of the family affected by the carnage. The Haryana Government took this decision when a delegation consisting of the elderly members of the affected families met the Chief Minister of Haryana on sunday. After hearing their grievances and plight the CM came to this decision. According to the decision, rehabilitation and restoration works being undertaken for the affected families in Gohana will be done under the supervision of the Commissioner of Rohtak Division, NC Wadhwa. He will also be required to supervise the assessment being carried out by the Committee consisting of PWD and Tehsildar constituted earlier to assess the loss of properties or articles in the damaged houses. The Committee has been ordered to complete the assessment work within three days instead of one week in order to determine the final compensation to be paid to the affected families. According to an earlier decision the Public Welfare Department (B&R) has already taken up the work of repair and restoration of damaged houses for which the entire expenditure will be borne by the State Government.

The Hindu, 6 September 2005

Gohana incidents: Hooda orders CBI probe

NEW DELHI: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda ordered a CBI inquiry on Monday into the murder of a youth and the subsequent incidents of arson at Gohana village in Sonepat district of Haryana that led to some Dalit families fleeing their homes. Flanked by a number of Dalit leaders from Delhi and Haryana who presented him a memorandum in support of their demands, Mr. Hooda said the CBI would not only probe the murder of Baljit Siwatch but also into what led to the subsequent arson. It would also investigate if there was any laxity by officials in dealing with the situation. He said cases under the SC/ST Act had been registered against 23 people and four of the accused arrested. In the murder case, four out of the seven accused had been taken into custody and a manhunt launched for the others. Terming the incidents as part of a political conspiracy to destabilise public harmony, Mr. Hooda said the role of the BJP Member of Parliament from Sonepat, Kishen Sangwan, would also be probed. A case has been registered against his son and other relatives. Mr. Hooda said the compensation for each family had been enhanced from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. A police post would be created in Gohana to give a sense of security to the people.

The Hindu, 6 September 2005

Demand for Hooda's dismissal by "Dalit Mahapanchayat"

NEW DELHI: A "Dalit Mahapanchayat" organised on Monday at the Ramlila Grounds here in the wake of the burning down of over 35 houses of Dalits at Valmiki Basti in Gohana village of Haryana on August 31 demanded dismissal of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda Government in the State and a thorough probe into the entire episode by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Held under the aegis of Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Samaj, the meeting was attended by a large number of people from Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and other States. In a resolution, the "panchayat" demanded dismissal of the Haryana Government and also demanded a compensation of Rs. 20 lakhs to each of the affected Dalit families and a CBI probe into the incident to unearth the truth. The "panchayat" also urged the authorities concerned to initiate criminal proceedings against the area Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police as they had failed to prevent the incident despite information that the Dalits living at Valmiki Basti could be targeted after the murder of a financer, Baljeet, on August 27. After the murder, most residents of Valmiki Basti had fled apprehending an attack. The two officers in question have been transferred out following allegations of negligence on their part. The community leaders also asked for a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of Baljeet. Some of the participants were of the view that the First Information Report pertaining to the murder should be set aside and a fresh investigation into the matter launched.

Pioneer, 6 September 2005

Gohana spills over to Punjab: 50 hurt

Chandigarh :Balmiki Sangathan men set afire 17 vehicles; attack gurudwara, temple- --- Members of Balmiki Sangathan in Punjab, who had called a bandh to protest the last week's torching of Dalit houses in Gohana, turned violent in Amritsar and Kapurthala on Monday. The protesters fought pitched battle with the police and set on fire 17 vehicles in Amritsar and damaged a gurudwara at Amrit Bazar and board of Satianarayan mandir in Kapurthala. Around 40 police officials and 10 protesters were injured in different incidents. An agency report, quoting Superintendent of Police DP Singh, said the protestors clashed with police on streets and hurled soft drink bottles, which left around 40 police officials injured. In Amritsar, they damaged 10 buses, including four Punjab Roadways buses, five other vehicles and set afire two motorcycles, the report said. The crowd, brandishing iron and wooden rods, attacked police at different places in the walled city.They went into a private school building near town hall and dragged children from their class rooms besides beating them. They damaged public property at the busiest Hall Bazar area where the window panes of some eating joints were smashed. In Kapurthala, sporadic incidents of violence forced the police to lathicharge, fire tear gas shells, and deploy Black Cat commandos and riot-control vehicles in sensitive areas to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control. Sources said the Balmiki Sangathan had on Sunday held a meeting at Shehariyan in Kapurthala to "chalk out a plan of action" and express solidarity with the Guhana victims. It was decided at this meeting to enforce a complete bandh on Monday.

Asian Age, 7 September 2005

Probe ordered into attack on Dalits in Akola

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Tuesday announced a magisterial inquiry into the recent attack on Dalits in Akola district. Briefing reporters after a Cabinet meeting, he said 13 houses and two shops were destroyed in the attack. The total loss of property amounted to Rs. 5.47 lakh. The Government would rebuild the homes. Referring to the flood relief operations, Mr. Deshmukh said farmers who had lost their crops would be compensated — Rs. 25,000 a hectare for irrigated land and Rs. 15,000 a hectare for unirrigated land up to two hectares. Since the Central aid was not yet approved, the State would fork out the relief amounts. So far the State has spent Rs. 429 crores for relief.

The Hindu, 7 September 2005

6 held for Gohana dalit violence

New Delhi, Sept. 6: The police on Tuesday claimed to have arrested two more persons named in the FIR for burning dalit houses in Gohana. Also arrested were four persons, including the prime suspect in the murder of a financier that triggered the casteist violence. Superintendent of police Rajinder Singh said investigations in both cases were in progress and a hunt was on for the others involved. Special teams had been formed and a new police post had been established in Balmiki Basti of Gohana town to instil confidence among the dalits. Those arrested in connection with the arson incident at Balmiki Basti on August 31 are Radhey Sham of Lath village and Manoj of Bhainswan Khurd village in the district. The police had earlier arrested Rampal of Nooran Khera village and Rajesh of Chhatehra village in the case. In the case relating to the murder of Baljeet, a financier of Garhwal village, the police arrested four persons, including the prime suspect. They were identified as Shiv Lal, Veeru, alias Jatinder, Chhota, alias Hari Dass, and Rakesh, alias Khakoo.

The Hindu, 13 September 2005

CBI seizes police records on Gohana violence

CHANDIGARH: Officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the Gohana violence in which Dalits were targeted, on Monday seized police records related to the incidents and also questioned some persons at Gohana, in Sonepat district. CBI sources, while confirming this, said a few victims, whose houses were torched in a Dalit colony on August 31, pointed a finger at the son and brother of the Sonepat Bharatiya Janata Party MP, Kishan Singh Sangwan. They accused the duo of being involved in the attack. The two are among the 23 named in the FIR registered with the Gohana police. The CBI has registered two cases relating to the incidents of violence and arson and the murder of financer Baljeet Siwach, which is believed to have led to the violence. In a related incident, another three-member CBI team arrived at Panchkula on Saturday to inquire into the violence that took place on September 2 after the Gohana incident. The team questioned some police officials and scrutinised records.

The Hindu, 13 September 2005

Dalit-Adivasi alliance for panchayat poll

KOZHIKODE: : A Dalit-tribal political platform has been forged to mobilise the disadvantaged groups as an electoral force and to contest the forthcoming elections to local bodies. The initiative for the alliance has come from C. K. Janu, president of the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha and M. Geetanandan who was in the frontline of the tribal agitation for land rights in the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Mr.Geetanandan described the alliance as a coming together of groups representing people who had been denied " their legitimate right to life." "This alliance would contest future elections also," Mr. Geetanandan said at a press conference in Kozhikode on Friday. The Farmers Relief Forum and the RMS have reached an understanding on seat- sharing in Kannur, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts where these groups have made their presence felt by organising agitations. The Farmers Relief Forum has been spearheading farmers' agitations in Wayanad. In Wayanad alone the new front has decided to contest nearly 300 seats. In Ernakulam and Alapuzha districts, where a number of fishermen candidates are expected to contest elections, activists of the RMS and the Farmers Relief Forum would be active as campaigners. Activists of the RMS would contest in the other districts as Independent candidates with the support of organisations of Dalits and tribal people.

Asian Age, 14 September 2005

‘Cobra’ AP going Bihar way: CPM

New Delhi/Hyderabad: CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury on Monday expressed concern that Andhra Pradesh is going the Bihar way with the emergence of caste-based private armies like Nallamalla Cobra (Nallatrachu). Mr Yechury said that in the north private armies are used primarily to oppress the weaker sections. The police and the administration do not help the private armies’ victims as they lack clout. Most problems are rooted in backwardness and greater development is the answer, Mr Yechury said. In a sense, even the demand for a separate Telangana emerges from backwardness, he said. The CPI(M) opposes statehood for Telangana. For tackling backwardness, he said, the government should formulate a well-funded specific development plan. Land and land rights are at the core of the problem, Mr Yechury said, adding that violence breaks out when these rights are diluted. The state government should address these issues in right earnest; if timely measures are not initiated, the situation could soon worsen, he said. If such caste- based private armies are allowed to survive, a majority of attacks would be directed against dalits and the landless poor. Most of the private armies would be operated by rich, upper-caste people. For them, the weaker sections are the target, he said, adding that in addition to organised massacres, private armies use dehumanising programmes to insult the weaker sections. Private armies take the guise of anti- Maoist groups and spring up after a major attack by extremists. Fear Vikas, Green Tigers, Nalladandu, Red Tigers, Tirumala Tigers, Palnadu Tigers, Kakatiya Cobras, Narsa Cobras, Nallamalla Nallatrachu (Cobras) and Kranthi Sena are some of the gangs. The gangs have fiery logos featuring cobras, tigers and guns.

Asian Age, 14 September 2005

Dalit’s daughter is hostage

New Delhi, Sept. 13: Sixty-year-old Moolchand, a resident of Ballabgarh in Haryana, has lost faith in the police. Landlords of a nearby village have kept his 16-year-old daughter hostage for the last three months. Whenever Moolchand approaches the police, the policemen start beating him up and sometimes senior officials make derogatory remarks since he is a dalit, he says. Talking to this correspondent, Moolchand said, "There is nobody in the village who will help me, simply because I am a dalit. I know that my daughter is in the custody of landlords. Even the local police knows that. When the landlords kidnapped my daughter, I lodged a complaint with the local police but no action was taken against the landlords." "After lodging several complaints, I requested police officials several times to rescue my daughter. But now the policemen have started abusing me. Sometimes they beat me and pass derogatory remarks against me and my community. Now with the help of the local police, the landlords have threatened me with dire consequences. I am worried about my wife Sheila and four other children. The landlords sometimes threaten my family in my absence. I don’t know what to do," said Moolchand. He further said, "I am a very poor man. It’s really difficult for me to fight with the landlords of the village. The police has also become anti-dalit in the village. Last time when I visited the police station, one of the senior officials said, ‘What will you do with your daughter, she is now pregnant?’"

Asian Age, 14 September 2005

Mangal blanks out dalit’s role in history

Lucknow, Sept. 13: Trouble for Ketan Mehta’s magnum opus Mangal Pandey — The Rising continues to brew in Uttar Pradesh. After the court case slapped on the film director and crew by Mangal Pandey’s descendants in Ballia for allegedly showing the war hero in a poor light, it is now a UP-based dalit organisation called Swayam Sudhar Samiti that is gunning for the filmmakers. The dalits are enraged over the fact that the filmmakes make no mention of Matadin, a dalit, who had first informed Mangal Pandey that the cartridges were being greased with animal fat and it was this that led to the 1857 war of Independence. The film shows a dalit called Nainsukh informing Mangal Pandey of the use of animal fat in cartridges that were given to Indian soldiers for use. However, there is no mention of Matadin. According to Mr Dev Kumar, convener of the Swayam Sudhar Samiti, it is an established fact that it was a dalit — and not a Brahmin — who first ignited the spark of revolt against the British rule. The Swayam Sudhar Samiti has collected all relevant documents that detail Matadin’s role in inspiring Mangal Pandey to revolt against the British and is now preparing to file public interest litigation against the filmmakers, demanding an unconditional apology for blanking out Matadin’s role in the first war of Independence.

Pioneer, 16 September 2005

Dreaded criminal turns Dalit activist

New Delhi : Shocking! But true. A dreaded criminal, Jag Mohan Singh, arrested by the Delhi Police crime branch for his involvement in more than 10 heinous crimes, including a murder and murderous attempts on three businessmen, is the same person who was rousing rabble at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi on September 5. "Fighting for the civil liberties and rights of Dalits" after the Gohana incident, he led from the front in cursing the top leaders of the Congress. Mohar Singh alias Jagmohan Singh is a senior leader in the Akhil Bharatiya Balmiki Samaj. Talking to The Pioneer on September 5, he said that the Dalit community wants the dismissal of the Hooda Government. Himself named in the 'most wanted' list of Delhi Police, Jagmohan demanded a CBI probe into the Gohana arson. In the conversation, he expressed an acute sympathy towards the Balmiki youths who killed the Jat boy Baljit Singh in Gohana. He backed the Balmiki community by terming the incident in Gohana as anti-Dalit and blamed the entire upper caste community and Haryana Government for their demeaning behaviour towards the Dalits. He demanded from the Haryana Government to double the interim relief amount from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh to each to the affected families. On Tuesday, anti-auto theft squad and anti- robbery cell of Delhi Police received an information about this alleged extortionist coming in a Toyota Qualis, which was involved in a criminal case. He was nabbed near Hanuman Mandir, Connaught Place. The police also recovered the car, one pistol and four live cartridges from him. Police are contemplating a strict action against him under MCOCA.Mohar Singh, a listed criminal of Paharganj, was wanted by the Delhi Police in one case of murder, attempt to murder, robbery and criminal intimidation. In 2000, he was detained under National Security Act (NSA), in order to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. But the arrest was not effective in dissuading him from indulging in violent activities.

The Hindu, 16 September 2005

Dalit movement goes global

NEW DELHI: Seeking to globally raise the issue of reservation in the private sector and caste-based discrimination, the Dalit Freedom Network is organising a two-day international conference in Washington D.C. from October 5. To be addressed by the chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, the meeting will also seek to "expose" the Sangh Parivar, sensitise the U.N. for protection of Dalit human rights, and appeal to the United States to provide work opportunities to Dalits. Addressing a press conference here, the Chairman of the Confederation, Udit Raj, said in the era of globalisation it had become imperative to fight certain causes globally. Mr. Raj said he would address the meeting along with other DFN representatives such as international president Joseph D' Souza, executive director Nancy Ricks, Deputy Speaker of the British House of Lords Caroline Cox, and former US Senator from Colorado, William Armstrong. Mr. Raj said a great friend of India, US Congressman Joseph Pitts, would be the host of this meeting to be held at Capitol Hill. The objective of DFN, he said, was to establish education centres for Dalits in India, empower Dalits economically, provide medical and other health facilities to them, and protect their human rights. Stating that DFN was engaged in bringing awareness in the US about Dalits in India, he said, it believes that the magnitude of caste problems can not be fought by a few, but by many people not only in India but worldwide. Having established about 40 centres of education for Dalits in India which are not only imparting scholastic lessons and curricula, but giving global exposure and awareness about human rights, he said, DFN will enable them to choose right options in their future.

Hindustan Times, 16 September 2005

Dalits pitch tent in US for a cause

New Delhi, September 15: TAKING A leaf out of the Sangh's book, Dalits now plan to fight their battle for affirmative action, including job reservations in the private sector in India, from foreign soil as well. The Dalit Freedom Network has been set up in Washington with the help of the American government to raise awareness about the plight of Dalits in India and secure resources to fund holistic programmes, including education centres, economic development, medical services and human rights advocacy. These issues will be highlighted in the DFN's first Dalit meet in Washington on October 5-6. "In the era of globalisation, it has become imperative to fight certain causes globally," said Udit Raj of the All-India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, who like the Osmania University's Professor Kancha Ilaiah, is on the DFN's advisory board. Conscious that the NRIs, who are Sangh supporters, may not quite sympathise with their cause, the network plans to seek support among American opinion-makers who can influence the agenda both in the US as well as in India, especially where affirmative action is concerned. With several MNCs entering the Indian market, it has become particularly important. "Through this meet, we will appeal to MNCs and foreign investors to provide reservation in their establishments in India. We will appeal to the American media to give space to Dalits in their concerns in India," said Udit Raj, citing successful efforts of the Editors' Association of America to increase representation of blacks from 2 per cent to more than 9 per cent.

Times of India, 17 September 2005

Gaya Dalits’ last supper: Goat carcass

Barachatti (Gaya): More than 15 Dalits have died in drought-hit Barachatti and Mohanpur blocks of Gaya district, some of them after consuming the carcass of a goat in a desperation. Starvation and disease stalks a vast population here and the total lack of medicare is adding to the toll of human lives. "People are dying like flies. We fear many more deaths in the coming days," says Baleshwar Yadav of Barwadih village. The words have a chilling ring of truth. This correspondent on Friday watched people dying, with foam trickling down their mouths and nostrils and their fingers twisted. In Jalhi village alone, 13 deaths have been reported. Overall, over 25,000 people are said to have fled their homes in Mohanpur block. Scenes of unimaginable agony abound, in village after village. As we enter Jalhi, news of Hiraman Man-jhi's son Baldeo (4) meeting a painful death greets us. •— —i At the neighbouring Boat village, Kari Devi (40) has just died and the body of Rita Kumari (6), daughter of Sukar Manjhi, is being taken out on its last journey. At Piprahi, a handful of villagers are returning after performing the last rites of 45-year-old Basrath Manjhi. "The situation is horrible," says Ishwar Manjhi at Jalhi. In a span of less than a month, 13 villagers, mostly children, have died, he says. Most deaths were due to diarrhoea, villagers say. "No doctor ever came here, but from the symptoms we are sure it was diarrhoea," says Baleshwar Manjhi who himself lost his young son. Other villagers nod in confirmation. Even as Ishwar recalls the names of the victims, a woman rushes in, crying. She whispers something to a person and hurries back. The toll has just risen to 14. At neighbouring Bongia village, people confess the deaths began after some starving people dug out the carcass of a goat and ate it. Ramji Choudhary says although only a few persons had died in the village, the most likely reason was the consumption of spurious meat. Rambriksh Manjhi, whose father was one of the victims, confirms the account. At least three members of his family are still sick, a three-year old child being in a serious condition.

Times of India, 20 September 2005

‘Insane’ Dalit chained for two years in Orissa

Kendrapada: The tropical rain lashes Upendra Naik's face as he sits on the veranda of a two-room asbestos house in Chauriberhampore village on the outskirts of Kendrapada town. The 32-year-old Dalit would have moved out of the rain, only if he could. For two years, he has been fettered there, his legs put in chains by villagers who believe he is insane. Naik is a victim of the collective conscience of his village. In July 2003, a village committee ruled him insane and eager vigilantes tied up the man in the veranda. The darker irony is that the state government and the police all know about Upendra, but aren't doing anything to unshackle him from his plight. Appeals by his wife, 27-year-old Suparna, for mercy and clemency have fallen on deaf and insensitive ears. "All my pleadings have gone in vain. The committee refuses to hear me," she said. Frustrated, Suparna left Upendra four months ago and moved back to her father's home, said Ananda Naik, Upendra's father. The old man in his seventies now cooks meals and brings them to his son three times a day. Upendra him self is tired of telling his story and tears well up before his lips can form words. "I am an innocent person. But some unscrupulous villagers have chained my legs."

Asian Age, 22 September 2005

Scheduled castes panel now serves notice to AAI

New Delhi, Sept. 21: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has served notice on Airport Authority of India to fillup all the SC/ST vacancies. The commission has also instructed AAI to stop pension and other retirement benefits to certain senior officials of the authority who are responsible for causing delay in the appointments of SC/ST candidates. Recently in a letter written to chairman of the AAI, Mr Devender Vaddeti, member, NCSC, said, "As per the meeting held on April 26, 2005, regarding the special recruitment of SC/STs drive (number of posts- approximately 300) in Airport Authority of India which was published in 2003 and to say that chairman along with other officials of AAI assured that ‘management is giving personal attention in this special recruitment drive and will submit the list of appointees by July 31, 2005. But till date no reply has been received from your office."

The Hindu, 28 September 2005

Scheduled Castes panel warns States

NEW DELHI: Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes Suraj Bhan on Tuesday threatened to crack the whip if State Governments continued to ignore its requests for information on various issues pertaining to SCs. Briefing mediapersons here, Mr. Bhan said despite two months since the expiry of the deadline, not a single State Government had furnished data on the number of SCs recruited over the past decade. "We will not tolerate this much longer. We are empowered by law to issue summons, but this is something we have not used till date," Mr. Bhan said, adding that State Governments had similarly ignored the Commission's requests for information on complaints of bogus SC certificates being used to corner jobs reserved for the socially disadvantaged sections of society. Also, the Commission has decided to press for the setting up of special courts to handle cases of atrocities against SCs to ensure speedy dispensation of cases. As per figures available, 45,000 cases of atrocities against SCs were reported from across the country in the last calendar year. However, Mr. Bhan said the actual number would be greater as these cases were only those that were reported.

The Hindu, 28 September 2005

Gujarat BJP seeks details of Dalit meet

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat BJP president Vajubhai Vala has sought a detailed report about a convention of Dalits in Rajkot where party dissidents shared the platform with the Congress to denounce the Narendra Modi Government in the State. The main organiser of the convention, organised under the aegis of the Dalit Mahapanchayat Samiti, was the dissident BJP member of the Assembly, Sidhhartha Parmar, who with several thousand Dalits from the Saurashtra region and some other parts of the State, took a vow to fight for justice. Leaders on the dais symbolically raised guns skywards, shouting anti-government slogans. The convention adopted some 15 resolutions, the main contention being that the welfare measures for Dalits, such as scholarships to students and bicycles to the girl students of the community and other schemes introduced by the previous Keshubhai Patel Ministry, had been discontinued by the Modi administration. Expressing lack of confidence in the present Government, the convention raised the demand for a separate "Dalitstan" carved out of the State where they could be ruled by members of their community. Mr. Parmar even offered to "sacrifice his life" for the cause of the Dalits. The Congress Mayor, Gauriben Sindhav, the former Mayor, Mansukh Chavda, Manhar Makwana, MLA, and several other Congress leaders belonging to the Dalit community also attended the convention. They lambasted the Modi Government for inept handling of Dalit welfare schemes, and not caring to fill the reservation quota in government jobs and educational institutions or carry forward the backlog to benefit the weaker sections of the society.

The Hindu, 1 October 2005

Orissa villagers protest against inhuman practice

BHUBANESWAR: Members of the barber community at Bhubanpati, a coastal village in Puri district of Orissa, are scared of returning to their houses. Four women were beaten up and another was paraded naked allegedly by a group of "upper caste" men in the village on September 19. "We are not sure when we will be able to return to our homes. We have lost everything," Sabitri Barik, one of the victims, said here on Friday. The women and their family members are here to organise a dharna outside the Raj Bhavan and submit a memorandum to GovernorRameshwar Thakur on Saturday. The women were abused by large number of men, allegedly from the Khandayat community, because their husbands refused to wash the feet of the groom and guests during marriage ceremonies as per custom. The women were later locked up in a room and their houses looted when the male members were away. "I was dragged out of my house and beaten up. They also looted our house and took away all that we had saved for our daughter's marriage," Pratima Barik said. Her husband, Hadibandhu Barik (51), has not set foot in the village since March after two men, including a 75-year-old, were beaten up and tortured for not agreeing to wash the feet of the groom and the guests during a marriage, she said. "I am scared to go to my village because the Khandayats will surely attack me," saidHadibandhu Barik. "Our children are educated and they are not willing to do the customary job of washing the feet of upper caste men, clear the left-overs after the marriage feast and wash the utensils."

The Hindu, 1 October 2005

BJP's Dalit meet a ploy: Jamuna Devi

BHOPAL: The Leader of the Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, Jamuna Devi, lashed out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday describing the national Dalit convention the latter has planned here on Saturday as an attempt to mislead the people. It was also to divert people's attention away from the atrocities being committed on Dalits and Scheduled Tribes in the State, she added. Addressing a Press conference here, Ms. Devi said the ruling party was organising the convention to sweep under the carpet its own failure to implement the promises it had made for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes. She said the Scheduled Caste MLAs did not have adequate representation in the State Cabinet. After winning 30 of the 34 Assembly seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes in the State, there were only two Scheduled Caste Ministers in the Ministry, she added. The Opposition leader said that the BJP had made 13 electoral promises for Dalits but not a single one had been fulfilled. On the other extreme, many welfare schemes started by the previous Congress Government for the benefit of Dalits have been scrapped, she pointed out. While the BJP had promised in its election manifesto that Dalits would get proper drinking water supply, concrete houses and sanitation facilities, the `anti-Dalit Government' was now engaged in uprooting the hapless slum-dwellers. The State Government was also busy demolishing the system that had been put in place by the previous Congress Government for educating the Scheduled Castes, she said adding "all this is an attempt to patronize their own Shishu Mandirs". The BJP has also failed to provide either employment or two hectares of unencumbered land to every Scheduled Caste family under the farm labourer category, she alleged.

Asian Age, 2 October 2005

Dalit accuses Petronet of sabotaging appointment

New Delhi, Oct. 1: The issue of caste and coterie, the bane of Indian bureaucracy has allegedly struck in the appointment of CEO in private company Petronet LNG Limited (PLL). Director projects of Gail Prabhakar Rao, a dalit candidate for the post, has moved the court, alleging that gail head Prashanto Bannerjee has sabotaged his chance. Mr Rao has moved the Delhi high court seeking a stay on the appointment of the PLL CEO. The court has issued notices to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, the scheduled caste commission, PLL, as well as Gail CMD Prashanto Bannerjee. On September 1, Mr Pro-sad Dasgupta was appointed to the post by the board of directors of PLL. Mr Rao has alleged that he had applied for the post and routed his application through the proper channel, that of CMD Gail, which Mr Bannerjee had refused to forward but instead did it for another applicant from Gail. Mr Rao has also insinuated that Mr Bannerjee had participated in the selection process and canvassed against him, a charge which has been contested by Mr Bannerjee. An explanation has been sought by the SC commission. Mr Bannerjee has put forward 12 justifications to shield the charge that he tried to jeopardise Mr Rao’s career. However, the ministry has not endorsed any of these. It has said that Mr Rao deserves a sympathetic hearing on the grounds of being a dalit.

Pioneer, 5 October 2005

BJP calls to end atrocities on Dalits

New Delhi : Delhi Pradesh BJP president Dr Harsh Vardhan has urged the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Orissa to curb the atrocities being inflicted upon the barber community and other Dalit communities in the two states. Dr Vardhan has written to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Naveen Patnaik chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Orissa respectively in this context. Addressing the demonstrators at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday, the city BJP president requested both the chief ministers to punish the guilty persons. In Orissa, atrocities ranging from washing the feet of the upper class to cleaning their leftovers are being commited against the Dalits and the barber community. Expressing dismay over the atrocities on Dalit communities in various parts of the country, Dr Vardhan said: "We should do everything possible to ensure the people from the weaker sections of the society are not harassed at all."

The Hindu, 6 October 2005

Dalit Sarpanch accuses cops of rape in Rajasthan

JAIPUR: A Dalit woman sarpanch in Jhalawar district of Rajasthan has accused the station house officer of the Gangdhar police station, an assistant sub-inspector and two local functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party of raping her on September 22 night. No case has been registered on her complaint so far even after her appeals to the Collector and the Superintendent of Police, she charged. The victim, Sarpanch of Rojhana village, who appeared before media persons along with her husband Puralal Doli and her two children in the Pradesh Congress Committee office on Wednesday, said she had gone to the Gangdhar police station in Dag panchayat samiti to complain against the corporal punishment meted out to the students of local school by two teachers. She considered filing a case against the "torture" of students after her efforts to negotiate the issue between the teachers and parents of children failed, she said. The woman sarpanch, who belongs to the Congress, mentioned the names of Fateh Singh Chouhan, SHO, Ganga Ram, ASI and two BJP leaders as the perpetratorsof the atrocity against her. According to her, when she went to the police station the police personnel presented there first abused her calling her caste names. "We will take out your sarpanch-ship today," the men reportedly said after a round of beating and prior to the alleged rape inside the police station itself. She was pushed out of the police station thereafter. No medical examination of the victim could be done so far though the clothes worn by her at the time of the rape are reportedly kept intact.

Pioneer, 6 October 2005

Dalit woman identifies rapists

Jaipur : A dalit woman allegedly raped in a temple complex at Jodhpur four days ago, on Wednesday identified four accused during a parade at the central jail here, official sources said. The identification parade was conducted in presence of the magistrate, the sources said adding police will file a challan in the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court against the four - Guddu, Anil, Shankar and Manoj.

The Hindu, 6 October 2005

U.P. Govt. gives SC, ST status to 16 more castes

LUCKNOW: Pending approval by the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh Government on Wednesday decided to include 16 backward castes in the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes even as the State Election Commission objected to the move following enforcement of the model code of conduct due to the ongoing panchayat polls. While those belonging to Nishad, Kewat, Mallah, Dhivar, Dhimar, Batham, Bind, Kashyap, Kahar, Turha, Gaur, Manjhi, Bhar, Rajbhar, Kori and Kumhar (Prajapati) have been provided with SC status, the Kol community was given ST status. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, announcing the decision after the cabinet meeting here, said the people of these communities would enjoy the benefits of the new status following issuance of the government order (GO) shortly. The government has decided to give the facility to an estimated 5 million people under the power attained by it under Section 13 of the UP Lok Seva (SC/ST and other backwards reservation) Act 1994. Though Mr Yadav denied that the announcement amounted to a violation of the model code of conduct at present imposed in the state in view of Zila Panchayat and Khestra Panchayat elections, the State Election Commission has taken up the issue. State Election Commissioner Aparmita Prasad Singh said here that it was an arbitrary decision by the government and no permission was taken from the EC before the announcement. He, however, refused to comment whether the announcement will attract any action from Commission.

The Hindu, 6 October 2005

A long wait for justice

JAIPUR: Dalits in Dhira village in Banner district of Ra-jasthan are waiting for action against those responsible for alleged murder of a Dalit youth who was working as an agricultural labourer in the farms of the dominant Rajputs even five months after the crime.Police have made no headway in the investigations after registering the first information report on the orders of a local court. The body of the victim, Ghewa Ram, was allegedly thrown into a well after his murder on May 17 last and it was made out as a suicide case. The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, and Collector and Superintendent of Police of Barmer on a complaint made by the Dalit organisations. The respondents have been asked to submit the requisite information within four weeks. A report released by a fact-finding team of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) here has observed that the local Rajputs were still terrorising the victim's family and other Dalits in the village. Police have not arrested any of the accused who have been named in the FIR. The fact-finding team, while stating that Ghewa Ram had been murdered under a pre- planned conspiracy, pointed out that the entire Barmer district seemed to be under the socio-economic and political dominance of Rajputs who were "behaving as the feudal lords". The State Government has not provided any assistance or relief to the victim's family.The NCDHR has demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the crime and steps for providing safety and payment of compensation to the next of kin of Ghewa Ram.

7 October 2005

Action sought against landlords for blocking pathway of Dalits

UDUPI: Members of Bhoomigagi Horata Samiti, Pragatipara Chintakara Vedike and Marathi Samaj Seva Sangh staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's Office here on Thursday, demanding protection of the rights of Dalits in Kodlady village in Kundapur taluk. In a memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner T. Sham Bhatt, the samiti said that hundreds of Dalit families have been living in Kodlady village for generations. But two landlords living in that village have constructed a compound wall and blocked the pathway used by the Dalits. When some Dalits protested, they were threatened. Although the matter has been brought to the notice of the concerned officials, no action has been taken. The district administration should protect the rights of the Dalits and clear the pathway for them, the memorandum stated. Cases should be booked against the guilty under Prevention of Atrocities Against Dalits Act, the memorandum added. Mr. Bhatt promised members that action will be taken to solve the problem in three days. The three organisations also submitted a memorandum to Superintendent of Police S. Murugan, who promised to take action. The organisations took out a procession from Brahmagiri Junction to the Deputy Commissioner's Office.

The Hindu, 9 October 2005

Call for inclusion of Muslim castes SC list

LUCKNOW: The All India United Muslim Morcha today urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to recommend to the Centre inclusion of several Muslim castes in scheduled castes list to ensure their all-round development. "Almost 85 per cent of the Muslim population belongs to these castes and has remained backward due to a mistake in Article 341 of the Constitution which provides for SC/ST benefits to only Dalits belonging to religions other than Muslims. We urge the Chief Minister to get a resolution passed by the State Assembly for including them in the SC/ST list as well," working chairman of the UP chapter of the Morcha Salahuddin Sheebu said here.

Asian Age, 10 October 2005

Caste row: 28-year-old assaulted by neighbours

New Delhi, Oct. 9: The cruelty of the deep-rooted caste system prevalent in our society was exposed in the capital on Saturday evening when a 28-year-old youth belonging to a "lower caste" was allegedly beaten in a brutal manner by his upper caste neighbours in Jahtikaran village in Southwest Delhi. Kishna, a daily wage earner was seriously injured and is battling for life at Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital. Manoj, a nephew of Kishna, told this newspaper that Kishna has received major injuries on the head and waist. No arrest has been made so far in the case, he complained. Though the police claimed to have registered an FIR soon after the incident, he, along with his family members, refuted the police claim and accused the police of siding with the culprits. Manoj said that Kishna was beaten with crutches by Rajinder Tyagi and his two sons, who live in the same village, in a field on Saturday evening. "The three were drunk and hit unsuspecting Kishna. Some of our well- wishers rushed to tell us about the incident. By the time we reached there the three had fled from the spot." Kishna’s aunt Sheela alleged that such acts were not new in the village dominated by Tyagis. "Our 20 Valmiki families cannot raise voice against the strong 300 Tyagi families in the village." she said. Manoj added that though the DD No. (35) case has been filed at the Jhatikaran police station, the police is yet to register the case. The complaint has been made against Mr Tyagi and his two sons for inflicting grievous injuries on Kishna. However, Mr Sanjeev Parmar, SHO of the area police station, claimed that FIR No. 110 has been filed under Section 308 of the IPC (causing injuries). He added: "And since no complain was made regarding use of casteist remarks, the sections of the Scheduled Caste Act has not been included in the FIR." On being asked why no one has been arrested or detained so far in the case, the police official said: "We are waiting for the victim to recover. We can’t arrest anyone till then."

The Hindu, 11 October 2005

Two Dalit farmers' bid to commit suicide

NIZAMABAD: Two Scheduled Castes farmers — Venkatesh and Durgaiah of Ootupally village in Bodhan mandal — on Monday made an attempt to commit suicide by dousing themselves with kerosene in front of the Collectorate for the alleged apathy of officials in sanctioning loan. Venkatesh (35) and Durgaiah (50) from Ootupally arrived for the grievance day. They wanted to see the Collector, but before meeting the Collector they made the attempt to end the lives. Soon, the policemen who were on guard duty foiled their attempt and informed the authorities. They explained that they had been assigned land in 1996 and on which they got dug borewells in 2001. The administration had sanctioned them electric motors through the SC Corporation, but did not pay drilling charges so far. When contacted, Collector D.V. Raidu said there was no system in the Government for reimbursing the borewell drilling charges.

The Hindu, 11 October 2005

Dalit grievances to be redressed

BANGALORE: The State Government on Monday assured Dalit organisations that it will look into the grievances of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people, including hostel facility for students and increase in scholarship amount. Addressing presspersons after a two-hour meeting with leaders of two factions of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS), Deputy Chief Minister M.P. Prakash said the Government is committed to the welfare of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people. Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh and Social Welfare Minister Y. Nagappa also attended the meeting. Mr. Prakash said the president of Karnataka Dalita, Hindulida, Alpasankyatara Samiti (DHAS), Y. Sampangi, and State DSS convener Shivanna placed a number of issues concerning Dalits in the State. The issues included increasing the number of hostels and the scholarship amount for meritorious students, filling of backlog vacancies, reservation in the private sector and action against those who obtain government jobs by producing caste certificates obtained by giving false information. Mr. Prakash said the leaders were informed about the legal hurdles on the way of providing reservation in the private sector. The Centre would have to amend the Constitution to provide such reservation, he said. Another demand was that the Government should give more powers to the Civil Rights Enforcement Cell to deal firmly with those who produce caste certificates based on falsified documents. The Government will examine the matter, Mr. Prakash said.

Asian Age, 13 October 2005

Uma plays caste card for CM’s post

Bhopal, Oct. 12: BJP leader Uma Bharti has generally never been perceived as a casteist leader on the lines of Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, or Ms Mayawati. Her status of "sadhvi," howsoever tenuous, has over the years helped her to widen her appeal beyond the confines of caste. Not any more. Desperate to be reinstalled as chief minister, she now seems determined to play the caste card with a vengeance. Ms Bharti made this quite apparent during her anti-upper caste tirade at the party's recent Dalit mahasangam in Bhopal in the presence of party chief L.K. Advani and others. Madhya Pradesh BJP insiders are positive that the sadhvi may be getting ready to cast herself in a casteist mould to retrieve the political ground lost after the events leading to her resignation as the chief minister and subsequent suspension from the party. At the rally, Ms Bharti harangued the dalits to "snatch" their rights from their upper caste overlords rather than wait for the government to hand them out in driblets. She counselled them not to be like ravenous vultures feeding off the leftover carcasses, but on the contrary, like man-eating tigers going in for the big kill. The sadhvi said job reservations were there to stay till there was even a single Dalit lacking the basics of life. She reiterated her demand for reservations in the private sector. Her views on reservations, in fact, took many of her party colleagues by surprise. Most thought it a virtual somersault on the position she had taken at the party's Dalit convention at Mhow before the 2003 Assembly polls.

Asian Age, 13 October 2005

Upper-caste villagers puncture dalit’s nose

Jaipur, Oct. 12: A dalit's nose was punctured with a needle and a thread put through it by the powerful farming community in Rampur village under Bhratpur district on Monday. Even though the local police arrested one person in this connection, it said that it was only a case of beating a dalit. Dalit organisations, however, so not agree with the police version. v According to the FIR lodged with the Gadhi Bajna police station of Bayana sub-division, Rampura's Babulal Jatava, a dalit, complained to the police that he was paraded after his nose was punctured by Kalua and a few others. It was the second such case in the last few years in eastern Rajasthan when a dalit's nose was punctured. The police arrested one person on the charges of beating Babulal while two more persons are still wanted. Deputy SP Narayan Toges of Bayana told this correspondent that Babulal had falsely implicated Kalua Gujar because he borrowed some money from Kalua. "The dalit himself had admitted it. Though a fight had taken place between the two groups, the allegation of the nose puncturing is not true," he said. However, the police recovered the needle and the thread allegedly used in this connection.

ncas@dataone.in, 18 October 2005

Barbers by Upper Caste Community and Bonded Labor System in Orissa

The Human Rights Activist and the activist who has spearheaded struggles of Barbers Movement, in Puri district, Orissa, Mr Baghambar Patnaik is now in Jharpada Special Jail (Bhubaneswar) protesting against the state government’s inaction to declare the barbers as Bonded Labourer and the non-implementation of Bonded Labour Act 1976 in the state. Mr Pattnaik was arrested on 4th October 2005 after leading the silent rally ofmore than 300 barbers. This rally comes in the aftermath of theincident at Bhubanapati village in Bramhagiri on September 19,2005 in which several women of the barber community were dragged by their hair by the upper castes, ostensibly for their refusal to perpetrate the discriminatory practice. It is to be noted that 82 families of barbers in 17 villages of Puri are being socially and economically boycotted by the upper castes after the former’s refusal to continue the age-old practice of washing feet and other inhuman and degrading traditions. Though the police and the state administration are ready to release Mr Pattnaik on bail but he has resolved not to accept bail till the barbers are declared as bonded laborers and are free from the clutches of the upper castes. The movement on this issue is continuing since last 5 years.

Indian Express, 19 October 2005

Gujarat IAS officer sent back from Bihar after he said ‘can’t have Dalit, OBC staff’

PATNA, OCTOBER 18: "Don't you have a software that identifies officials by their caste?" an IAS officer appointed by the Election Commission of India as an observer for the Bihar polls reportedly wanted to know from the state officials. When he was told that there was no such software, he allegedly pitied the condition of Bihar. "We have an excellent software in Gujarat." After a series of blatant observations against Dalits and backward castes, Sanjay Nandan, a 1988-batch IAS officer from the Gujarat cadre, has been recalled by the Election Commission of India. Nandan, appointed observer for the Paliganj constituency in Patna, allegedly told local officials that "no person belonging to the reserved category should be posted" on his staff during his stay in Patna. He reportedly checked up several times to ensure that the driver, liaison officer, security officials and even the escort are not "from the reserved category." "They could lodge complaints against me under the Atrocities Act," he is reported to have told local officials. When local officials protested, he reminded them of the punitive actions that he could take for "disobeying the orders of a representative of the Election Commission." Within a week of his stay in Patna, Nandan’s behaviour came to be widely resented. His presentation on the software that he claimed to be in use in Gujarat was at a formal meeting to review election arrangements. Nandan reportedly talked about the utility of such a software to pick and choose officials according to caste and religion. Senior state election officials informally conveyed this to the EC and Nandan was recalled on October 3, sources in the state government told The Indian Express.

Times of India, 21 October 2005

50 years after Ambedkar, another conversion wave

New Delhi: Encouraged by an impressive turnout of Hindu Dalits from across the country at the show of neo-Buddhist strength at Nagpur last week, Dalit activists plan to organise a mega-conversion event next year to coincide with B R Ambedkar's embrace of Buddhism 50 years ago at the same venue. Not many noticed when lakhs of people, many of them Dalits, visited "Deekshabhoomi" in Nagpur last week to mark the anniversary of Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism on Dusshera Day in 1956 in what was essentially a protest against caste discrimination. The calculation of the Dalit activists is that the mainstream indifference would give way to close attention — even concern — next year when they plan to turn the 50th anniversary of Ambedkar's deeksha into a mega-conversion event. Just as many Blacks took to Islam in the US to protest discrimination, activists here feel Dalits would also shake Hindu caste complacence. As JNU sociology teacher Vivek Kumar said after returning from Nagpur: "It could be a massive event next year and may kick up a new wave of 'deeksha'." Y S Alone, an art-historian from Kurukshetra University, said, "Dalits are again viewing conversion as a cultural act to establish then-identity in society The desire to do so is on the rise." Dalits have steadily been converting to Buddhism in large numbers. While conversion of just over a hundred of them at Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu in late 70s sparked a furore, provoking VHP to expand its reach among the category it had so far neglected, conversion to Bud dhism is not frowned upon similarly perhaps because of the belief that it does not represent a complete break from the larger Hindu fold.

Times of India, 21 October 2005

Haryana's Dalit women give Karva Chauth a beamy touch

Nathupur, Sonepat: In Haryana's Nathupur, if it's Karva Chauth, a trip to the beauty parlour's a must. Fasting and facials, bleaches and benedictions go hand in hand. And Suman Devi, who runs a cottage beauty business, literally, hasn't been busier. In the past two days, customers of all castes and age have eagerly trooped in. "Quite a few of them are Dalits," says the beautician. Barely a furlong away, mirror and mehndi are the points of attention in a Dalit home. Generation Next housewives in a Valmiki household are decking up for the day Meena, an attractive 20-something, has taken out her wedding finery while younger sister Reena, also married into the same family, puts on her lipliner. "These days, most Dalits do the Karva Chauth. And we do it in the same style as the savarnas (upper castes)." It wasn't always like this. A decade ago only the brahmin and baniya women celebrated Karva Chauth in these parts of Sonepat district. But times have changed. Now, the Dalits not only observe the fast, they splurge. Some go to Narela, located on the western periphery of Delhi, to buy their saris, jewellery and make-up. In fact, a Dalit woman also runs one of the three beauty parlours in the village and boasts of a clientele that includes jats and brahmins. Caste doesn't come in the way of business for village bangle-seller Shar-da Bansal either. "Many Dalits come to me to buy bangles for the festival," she says. Bansal has been too busy plying her trade to perform her own afternoon ritual of listening to the katha. "I have sold bangles worth Rs 1,500 to about 80 women today," she says.

Times of India, 23 October 2005

Dalit woman in UP panchayat poll fray set on fire

Lucknow: Looking for empowerment can be fatal for Dalit women in UP. Prabhawati, a 28-year-old testimony to this may have to pay for her life for refusing to be cowed by other villagers who wanted her to step down from contesting a panchayat election. On Saturday, she was battling for her life with 90% burns at a Mirzapur hospital on Saturday. Prabhawati was dragged out of her home on Thursday, the day of the pan chayat vote in Mujera Khurd village, by men from her own caste who wanted another candidate to win. As other villagers watched in petrified horror, these assailants poured kerosene on her and lit a bonfire to mock empowerment of low caste women. Of course, many in the village had seen what happened and Gulab, Prabhawati's hapless husband, has filed an FIR with the police station in Cheel, naming three peo ple. But this being UP, police hadn't made a single arrest until late on Saturday. Gulab, a resident of Mujehra Khurd village in Cheelh police circle, said in his FIR that a man named Lalji, his brother Juggan and another person called Jhilmit Singh, barged into his house late in the night on October 20 and assaulted Prabhawati. They then conducted the gory torture of pouring kerosene. Gulab told police his wife was contesting elections and the accused had repeatedly asked her to step down which she refused. Prabhawati also reportedly had a heated public argument with the men earlier in the day. At the hospital, doctors described Prabhawati's condition as critical and gave no guarantee that she would live through another night.

Asian Age, 25 October 2005

Panel: Add caste in Art. 17

New Delhi, Oct. 24: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has demanded amendment to Article 17 of the Constitution, which talks about "abolition of untouchability". The commission has said the word "caste system" should also be included in Article 17. It said that in Article 17, untouchability should be read with caste system. The commission will discuss the issue with its members on Tuesday and will send a report to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in this regard. Talking to this correspondent, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Mr Suraj Bhan, said, "The commission is not in favour of reservation. Abolish caste system and take away reservation. In a recent meeting with a member of Parliament representing reserved constituencies, I asked to stop demanding reservation, ask for the amendment in the Constitution." He added: "I basically want inclusion of word ‘caste system’ in Article 17 of the Constitution. Article 17 says that untouchability is abolished in India. I want that caste system word should also be added with untouchability. Then it will be read: caste system and untouchability are abolished in India. The commission will discuss the matter at length on Tuesday."

Statesman, 25 October 2005

Social justice cast(e) off in JNU polls

New Delhi: Oct. 24. — The much acclaimed student politics of Jawaharlal Nehru University is under attack. Neutral students have accused various unions of "blatant hypocrisy" for failing to give representation to Dalit and socially backward students in the forthcoming polls. "Student leaders give hard hitting .speeches about social justice and social progression, taking a leaf out of Marxist and Maoist ideology, but when it comes to practicing what they •preach, they are found miserably wanting," said Mr Zahid Haque, a JNU veteran. The aggrieved section is so let down that they are planning to boycott the JNUSU polls this year. The only Dalit student who became president of JNU for two sessions -1996-97 and 1997-98 - and now an assistant professor in Delhi University, Mr Batti Lal Bhairwa, said, "JNU politics, cutting across all unions, has been dominated by upper caste students. Hence, no attempt has been made to groom leadership among Dalits and other socially backward students. All this talk of proletariat and socially equitable politics by SFI, AISA and AISF is only a sharn. That explains why there are no Dalit and OBC candi dates fielded by the major students' outfits in the JNUSU elections in the last 7-8 years." The pattern is repeated this year as well as all candidates of major parties are from the upper caste, added Mr Bhairwa. Bharat Kumar, president of United Dalit Students federation in JNU, is also peeved over the neglect of lower caste students, and attributed it to the stranglehold of upper caste students in all unions. "Dalit and OBC students mostly come from non-public school backgrounds and they find themselves lost on the campus, which is dominated by English speaking students," said Mr Kumar.

Pioneer, 7 November 2005

Girl’s family butchers youth to death

Aligarh: A YADAV youth was brutally butchered to death in Aligarh for having an affair with a Brahmin girl. The youth was put through torture when his genitals were chopped off with a knife on the night of Diwali. Manoj, the boy from the Yadav community, and Kusum, the Brahmin girl, were both residents of Nagola village, about 22 km from Aligarh. The two had been engaged in a love affair for almost six months. However, the inter-caste affair was unacceptable to the girl's family and they had objected to the affair on numerous occasions, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Khair, Mansaram Gautam. On the night of Diwali, Kusum's family members, led by her grandparents, Surjan Lal and Gayatri Devi, planned to call Manoj to their house. They asked a local youth, Shiva, to call Manoj saying that Kusum would be waiting for him outside her home. Shiva had often played messenger in the affair and it was easy for Manoj to fall into the trap. Thrilled by the prospect of meeting his beloved, Manoj quietly slipped out of his house around 11 pm and headed for Kusum's house. He reached his destination at 12am and signaled for her to come out. However, on arrival, he was greeted by Kusum's uncle Raj Kumar and mother Guddi. They invited him into the house and began beating him up. They were joined by Kusum's grandparents, who dragged Manoj out of the house on to the road, while the panic-stricken Kusum watched helplessly. They thrashed Manoj with cudgels and iron rods. When they had beaten him half-dead, they stabbed him in the belly with knives. Finally, they left him to die on the road after castrating him.

Times of India, 10 November 2005

First Dalit President Narayanan dies at 85

New Delhi: Kocheril Ra-man Narayanan, India's first Dalit president, died at the Army Research and Referral Hospital here on Wednesday. He was 85-years-old. The end came at 5:45 pm. He is survived by wife Usha and two daughters Amrita and Chitra, who is India's ambassador to Turkey Narayanan, very ill for some time, was admitted to hospital on October 29 after he complained of acute breathlessness. For the past 12 days he was on a ventilator. Medical evaluation had revealed evidence of right side pnumonitis and renal failure. From October 31, he was put on life support system. On November 4, he slipped into a coma. Doctors toldB TOI that since 4 pm on Wednesday, both his kidneys had started to fail.

Pioneer, 15 November 2005

Cong offers sops to Dalits, youth in Punjab

Chandigarh : In a bid to secure the youth and Dalit vote-bank for next Assembly election, which is expected in January 2007, the Punjab Government is going to announce sops like employment for youth, reservations for Dalits in the allotment of residential and industrials plots and permits to operate buses. Firstly, the Government is bracing itself to ensure that promises of additional reservation which it made to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Castes (OBCs), who form about 31 per cent of the population, are fulfilled. Secondly, all departments have been told to find out job opportunities and inject "new human resources needed to meet the challenges of the new functions of the departments". Also, the policies for the handicapped are to be revived. Sources said "to woo the youth vote, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has been convinced by his cabinet ministers and advisers that some recruitment drive is needed to be carried out. Meanwhile state government is boasting that the state has enough money to cater to the state's people demand. It is expected that Capt Singh will himself or his cabinet colleagues may announce about recruitment drives to employ teachers and doctors. Interestingly, Congress high command, by installing Shamsher Singh Dullo, as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has sent a message to the Dalits that they were wanted back into the party. The absence of the major presence of the Bahujan Samaj Party in Punjab is a factor on which the Congress is hoping to woo back the Dalits.

Asian Age, 16 November 2005

NDA: Upper caste in danger in Bihar

New Delhi: The NDA spin doctors have swung into action to gain political mileage from the killings of the Ranvir Sena activists by the Naxalites in Bihar. For the NDA strategists, "the time is ripe for consolidation of its upper caste vote bank." The BJP, which has been losing its upper caste vote bank in the state, is now focusing on the "atrocities" being committed on the upper caste under the Lalu regime. It has also accused the RJD and state administration of being in "collusion with the Naxalites." That the BJP was going to stress on the "caste divide" became evident with the party’s senior leader, Mr Shahnawaz Hussain, questioning the need to keep Maoist leader Ajay Kanu in the same prison (Jehanabad Jail) where the Ranvir Sena area commander, Bada Sharma, was lodged. "What was the need to shift him from Beur Jail and keep him in the same prison as that of Sharma," asked Mr Hussain. He said there was a "conspiracy" in the move and alleged that the state administration was encouraging "a caste divide." The youth wing of the BJP, which organised a bandh at Jehanabad, echoed similar views. Mr Hussain said that the state administration was aware of the situation and had information that the Naxalites could organise such an attack. On Monday, the BJP had demanded the resignation of home minister Shivraj Patil. The NDA leaders will now meet the relatives of the slain Ranvir Sena activists. The NDA leaders, who had been targeting the Naxalites, will also project the Centre as being "soft on them." A senior party functionary said, "It is now clear that the upper caste in Bihar is in great danger and the Centre was not taking any step to provide them with security." The party will now hold rallies and meetings over the issue, sources said.

Indian Express, 18 November 2005

Rs 45 lakh: Govt ensures SC, ST share in MP fund

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17: Of the annual MPLADS allocation of Rs 2 crore, 22.5 per cent will now have to be spent on infrastructure development in Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe localities. According to the new MPLADS guidelines formulated by the UPA government, presented by the Minister of Statistic and Programme Implementation Oscar Fernandes at the Economic Editors meeting today, ‘‘permissible work costing not less than Rs 30 lakh out of the annual allocation’’ would go for SC-dominant localities population and ‘‘Rs 15 lakh for areas inhabited by ST population’’. In case ‘‘a constituency does not have an ST-inhabited area, such funds may be utilised in SC-inhabited areas and vice versa’’. While the guidelines say it would the ‘‘responsibility of the district authority to enforce this provision of the guidelines’’, Fernandes said the state governments would also be made responsible. To reduce delays in the implementation of works related to the MPLADS funds, the guidelines have also made it mandatory for the district authorities to clear works recommended by the MPs within 45 days. Making it easier for MPs to donate funds for natural calamities, the guidelines allow MPLADS works in areas affected by natural calamities. ‘‘Lok Sabha MPs from non-affected areas of the state can also recommend permissible works up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh per annum in the affected areas in that state’’, the guidelines state. Such funds would be released by the nodal district of the MP concerned to the District Authority of the affected district. And, in case of a calamity designated by the Central Government to be of a ‘‘severe nature’’ in any part of the country, an MP can recommend works up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh for the affected area.

Asian Age, 20 November 2005

Special cells will safeguard SC/ST: Centre

New Delhi, Nov. 19: The Centre has instructed all state governments to prepare an action plan and take necessary preventive steps to protect the life and property of the members belonging to SC and ST community. Besides, the Centre has instructed all states to identify atrocity—prone areas and implement the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1951 and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 both in letter and spirit. Talking to this correspondent, a senior official of the Union home ministry said "Majority of the state governments and Union territories have set up special cells to deal with offences against SCs and STs. Some state governments have identified atrocity prone sensitive areas for taking necessary preventive steps to protect the life and property of the members of the SCs and STs also. But there are certain states who have not taken any initiative so far." He further said, "the ministry has also asked all state governments to set up special cells to deal with the offences against SCs and STs and ensure speedy disposal of pending cases with the police." Besides, instructions have been issued to recruit sufficient number of persons belonging to SCs and STs in police force at cutting edge level, he added. "The police" and "public order" are state subjects under the Constitution of India, and the primary responsibility of detection, registration, investigation and prosecution as well as prevention of crime vests with the individual state governments.

Asian Age, 20 November 2005

Ambedkar love letters anger Prakash

New Delhi, Nov. 19: A collection of love letters written to Dr B.R. Ambedkar by British woman Francis Fritzgerald and being published by Roli Books has upset his grandson, Mr Prakash Ambedkar. The grandson, a former member of Parliament, has reportedly lodged a complaint with the Delhi police to prevent the publication of the letters. According to the complaint, the publication of these letters "could hurt dalit sentiments in the country". When contacted, Mr Prakash Ambedkar refused to comment on the issue. "I don’t want to talk about it," he said. Roli Books publisher Pramod Kapoor, confirming the police complaint, said he has decided to "go ahead with the publication of the book despite the complaint". The book, authored by Prof. Arun Kamble, a Marathi professor in Mumbai University, is a collection of love letters written to Dr Ambedkar by Francis, who was a typist in Britain’s House of Commons and also worked in India House in London. The correspondence spans over 20 years, from 1922 to 1943. The address from where Francis wrote to Dr Ambedkar, as given in the letters, was 10, King Henry’s Road, Hampstead, UK. Claiming that the letters were "authentic", Prof. Kamble said they were given to him by Dr Ambedkar’s librarian, Mr S.S. Rege. Mr Pramod Kapoor of Roli Books said, "There is nothing secretive about them. These are original letters." He added that the police came to his office in early November on the basis of a complaint lodged by Mr Prakash Ambedkar. They were told that the collection of letters, if published, could "incite the dalits in the country". However, Mr Kapoor made it clear that there was "nothing illegal and publishing the book would take at least 10 months".

The Hindu, 21 November 2005

Economic policies strengthening caste system

JAIPUR: Speakers at a seminar on "Impact of World Trade Organisation and globalisation on Dalits" here on Sunday affirmed that new economic policies were strengthening the caste system in the country by perpetuating injustice against the marginalised sections and encouraging privatisation. Dalit intellectuals, academicians and experts participating in the seminar said the unrestrained opening of market to the foreign players on their own terms would not only weaken the national economy but would also put the interests of Dalits in jeopardy. Dalits, they pointed out, were already at the receiving end in the caste hierarchy. The one-day seminar was organised jointly by the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights and the Jaipur- based Centre for Dalit Rights. Social activists and financial experts working for empowerment of Dalits, called for exerting pressure on the Centre for taking an independent stand at the WTO Ministerial meeting in Hongkong next month. Noted Dalit thinker and educationist, D. Prempathi, said the economic reforms launched in the 1990's were aimed at perpetuating the Varnashram Dharma that had brought untold sufferings to Dalits for the last 2,000 years. He said globalisation would intensify stagnancy in the Indian society responsible for lack of improvement in Dalits' conditions. Prof. Prempathi correlated the introduction of economic liberalisation with the launching of Hindutva ideology in politics, while affirming that both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party were trying to subjugate Dalits by resorting to discriminatory policies. Subroto Dutta of the Rajasthan Budget Analysis Centre pointed out that the budgetary provisions for Dalits and tribals were consistently being reduced, while there was no plan to bring luxury items within the tax net. O.P. Mathur, convenor of Jan Vichar Manch, said the WTO was working against the interests of farmers in the developing world since its inception and was armtwisting the Third World through the non-productive international finance capital.

Times of India, 21 November 2005

Lovers end life on tracks in Gurgaon

Gurgaon: A 22-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl committed suicide by jumping in front of a train at Dhankot station on Sunday morning. The victims, Mukesh and Suman, were residents of Madalpur village in Jhajjar district. Mukesh belonged to Yadav community and the girl was a Dalit. The two were neighbours and fell in love with each other. As both belonged to different castes, their family members and even the villagers were against their marriage, especially since the girl was still a minor. According to police officials, while Mukesh was in tenthouse business, Suman studied in class X. Their relationship had become known to all about two months back, following which, their family members began mistreating them. The girl's family even threatened to get her married to someone else, if she continued the affair. Unable to take it any more, the two decided to end their lives. They reached the Dhankot village railway station and jumped in front of an inter-city train travelling between Rewari and Delhi, at 10.40 am. Said the station head officer, Ajmer Singh: "The family has been inform«J«bat" none of them have turned up the claim the bodies.

Indian Express, 29 November 2005

SC Status for Christians to be examined

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 28: THE Centre today told the Supreme Court that several aspects, including whether Dalits who had converted to Christianity suffered social inequalities like untouchability even after their conversion, have to be looked into before deciding to extend reservation benefits to Dalit Christians. A commission constituted to look into the matter was expected to give its reply by April 2006, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanium told a bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice C K Thakker and Justice R V Raveendran. The bench was hearing a PIL seeking grant of Scheduled Caste status for Dalit Christians. Following the ASG's submission, the Court said it would examine the issue after getting detailed information and would also like to see progress made by the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities in this regard. "We may have to hear the matter in detail after information is supplied," the bench said, adding it would not like to express any opinion on the issue at this stage. The PIL filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation contended that para three of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 was coming in its way as Scheduled Castes, on conversion to Christianity, lose all benefits.

The Hindu, 29 November 2005

Rallies to create awareness among Dalits

JAIPUR: Dalit rights caravans in the shape of huge public rallies, which have started from three different places in Rajasthan, will traverse the State for over a week and reach here on December 6 for a mass public meeting. The programme has been organised to create awareness among Dalits about their rights. The first rally started from Phalodi in Jodhpur district on November 22, while two other rallies were kicked off from Chittaurgarh and Sriganganagar on November 27. All these caravans will congregate at Shaheed Circle here on December 6 and proceed to the Statue Circle, near the State Secretariat, for the public meeting. The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) is organising the event in association with the Urmul Marusthali Bunkar Vikas Samiti, Phalodi; Prayaas, Chittaurgarh; and the Centre for Dalit Rights, Jaipur. The State convenor of NCDHR and former MP, Than Singh, said here on Monday that Dalits in Rajasthan were facing discrimination and exploitation in all walks of life despite some of them having succeeded in getting Government jobs, financial strength and political power.

The Hindu, 29 November 2005

Dalit groups ask rights panel to intervene

NEW DELHI: Demanding intervention of the Chhattisgarh State Human Rights Commission, Dalit Mukti Morcha and Dalit Study Circle have submitted a fact-finding report that has found that Dalit students were being discriminated against in the mid- day meal scheme at Bhokludih village near Pithora block of Mahasamund district in Chhattisgarh. The report has found that two Dalit boys, Jitendra Kurre and Nageshwar Kurre, both studying in the fifth standard in the primary school in Bhoklu dih, were humiliated by cook Moti while she was serving them food as part of the mid-day meal scheme. The students, who were asked to sit separately and were given less food than the others, protested and asked for sufficient food to be given in a proper manner. They also asked for space to sit with the other non-Dalit students. When the discriminatory treatment continued, they tried entering the kitchen saying they would serve the food to ensure that the quantity provided to them was not less. The cook blocked their entry and said they could neither enter the kitchen nor serve the food, as they were Chamars. The students lodged a complaint with the teacher Kamala Chauhan, who instructed the cook to serve them adequate food in a dignified manner. The cook then went to the sarpanch Deepanjali Sahu. The sarpanch, along with her husband Shankar Sahu, and a few others and shouted at the Dalit boys. The teacher then moved an application within the Education Department saying that the cook with the support of the sarpanch had practised un- touchability within the school premises. The authorities transferred the teacher. The parents of the children then filed a complaint with the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe special police station. The police have so far not taken any action.

The Hindu, 1 December 2005

Dalit rally on Dec. 11

NEW DELHI: The All-India Confederation of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Organisations will hold a rally at the Ramlila grounds here on December 11 to protest again non-fulfilment of promises made to the Dalits by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre. Members of Dalit community from across the country are expected to attend the rally that would be addressed by eminent leaders.

Pioneer, 1 December 2005

Dalit Bihar Speaker ushers in new era

Patna : For the first time in the Constitutional history of Bihar, a dalit leader, Uday Narayan Chaudhury, was unanimously elected as the Assembly Speaker on Wednesday All the political parties supported the proposal of JD-U leader Chaudhury's name for the post of the new Bihar Assembly Speaker. Chaudhury had won the election from the Imamganj Assembly constituency in Gaya district. "Uday Narayan Chaudhury comes from the dalit segment of the society and perhaps it has happened for the time in Bihar that a dalit has been unanimously elected as the Assembly Speaker. And I would like to thank all the political parties for their cooperation in his election," Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said. Mr Kumar, while talking to journalists, also said that he would try his best to seek the cooperation of Opposition parties in running the Government and everyone would be given equal opportunity in the House. The newly-elected Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhury later expressed happiness and also thanked the political parties for their cooperation. "I will try to conduct the House without any prejudice. Every voice would be given opportunity inside the House as per the rules and regulations," he said. Nitish Kumar later said the State Government urged the Union Home Ministry for more Central forces to be deployed in the State. "Taking in view the extremist problem in the State, more central forces are required and for this I've already urged the Central Government," the Chief Minister said.

Times of India, 11 December 2005

Dalit woman's arm chopped off

Bhopal: Kamala Bai and her Dalit family had been a problem. The 35-year-old mother of three and her family had refused to take back some rape cases against local upper caste men. So 'justice' was meted out the way feudal Madhya Pradesh knows best. Six men stormed Kamala Bai's home in Nigari village on Friday night, woke up the woman and her children and chopped off a part of her right forearm, the very arm she had raised in protest against her rape and dared to file a complaint at the Silwani police station in Raisen district in April 2002. A second case of rape was lodged against one of the attackers by Kamala Bai's sister in September. "My husband ran away when the attackers came and I was left alone in the courtyard. They tied my hands and feet and then chopped my hand with an axe," Kamala Bai told a TV channel. After the bloodshed on Friday, Kamala Bai was rushed to Hamidia Hospital in Bhopal. Doctors on Saturday said although her injury wasn't life-threaten ing, her arm could not be fixed. Police did not appear worried, though. They said the case would be treated routinely with all the concomitant paperwork. Raisen's superintendent of police Jagat Singh Sanswal told reporters no arrests had taken place or were planned. "We are yet to confirm the incident. When we have conducted the investigations, the culprits will be arrested." In fact, local police are blaming Kamala Bai's family for repeatedly crying rape. They say a DSP investigated into the FIR of the rape charge alleged by Kamala Bai's sister in September. Upon investigation, it was found that the case was false. The police don't believe the rape charges brought by Kamala Bai and her sister, officers said. This was mostly because the sisters have been unable to hold on to their testimonies in courts, the police say. There was no clear answer from the police on allegations that the Dalit family was being pressured to take back the two rape cases.

The Hindu, 12 December 2005

Dalits dissatisfied with UPA Government: Udit Raj

NEW DELHI: The All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisation on Sunday criticised the United Progressive Alliance Government for failing to provide reservation for the Dalits in the private sector and demanded immediate steps for reserving seats for this section of society in the judiciary and the Army as well. Speaking at a large gathering of Dalits at Ramlila Ground here, the chairman of the confederation, Udit Raj, said Dalits were very dissatisfied with the UPA Government for not having done anything for their cause every since it took office about 18 months ago. "Though the UPA Government has appointed a Group of Minister to look into the issue of reservation in private sector, so far nothing has come out in the open. The Government should make a law for reservation in the private sector," he said. Warning that the previous National Democratic Alliance Government had lost the elections because it had rendered a large number of Dalits working in the public sector enterprises jobless by disinvesting its holdings, he said the UPA regime should work towards the betterment of this section. Mr Raj also raised the issue of filling up vacant posts. "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised to the Dalit leaders that by December 2005 about 80 per cent of the backlog in vacancies would be filled up, but various government departments did not even have the statistics and figures of the backlog. Therefore fulfilment of the promise appears unlikely especially as there is no political will," he said. Further on the issue of reservation, he said while the Reservation Bill was introduced in Parliament in 2004 it has still not become a law. Stating that the Bill was not properly drafted and the reservation for SCs/STs and the Other Backward Classes was put together and not separately, Mr Raj demanded that the Bill be passed promptly.

Pioneer, 13 December 2005

Price of Dalit woman's hand: Rs 12,000

Bhopal : The 35-year-old rape victim from Raisen, whose right hand was chopped off after she refused to withdraw her complaint, has been given Rs 10,000 compensation from the Chief Minister's Fund besides Rs 2,000 by Raisen district administration. Meanwhile, all the five accused were produced before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Raisen on Monday. They were subsequently sent to jail for 14 days. The victim had lodged the rape complaint against Manmod Singh Mehra and his friends on September 25 and the offenders were pressurising the victim to change her statements or withdraw the complaint. After she declined to do so, she was assaulted on December 8. She is undergoing treatment at the Hamidia Hospital, Bhopal. The Raisen Police had registered a case under Sections 336, 436, 147, and 148 of the IPC and Section 323 of SC/ST Atrocities Eradication Act against Manmod Singh, Devi Singh Raghuwanshi, Prem Narayan Raghuwanshi, Dinesh Raghuvanshi and Ramsevak Raghuwanshi. The action was taken after National Woman Commission took cognizance and sought report from Madhya Pradesh Police.Meanwhile, Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) State president Gulzar Singh Markam while talking to mediapersons here on Monday said that a fact finding team of the party had visited the Nigari village on Sunday and found that lax attitude of the administration led to the incident.Mr Markam demanded a high-level inquiry in the incident and stated that DSP AJK and Silwani SHO should be suspended immediately because they were responsible for not taking action against the offenders. He also demanded that a compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be given to the victim.

The Hindu, 14 December 2005

Six girls barred from entering JNU hostel

NEW DELHI: Jhelum hostel of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been declared out of bounds for six girl students for allegedly beating up a Dalit resident of the hostel this past Friday. An independent enquiry headed by Chief Proctor, V.K. Jain, has also been initiated into the matter. The incident seems to have been triggered by a fight between two male residents of Jhelum hostel, who are reportedly roommates and had an argument over an Ambedkar poster that had been put up by the Dalit student on Friday. Things reportedly went out of hand when the argument resulted in the two coming to blows, with both receiving injuries in the end. It was, however, later in the evening that female friends of the non-Dalit student went and reportedly beat up the Dalit student. The girls, however, have reportedly claimed that they had been sexually harassed by the victim for the past two months and had only taken a stern step to deal with the problem. A complaint was lodged by the girls with the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) of the University on the same evening and before they went ahead and beat him up. Despite the connection between the two cases, the university has decided to treat them as two different incidents with the enquiry likely to deal with them separately. With the sequence of events still not very clear, university officials said a decision would be taken only after the enquiry committee submits its report. The four-member committee headed by V.K. Jain includes Prof. Rekha Vardan, Vidhu Verma and D.K. Lobial. "We have received complaints and counter complaints and are looking into the matter. The Vice-Chancellor has suggested that the report be submitted at the earliest, and we are hoping to do that. As of now things are not very clear," said Mr. Jain.

Asian Age, 17 December 2005

Dalits fined for entering temple

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 16: Dalit women continue to suffer at the hands of upper caste people in Orissa. In a recent case, a few dalit women of Jenasahi, in coastal Kendrapara district, were punished for entering a Hindu temple in violation of the age-old tradition. According to an inquiry report submitted by Rajnagar tehsildar Laxmi Narayan Sethy to the district authorities on Thursday, some dalit women were fined Rs 1,001 by the upper caste people and temple servitors for entering the Jagannath temple at Keredagarh to worship the Goddess on Karthik Purnima, despite a "ban" on their entry by the royal families. The district collector had asked the tehsildar to conduct an inquiry after some dalit women submitted a petition stating that they were fined for entering the Jagannath temple by the upper caste people. The report said some dalit women of Jenasahi had entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath temple, managed by the royal family of Kanika. When the upper caste people and the servitors came to know about the incident, they summoned the dalit women and imposed a fine of Rs 1,001 each for violating the tradition which banned the entry of dalits into the temple.

The Hindu, 22 December 2005

Inter-caste marriage does not confer SC/ST status: court

New Delhi: An upper caste Hindu woman cannot get the SC/ST status just because she marries a man from that community and she cannot claim the benefit of reservation, the Supreme Court has held. A Bench consisting of Justices S.B. Sinha and P.K. Balasubramanyan, citing an earlier judgment, said "no person who is not an SC/ST by birth will be deemed a member of SC/ST merely because he or she marries a person belonging to SC/ST." The Bench set aside a Delhi High Court order, which conferred the benefit of reservation meant for the Scheduled Castes on a forward caste woman to contest municipal elections from a reserved constituency on the ground of her marriage to an SC man. "It is one thing to say that a lady belonging to a forward caste has been accepted by the community to which her husband belongs; it is quite another to say that her marriage has been accepted only by her husband's family," the Bench said. "The question as regards change of caste in view of her marriage may be relevant in relation to Hindus, but when the question of change of caste is referable to the category belonging to a special class of citizens which requires protective discrimination and affirmative action, a different rule will apply." Sunita contested from a reserved constituency on the ground that she was married to an SC man. The trial court set aside her election. But on appeal, the High Court upheld her election. Allowing the appeal preferred by the defeated candidate, the apex court Bench said acquisition of the SC status by voluntary mobility would play a fraud on the Constitution and frustrate the benign policy under Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4).

The Hindu, 22 December 2005

Panel on SCs, STs wants cell in PMO

NEW DELHI: The Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has reiterated its recommendation of setting up a cell in the Prime Minister's Office to monitor the progress of the schemes for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. The committee, in a report presented in Parliament on Wednesday, pointed out that the programmes and schemes meant for development of the SCs/STs had not yielded the desired results. It sought information on the steps taken by the Ministries concerned for proper utilisation of funds for the schemes. The report says that the committee members were not convinced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment's reply that a monitoring cell at the Prime Minister's Office may not be so urgent, as the Planning Commission and the Ministry reviewed the progress of the schemes on a monthly and quarterly basis. The committee said the problems faced in implementation of the projects should be brought to the notice of the State Governments that lagged behind. The report also took serious note of the Government's "slackness" in drafting a national policy for tribals. It directed that a time-bound action be taken on the matter.

Asian Age, 27 December 2005

‘Teach abolition of untouchability in schools’

New Delhi, Dec. 26: The National Commission for Scheduled Caste has demanded introduction of a separate subject on "abolition of untouchability" from Class 5 as a compulsory subject. The commission has decided to constitute an eleven member committee to work on the curriculum of the subject. The commission will soon send a detailed report to the President of India and Union ministry of human resource development in this regard. Talking to this correspondent, the chairman of the commission Dr Suraj Bhan said, "If government can introduce a separate chapter on disaster management in the school curriculum, then why not a separate subject can be introduced on "untouchability". There is an urgent need to create awareness among the schoolchildren for the abolition of untouchability in the society. It is the job of the government to decided whether it should be introduced as a separate subject or a separate chapter." "The commission just wants that it should be introduced from Class 5 and should be made compulsory for all students. An eleven member committee, which will work on the curriculum of the subject, will be constituted by the commission in the first week of January. The committee will give its final report within three months, which will be later submitted to the President of India and Union ministry of human resource development," said Dr Bhan. The NCSC has also urged religious heads to screen sacred books of all religions for deleting derogatory remarks against scheduled castes. The commission is also holding talks with religious heads in this regard. He said, "Holy books need certain screening. There are several things in the dharam granth which are against untouchability. The commission has requested all religious heads for screening of holy books."

Asian Age, 27 December 2005

Rights panel sends notice on dalit issue

Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Kendrapara district administration for not appointing dalit women as cooks in schools, for preparing mid-day meals, by our special correspondent. The notice was served following a complaint by the district Dalit Manch accusing the administration of violating a government order which made it mandatory to appoint dalit women as cooks in 1,420 primary schools in the district. "The authorities did not appoint dalit women, as the practice of untouchability prevails in rural areas and towns of the district," president of the Kendrapara district Dalit Manch, Bijaya Mallik alleged. She said that in a number of schools, dalit women were removed from service as the students refused to take meals prepared by them.

India Committee of the Netherlands / Landelijke India Werkgroep - February 2, 2006