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03/20/20
2. THE ROWDY RAKSHASA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (“RSS”)
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 4:17 am

2. THE ROWDY RAKSHASA  SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (“RSS”)

Via the Delhi-based British historian William Dalrymple, writing in the New York Review of Books in 2005:

…..the RSS was founded in direct imitation of European
fascist movements. Like its 1930s models, it still sponsors daily
parades in khaki uniforms and requires militaristic salutes; in fact,
the RSS salute differs from that of the Nazis only in the angle of the
forearm, which is held horizontally over the chest. The RSS aims to
create a corps of dedicated paramilitary zealots who will bring about a
revival of what it sees as the lost Hindu golden age of national
strength and purity. The BJP, the Hindu nationalist party which ruled
India from 1999 until last May, was founded as the political wing of the
RSS, and most senior BJP figures hold posts in both organizations. The
BJP is certainly much more moderate than the RSS—like the Likud in
Israel, the BJP is a party which embraces a wide spectrum of right-wing
opinion, ranging from mildly conservative free marketeers to raving
ultra-nationalists. But both organizations believe, as the centerpiece
of their ideology, that India is in essence a Hindu nation and that the
minorities may live in India only if they acknowledge this.

The RSS publicly claims to have approximately 5-6 million members. However, The Guardian recently reported
that the RSS actually has 40 million members in India. The organisation
has at least 50,000 branches across the country, with meetings held
daily. The RSS also has approximately 100 affiliate organisations.
Furthermore, Bloomberg recently confirmed that the RSS is running a network of 18,000 schools across India.

Although the RSS’s core ideology was
initially influenced by Italian Fascism, it was subsequently heavily
influenced by Hitler and Third Reich-era Nazism. Readers will be aware
that there is a specific term describing such organisations & individuals.

The RSS as an organisation had precisely
zero involvement in India’s struggle for independence from British
colonial rule. For all their jingoistic claims of “nationalism”,
“patriotism” and “opposition to foreigners”, the RSS did absolutely
nothing to free India during that period.

Furthermore, “nationalism”, particularly
the RSS’s definition of the concept, is of course a foreign import from
19th and 20th Century Europe; the RSS’s Nazi-inspired salutes, uniforms,
ideological aspects etc are also foreign imports to India. Readers will
note the hypocrisy.

Only male Hindus are allowed to join the
RSS. Ever since its founding in 1925, the RSS has repeatedly carried out
acts of violence against Muslims throughout India, including
involvement in the rapes and massacres during the Gujarat 2002 riots. As
discussed earlier, the RSS has also (1) been involved in the
mass-murder, rape and forced conversions of Christians, and (2) been
exposed by one of its own leaders as being responsible for multiple
terrorist attacks deliberately targeting innocent Muslims across India.
In 2004, the RSS was designated a terrorist organisation by the
Terrorism Research Center.

There are direct implications for Western countries too. As confirmed by the Financial Times, the UK’s Channel 4 News, Outlook India, the human rights group Awaaz, and most recently by The Independent,
the RSS has been using front organisations here in the West to promote
its propaganda in the United States and the United Kingdom. These front
organisations have also been diverting millions of dollars of donations
from ordinary Hindus intended for charitable humanitarian causes
(including major crises involving Muslim and Christian victims in India)
and using the money to finance the RSS’s extremist activities in India
instead.

Details on the RSS’s key founders, leaders, and core ideology are listed below.

B.S Moonje, RSS co-founder and mentor of the RSS’s first leader:

(a) Claims India should have a dictator like Hitler, promotes need to systematically promote this propaganda:

[Via M. Casolari, Hindutva’s foreign tie-up in the 1930s: archival evidence] “…..unless we have our own swaraj [self-rule] with a Hindu as a dictator like Shivaji of old or Mussolini
or Hitler of present day Italy and Germany…But this does not mean that
we have to sit with folded hands until some such dictator arises in
India. We should formulate a scientific scheme and carry on propaganda
for it.”

(b) Personally visits Mussolini and
multiple fascist institutions in Italy in 1931, claims Hindus need a
similar fascist movement throughout India in the form of the RSS:

[Via M. Casolari, ‘Hindutva’s foreign tie-up in the
1930s: archival evidence’] “The Balilla institutions [which organised
military training and the fascist ideological indoctrination of young
Italian boys] and the conception of the whole organization have appealed
to me the most…The whole organization is conceived by Mussolini for the
military regeneration of Italy. Italians, by nature appear ease-loving
and non-martial, like the Indians generally. They have cultivated, like
Indians, the work of peace and neglected the cultivation of the art of
war. Mussolini saw the essential weakness of his country and conceived
the idea of the Balilla organization…The idea of fascism vividly brings
out the conception of unity amongst people…India and particularly Hindu
India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the
Hindus…Our institution, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS] of Nagpur,
under [the RSS’s first leader and former Hindu Mahasabha member] Dr
Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently conceived. I shall
spend the rest of my life developing and extending this institution of
Dr Hedgewar all throughout Maharashtra and other provinces.”

…..The Italy visit inspired Moonje to promote these ideas among
Hindus in Maharashtra and begin the organization of Hindu youth
movements based on this fascist model. This included a conference on
Fascism and Mussolini’s political thought in 1934, presided by RSS
founder K.B. Hedgewar and at which Moonje spoke.

[Moonje quoted in an interview with “The Mahratta”, 12
April 1931] “Leaders should imitate the youth movement of Germany and
the Balilla and Fascist organizations of Italy. I think they are
eminently suited for introduction in India, adapting them to suit the
special conditions. I have been very much impressed by these movements
and I have seen their activities with my own eyes in all details.”

(c) Promotes violence, fascism and perpetual war:

[Moone’s “Preface to the Scheme of the Central Hindu
Military Society and its Military School”] “This training is meant for
qualifying and fitting our boys for the game of killing masses of men
with the ambition of winning victory with the best possible causalities
(sic) of dead and wounded while causing the utmost possible to the
adversary.”

[Quotes from Mussolini’s “Doctrine of Fascism” in Moone’s
“Preface to the Scheme of the Central Hindu Military Society and its
Military School”] “I absolutely disbelieve in perpetual peace which is
detrimental and negative to the fundamental virtues of man, which only
by struggle reveal themselves in the light of the sun. … War alone
brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of
nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to meet it. … Fascism
believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.
It thus repudiates the doctrine of pacifism, which is born of
renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of
sacrifice.”

M.S. Golwalkar, the RSS’s second leader and its major ideological influence:

The core ideology of the RSS is heavily based on the writings of Golwalkar (1906-1973), specifically his book We or Our Nationhood Defined and the follow-up Bunch of Thoughts. The full text of both books is currently available online in English here and here.
Golwalkar wrote the first book in 1938, when RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar
appointed him RSS General Secretary. Golwalkar’s second book was
published in 1966. Golwalkar never retracted any of these statements,
not even after the horrors of the Holocaust.

(i) Extracts from We or Our Nationhood Defined:

(a) Promotes explicitly racial
Far-Right propaganda. Claims a “Nation” is based on 5 indivisible
factors: Race, Religion, Culture, Language and Geography; claims Race
and Religion are the dominant factors for the RSS:

”the idea contained in the word Nation is a compound of
five distinct factors fused into one indissoluble whole the famous five
“Unities” – Geographical (country), Racial (Race), Religious (Religion),
cultural (Culture) and linguistic (language).”

”It is superfluous to emphasis the importance of Racial
Unity in the Nation idea. A Race is a hereditary Society having common
customs, common language, common memories of glory or disaster; in
short, it is a population with a common origin under one culture. Such a
race is by far the important ingredient of a Nation. Even if there be
people of a foreign origin, they must have become assimilated into the
body of the mother race and inextricably fused into it. They should have
become one with the original national race, not only in its economic
and political life, but also in its religion, culture and language, for
otherwise such foreign races may be considered, under certain
circumstances, at best members of a common state for political purposes;
but they can never form part and parcel of the National body. If the
mother race is destroyed either by destruction of the persons composing
it or by loss of the principle of its existence, its religion and
culture, the nation itself comes to an end. We will not seek to prove
this axiomatic truth, that the Race is the body of the Nation, and that
with its fall, the Nation ceases to exist.”

“Where religion does not form a distinguishing factor,
culture together with the other necessary constituents of the Nation
idea become the important point in the making up of individual
Nationality. On the other hand in Hindusthan [India], religion is an
all-absorbing entity. Based as it is on the unshakable foundations of a
sound philosophy of life (as indeed Religion ought to be), it has become
eternally woven into the life of the Race, and forms, as it were, its
very Soul. With us, every action in life, individual, social or
political, is a command of Religion. We make war or peace, engage in
arts and crafts, amass wealth and give it away, indeed we are born and
we die-all in accord with religious injunctions. Naturally, therefore,
we are what our great Religion has made us. Our Race-spirit is a child
of our Religion and so with us. Culture is but a product of our
all-comprehensive Religion, a part of its body and not distinguishable
from it.”

“Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in
Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been
gallantly fighting on to shake off the despoilers. . . . The Race Spirit
has been awakening.”

(b) Contempt for educated Hindus:

“This ‘educated’ class of Hindus became in truth slaves
of the English, as the late Dr S.V Ketkar has aptly described them. They
had cut their traces, lost their footing in the National past, and
become deculturized, denationalized people. But they also formed the
bulk of the ‘Congress’ and found no difficulty in eagerly gulping down
the extra-ordinary absurdity, that their country was not theirs, but
belonged to strangers and enemies of their Race equally with them.”

(c) Opposition to inclusive, pluralistic democracy and territory-based nationality:

“The idea was spread that for the first time the people
were going to live a National life, the Nation in the land naturally was
composed of all those who happened to reside therein and that all these
people were to unite on a common ‘National’ platform and win back
‘freedom’ by ‘Constitutional means’. Wrong notions of democracy
strengthened the view and we began to class ourselves with our old
invaders and foes under the outlandish name – Indian – and tried to win
them over to join hands with us in our struggle. The result of this
poison is too well known. We have allowed ourselves to be duped into
believing our foes to be our friends and with our hands are undermining
true Nationality.”

(d) Claims non-Hindus in India “deserve no privileges, not even citizen’s rights”:

“There are only two courses open to the foreign elements
[non-Hindus], either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt
its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may
allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the
national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities problem.
That is the only logical and correct solution.”

“All those not belonging to the national, i.e. Hindu
race, Religion, Culture and Language, naturally fall out of the pale of
real ‘National’ life. We repeat: in Hindusthan, the land of the Hindus,
lives and should live the Hindu Nation – satisfying all the five
essential requirements of the scientific nation concept of the modern
world. Consequently only those movements are truly ‘National’ as aim at
re-building, revitalizing and emancipating from its present stupor, the
Hindu Nation. Those only are nationalist patriots, who, with the
aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and Nation next to their heart, are
prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are
either traitors and enemies to the National cause, or, to take a
charitable view, idiots.

The foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu
culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu
religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the
Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must loose their
separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the
country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing,
deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even
citizen’s rights. There is, at least, should be, no other course for
them to adopt. We are an old nation; let us deal, as old nations ought
to and do deal, with the foreign races, who have chosen to live in our
country.”

(e) Glorifies Nazi Germany and the
persecution of Germany’s Jews, states that India should duplicate
Hitler’s treatment of minority populations:

“To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture,
Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic
Races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.
Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and
cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into
one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit
by.”

“To be brief, all the five constituents of the Nation
Idea have been boldly vindicated in modern Germany and that too, today
in the actual present, when we can for ourselves see and study them, as
they manifest themselves in their relative importance.”

(ii) Extracts from Bunch of Thoughts:

(a) Misrepresents and slanders Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

“In all those Semitic religions-Judaism, Christianity and
Islam-a single way of worship is prescribed for all. Those creeds have
but one prophet, one scripture and one God, other than whom there is no
path of salvation for the human soul. It requires no great intelligence
to see the absurdity of such a proposition.”

(b) Claims Hindus are differentiated from other religious groups before birth:

“Some wise men of today tell us that no man is born as
Hindu or Muslim or Christian but as a simple human being. This may be
true about others. But for a Hindu, he gets the first “samskar” when he
is still in the mother’s womb, and the last when his body is consigned
to the flames. There are sixteen “samaskars” for the Hindu which make
him what he is. In fact, we are Hindus even before we emerge from the
womb of our mother. We are therefore born as Hindus. About the others,
they are born to this world as simple unnamed human beings and later on,
either circumcised or baptized, they become Muslims or Christians.”

(c) Claims RSS aims to reconvert Indian Muslims and Christians:

“Everybody knows that only a handful of Muslims came here
as enemies and invaders. So, also, only a few foreign Christian
missionaries came here. Now the Muslims and Christians have enormously
grown in number…..it is our duty to call these our forlorn brothers,
suffering under religious slavery for centuries, back to their ancestral
home…..come back and identity themselves with their ancestral Hindu way
of life in dress, customs, performing marriage ceremonies and funeral
rites and such other things.”

“There are some people who claim that they have achieved
unity of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all others on the political and
economic plane. But why limit the oneness only there? Why not make it
more wide and more comprehensive so as to fuse them all in the Hindu way
of life, in our dharma and take them back as lost brothers? To those
who speak of unity on the political and economic plane, we say that we
stand not only for political and economic unity but also for cultural
and religious unity.”

(d) Rejects Indian nationality of all Indian non-Hindus:

“They forgot that here was already a full-fledged ancient
nation of the Hindus and the various communities which were living in
the country were here either as guests, the Jews and Parsis, or as
invaders, the Muslims and Christians. They never faced the question how
all such heterogeneous groups could be called as children of the soil
merely because, by an accident, they happened to reside in a common
territory under the rule of a common enemy.”

(e) Reiterates opposition to territory-based nationality and Gandhi’s principle of Hindu-Muslim unity:

“Most of the tragedies and evils that have overtaken our
country during the last few decades and are even today corroding our
national life are its direct outcome…..In their phantom chase of
achieving new unity and new nationality, our [Congress] leaders raised
the slogan of ‘Hindu-Muslim unity’…..The first thing they preached was
that our nationality could not be called Hindu, that even our land could
not be called by its traditional name Hindusthan, as that would have
offended the Muslim. The name ‘India’ given by the British was accepted.
Taking that name, the ‘new nation’ was called the ‘Indian Nation’. And
the Hindu was asked to rename himself as ‘Indian’.

But here, we had leaders who were, as if, pledged to sap all
manliness from their own people. However, this is not a mere accident of
history. This leadership only came as a bitter climax of the despicable
tribe of so many of our ancestors who during the past twelve hundred
years sold their national honour and freedom to foreigners, and joined
hands with the inveterate enemies of our country [read: “Muslims”] and
our religion in cutting the throats of their own kith and kin to gratify
their personal egoism, selfishness and rivalry. No wonder nemesis
overtook such a people in the form of such a self-destructive
leadership.”

(f) Further examples of bigotry towards Muslims:

“They had come here as invaders. They were conceiving
themselves as conquerors and rulers here for the last twelve hundred
years. That complex was still in their mind. History has recorded that
their antagonism was not merely political. Had it been so, they could
have been won over in a very short time. But it was so deep-rooted that
whatever we believed in, the Muslim was wholly hostile to it. If we
worship in the temple, he would desecrate it. If we carry on bhajans and
car festivals, that would irritate him. If we worship cow, he would
like to eat it. If we glorify woman as a symbol of sacred motherhood, he
would like to molest her. He was tooth and nail opposed to our way of
life in all aspects – religious, cultural, social, etc. He had imbibed
that hostility to the very core.”

(g) Further examples of bigotry towards Christians:

“So far as the Christians are concerned, to a superficial
observer they appear not only quite harmless but as the very embodiment
of compassion and love for humanity! Their speeches abound in words
like ‘service’ and ‘human salvation’ as though they are specially
deputed by the Almighty to uplift humanity! They run schools and
colleges, hospitals and orphanages. The people of our country, simple
and innocent as they are, are taken in by all these things. But what is
the real and ulterior motive of Christians in pouring [tens of millions]
of rupees in all these activities?

…..the missionary who spoke next bluntly said, “If we had been
prompted to do all this by mere humanitarian considerations, why should
we have come all the way here? Why should we have spent so much money?
We are here for only one reason and that is to increase number of
followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They are very clear about it.

Towards that end they feel that any tactics, however foul, is fair.
The various surreptitious and mean tactics they employ for conversion
are all too well known.

….. What does all this mean? It means that all the people in this
country should be converted to Christianity. That is, their hereditary
religion, philosophy, culture and way of life should be demolished and
they should become absorbed in a world federation of Christianity.

….. Even St. Paul, the great disciple of Christ, has said, as quoted
by Lokamanya Tilak in his Gita Rahasya, “How can it be a sin if by
uttering falsehood I add to Your (God’s) Glory?”

….. Such is the role of Christian gentlemen residing in our land
today, out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our
life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and
if possible all over the land. Such has been, in fact, their role
wherever they have stepped-all under the alluring grab of bringing peace
and brotherhood to mankind under the angelic wings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus had called upon his followers to give their all to the poor, the
ignorant and the downtrodden. But what have his followers done in
practice? Wherever they have gone, they have proved to be not
‘blood-givers’ but ‘bloodsuckers’?

….. So long as the Christians here indulge in such activities and
consider themselves as agents of the international movement for the
spread of Christianity, and refuse to offer their first loyalty to the
land of their birth and behave as true children of the heritage and
culture of their ancestors, they will remain here as hostiles.”

(iii) RSS agenda is to “hold an empire without becoming emperor”:

Extract from The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour, by A.G. Noorani (further information here):

Golwalkar had bared the RSS’s ambitions and technique as
far back as 1949: “If the Congress completely disintegrates and anarchy
rules the country and there is nobody to take over…..we may sacrifice
part of our normal cultural activities and accept the responsibility.”
Asked point blank “Is it a fact that the Sangh plans to capture power?”,
he replied: “We have kept before ourselves the ideal of Bhagwan Shri
Krishna who held a big empire under his thumb but refused to become an
emperor himself”. Or, as Rajendra Singh [4th RSS leader] and Bhaurao
Deoras [RSS activist and brother of the 3rd RSS leader] said in Para 38
of their Application, ‘The RSS desires to dominate the world by cultural
conquest by a great process of true national regeneration’. The ideal
can be fully realized if the BJP, kept under the RSS thumb, captures
power as the ‘national alternative.’

Interestingly, the British had, after careful deliberation, made
sound assessment of the RSS. A circular sent by the Home Department of
the Government of India to the Bihar government (No. F 201/44 Ests.
Dated March 16, 1944) said: “After a protracted consideration of the
question in which the Governments of the C.E. and Berar and Bombay were
also consulted, as the organization was strongest there, it was decided
that the RSS was a politico-commercial organization which concentrated
on the formation of a militant body on fascist lines….”

The word fascist was aptly chosen. As Donald E. Smith says in his
classic “India as a Secular State” (1963): “The leader principle, the
stress on militarism, the doctrine of racial-cultural superiority,
ultra-nationalism infused with religious idealism, the use of symbols of
past greatness, the emphasis on national solidarity, the exclusion of
religious or ethnic minorities from the nation-concept — all of these
features of the RSS are highly reminiscent of fascist movements in
Europe.”

A.G. Noorani also writes:

So brutally candid is “We or Our Nationhood Defined” that
a desperate attempt was made by the RSS to distance itself from it –
the RSS claimed that the book was merely an English translation of the
Marathi work “Rashtra Meemansa” by Babarao G.D. Savarkar, brother of V.
D. Savarkar. However, in his Preface to “We or Our Nationhood Defined”
dated March 22, 1939, Golwalkar described “Rashtra Meemansa” as ‘one of
my chief sources of inspiration and help. An English translation of this
is due to be shortly out [sic].

Rajendra Singh and Bhaurao Deoras made an authoritative statement on
that book in Para 10 of their 1978 application: ‘With a view to give a
scientific base to propagate the idea India being (sic) historically
from time immemorial a Hindu Nation, late Shri M.S. Golwalkar had
written a book entitled, “We or Our Nationhood Defined”,’ In Para 7 they
‘placed on record’ his book “Bunch of Thoughts” (1966) in order ‘to
clarify and understand the true purpose, the exact nature, the ambit and
scope of the RSS work… and its activities.’

The RSS appeal thus affirmed the continuing validity and relevance of Golwalkar’s writings, specifically of those two books.

3. HITLER’S VIEWS ON INDIANS

The RSS’s deliberate emulation of various
aspects of Nazism is particularly ironic considering what the racist
white supremacist Hitler actually thought of Indians, including the
British colonial rule of India. The relevant Wikipedia page has an accurate and fully-referenced summary, which is quoted verbatim as follows:

Hitler’s views on India were disparaging.
He considered the British colonial rule of the subcontinent as an
exemplary one and intended the German rule in the occupied East to
resemble it. Hitler thought little of the Indian independence movement,
declaring the freedom fighters of being racially inferior “Asiatic
jugglers”. As early as 1930 he spoke of the Indian freedom movement as
the rebellion of the “lower Indian race against the superior English
Nordic race”, and that the British were free to deal with any subversive
Indian activists as they liked. In 1937 he told the British Foreign
Secretary Lord Halifax that the British should “shoot Gandhi, and if
this doesn’t suffice to reduce them to submission, shoot a dozen leading
members of the Congress, and if that doesn’t suffice shoot 200, and so
on, as you make it clear that you mean business.” During the same
discussion Hitler reportedly told Halifax that one of his favorite films
was The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, because it depicted a handful of “superior race” Britons holding sway over an entire continent.

******************************************************************

FURTHER INFORMATION

(a) As discussed above, May 2014 will be
the date when RSS member & “Hindutva”/“Hindu Nationalism” proponent
Narendra Modi will probably become India’s next Prime Minister. May 2014
is also the 50th anniversary of the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was
one of Mahatma Gandhi’s closest friends & allies, a senior leader of
the mainstream Indian independence movement, and independent India’s
first Prime Minister. Depending on one’s perspective, the timing is
either an interesting coincidence or it tragically symbolises what is
about to occur.

(b) The information in this article
should not be exploited by anyone to denigrate India & Indians in
general, Hindus en masse or the religion of Hinduism as a whole; both as
a Sikh and as an individual, I have a zero-tolerance policy towards
racial & religious bigotry, regardless of the source and regardless
of the target.

(c) For interested readers and for future reference, contact details for the International Criminal Court at The Hague are available here. Details on atrocities which the ICC defines as crimes against humanity are available here. It is also worth noting that the United Nations Security Council has adopted multiple resolutions
during the past decade in which it has reaffirmed its responsibility to
protect people from genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against
humanity; furthermore, one of these resolutions also states that rape
and other forms of sexual violence can constitute crimes against
humanity or “a constitutive act with respect to genocide”.

(d) Contact details for the US Department of State are available here. The US Department of State’s Twitter address is @StateDept.

(e) Contact details for US Secretary of State John Kerry are available here. John Kerry’s Twitter address is @JohnKerry.

(f) Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison
and Republican Congressman Joe Pitts have been leading American
bipartisan efforts to oppose Narendra Modi. They have jointly introduced
a bipartisan Congressional resolution
urging the US Government to continue denying a visa to Modi on the
grounds of religious freedom violations. They have also jointly
introduced a bipartisan Congressional resolution
on the protection of religious minorities in India, which includes
calls for specific actions to be taken by the US State Department; the
complete text of the resolution is available in PDF form online here.

Congressman Keith Ellison’s Twitter address is @keithellison. Congressman Joe Pitts’s Twitter address is @RepJoePitts.

(g) Contact details for the British Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office are available here. The FCO’s Twitter address is @foreignoffice.

(h) The Twitter address of Baroness
Sayeeda Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office and Minister for Faith and Communities, is @SayeedaWarsi.

(i) Contact details for the British Government’s Home Office are available here. The Home Office’s Twitter address is @ukhomeoffice.

(j) The Twitter address of Keith Vaz, Chairman of the British Government’s Home Affairs Select Committee, is @Keith_VazMP.

Source: http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/04/nazism-and-narendra-modi-the-ideological-influence-on-indias-next-prime-minister/


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Why is BJP backing an outfit inspired by Mussolini and accused of terror?

The leader

  • 12 December is the 143rd birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue BS Moonje
  • He was the mentor of KB Hedgewar and helped him shape the RSS

The outfit

  • Moonje founded the Central Hindu Miltary Education Society which runs the Bhonsala Military School in Nashik
  • The School was named in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts

More in the story

  • What is the BJP’s view of Moonje?
  • Why associating with Moonje’s outfit can harm the BJP?
  • What was Moonje’s association with Benito Mussolini?

If you are in Delhi on 12 December, do
not be surprised if you see a group of 80-odd young boys marching to
military music in the heart of the national capital. These will be
students of Bhonsala Military School run by Nashik-based Central Hindu
Military Education Society (CHMES).

These young men will be celebrating the
143rd birth anniversary of Balakrishna Shivram Moonje, the society’s
founder. Moonje was also a president of the Hindu Mahasabha and mentor
to the founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), K B Hedgewar.

CHMES, which was established by Moonje in
1935, will organise a route march and a salutation programme near the
statue of its founder. The statue is located close to the New Delhi
Railway Station. The event is likely to be attended by several
dignitaries. The society’s treasurer Atul Patankar told Catch that BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi has confirmed her participation.

Resurrecting another Hindutva icon

Indications are that this event is in
keeping with plans of RSS and associated organisations to revive the
memories of key members of their pantheon. These organisations and
theirs followers have been celebrating the life and deeds of several
such leaders on a national level ever since the BJP-led NDA came to
power in May 2014.

This galaxy includes Hedgewar, his
successors M S Golwalkar and Balasaheb Deoras, founder of Jan Sangh –
BJP’s forerunner – Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Mookerjee’s successor
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, among others.

Moonje is best known for his deep faith
in the need for Hindus to militarise, a goal for which he went all the
way to Europe, and especially to Italy to seek inspiration from the
founder of fascism, Benito Mussolini. Upon his return, he collaborated
closely with Hedgewar in shaping the RSS and making military training
compulsory for its volunteers.

Bhonsala Military School’s sinister connection

The BJP is believed to have sought to
distance itself from Moonje for a brief period in recent decades.
However, in an indication of the growing significance of his inspiration
for the RSS, Sangh-chief Mohan Bhagwat had addressed the platinum
jubilee function of the Bhonsala Military School on 21 February, 2012.
“We should give top priority to military education to students to make
India strong,” Bhagwat had said at the function.

Moonje met Mussolini in 1931. He was impressed by the ideology and structure of the Fascist party.

The school itself has also been in the
news for being named in the charge-sheet filed by the Maharashtra
Anti-Terrorism Squad in the 2008 Malegaon blasts probe. The charge-sheet
had claimed that the main accused in the blasts had been teaching at
the school. One of these was Lt Col Srikant Purohit, accused of
conspiracy for terror and murder, currently lodged in Nasik Central
Prison. The charge-sheet had also alleged that conspiracy meetings were held at the school.

Moonje’s fascination with Fascism

Moonje’s fascination with military
training and his admiration of Italy’s fascists for the same comes out
best in a paper written by Italian scholar Marzia Casolari. Documenting
archival evidence, Casolari has presented extensive details of Moonje’s trip to Italy between February and March 1931.

The paper says Moonje visited some
important military schools and educational institutions there, but the
highlight of his visit was the meeting with Mussolini.

Here are a few excerpts –

1. “The deep impression left on Moonje by
the vision of the fascist organisation is confirmed by his diary: The
idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst
people…India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for
the military regeneration of the Hindus…Our institution of RSS of
Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind, though quite independently
conceived. I will spend the rest of my life in developing and extending
this Institution of Dr Hedgewar all throughout the Maharashtra and other
provinces.”

2. In his meeting with Mussolini, Moonje
told him, “Every aspiring and growing Nation needs such organisations.
India needs them most for her military regeneration…I shall have no
hesitation to raise my voice from the public platform both in India and
England when occasion may arise in praise of your Balilla and Fascist
organisations. I wish them good luck and every success.”

3. In March, 1934 Moonje, Hedgewar and
Laloo Gokhale had a meeting to discuss the military organisation of the
Hindus, along Italian and German lines. Moonje said in this meeting, “I
have thought out a scheme based on Hindu Dharm Shastra which provides
for standardisation of Hinduism throughout India.”

Bhonsala Military School was named in the Maharashtra ATS’ chargesheet on the Malegaon blasts

“But the point is that this ideal cannot
be brought to effect unless we have our own swaraj with a Hindu as a
dictator like Shivaji of old or Mussolini or Hitler of the present day
in Italy and Germany…But this does not mean that we have to sit with
folded hands until some such dictator arises in India. We should
formulate a scientific scheme and carry on propaganda for it”.

4. In 1934, Moonje began to work at the
foundation of the Central Hindu Military Education Society, whose aim
was to bring about military regeneration of the Hindus and to fit Hindu
youths for undertaking the entire responsibility for the defence of
their motherland, to educate them in the ‘Sanatan Dharma’, and to train
them “in the science and art of personal and national defence”.

5. “There is an explicit reference to
fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in a document that Moonje circulated
among those influential personalities who were expected to support the
foundation of the school. It said at the outset:

This training is meant for qualifying and
fitting our boys for the game of killing masses of men with the
ambition of winning victory with the best possible casualties (sic) of
dead and wounded while causing the utmost possible to the adversary.
Moonje does not give any clear-cut indication regarding this
‘adversary’, whether it was the external enemy, the British, or the
‘historical’ internal enemy, the Muslims.”

6. “…from Mussolini’s Doctrine of
Fascism, I absolutely disbelieve in perpetual peace which is detrimental
and negative to the fundamental virtues of man, which only by struggle
reveal themselves in the light of the sun, war alone brings up to its
highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the
peoples who have the courage to meet it, Fascism believes neither in
the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates
the doctrine of pacifism which is born of renunciation of the struggle
and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice.”

RSS and the multitude of organisations
associated with it have long been accused of having a fascist
orientation. Moonje’s study of Italy’s fascist organisations and the
record of his attempts to emulate them through the RSS only further
deepen this suspicion.

As a party participating in democratic
electoral politics, why does the BJP want to associate with such an
organisation? Backing the CHMES function is a double whammy of sorts,
given the terror links that its military school is accused of.

Source: http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/why-is-bjp-backing-an-outfit-inspired-by-mussolini-and-accused-of-terror-1448130484.html


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Hindutva’s Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s

Hindutva’s Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s

Archival Evidence

To understand militant Hinduism, one
must examine its domestic roots as well as foreign influence. In the
1930s Hindu nationalism borrowed from European fascism to transform
‘different’ people into ‘enemies’. Leaders of militant Hinduism
repeatedly

expressed their admiration for
authoritarian leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler and for the fascist
model of society. This influence continues to the present day. This
paper presents archival evidence on the would-be collaborators.

‘Fascist’ was in Sumit Sarkar’s words, “till the other day a mere epithet”

(‘The Fascism of the Sangh Parivar’, Economic and Political Weekly,
January 30, 1993, p 163). It has come to define the ideology and
practice of the Hindu militant organisations. It is a commonplace,
accepted by their opponents, as well as by those who have a critical,
but not necessarily negative, view of Hindu fundamentalism. Defining the
Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and, in general, the organisations of
militant Hinduism 1 as undemocratic, with authoritarian,
paramilitary, radical, violent tendencies and a sympathy for fascist
ideology and practice, has been a major concern for many politically
oriented scholars and writers. This has been the case with the
literature which started with Gandhi’s assassination and continues up to
the present day with works such as Amartya Sen’s India at Risk (The New York Review of Books, April 1993) and Christophe Jaffrelot’s The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India (Viking, New Delhi, 1996), the latest book published on the subject, or the well known Khaki Shorts and Saffron Flags
(Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1993), which came out soon after the
destruction of the Babri masjid. As a result, the fascist ideological
background of Hindu fundamentalism is taken for granted, never proved by
systematic analysis. This is an outcome that is, to a certain extent,
explained by the fact that most of the abovementioned authors are
political scientists and not historians.

It is a fact that many of those who
witnessed the growth of Hindu radical forces in the years around the
second world war were already convinced of the Sangh’s fascist outlook.
Particularly acute was the perception that the Congress had of these
organisations and their character. There is no need to mention the
already well known opinion of Nehru, who, right

MARZIA CASOLARI

from the beginning, had pointed at these
organisations as communalist and fascist. Less well known is the fact
that, as shown by a confidential report circulated within the Congress
most probably at the time of the first ban of the RSS, after Gandhi’s
assassination, the similarity between the character of the RSS and that
of fascist organisations was already taken for granted. In fact, the
report itself states that the RSS

  • …Started in Nagpur some sort of Hindu Boys Scout movement. Gradually
    it developed into a communal militarist organisation with violent
    tendencies.
  • The RSS has been purely Maharashtrian brahmin organisation. The
    non-brahmin Maharashtrians who constitute the bulk of C P and
    Maharashtra have no sympathy with it.
  • Even in the other provinces the chief organisers and whole-time workers will be found to be inevitably Maharashtrian brahmins.
  • Through the RSS the Maharashtrian brahmins have been dreaming of
    establishing in India ‘a Peshwa Raj’ after the withdrawal of Britishers.
    The RSS flag is the Bhagwa Flag of the Peshwas –

Maharashtrian rulers [who] were the last
to be conquered by the British – and after the termination of British
rule in India, the Maharashtrians should be vested with political
powers.

  • The RSS practises secret and violent methods which promote
    ‘fascism’. No regard is paid to truthful means and constitutional
    methods.
  • There is no constitution of the organisation; its aims and objects
    have never been clearly defined. The general public is usually told that
    its aim is only physical training, but the real aims are not conveyed
    even to the rank and file of the RSS members. Only its ‘inner circle’ is
    taken into a confidence.
  • There are no records or proceedings of the RSS organisation, no
    membership registers are maintained. There are also no records of its
    income and the expenditure.

The RSS is thus strictly secret as
regards its organisation. It has consequently… ( National Archives of
India (NAI), Sardar Patel Correspondence, microfilm, reel no 3 , ‘A Note
on the RSS’, undated ).

Unfortunately the document stops abruptly
here, but it contains enough evidence of the reputation the RSS already
had by the late 1940s.

This document, however, is by no means
exceptional. An accurate search of the primary sources produced by the
organisations of Hindu nationalism, as well as by their opponents and by
the police, is bound to show the extent and the importance of the
connections between such organisations and Italian fascism. In fact the
most important organisations of Hindu nationalism not only adopted
fascist ideas in a conscious and deliberate way, but this happened also
because of the existence of direct contacts between the representatives
of the main Hindu organisations and fascist Italy.

To demonstrate this, I will reconstruct
the context from which arose the interest of Hindu radicalism in Italian
fascism right from the early 1920s. This interest was commonly shared
in Maharashtra, and must have inspired B S Moonje’s trip to Italy in
1931. The next step will be to examine the effects of that trip, namely
how B S Moonje tried to transfer fascist models to Hindu society and to
organise it militarily, according to fascist patterns. An additional aim
of this paper is to show how, about the end of the 1930s, the
admiration for the Italian regime was commonly shared by the different
streams of Hindu nationalism and the main Hindu leaders.

Particular attention will be devoted to
the attitude adopted by the main Hindu organisations during the second
world war. During those crucial years, Hindu nationalism seemed to
uneasily oscillate between a conciliatory attitude towards the British,
and a sympathy for the dictators. This is in fact far from surprising
because – as will be shown – in those years, militant Hindu
organisations were preparing and arming themselves to fight the
so-called internal enemies, rather than the British. More generally, the
aim of this paper is to disprove Christophe Jaffrelot’s thesis that
there is a sharp distinction between nazi and fascist ideology on one
side and RSS on the other as far as the concept of race and the
centrality of the leader are concerned.2

I

Hindu Nationalists and Italian Fascism

None of the works mentioned above,
Jaffrelot’s included, deals with what I consider a most important
problem, namely, the existence of direct contacts between the
representatives of the fascist regime, including Mussolini and Hindu
nationalists. These contacts demonstrate that Hindu nationalism had much
more than an abstract interest in the ideology and practice of fascism.

The interest of Indian Hindu nationalists
in fascism and Mussolini must not be considered as dictated by an
occasional curiosity, confined to a few individuals, rather, it should
be considered as the culminating result of the attention that Hindu
nationalists, especially in

Maharashtra, focused on Italian
dictatorship and its leader. To them, fascism appeared to be an example
of conservative revolution. This concept was discussed at length by the
Marathi press, right from the early phase of the Italian regime.

From 1924 to 1935 Kesari
regularly published editorials and articles about Italy, fascism and
Mussolini. What impressed the Marathi journalists was the socialist
origin of fascism and the fact that the new regime seemed to have
transformed Italy from a backward country to a first class power.
Indians could not know, then, that, behind the demagogic rhetoric of the
regime, there was very little substance.

Moreover, the Indian observers were
convinced that fascism had restored order in a country previously upset
by political tensions. In a series of editorials, Kesari described
the passage from liberal government to dictatorship as a shift from
anarchy to an orderly situation, where social struggles had no more
reason to exist.3 The Marathi newspaper gave considerable
space to the political reforms carried out by Mussolini, in particular
the substitution of the election of the members of parliament with their
nomination (ibid, January 17, 1928) and the replacement of parliament
itself with the Great Council of Fascism. Mussolini’s idea was the
opposite of that of democracy and it was expressed by the dictator’s
principle, according to which ‘one man’s government is more useful and
more binding’ for the nation than the democratic institutions (ibid,
July 17, 1928).4 Is all this not reminiscent of the principle of ‘obedience to one leader’ (‘ek chalak anuvartitva’) followed by the RSS?

Finally, a long article of August 13,
1929, ‘Italy and the Young Generations’, stated that the Italian young
generation had succeeded the old one to lead the country. That had
resulted in the ‘fast ascent of Italy in every field’. The article went
on to describe at length the organisation of the Italian society
according to fascist models. The principal reasons of the discipline of
the Italian youths were strong religious feelings, widespread among the
population, attachment to the family, and the respect of traditional
values: no divorce, no singles, no right to vote for women, whose only
duty was to sit at home, by the fireplace. The article focused then on
the fascist youth organisations, the Balilla and the Avanguardisti.

One may wonder how the Indian journalists
could be so well informed about what was going on in Italy. Very
possibly, among their sources there was a pamphlet in English, published
by an Italian editor in 1928, entitled The Recent Laws for the Defence of the State
(copy in NAI, Foreign and Political Department, 647G, 1927).
Emphasised, right from the beginning, was the importance of the National
Militia, defined as “the bodyguard of the revolution”. The booklet
continued with the description of the restrictive measures adopted by
the regime: a ban on the “subversive parties”, limitations to the press,
expulsion of “disaffected persons” from public posts, and, finally, the
death sentence.

Significantly, the shift from the liberal
phase to fascism is described by the pamphlet in strikingly similar
terms to those employed by the above-mentioned articles:

This step [the shift to fascism] has
struck a death blow to the thread-bare theories of Italian liberalism,
according to which the sovereign state must observe strict neutrality
towards all political associations and parties. This theory explains why
in Italy the ship of state was drifting before the wind, ready to sink
in the vortex of social dissolution or to be wrecked on the rocks of
financial disaster.

Another inspiring source of the literature published in Kesari
must have been the work by D V Tahmankar, the correspondent of the
Marathi newspaper from London and admirer of the Italian dictator. In
1927 Tahmankar published a book entitled Muslini ani Fashismo,
(Mussolini and Fascism), a biography of the dictator, with several
references to the organisation of the fascist state, to the fascist
social system, to the fascist ideology, and to Italy’s recent past. An
entire chapter, the last, was devoted to description of fascist society
and its institutions, especially the youth organisations.

One can easily come to the conclusion
that, by the late 1920s, the fascist regime and Mussolini had
considerable popularity in Maharashtra. The aspects of fascism which
appealed most to Hindu nationalists were, of course, both the
militarisation of society and what was seen as the real transformation
of society, exemplified by the shift from chaos to order. The
antidemocratic system was considered as a positive alternative to
democracy which was seen as a typically British value.

Such literature made an implicit
comparison between fascism and the Italian Risorgimento. The latter’s
influence on Indian nationalism, both moderate and radical, is well
known.5 However, whereas the Risorgimento appealed to both
moderates and extremists, fascism appealed only to the radicals, who
considered it as the continuation of the Risorgimento and a phase of the
rational organisation of the state. The first Hindu nationalist who
came in contact with the fascist regime and its dictator was B S Moonje,
a politician strictly related to the RSS. In fact, Moonje had been
Hedgewar’s mentor, the two men were related by an intimate friendship.
Moonje’s declared intention to strengthen the RSS and to extend it as a
nationwide organisation is well known. Between February and March 1931,
on his return from the round table conference, Moonje made a tour of
Europe, which included a long stop-over in Italy. There he visited some
important military schools and educational institutions. The highlight
of the visit was the meeting with Mussolini. An interesting account of
the trip and the meeting is given in Moonje’s diary, and takes 13 pages
(Nehru Memorial Museum and Library ( NMML),

Moonje papers, microfilm, rn 1).6 The
Indian leader was in Rome during March 15 to 24, 1931. On March 19, in
Rome, he visited, among others, the Military College, the Central
Military School of Physical Education, the Fascist Academy of Physical
Education, and, most important, the Balilla and Avanguardisti
organisations. These two organisations, which he describes in more than
two pages of his diary, were the keystone of the fascist system of
indoctrination – rather than education – of the youths. Their structure
is strikingly similar to that of the RSS. They recruited boys from the
age of six, up to 18: the youths had to attend weekly meetings, where
they practised physical exercises, received paramilitary training and
performed drills and parades.

According to the literature promoted by
the RSS and other Hindu fundamentalist organisations and parties, the
structure of the RSS was the result of Hedgewar’s vision and work.
However Moonje played a crucial role in moulding the RSS along Italian
(fascist) lines. The deep impression left on Moonje by the vision of the
fascist organisation is confirmed by his diary:

The Balilla institutions and the
conception of the whole organisation have appealed to me most, though
there is still not discipline and organisation of high order. The whole
idea is conceived by Mussolini for the military regeneration of Italy.
Italians, by nature, appear ease-loving and non-martial like the Indians
generally. They have cultivated, like Indians, the work of peace and
neglected the cultivation of the art of war. Mussolini saw the essential
weakness of his country and conceived the idea of the Balilla
organisation…Nothing better could have been conceived for the military
organisation of Italy…The idea of fascism vividly brings out the
conception of unity amongst people…India and particularly Hindu India
need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus:
so that the artificial distinction so much emphasised by the British of
martial and non-martial classes amongst the Hindus may disappear. Our
institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of

Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind,
though quite independently conceived. I will spend the rest of my life
in developing and extending this Institution of Dr Hedgewar all
throughout the Maharashtra and other provinces.

He continues describing drills and uniforms:

I was charmed to see boys and girls well
dressed in their naval and military uniforms undergoing simple exercises
of physical training and forms of drill.

Definitely more meaningful is the report
of the meeting with Mussolini. On the same day, March 19, 1931 at 3 pm,
in Palazzo Venezia, the headquarters of the fascist government, he met
the Italian dictator. The meeting is recorded in the diary on March 20,
and it is worth reproducing the complete report.

…As soon as I was announced at the door, he got up and walked up to receive me.

I shook hands with him saying that I am
Dr Moonje. He knew everything about me and appeared to be closely
following the events of the Indian struggle for freedom. He seemed to
have great respect for Gandhi. He sat down in front of me on another
chair in front of his table and was conversing with me for quite half an
hour. He asked me about Gandhi and his movement and pointedly asked me a
question “If the Round Table Conference will bring about peace between
India and England”. I said that if the British would honestly desire to
give us equal status with other dominions of the Empire, we shall have
no objection to remain peacefully and loyally within the Empire;
otherwise the struggle will be renewed and continued. Britain will gain
and be able to maintain her premier position amongst the European Nation
(sic) if India is friendly and peaceful towards her and India
cannot be so unless she is given Dominion Status on equal terms with
other Dominions. Signor Mussolini appeared impressed by this remark of
mine. Then he asked me if I have visited the University. I said I am
interested in the military training of boys and have been visiting the
Military Schools of England, France and Germany. I have now come to
Italy for the same purpose and I am very grateful to say that the
Foreign Office and the War Office have made good arrangements for my
visiting these schools. I just saw this morning and afternoon the
Balilla and the Fascist Organisations and I was much impressed. Italy
needs them for her development and prosperity. I do not see anything
objectionable though I have been frequently reading in the newspapers
not very friendly criticisms about them and about your Excellency also.
Signor Mussolini: What is your opinion about them?

Dr Moonje: Your Excellency, I am much
impressed. Every aspiring and growing Nation needs such organisations.
India needs them most for her military regeneration. During the British
Domination of the last 150 years Indians have been waved away from the
military profession but India now desires to prepare herself for
undertaking the responsibility for her own defence and I am working for
it. I have already started an organisation of my own, conceived
independently with similar objectives. I shall have no hesitation to
raise my voice from the public platform both in India and England when
occasion may arise in praise of your Balilla and Fascist organisations. I
wish them good luck and every success.

Signor Mussolini – who appeared very
pleased – said – Thanks but yours is an uphill task. However I wish you
every success in return.

Saying this he got up and I also got up to take his leave.

The description of the Italian journey
includes information regarding fascism, its history, the fascist
‘revolution’, etc, and continues for two more pages.

One can wonder at the association between
B S Moonje and the RSS, but if we think that Moonje had been Hedgewar’s
mentor, the association will be much clearer.7 The intimate
friendship between Moonje and Hedgewar and the former’s declared
intention to strengthen the RSS and to extend it as a nationwide
organisation prove a strict connection between Moonje and the RSS.
Moreover, it makes sense to think that the entire circle of militant
Hinduism must have been influenced by Moonje’s Italian experience.

II

Moonje’s Plans for

Militarising Hindus

Once Moonje was back in India, he kept
the promise made in his diary and started immediately to work for the
foundation of his military school and for the militant reorganisation of
Hindu society in Maharashtra. He really did not waste time, for, as
soon as he reached Pune, he gave an interview to The Mahratta.8
Regarding the military reorganisation of the Hindu community, he
stressed the necessity to ‘indianise’ the army and expressed the hope
that conscription would become compulsory and an Indian would be put in
charge of the defence ministry. He finally made a clear reference to the
Italian and German examples:

In fact, leaders should imitate the youth
movement of Germany and the Balilla and Fascist organisations of Italy.
I think they are eminently suited for introduction in India, adapting
them to suit the special conditions. I have been very much impressed by
these movements and I have seen their activities with my own eyes in all
details.

Soon fascism became a subject of public
debate and Hedgewar himself was among the promoters of a campaign in
favour of the militarisation of society, according to fascist patterns.
On January 31, 1934 , Hedgewar presided over a conference about fascism
and Mussolini, organised by Kavde Shastri. Moonje made the concluding
speech (NMML, Moonje papers, microfilm, Diary, rn 2, 1932-36).

A few months later, on March 31, 1934
Moonje, Hedgewar and Laloo Gokhale had a meeting, the subject of which
was again the military organisation of the Hindus, along Italian and
German lines:

Laloo – Well you are the president of the
Hindu Sabha and you are preaching Sanghathan of Hindus. It is ever
possible for Hindus to be organised?

I said – You have asked me a question of
which exactly I was thinking of late. I have thought out a scheme based
on Hindu Dharm Shastra which provides for standardisation of Hinduism
throughout India…But the point is that this ideal cannot be brought to
effect unless we have our own swaraj with a Hindu as a dictator like
Shivaji of old or Mussolini or Hitler of the present day in Italy and
Germany…But this does not mean that we have to sit with folded hands
untill (sic) some such dictator arises in India. We should formulate a scientific scheme and carry on propaganda for it (NMML, ibid).

The intimate connection between Moonje
and the RSS and the fascist character of the latter is confirmed by
British sources. An Intelligence report published in 1933 and entitled
‘Note on the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh’, ascribed to Moonje the
responsibility of the reorganisation of the Sangh in the Marathi
speaking districts and in the Central Provinces in 1927. The report,
describing the activity and the character of the RSS, warned that

It is perhaps no exaggeration to assert
that the Sangh hopes to be in future India what the ‘Fascisti’ are to
Italy and the ‘Nazis’ to Germany (NAI, Home Poll Department, 88/33,
1933).

Summing up, contrary to Jaffrelot’s
interpretation, it is clear that the Hindu nationalists were very much
attracted by the figure of a strong leader. Moreover, they were keen to
give their organisation a strongly centralised structure.

Moonje’s trip to Italy, contrary to what
happened in the case of Subhas Chandra Bose and other nationalists, did
not give place to any further co-operation between Hindu nationalism and
the fascist regime. However, these contacts were important at the
ideological and organisational levels. In fact, Moonje kept his promise
to improve military education in India and, as soon as he came back from
his European trip, he started to contact all those who could support
his idea of militarising Hindu society. In 1934, Moonje started to work
for the foundation of his own institution, the Bhonsla Military School.9
For this purpose, in the same year he began to work at the foundation
of the Central Hindu Military Education Society, whose aim was to bring
about military regeneration of the Hindus and to fit Hindu youths for
undertaking the entire responsibility for the defence of their
motherland.

to educate them in the ‘Sanatan Dharma’,
and to train them “in the science and art of personal and national
defence” (NMML, Moonje papers, subject files, n 24, 1932-36, ‘The
Central Military Education Society’, undated, probably written in 1935).
Moonje’s programme was therefore entirely devoted to Hindu society, and
not to Indian society as a whole.

It is possible that the other function of
the society was that of facilitating the diffusion of military
education and supporting the foundation of new schools. During the
preliminary work for the foundation of both the school and society,
Moonje publicly admitted that his idea of militarily reorganising Hindu
society was inspired by the ‘military training schools of England,
France, Germany and Italy” (NMML, Moonje papers, subject files, n 23,
1934-36, report of the progress of the work of the society from January
1, 1935 to August 15, 1936). Moreover, there is an explicit reference to
fascist Italy and nazi Germany in a document that Moonje circulated
among those influential personalities who were expected to support the
foundation of the school (NMML, Moonje papers, subject files, n 25,
1935, ‘Preface to the Scheme of the Central Hindu Military Society and
Its Military School’). It said at the outset:

This training is meant for qualifying and
fitting our boys for the game of killing masses of men with the
ambition of winning victory with the best possible casualties (sic) of dead and wounded while causing the utmost possible to the adversary.

Moonje does not give any clear-cut
indication regarding this ‘adversary’, whether it was the external
enemy, the British, or the ‘historical’ internal enemy, the Muslims. The
document continues with a long dissertation on the relation between
violence and non-violence. In it are drawn many examples from Indian
history and Hindu holy books, all in favour of organised violence, in
the form of militarism. On the contrary, non-violence is considered a
form of renunciation and cowardice.

Moonje’s views corresponded almost perfectly with Mussolini’s opinions:

…The same thought is repeated though in a
more forceful and direct language by Signor Mussolini, the maker of
modern Italy. When he says: “Our desire for peace and collaboration with
Europe is based on millions of steel bayonets.”

And again, from Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism,

I absolutely disbelieve in perpetual
peace which is detrimental and negative to the fundamental virtues of
man, which only by struggle reveal themselves in the light of the sun,

War alone brings up to its highest
tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples
who have the courage to meet it,

Fascism believes neither in the
possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the
doctrine of pacifism which is born of renunciation of the struggle and
an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice.

Moonje added that these considerations
did not aim at the legitimation of a climate of civil war. Contrary to
the Indian situation, where the British were responsible for the
maintenance of public order, peace should rise from the self-defence of a
militarily organised nation. Italy and Germany could offer a further
example:

His Majesty, the King of Italy, says:
“Italy wants the longest possible period of peace but the greatest
guarantee for a peace is the efficiency of the Italian armed forces. The
government was striving to augment the efficiency of forces, which
depends upon the cadres, materials and the unity of command. Efforts
must be made to improve the physique of the Italian youths and their
preliminary training in order to raise the level of soldierly
efficiency.”

As far as Germany was concerned, Moonje quoted a booklet entitled Wehrwissenschaft (Military Science), written by Ewald Banse, a professor at the Brunswick Technical High School:

“The starting point of the book is that
war is inevitable and certain and that it is imperative to know as much
about it and to be as efficient as possible … the mind of the nation,
from childhood on must be impregnated and familiarised with the idea of
war”, because, the Professor says: “The dying warrior dies more easily
when he knows that his blood is ebbing for his national god.”

The spirit of the last sentence is surprisingly coincident with the essence of the Hindu nationalism.

When Moonje had to indicate practical
ways of militarising Hindu society, he returned again to the example of
Italy and its military and paramilitary organisations, and reported what
he had seen. He described in detail the structure of the ‘She Wolf’s
Children’, the Balilla and the Avanguardisti. He asserted that these
organisations could provide paramilitary training to the male population
from the age of 8 up to 18, when the youth became young fascists. Italy
was therefore in a position of having “command of 6,000,000 trained and
disciplined men ready to face any emergency”.

The result was that

The Balillas are taught to build up moral character and take the first steps towards becoming soldiers.

As a consequence,

There will thus be no longer any distinction between the citizen and the soldier between the civilian and the man in uniform.

Of course, nowadays we know that, in
spite of this remarkable number of militarily trained citizens, Italy
lost the war: Moonje did not know that the level of the training was
low, the cohesion between people poor, and the fascist faith of the
people skin-deep.

Fascist ideas were widespread among Hindu
nationalists, at least in Maharashtra. The above-mentioned script had
been printed in the form of a pamphlet (copy in NAI, Jayakar papers,
microfilm, fn6, rn2) and distributed not only among the people Moonje
tried to involve in his project, but, most probably, to an even wider
public. Fascism therefore, had a certain popularity, which,
unfortunately, is at present difficult to measure.

III

Eve of Second World War

After Moonje’s trip to Italy there was no
further direct contact between exponents of the main Hindu
organisations and the Italian government. However, by the end of the
1930s Italian representatives in India established some connections with
the extremist fringes of Hindu nationalism. The Italian consulate in
Bombay was very active in seeking contacts with the local political
milieu. The Italian diplomatic mission in Bombay was part of a network
linking the Italian consulates in Bombay and Calcutta with the radical
movements of Maharashtra and Bengal (author’s PhD thesis, pp 276-79).

From June 1938 the consulate in Bombay
started to ‘recruit’ as many Indian students as possible for Italian
language courses, with the purpose of indoctrinating them with
propaganda in favour of Italy and fascism. The person in charge of this
activity was Mario Carelli, sent from Rome with the specific purpose of
organising and managing the Italian activities in Bombay. Mario Carelli
was secretary and librarian at the Institute for Middle and Far East
(ISMEO), founded in Rome in 1933 under the auspices of the Italian
government, and presided by Giovanni Gentile.10 Among the students, one Madhav

Kashinath Damley was particularly promising. Following Carelli’s suggestion, Damley translated into Marathi Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism
and, in summer 1939, published it as a series of articles in a weekly
he founded in June of the same year. The name of the magazine was Lokhandi Morcha (Iron Front). It published also, as a five parts article, a booklet by Antonio Pagliaro entitled II Fascismo contro il comunismo (Fascism against Communism) and an article by Mario Carelli entitled ‘The Institution of the

House of the Fasci and Corporations’.11

In the autumn of 1939, a particularly radical article published in the Lokhandi Morcha
attracted the attention of the police. The result was that Damley, who
had already been noticed by the agents, was forced to suspend the
magazine and pay a fine. The refusal to pay determined the cessation of
the publication of the Lokhandi Morcha. Damley was a chitpavan
brahmin from Pune, resident in Bombay. His father owned the printing
house where the magazine was printed. According to the police,

He [Damley] holds extreme political views
and believes himself to be a follower of B G Tilak…He openly says that
he is enamoured of the history of Italy and Nazi Germany (MSA, Home
Special Department, 830(I)1939, note dated July 11, 1939).

Even more meaningful is Damley’s description by the Italian consul:

Holding fascist ideas, he founded an
organisation called Iron Guards, modelled on ours, but adapted to Indian
peculiar conditions.

He and his friends wore the black shirt: India’s first black shirts.

The development of this organisation was compromised by the outbreak of the war.12

The influence of fascist ideology and
practice must have gone far beyond the limits of the main organisations
of Hindu militant nationalism and must have extended to the wide and
intricate net of secondary militant groups and centres of physical
education or paramilitary training. This is shown by the example of the
Swastik League, founded on March 10, 1929 by M R Jayakar – who became
its president – and by other local personalities. In organising the
Swastik League, Jayakar, who had a prominent position within the Hindu
Mahasabha, drew some inspiration from the fascist paramilitary
organisations. In his own words,

in the near future, our GOC… intends to
form a cadet corps, consisting of boys between the age of 15 and 18
years. The training which these cadets will receive will ultimately
enable them to join the League’s volunteer corps…

This reminds us of a picture published in the Sunday Chronicle
on the 28th instant, showing two of Sgr Mussolini’s “Baby Soldiers”
remaining on sentry duty at the entrance of their annual encampment at
Camp Dux, where the young members of the Avan Guardista, (sic) a
youth organisation of Italy for boys from 14 to 18 years of age, get
first hand acquaintance with the tools of war. Neither we nor our cadets
can expect to be able to get such a direct training, but all the same,
the efforts to train a boy in military discipline will never be wasted
and will in course of time make that boy an ideal volunteer (NAI,
Jayakar papers, microfilm, rn 13, Swastik Herald, of November 7, 1934).

In 1940, when nazism manifested its real
nature and the swastika became an inauspicious symbol, the organisation
felt obliged to dissociate from nazism:

Hitler discriminates between Aryans and
non-Aryans, between Germans and Jews. The League, though it is a purely
Hindu organisation, does not make a difference between the Hindus and
the non-Hindus… Hitler has many enemies, the League cannot have any. He
is revengeful; the League is forgiving and tolerant. He is violent and
wild; the League is not. He thinks and acts in terms of destruction. He
has destroyed many families, many nations: nay, the peace of the world.
Armed to teeth he is running amuck. The League stands for construction.
He is an enemy of humanity. The League is a saviour of humanity. It has
saved thousands of human lives. Its ambulance is most efficient (NAI,
ibid, Article entitled ‘Hitler and the Swastik League’ in Swastik Herald, July-August 1940).

IV Savarkar and Nazism

At this point we have to dwell on the crucial problem of Savarkar’s position vis-a-vis the European radical right.

With Savarkar’s coming on the political
scene, from the late 1930s to the second world war, there was the
attempt, even if timid and unsuccessful, to search for new contacts with
the totalitarian regimes. At the same time, there was an
intensification of cries in favour or in defence of Italian and German
policy, even if the preference for Germany increased progressively.

Savarkar was declared president of the
Hindu Mahasabha as soon as he was released in 1937, and he held that
office until 1942. His presidentship covered the most sensitive period
of both Indian and international history in this century. According to
the commonly accepted opinion – supported by the organisations of
militant Hinduism – the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha have never been
particularly close, and, during Savarkar’s presidentship, they severed
their links. Reality, however, seems to be different. In fact, the
available documentation shows not only that such a split never happened,
but that the two organisations always had close connections. We should
not forget that Hedgewar had been secretary to the Hindu Mahasabha from
1926 to 1931 (NAI, Home Poll Department, August 28, 1942; intelligence
report ‘Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh’, dated March 7, 1942).13
The RSS seems to have provided support to the Hindu Mahasabha, as shown
by the fact that groups of RSS militants used to gather at the public
meetings organised to celebrate Savarkar’s release.14

Two of the main topics of the speeches
Savarkar gave at the gatherings organised in his honour and at any other
public function of his party were the international situation and
Hindu-Muslim relations.

Regarding the first aspect, Savarkar had a
rather cynical view of the relations India should entertain at the
international level. He returned to freedom and entered into politics at
the time of the formation of the Rome-Berlin Axis and Japan’s adhesion
to the pact. Such an outcome was favourably assessed by Hindu radical
nationalism, including the Hindu Mahasabha.

‘India’s foreign policy’ was the subject
of a speech Savarkar gave to about 20,000 people in Pune on August 1,
1938. The following are the most meaningful parts of the speech,
according to a press note issued by the Bombay office of the Hindu
Mahasabha:15

He observed India’s foreign policy must
not depend on “isms”. Germany has every right to resort to Nazism and
Italy to Fascism and events have justified that those isms and forms of
governments were imperative and beneficial to them under the conditions
that obtained there. Bolshevism might have suited Russia and Democracy
as it is obtained in Briton (sic) to the British people.

Political systems correspond then to the
nature of the respective population. This theory was clearly inspired by
a deterministic conception of race, similar to the conception of race
then dominant in Europe.

Starting a controversy with Nehru,
Savarkar openly defended the authoritarian powers of the day,
particularly Italy and, even more so, Germany:

Who are we to dictate to Germany, Japan
or Russia or Italy to choose a particular form of policy of government
simply because we woo it out of academical attraction? Surely Hitler
knows better than Pandit Nehru does what suits Germany best. The very
fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so
powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is
enough to prove that those political “isms” were the most congenial
tonics their health demanded.

India may choose or reject particular
form of government, in accordance with her political requirements. But
Pandit went out of his way when he took sides in the name of all Indians
against Germany or Italy. Pandit Nehru might claim to express the
Congress section in India at the most. But it should be made clear to
the German, Italian, or Japanese public that crores of Hindu
Sanghatanists in India whom neither Pandit Nehru nor the Congress
represents, cherish no ill-will towards Germany or Italy or Japan or any
other country in the world simply because they had chosen a form of
government or constitutional policy which they though (sic) suited best
and contributed most to their national solidarity and strength.

Savarkar went on to defend Germany’s position regarding the Sudeten problem:

…as far as the Czechoslovakia question
was concerned the Hindu Sanghatanists in India hold that Germany was
perfectly justified in uniting the Austrian and Sudeten Germans under
the German flag. Democracy itself demanded that the will of the people
must prevail in choosing their own government. Germany demanded
plebiscite, the Germans under the Czechs wanted to join their kith and
kin in Germany. It was the Czechs who were acting against the principle
of democracy in holding the Germans under a foreign sway against their
will…Now that Germany is strong why should she not strike to unite all
Germans and consolidate them into a Pan-German state and realise the
political dream which generations of German people cherished.

When the outbreak of the second world war
was imminent, Savarkar openly declared the attitude Hindu Mahasabha
should adopt towards the other nations:

Any nation who helps India or is friendly
towards her struggle for freedom is our friend. Any Nation which
opposes us or pursues a policy inimical to us is our foe. Towards those
who do neither, India must maintain an attitude of perfect neutrality
refusing to poke her nose unnecessarily into their internal or external
policy.

This document summarises Savarkar’s view
regarding international problems and, at the same time, it contains the
future lines of the Hindu Mahasabha foreign policy. This party
elaborated its foreign policy only with Savarkar’s presidentship,
imitating, in a certain sense, what Nehru did within the Congress, but
choosing different allies among the foreign powers. Given the content of
the above-mentioned speech, it is no wonder that it was published on
November 30, 1938 by a famous

German daily, the Volkischer Beobachter ( NMML, Savarkar papers, microfilm, rn 1 part 2, March 1937-May 1938).

The reference to the German minorities in
Czechoslovakia was an implicit comparison with the Indian situation. As
Savarkar asserted in a speech in the presence of some 4,000 people at
Pune on October 11, 1938, if a plebiscite had taken place in India,
Muslims would have chosen to unite with Muslims and Hindus with Hindus.
This was a consequence of the principle according to which it was not
enough living together for a few centuries to form a nation, as “The
common desire to form a nation was essential for the formation of a
nation” (MSA, Home Special Department, 60D(g) Pt II, 1937, ‘Extract from
the weekly confidential report of the District Magistrate, dated the
October 21, 1938). During Savarkar’s presidentship the antiMuslim
rhetoric became more and more radical, and distinctly unpleasant. It was
a rhetoric that made continuous reference to the way Germany was
managing the Jewish question. Indeed, speech after speech, Savarkar
supported Hitler’s antiJewish policy, and, on October 14, 1938, he
suggested the following solution for the Muslim problem in India:

A Nation is formed by a majority living
therein. What did the Jews do in Germany? They being in minority were
driven out from Germany (MSA, Home Special

Department, 60 D(g) Pt III, 1938, ‘Translation of the verbatim speech made by V D Savarkar at Malegaon on October 14, 1938).

Then, towards the end of the year in
Thane, in front of RSS militants and local sympathisers, right at the
time when the Congress expressed its resolution against

Germany,16 Savarkar stated
that in Germany the movement of the Germans is the national movement but
that of the Jews is a communal one (MSA, Home Special Department, 60
D(g) Pt III, 1938, ‘A report on the meeting held on December 11, 1938).

And again the next year, on July 29, in Pune, he said:

Nationality did not depend so much on a
common geographical area as on unity of thought, religion, language and
culture. For this reason the Germans and the Jews could not be regarded
as a nation (MSA, ibid, ‘Extract from the BP weekly letter n 31, dated
August 5, 1939).

Without this unity, not even Muslims and
Hindus could be regarded as belonging to the same nation. Indian Muslims
should rather resign themselves to be considered as a minority, the
recognition of whose rights should depend on the magnanimity of the
majority.

Finally, at the end of 1939, on the
occasion of the 21st session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar made one
of the most explicit comparisons between the Muslim question in India
and the Jewish problem in Germany:

…the Indian Muslims are on the whole more
inclined to identify themselves and their interests with Muslims
outside India than Hindus who live next door, like Jews in Germany.17

One can find a certain continuity between the ideas of nation and nationhood expressed in Savarkar’s Hindutva18 and the content of these declarations. Indeed in his book, Savarkar, referring to the

Muslims, asserted that their holyland is
far off in Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and godmen, ideas and
heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently their names and
their outlook smack of foreign origin (Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?, 4th ed, Bharat Mudranalaya, Pune, 1949, p 94).

A feeling of admiration for the Jewish
policy of Germany seems to have been shared by the entire circle of
Hindu nationalism at the end of the 1930s. In We, or Our Nationhood Defined, Golwarkar, who would have become general secretary of the RSS a year later, declared that

German national pride has now become the
topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture,
Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the semitic
races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested
here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races
and cultures, having differences going to the mot [?], to be assimilated
into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and
profit by (Nagpur, 1939, p 37).

This had its roots in the idea that being
a Hindu was a matter of race and blood, not only a matter of culture.
In turn that was an idea which was strikingly similar to the racial
myths elaborated in Germany, more than in Italy.

As demonstrated by Jaffrelot (op cot, pp
53-54), Golwarkar drew his idea of nation and nationalism from the works
of a German lawyer, Johann Kaspar Bluntschli.

Golwarkar’s position regarding Muslims was even more extreme than Savarkar’s:

in one word, they [Muslims] must cease to be foreigners19 or may stay in the country

wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation
claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential
treatment, not even citizen’s rights (op cit, p 52). Apart from the
militants of the main Hindu organisations, there is reason to think that
the Indian – and particularly Marathi – public opinion also was exposed
to the views of some newspapers which echoed Savarkar’s declarations20 or published articles in favour of the dictators. In 1939 The Mahratta published a series of articles in favour of the international policy of Italy and Germany,21 while Kesari
of December 8 and 15, 1939 published an article bearing the title
‘Failure of Democracy and Rise of Fascism’. There the same
interpretation already expressed during the 1920s was repeated,
according to which fascism arose from the crisis of democracy. Fascism
of obviously considered superior to democracy.

While this literature still focused on
both the dictators and their policies, already from the Spring of 1939
the Savarkarled Hindu Mahasabha seemed to have finally chosen Germany as
its main reference point at the international level. On March 25, 1939
the Hindu party made the following statement:

Germany’s solemn idea of the revival of
the Aryan culture, the glorification of the Swastika, her patronage of
Vedic learning and the ardent championship of the tradition of
Indo-Germanic civilisation are welcomed by the religious and sensible
Hindus of India with a jubilant hope. Only a few socialists headed by
Pandit J Nehru have created a bubble of resentment against the present
government of Germany, but their activities are far from having any
significance in India. The vain imprecations of Mahatma Gandhi against
Germany’s indispensable vigour in matters of internal policy obtain but
little regard insofar as they are uttered by a man who has always
betrayed and confused the country with an affected mysticism. I think
that Germany’s crusade against the enemies of Aryan culture will bring
all the Aryan nations of the world to their senses and awaken the Indian
Hindus for the restoration of their lost glory (The declaration
contained in Auswartiges Amt-Politischen Archiv (AA-PA, Bonn)/Pol VII,
statement by the spokesman of the Hindu Mahasabha, March 25, 1939, is
quoted by M Hauner, op cit, p 66).

The aggressive racial policy carried out
by Germany must have played a fundamental role in this shift of interest
from Italy to Germany.

At the practical level, this shift was
represented by the attempt made by Savarkar to get in touch with other
Hindu nationalist forces working abroad. Throughout 1938 Savarkar had a
considerable exchange of letters with one of the historical leaders of
the revolutionary movement abroad: Rash Behari Bose. (On Rash Behari
Bose see Uma Mukherjee, Two Great Indian Revolutionaries, Firma
KLM, Calcutta, 1966). Rash Behari, who had lived in Japan since 1915
and had obtained Japanese nationality in 1923, was in touch with the
Japanese extreme right, in particular with the ‘Association of the Black
Dragon’ (ASMAE, AP,

Giappone (Japan), b 6, 1934, b Movimento
Panasiatico (Pan-Asiatic Movement), express telegram n 166/113, from
Italian Embassy, Tokyo, February 24 , 1934 , to the Ministry of External
Affairs, signed Auriti).

According to our sources, Savarkar and

Rash Behari were in touch at least from
March 1938. A couple of letters from Rash Behari to the president of the
Hindu Mahasabha were published by The

Mahratta, for propaganda purposes.22
The expected effect of the publication of the two letters was that All
Hindu Sanghatanists in India find themselves strengthened in their views
and activities to see you advocating the cause of Hindu Sanghatan and
taking up such a far seeing and insighted a view of the Indian situation
political and social ( NMML, ibid, August 18).

In the summer of 1938 Rash Behari
informed Savarkar of his intention to open a branch of the Hindu
Mahasabha in Japan. Even if the number of the militants was small, it
could nevertheless become an authorised international mouth piece of the
Hindu Mahasabha and Hindudom as such in Eastern foreign countries (
NMML, ibid ).

Savarkar’s reply was favourable: the
president of the Hindu Mahasabha invited Rash Behari to realise his
objective as soon as possible, and advised him that the Japanese branch
of the party should depend upon the main office in India (NMML, ibid,
letter from Savarkar to Rash Behari Bose, November 14, 1938, signed
President Hindu Maha Sabha).

In winter the closeness between the two
leaders was such that Savarkar asked Rash Behari to send a message to
the Hindu Mahasabha session of December 28 ( NMML, ibid ).

The contacts that Savarkar tried to
establish with the consulates of the axis powers in Bombay did not bring
any noticeable result. Most probably this happened because the outbreak
of the war made collaboration with foreign powers much more difficult.

The only result of these contacts – which
could materialise only through the German consulate – was, most
probably, the circulation of the already mentioned speech of Savarkar in
the German newspapers,23 in exchange for articles in favour of Germany’s Jewish policy in the Marathi newspapers.24 The
person in charge of contacting the axis representatives was
Jugalikishor Birla (NMML, ibid, letter from Savarkar to Birla, November
2, 1938, signed by hand VDS), while the two Germans in charge of dealing
with the Hindu Mahasabha were G L Lesczczynski, representative of the
German News Agency, and P Pazze, officially manager of a company located
in Bombay. These two agents had been responsible for the publication of
Savarkar’s speech in the Volkischer Beobachter (NMML, ibid,
letter from the secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha to Pazze, November 19,
1938, and, with the same date, letter from Leszczynski to Malekar). The
most evident sign of these contacts was the despatch of a copy of Mein Kampf from Leszczynski to Savarkar.

V

Waiting for the Right Enemy

The literature promoted by militant Hinduism is trying nowadays to compare the attitude adopted by the Hindu

Mahasabha towards the totalitarian
regimes with Subhas Chandra Bose’s position towards the axis powers.
According to this literature, the evidence in favour of such
interpretation is a meeting which took place between Bose and Savarkar
in Bombay in June 1940.25 On this occasion Savarkar is
supposed to have suggested to Subhas that he should go to Europe and
seek the dictators’ support. Whereas the authors connected to the
above-mentioned school of thought consider this claim a matter of fact, I
could not find any record of the talks between the two leaders.
According to a short article in the Times of India of June 24,

Mr Bose had also talks with Mr V D

Savarkar, president of the All India
Hindu Mahasabha, at the latter’s residence at Dadar on Saturday evening.
It is understood that the discussions related to the present political
situation in the country and the steps the Hindu Mahasabha and the
‘Forward Bloc’ should take in co-operation with other parties. The
results of the talks, it is stated, were not encouraging.

The episode, as always, did not go unnoticed by the police, who gave a brief account of it:

Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Bombay on
June 22nd and had discussions with M A Jinnah and V D Savarkar with a
view of exploring the possibilities of co-operation between the Forward
Bloc and the Hindu Mahasabha respectively. Bose’s efforts were
apparently productive of no result. The Bombay Forward Bloc endeavoured
to arrange a meeting on June 23rd at which Subhas Chandra Bose would
speak, but it was necessary to abandon the meeting on account of lack of
support (MSA, Home Special Department, 1023 , 1939-40, SA dated June
29, 1940, ‘Forward Bloc’).

The absence of accounts by the Hindu
Mahasabha on the meeting can be explained by the fact that, both the
leaders being involved in anti-British activities, it would not make
sense leaving records of sensitive matters. Not even among Bose’s papers
and writings is there any reference to the meeting. It is therefore
impossible to reconstruct the content of the talks between the two
leaders, unless we trust the only source available. This is the speech
made by Savarkar on the occasion of the dissolution of the Abhinav
Bharat in 1952. It is weak evidence, because it is not supported by any
written proof, and was given several years after the event. My
impression of the episode is that it is a sort of historiographic
invention, directed to legitimise the otherwise ambiguous position of
the Hindu Mahasabha during the war. Asserting that Netaji’s project had
Savarkar’s sanction means not only that Savarkar had a sort of patronage
on Bose’s activities in Europe, but, more important, that Savarkar
played an important role in the freedom fight.

Certainly the meeting did take place, and
very possibly the two leaders discussed Bose’s intention to go to
Europe and seek the support of the axis powers. However, all this is far
from meaning that Savarkar inspired Bose, who, right from 1933, had his
own connections with the dictators’ governments. The president of the
Hindu Mahasabha put forward his claim on the content of his meeting with
Netaji four years after Gandhi’s assassination, when the image of the
Hindu Mahasabha and its affiliations were badly damaged by the suspicion
of their involvement in the murder. Accordingly it makes sense to think
that the organisations of militant Hinduism must have perceived the
necessity to rehabilitate their political past and re-invent a more
clear-cut antiBritish stand. What stronger argument, therefore, could be
available than the assertion that the Hindu Mahasabha was secretly
ready to support Bose’s plans?

The involvement in Gandhi’s assassination
was not the only reason of crisis: the image of Hindu nationalism was
indeed already damaged by the ambiguous attitude adopted in the war
period. The policy actually followed by Hindu nationalism during the
war, namely, responsive cooperation, was far from being unambiguous on
both transfer of powers and relations with the British. In fact, the
ambivalence of responsive co-operation was made explicit by Savarkar
himself in a 1942 presidential speech. On that occasion Savarkar stated
that: “the policy of responsive co-operation…covers the whole gamut of
patriotic activities from unconditional co-operation to active and even
armed resistance… (L G Khare (ed), Hindu Rashtra Darshan,
Bombay, 1949, p 266). It comes as no surprise that this ambiguous stand
raised almost universal suspicion towards the forces of militant
Hinduism and invited the charge of collaborationism. 26 Immediately
after the outbreak of the war, the Hindu Mahasabha decided that its
working committee of September 10 , 1939 should adopt the following line
of conduct:

no reference should be made to the
justice or otherwise of the claim of residents of Danzig to return to
the Reich; for, in principle we shall have to support the action of the
Germans of Danzig; not that we should denounce this but then under no
circumstances can we take part in this war on the side of British (NMML,
Savarkar papers, microfilm, rn 12, cit, letter from Mandlekar to
Savarkar, September 7, 1939).

The working committee of September 10
decided which steps should be taken in order to prepare the nation to
face the emergency provoked by the outbreak of the war:

As the task of defending India from any
military attack is of common concern to the British government as well
as ourselves and as we are unfortunately not in a position today to
carry out that responsibility unaided, there is ample room for
wholehearted co-operation between India and England (NMML, Moonje
papers, subject files, n 51).

The preliminary condition for such
cooperation was the devolution of full powers to a central Indian
government by the British. Later on, the Hindu Mahasabha would be less
strict than the Congress on this issue.

The committee wished for the realisation
of the militarisation of Indian society and the Indianisation of the
army. It requested a reform of the Arms Act, along the lines prevailing
in the UK. It demanded also that territorial forces and paramilitary
groups be strengthened, that new military organisations be created in
those provinces where they did not exist before, and, finally, that more
Indian students be accepted in the military academies. The Hindu
Mahasabha requested the government to increase the local production of
modern armaments so that India could equip its army, without depending
on imports from other nations.

Soon after this resolution, the Hindu
Mahasabha started to work for the creation of a national militia.
Naturally enough, Moonje became the person in charge. Inviting party
members to attend a preliminary meeting for the foundation of the
militia, in Pune on October 8, Moonje described the future organisation
in the following terms:

I have the pleasure in bringing to your
notice a resolution of the Hindu Mahasabha for the organisation of the
Hindu Militia in the country for the purpose of taking part in the
defence of India both from external and internal aggression, whenever an
occasion of emergency may arise during the course of the AngloGerman
War.

… I believe that it will be quite in the
fitness of things, in view of the historic All-India Military leadership
of the Maharashtra, that a beginning should be made in the Maharashtra;
so that the lead may be taken up by the whole of India afterwards
(NMML, ibid, circular letter dated September 27). Who could be the
internal aggressors if not the Muslims?

The answer seems to be contained in a letter from Moonje to Khaparde of October 18:

… the Moslems are making themselves a
nuisance. The Congress government will not stand up but will yield to
them. We cannot expect any consideration at the hands of the Congress
government. We shall have to fight both the government and the Moslems
just as the Khaksars are doing in the UP. The Hindu Mahasabha will give
its support to such fights as the Muslim League is supporting the
Khaksars: you must prepare the volunteers in your towns. The Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh may be useful and handy (NMML, ibid).

Moonje expressed in more explicit terms his hostility to the Congress:

But there is one worry which is
menacingly uppermost in its mind at the present moment and that is –
what will happen if, in the mutually antagonistic and clashing
ideologies, the Charka were to come into conflict with the Rifle …?
(NMML ibid, circular letter).

Charka as a Gandhian symbol was a metaphor for the Congress.

The theme of the ‘internal enemy’ is a
further element of affinity between the ideology of fascism and of Hindu
nationalism, expressed by a similar rhetoric. It seems nevertheless
that the Sanghatanists were inclined to fight the Muslims and the
Congress, rather than the British.

According to Moonje’s plans, the RSS
should be involved in the creation of the national militia. Indeed, in a
letter of October 18 to General Nanasahib Shinde of Baroda, Moonje
affirmed I am glad to note that you have approved of my idea of a Hindu
National Militia for Maharashtra as is being organised by the Hindu
Mahasabha.

I have been myself thinking of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and I am corresponding with their leader.
They may have their peculier (sic) difficulties and the point is that the militia should be organised under these circumstances whether the Rashtriya Swayamsevak

Sangh can undertake the task or not ( NMML, ibid, reply to a letter from Shinde to Moonje, dated October 16, 1939).

During this preliminary phase, Moonje
consulted Hedgewar, with whom he exchanged several letters and whom
Moonje hoped to meet, in order to discuss the participation of the RSS
in the militia (NMML, ibid, letter from B S Moonje to Hedgewar, October
18, 1939).

On October 27 a militant from Lahore
informed Moonje that We have at present in Punjab several Dals and
Sanghs, the total number of members of which is approximately about
50,000; but they are not working under a single organisation. There are
Rashtriya Sevak Sangh, Atma Sangh, Mahabir Dal, Seva Sangh and Akali Dal
working under different leaders. They have a sort of military
organisation. The Akali Dal is armed with swords: but the others have
other weapons. The Rashtriya Sevak Sangh has only lathies. The first
thing to do is to bring all these sanghs on a uniform basis working
under a single leadership though not of one man but of a council (NMML,
ibid). In spite of such mobilisation, the Hindu militia had not been
formed. The government did not withdraw the existing restrictions
imposed on military and paramilitary organisations and schools.

It is difficult to establish if the
organisations of militant Hinduism were arming themselves against
possible foreign invaders, the internal enemy, or the British. Most
probably they were carefully hedging their bet, ready to take advantage
of any future development. However, it is a fact that at a meeting with
Linlithgow in Bombay on October 9, 1939, Savarkar adopted a decidedly
conciliatory position vis-a-vis the British. According to Linlithgow

the situation, he [Savarkar] said, was
that His Majesty’s Government must now turn to the Hindus and work with
their support. After all, though we and the Hindus have had a good deal
of difficulty with one another in the past, that was equally true of the
relations between Great Britain and the French and, as recent events
had shown, of relations between Russia and Germany. Our interests were
now the same and we must therefore work together. Even though now the
most moderate of men, he had himself been in the past an adherent of a
revolutionary party, as possibly, I might be aware. (I confirmed that I
was). But now that our interests were so closely bound together the
essential thing was for Hinduism and Great Britain to be friends; and
the old antagonism was no longer necessary. The Hindu Mahasabha, he went
on to say, favoured an unambiguous undertaking of Dominion Status at
the end of the war. It was true, at the same time, that they challenged
the Congress claim to represent anything but themselves ( India Office
(IO), Mss Eur F 125/8 1939, Letters to the Secretary of State for India:
the letter is dated October 7, but the report of the meeting is in the
postscript on October 9).

In 1940 the Hindu Mahasabha declared its
intention to take part in the viceroy’s executive council and the war
office. We should not forget that neither the Hindu Mahasabha nor the
RSS took part in the Quit India movement. The position they maintained
in that period is clearly depicted by Savarkar’s declaration of February
17, 1942, when he asserted that, if Japan, after having approached the
Indian borders and invaded the country, had been ready to declare the
independence of India, it would have incredibly “boosted” Indians’
imagination. The British should therefore give the impression that
fighting beside them meant fighting for freedom.27 It seems,
in other words, that the Hindu Mahasabha (and probably its affiliations)
was more interested in succeeding the British, if possible with their
complicity, rather than fighting them.

The other side of this ambiguous stand
was a blatant admiration for the European dictators. According to a
police report of May 1942, regarding the activities of Poona

Officers Training Camp of April-May,

Dr P C Sahasrabudhe addressed the
volunteers on three occasions. On 4.5.42 he announced that the Sangh
followed the principle of dictatorship. Denouncing democratic government
as an unsatisfactory form of government, he quoted France as a typical
example and, praising dictatorship, he pointed to Japan, Russia and
Germany. He particularly praised the Fuehrer principle of Germany. On
21.5.42 he drew attention to the value of propaganda, quoting Russia and
Germany as examples, and again extolled the virtues of the leader
principle, citing Mussolini’s success as a further example (NAI, Home
Poll Dept 28/8/1942, ‘Summary of a report on the officers’ Training Camp
of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh held in April/May 1942 at Poona’,
copy in MSA, Home Special Dept, 822 IInd 1940-41).

When, in the 1940s, the totalitarian
regimes had already revealed their true colours, the attitude of the
organisations of militant Hinduism towards fascism and nazism was still
benevolent. In spite of the already, even if only partially, known
atrocities committed by Hitler and Mussolini, the main organisations of
Hindu nationalism still praised the dictators and their regimes. This
position could be justified, had it been part of a coherent and strong
anti-British policy. However, as I have tried to demonstrate, the forces
of Hindu nationalism seem to have concentrated their efforts more
against the socalled internal enemies – Muslims and Congress – rather
than the foreign invaders. While Bose’s alliance with the axis powers
had mainly an anti-British function, the Hindu Mahasabha used its
support to the dictators as an instrument to blackmail the British.

VI Conclusions

The preceding discussion has shown that:
(a) the main historical organisations and leaders of Hindu nationalism
had a distinctive and sustained interest in fascism and nazism; (b)
fascist ideological influences on Hindu nationalism were present and
relevant; and (c) to a certain extent, these influences were channelled
through direct contacts between Hindu nationalists and members of the
Italian fascist state. No doubt, beginning with the early 1920s, and up
to the second world war, Hindu nationalists looked at the political
reality of fascist Italy, and subsequently of nazi Germany, as a source
of inspiration.

One of the results of the contacts
between fascism and Hindu nationalism was the attempt to militarise
Hindu society and to create a militant mentality among the Hindus. If it
is true that the Hindu society elaborated its own patterns of
militarisation – I refer to the shakas as a typically Indian phenomenon –
it is equally true that a most relevant result of fascist influence was
the transmission of a more functional organisation and a stronger
political character to the already existing organisations of political
Hinduism.

At the ideological level, the most
meaningful effect of the fascist influence is represented by the way in
which Hindu nationalism developed its own concept of diversity,
transforming ‘diverse’ people into enemies. Of course, the concept of
internal enemy is already implicit contained in Savarkar’s Hindutva.
Nevertheless, the continuous reference to German racial policy and the
comparison of the Jewish problem in Germany with the Muslim question in
India reveals the evolution of the concept of ‘internal enemy’ along
explicitly fascist lines.

In my opinion, if one wants to understand
the evolution of Hindu radicalism in the post-independence period, one
has to take into account both the domestic roots of this phenomenon and
the external influence on its development.

In the 1920s and 1930s fascism was an
international phenomenon. As such it was bound to influence the ideology
and practice of similar movements all over the world. Since many of Bal
Thackeray’s most outraceously anti-Muslim and racist statements are
literal quotations of Savarkar’s speeches and theories, it is legitimate
to conclude that such influence is still alive in today’s militant
Hinduism. EPW

Notes

[My stay in India for collecting material
for the present paper was made a lot easier and more profitable by
Partha Sarathi Gupta. T R Sareen, A R Kulkarni and Bhanu Kapil. While
writing this paper in Italy I was able to count on Michelguglielmo
Torri’s criticisms and suggestions, which forced me to considerably
rework my first draft. I wish to warmly thank all of them for their help
and friendship. Of course, the usual disclaim stands that I am the only
one responsible for the contents of and any error left in this
article.]

  • In the following pages I will treat the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS
    as two different organisations, belonging to the same political milieau.
    This, in spite of the attempt made by the BJP or RSS oriented
    intellectuals and scholars to deny, or at least to minimise any
    reciprocal affinity between the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha. Speaking
    about a topic which has nothing to do with the relations between the RSS
    and the Hindu Mahasabha, I will indirectly show that the two
    organisations shared a specific ideological background.
  • Regarding this aspect, Jaffrelot asserts that “As distinct from
    Nazism, the RSS’s ideology treats society as an organism with a secular
    spirit, which is implanted not so much in the race as in a
    socio-cultural system … Finally, in contrast to both Italian fascism and
    Nazism the RSS does not rely on the central figure of the leader” (op
    cit, pp 63-64).
  • The details mentioned in the text are in Kesari, May 13,
    1924, June 24, November 10 and 24, 1925. I will just summarise the
    content of the articles, having had this material translated from
    Marathi by a young Indian colleague of mine.
  • The article quotes a speech of Mussolini, without specifying its date.
  • Regarding this aspect, see Paolo Beonio Brocchieri and Giorgio Borsa (eds), Garibaldi, Mazzini e il Risorgimento nel risveglio dell’Asia e dell’Africa (Garibaldi, Mazzini and the Italian Risorgimento in the awakening of Asia and Africa), Franco Angeli, Milan, 1984.
  • Unfortunately there is no Italian report of the meeting, not even
    among the prime minister’s papers. But there are the routine papers,
    recording Moonje’s request for an audience, dated March 16, 1931 and the
    response of the cabinet of the minister of the external affairs, dated
    March 18: Archivio Storico Ministero degli Affari Esteri (Historical
    Archives Ministry of External Affairs ASMAE), Rome, Udienze (Audiences),
    1930-33, bundle 27 , letter from the British Embassy in Rome, to the
    Ministry of External Affairs, March 16, 1931 and reply from the cabinet
    of the minister, n 1102, March 18, 1931. The British authorities in Rome
    managed Moonje’s audience.
  • It was indeed Moonje who brought up the young Hedgewar in his own
    house and, later sent him to Calcutta, officially to study at the
    National Medical College, but with the secret aim to get in touch with
    the revolutionary organisations in Bengal (B V Deshpande and S R
    Ramaswamy, Dr Hedgewar the EpochMaker, Sahitya Sindhu, Bangalore, 1981 , pp 14-32).
  • The Mahratta, April 12, 1931, ‘Dr B S Moonje on Round Table Conference’. Special

Interview for The Mahratta,
paragraph entitled ‘National Militia’. A report of Moonje’s tour of
Europe is in M N Ghatate, ‘Dr B S Moonje – Tour of European Countries’
in N G Dixit (ed), Dharmaveer Dr B S Moonje. Commemoration Volume. Birth Centenary Celebration 1872-1972, Nagpur, 1972, p 68.

  • Moonje was interested in the problem of military education already
    by the end of 1920s. He was in favour of Indianisation of the army. In
    1927 he worked at the foundation of the Aeroclub of India, while in 1929
    he was a member of the commission for the selection of candidates to
    Sandhurst Military Academy. In the same year he founded the Rifle
    Association in Nagpur (see correspondence in NMML, Moonje papers,
    microfilm, Letters, rn 7, 1926-28).
  • References to the above-mentioned activities of the Italian
    consulates in Bombay are in Giovanni Gentile Foundation, Rome,
    Correspondence from third parties to Gentile, f Carelli Mario, undated
    letter, certainly written on June 29, 1938 and letter dated October 11,
    1938.
  • The articles are in the issues of July 6, August 10 and July 27,
    1939 respectively: Central State Archives (ACS), Minculpop (Ministry of
    Popular Culture), b 17 bis, f 26, Gran Bretagna, subfile 14, R Consolato
    Bombay ( Royal Consulate Bombay), report n 1904/St 3, August 4, 1939,
    from Italian Consulate, Bombay, to the Ministry of Popular Culture.

A copy of Carelli’s article is in MSA, Home Special Dept, 830 (I) 1939.

  • “Di idee fasciste, ha fondato un’organizzazione da lui chiamata
    ‘Iron Guards’ prendendo a modello le nostre, ma adattandole alle
    peculiari condizioni dell’India. Egli e i suoi amici vestivano la
    camicia nera: le prime camicie nere dell’India. Lo sviluppo di questa
    organizzazionee stato compromesso dallo scoppio della guerra”: ACS,
    Minculpop, 17 bis, cit, report n 2298/St 3, from Italian Consulate,
    Bombay, October 4, 1939, to the Ministry of Popular Culture.
  • It seems, moreover, that Hedgewar was deeply influenced by the ideas expressed in Savarkar’s Hindutva.
    When Hedgewar decided to found his organisation, he went to Ratnagiri
    to meet Savarkar, in order to obtain from him suggestions and advice.
    Subsequently, during Sarvarkar’s internment in Ratnagiri, Hedgewar had
    continuously been in touch with Babarao Savarkar. See, respectively,
    DeshpandeRamaswamy, op cit, p 65 and 74; Walter K Andersen, Shridhar D
    Damle, The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism, Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 1987, p 33; Dhananjay Keer, Veer Savarkar and His Time,
    Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1988, pp 17071. Among Hedgewar papers, in
    Nagpur, I found several letters exchanged between Hedgewar and Babarao
    Savarkar, who was closely connected to the RSS.
  • On several occasions, after having been released, Savarkar
    congratulated “the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh of Dr Hedgewar of Nagpur
    on its work and discipline”. At the ‘guru purnima’ celebrated by the
    RSS on July 29, 1939, Savarkar gave a speech to approximately 5,000
    people, while several years later, during the RSS officers’ training
    camp (OTC) which took place in Pune during May 27 to 29, 1943, in the
    presence of Golwarkar, Babarao Savarkar, B S Moonje and about 5,000
    people, the former president of the Hindu Mahasabha expressed his
    pleasure to see the display by swayamsevaks in great number and said
    that he was “proud to see the branches of the Sangh spread throughout
    India during his visits to various places…He was pleased to see the
    Hindu youths, boys and girls, joining the institutions, based on
    Hinduism, in great number”. Militants had also the habit of collecting
    donations for their leader. In August 1937 in Pune, the local Hindu
    militants and sympathisers offered him Rs 250. Several years later, on
    the occasion of Savarkar’s 61st birthday, considerable donations were
    collected by the exponents of the Hindu organisations Savarkar visited
    during one of his propaganda tours. At the above-mentioned OTC camp,
    where Savarkar celebrated his birthday, Rs 1,80,000 had been collected
    by Hindu organisations, Pune municipality, and private citizens.
    Respectively in MSA, Home Special Dept, 60 D (g) Pt II, 1937, Extract
    from the Bombay Secret Abstract for week ending January 15, 1938,
    entitled ‘Hindu Affairs’ and ‘Summary report of the meeting held in the
    Tilak Smarak Mandir on behalf of Poona students’, August 3, 1937;
    Maharashtra State Archives (MSA), Home Special Dept, 60 D (g) Pt III,
    1938, ‘Extract from the Bombay Province weekly letter No 31, dated
    August 5, 1939’; MSA, Home Special Department, 1009 III 1942, police
    report entitled ‘A summary report of the concluding ceremony of the
    Officers’ Training Camp of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, at Poona on
    the May 27, 1943’ and note from the Home Department Special, dated June
    10, 1943.
  • NMML, Savarkar papers, microfilm, rn 23, part 2, Miscellaneous
    Correspondence January 1938-May 1939, ‘Press Note issued by the Hindu
    Mahasabha Office Bombay Branch’, undated A summary of Savarkar’s speech
    is also in MSA, Bombay, Home Special

Department, 60 D (g) Pt III 1938,
‘Extract from the weekly confidential report of the District Magistrate,
Poona, dated the August 11, 1938’.

The Italian consul in Calcutta sent to
the ministry of external affairs in Rome an accurate abstract of an
article about Savarkar’s speech, reported in Ananda Bazar Patrika
of August 3. The abstract is entitled ‘Critiche al viaggio di Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru in Europa’ (Critiques of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s trip
to Europe), in ASMAE Affari Politici (Political Affairs AP), India, b
7, 1938, resoconto della stampa indiana (summary of the Indian press),
enclosure to express telegram n 3489/46, from Italian Consulate,
Calcutta, August 12, 1938, to the ministry of external affairs.

  • Immediately after the great anti-Jewish pogrom of November 9, 1938,
    known as ‘Crystal night’, the Congress expressed its condemnation of the
    German policy with the declaration of December 12, and subsequently
    supported the concession of asylum in India to the Jews. Regarding this
    matter, see Milan Hauner, India in Axis Strategy: Germany, Japan and Indian Nationalists in the Second World War, Klett-Cotta Stuttgart, 1981, p 67.
  • A summary of the presidential speech is in Bombay Chronicle of December 29, 1939.
  • Hindutva had been written clandestinely during Savarkar’s
    detention at the Andamans, sent to India secretly in 1917 and published
    underground in 1923.
  • Savarkar, as well as most of the militants belonging to his milieu,
    considered the Indian Muslims either as successors of the Mughal
    invaders, or as original Hindus who were forcibly converted to Islam. In
    any case, according to the main ideologues of political Hinduism the
    pole of attraction of Indian Muslims was outside India and Hindu system
    of values. Not only was Islam a ‘foreign’ religion, which had its main
    institutions outside India, but the Indian Muslims were, according to
    Savarkar and his companions, more interested in creating a separate
    nation, instead of recognising India as their homeland. Apart from the
    fact that this must have not been the attitude of most of Indian
    Muslims, militant Hindus had exaggerated claims towards the Muslims. For
    militant Hindus it was not sufficient that Indian Muslims considered
    themselves first Indians and secondly Muslims, as most of them probably
    did. According to the Hindu fundamentalists, indeed, Muslims should
    conform themselves to the Hindu system of values, which was, of course,
    unacceptable.
  • An article entitled ‘The Savarkar Method of rejuvenation of the Hindudom: New Drive in Hindu Thought and Action’, published in The Mahratta of January 6, 1939 repeated the opinions already expressed by Savarkar in the speech of December 11, 1938.
  • April 28, 1939, ‘Why Italy Invaded Albania?’, May 26, ‘How Germany’s
    National Socialism Arose?’ and ‘Inciting Mussolini against Hitler’, May
    19 and June 2, ‘Germany-Rome Axis Strengthened’ and ‘German-Italian
    Pact Concluded: Reaction to Encirclement Policy’. At p 51 of his book,
    Jaffrelot quotes some articles in favour of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler
    published by the Hindu Outlook of November 2 and 30, 1938 and The Mahratta, of November 6, 1939.
  • To the two letters, dated March 7 and August 11 , 1938 respectively,
    there is a reference in NMML, Savarkar papers, microfilm, r n 23,
    letter dated May 23, 1938 from the secretary, Hindu Mahasabha, Bombay
    Office to Rash Behari Bose; unsigned letter dated August 11 to the
    editor of The Mahratta, Gajantrao Ketkar; August 18 from J D Malekar, secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha to Rash Behari Bose.
  • Copy of the press note containing the text of the speech had been
    sent also to Rash Behari, so that he would not only publish, but also
    show it to the Japanese government: NMML, Savarkar papers, rn 23, cit,
    letter from the secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha to Rash Behari Bose,
    November 4, 1938.
  • NMML, ibid, letter from Malekar to Leszczynski, December 7, 1938 and
    reply, December 9, 1938. At the ministry of external affairs, in Rome,
    among the papers from the cabinet of the ministry, I could find a copy
    of Savarkar’s The Indian War of Independence of 1857: it is not
    possible to establish if the book arrived in Italy during this period,
    before, or later. We are, however, allowed to suppose that Savarkar was
    not totally unknown to the Italian authorities: ASMAE, Gab 409, b3.
  • In favour of this thesis are: (1) Vikram Savarkar, Vinayak’s
    grandson, whom I met in Bombay in March 1997; (2) Vishvas Savarkar,
    author of a script entitled ‘Veer Savarkar INA’s Source of Inspiration’,
    in Savarkar, commemoration volume published by Savarkar Darshan
    Pratisthan, Bombay, 1989, pp 147-51. In the same volume: (3) Shivramu
    (pseud), ‘Savarkar’s Role in The British Quitting India’, pp 183-88 ;
    (4) D Keer, op cit, p 257; (5) N B Khare, Political Memoirs, Nagpur, 1959, p 52 ; (6) U Mukherjee, op cit, pp 159-60 ; (7) S V Bhalerao, Savarkar: His SocioPolitical Thought and Leadership, a PhD thesis submitted to the Nagpur University, faculty of social sciences, p 234-35.
  • Regarding the collaborationist attitude of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, see D R Goyal, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh,
    Radha Krishna Prakashan, New Delhi, 1979, p 86. 27 NMML, Savarkar
    papers, microfilm, rn 24. Unfortunately, the photocopies of this
    document have never been mailed to me by the staff. I could only
    summarise from my notes, instead of quoting the original text.

Source: http://www.sacw.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/casolari.pdf


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Hindutva’s fascist heritage

Hindutva’s fascist heritage

In the
1930s Hindu nationalism borrowed from European fascism to transform
‘different’ people into ‘enemies’. Leaders of militant Hinduism
repeatedly expressed their admiration for authoritarian leaders such as
Mussolini and Hitler and for the fascist model of society. 

The
existence of direct  contacts between the  representatives of the 
(Italian) fascist regime, including Mussolini, and Hindu nationalists
demonstrates that Hindu nationalism had much more than an abstract
interest in the ideology and practice of fascism. The interest of Indian
Hindu nationalists in fascism and Mussolini must not be considered as
dictated by an occasional curiosity, confined to a few individuals;
rather, it should be considered as the culminating result of the
attention that Hindu nationalists, especially in Maharashtra, focussed
on Italian dictatorship and its leader. To them, fascism appeared to be
an example of conservative revolution. This concept was discussed at
length by the Marathi press right from the early phase of the Italian
regime.

From 1924 to
1935 Kesari regularly published editorials and articles about Italy,
fascism and Mussolini. What impressed the Marathi journalists was the
socialist origin of fascism and the fact that the new regime seemed to
have transformed Italy from a backward country to a first class power.
Indians could not know, then, that, behind the demagogic rhetoric of the
regime, there was very little substance.

Moreover,
the Indian observers were convinced that fascism had restored order in a
country previously upset by political tensions. In a series of
editorials, Kesari described the passage from liberal government to
dictatorship as a shift from anarchy to an orderly situation, where
social struggles had no more reason to exist. 

The Marathi
newspaper gave considerable space to the political reforms carried out
by Mussolini, in particular the substitution of the election of the
members of Parliament with their nomination and the replacement of
parliament itself with the Great Council of Fascism. Mussolini’s idea
was the opposite of that of democracy and it was expressed by the
dictator’s principle, according to which ‘one man’s government is more
useful and more binding’ for the nation than the democratic
institutions. 

Is all this not reminiscent of the principle of ‘obedience to one leader’ (‘ek chalak anuvartitva’) followed by the RSS?

Finally, a
long article of August 13, 1929, ‘Italy and the Young Generations’,
stated that the Italian young generations had succeeded the old one to
lead the country. That had resulted in the ‘fast ascent of Italy in
every field’. The article went on to describe at length the organisation
of the Italian society according to fascist models. The principal
reasons of the discipline of the Italian youths were strong religious
feelings, widespread among the population, attachment to the family, and
the respect of traditional values: no divorce, no singles, no right to
vote for women, whose only duty was to sit at home, by the fireplace.
The article focussed then on the fascist youth organisations, the
Balilla and the Avanguardisti.

One can
easily come to the conclusion that, by the late 1920s, the fascist
regime and Mussolini had considerable popularity in Maharashtra. The
aspect of fascism which appealed most to Hindu nationalists were, of
course, both the militarisations of society and what was seen as real
transformation of society, exemplified by the shift from chaos to order.
The anti–democratic system was considered as a positive alternative to
democracy which was seen as a typically British value.

The first
Hindu nationalist who came in contact with the fascist regime and its
dictator was BS Moonje, a politician strictly related to the RSS. In
fact, Moonje had been Hedgewar’s mentor, the two men were related by an
intimate friendship. Moonje’s declared intention to strengthen the RSS
and to extend it as a nation–wide organisation is well known. 

Between
February and March 1931, on his return from the Round Table Conference,
Moonje made a tour to Europe, which included a long stop–over in Italy.
There he visited some important military schools and educational
institutions. The highlight of the visit was the meeting with Mussolini.
An interesting account of the trip and the meeting is given in Moonje’s
diary and takes 13 pages. 

The Indian
leader was in Rome during March 15 to 24, 1931. On March 19, in Rome, he
visited, among others, the Military College, the Central Military
School of Physical Education, the Fascist Academy of Physical Education,
and, most important, the Balilla and Avanguardisti organisations. These
two organisations, which he describes in more that two pages of his
diary, were the keystone of the fascist system of indoctrination —
rather than education — of the youths. Their structure is strikingly
similar to that of the RSS. They recruited boys from the age of six, up
to 18: the youth had to attend weekly meetings, where they practised
physical exercise, received paramilitary training and performed drills
and parades.

According to
the literature promoted by the RSS and other Hindu fundamentalist
organisations and parties, the structure of the RSS was the result of
Hedgewar’s vision and work. However, Moonje played a crucial role in
moulding the RSS along Italian (fascist) lines. The deep impression left
on Moonje by the vision of the fascist organisations is confirmed by
his diary.

“The Balilla
institutions and the conception of the whole organisation have appealed
to me most, though there is still not discipline and organisation of
high order. The whole idea is conceived by Mussolini for the military
regeneration of Italy. Italians, by nature, appear ease–loving and
non–martial, like the Indians generally. They have cultivated, like
Indians, the work of peace and neglected the cultivation of the art of
war. Mussolini saw the essential weakness of his country and conceived
the idea of the Balilla organisation…Nothing better could have been
conceived for the military organisation of Italy… 

“The idea of
fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people…
India and particularly Hindu Indias need some such institution for the
military regeneration of the Hindus: so that the artificial distinction
so much emphasised by the British of martial and non–martial classes
amongst the Hindus may disappear. 

“Our
institution of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr. Hedgewar
is of this kind, though quite independently conceived. I will spend the
rest of my life in developing and extending this Institution of Dr.
Hedgewar all throughout Maharashtra and other provinces”.

Definitely
more meaningful is the report of the meeting with Mussolini. On the same
day, March 19, 1931 at 3 pm, in Palazzo Venzia, the headquarters of the
fascist government, he met the Italian dictator. The meeting is
recorded in the diary on March 20… 

“I shook
hands with him saying that I am Dr Moonje. He knew everything about me
and appeared to be closely, following the events of the Indian struggle
for freedom… 

“Signor Mussolini asked me if I have
visited the University. I said I am interested in the military training
of boys and have been visiting the Military Schools of England, France
and Germany. I have now come to Italy for the same purpose and I am very
grateful to say that the Foreign Office and the War Office have made
good arrangements for my visiting these schools. I just saw this morning
and afternoon the Balilla and the Fascist Organisations and I was much
impressed. Italy needs them for her development and prosperity. I do not
see anything objectionable though I have been frequently reading in the
newspapers not very friendly criticisms about them and about your
Excellency also. 

“Signor Mussolini: What is your opinion about them?

“Dr Moonje: Your Excellency, I am much impressed. Every aspiring and growing Nation needs such organisations. 

“Signor
Mussolini – who appeared very pleased – said – Thanks but yours is an
uphill task. However I wish you every success in return.

“Saying this he got up and I also got up to take his leave”.

The description of the Italian journey
includes information regarding fascism, its history, the fascist
‘revolution’, etc, and continues for two more pages.

One can
wonder at the association between BS Moonje and the RSS, but if we think
that Moonje had been Hedgewar’s mentor, the association will be much
clearer. The intimate friendship between Moonje and Hedgewar and the
former’s declared intention to strengthen the RSS and to extend it as a
nation–wide organisation prove a strict connection between Moonje and
the RSS. Moreover, it makes sense to think that the entire circle of
militant Hinduism must have been influenced by Moonje’s Italian
experience.

Moonje’s Plans for Militarising Hindus:

Once Moonje was back in India, he kept the
promise made in his diary and started immediately to work for the
foundation of his military school and for the militant reorganisation of
Hindu society in Maharashtra. He really did not waste time, for, as
soon as he reached Pune, he gave an interview to The Mahratta. Regarding
the military reorganisation of the Hindu community, he stressed the
necessity to ‘Indianise’ the army and expressed the hope that
conscription would become compulsory and an Indian would be put
in–charge of the defence ministry. 

He finally
made a clear reference to the Italian and German examples: “In fact,
leaders should imitate the youth movements of Germany and the Balilla
and Fascist organisations of Italy. I think they are eminently suited
for introduction in India, adapting them to suit the special conditions.
I have been very much impressed by these movements and I have seen
their activities with my own eyes in all details”.

Soon fascism
became a subject of public debate and Hedgewar himself was among the
promoters of a campaign in favour of the militarism of society,
according to fascist patterns. On January 31, 1934, Hedgewar presided
over a conference about fascism and Mussolini, organised by Kavde
Shastri. Moonje made the concluding speech. 

A few months
later, on March 31, 1934 Moonje, Hedgewar and Laloo Gokhale had a
meeting, the subject of which was again the military organisation of the
Hindus, along Italian and German lines:

“Laloo —
Well you are the president of the Hindu Sabha and you are preaching
Sanghathan of Hindus. It is ever possible for Hindus to be organised?

“I said —
You have asked me a question of which exactly I was thinking of late. I
have thought out a scheme based on Hindu Dharm Shashtra which provides
for standardisation of Hinduism throughout India… But the point is that
this ideal cannot be brought to effect unless we have our own swaraj
with a Hindu as a dictator like Shivaji of old or Mussolini or Hitler of
the present day in Italy or Germany… But this does not mean that we
have to sit with folded hands until (sic) some such dictator arises in
India. We should formulate a scientific scheme and carry on propaganda
for it.

The intimate
connection between Moonje and the RSS and the fascist character of the
latter is confirmed by British sources. An intelligence report published
in 1933 and entitled, ‘Note on the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh’,
ascribed to Moonje the responsibility of the reorganisation of the Sangh
in the Marathi speaking districts and in the Central Provinces in 1927.
The report, describing the activity and the character of the RSS,
warned that, “It is perhaps no exaggeration to assert that the Sangh
hopes to be in future India what the 

‘Fascists’ are to Italy and the ‘Nazis’ to Germany”. 

Summing up,
it is clear that the Hindu nationalists were very much attracted by the
figure of a strong leader. Moreover, they were keen to give their
organisation a strongly centralised structure.

Moonje’s
trip to Italy, contrary to what happened in the case of Subhash Chandra
Bose and other nationalists, did not give place to any further
co–operation between Hindu nationalism and the fascist regime. However,
these contacts were important at the ideological and organisational
levels. In fact, Moonje kept his promise to improve military education
in India and, as soon as he came back from his European trip, he started
to contact all those who could support his idea of militarising Hindu
society. 

In 1934,
Moonje started to work for the foundation of his own institution, the
Bhonsla Military School. For this purpose, in the same year he began to
work at the foundation of the Central Hindu Military Education Society,
whose aim was to educate them in ‘Sanatan Dharma’, and to train them “in
the science and art of personal and national defence”. Moonje’s
programme was therefore entirely devoted to Hindu society, and not to
Indian society as a whole.

It is
possible that the other function of the society was that of facilitating
the diffusion of military education and supporting the foundation of
new schools. During the preliminary work for the foundation of both
school and society, Moonje publicly admitted that his idea of militarily
reorganising Hindu society was inspired by the “military training
schools of England, France, Germany and Italy”. 

Moonje’s
‘Preface to the Scheme of the Central Hindu Military Society and its
Military School’ says at the outset: “This training is meant for
qualifying and fitting our boys for the game of killing masses of men
with the ambition of winning victory with the best possible causalities
(sic) of dead and wounded while causing the utmost possible to the
adversary”.

Moonje does not give any clear–cut
indication regarding this ‘adversary’, whether is was the external
enemy, the British, or the ‘historical’ internal enemy, the Muslims. The
document continues with a long dissertation on the relation between
violence and non–violence. In it are drawn many examples from Indian
history and Hindu holy books, all in favour of organised violence, in
the form of Militarism. On the contrary, non–violence is considered a
form of renunciation and cowardice.

Moonje’s
views corresponded almost perfectly with Mussolini’s opinions: “…The
same thought is repeated though in a more forceful and direct language
by Signor Mussolini, the maker of modern Italy, when he says: ‘Our
desire for peace and collaboration with Europe is based on millions of
steel bayonets’.”

And again
from Mussolini’s Doctrine of Fascism: “I absolutely disbelieve in
perpetual peace which is detrimental and negative to the fundamental
virtues of man, which only by struggle reveal themselves in the light of
the sun”.

“War alone
brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of
nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to meet it”.

“Fascism
believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.
It thus repudiates the doctrine of pacifism, which is born of
renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of
sacrifice”.

As far as
Germany was concerned, Moonje quoted a booklet entitled
Wehrwisssenschaft (Military Science), written by Ewald Banse, a
professor at the Brunswick Technical High School: “The starting point of
the book is that war is inevitable and certain and that it is
imperative to know as much about it and to be as efficient as
possible…the mind of the nation, from childhood on, must be impregnated
and familiarised with the idea of war”, because, the Professor says:
‘The dying warrior dies more easily when he knows that his blood is
ebbing for his national god’.”

The spirit of the last sentence is surprisingly coincident with the essence of the Hindu nationalism.

When Moonje
had to indicate practical ways of militarising Hindu society, he
returned again to the example of Italy and its military and paramilitary
organisations, and reported what he had seen. He described in detail
the structure of the ‘She Wolf’s Children’, the Balilla and the
Avanguardisti. He asserted that these organisations could provide
paramilitary training to the male population from the age of 8 upto18,
when the youth became young fascists. Italy was therefore in a position
of having “command of 6,000,000 trained and disciplined men ready to
face any emergency”.

The result
was that, “The Balillas are taught to build up moral character and take
the first steps towards becoming soldiers”. As a consequence, “There
will thus be no longer any distinction between the citizen and the
soldier, between the civilian and the man in uniform”.

Of course, nowadays we know that, inspite
of this remarkable number of militarily trained citizens, Italy lost the
war. Moonje did not know that the level of the training was low, and
the fascist faith of the people skin–deep.

Fascist
ideas were widespread among Hindu nationalists, at least in Maharashtra.
The above mentioned script had been printed in the form of a pamphlet
and distributed not only among the people Moonje tried to involve in his
project, but most probably, to an even wider public, which
unfortunately, is at present difficult to measure.

Eve of Second World War:

After Moonje’s trip to Italy there was no
further direct contact between exponents of the main Hindu organisations
and the Italian government. However, by the end of the 1930s Italian
representatives in India established some connections with the extremist
fringes of Hindu nationalism. The Italian consulate in Bombay was very
active in seeking contacts with the local political milieu. The Italian
diplomatic mission in Bombay was part of a network linking consulates in
Bombay and Calcutta with the radical movements of Maha-rashtra and
Bengal. 

The
influence of fascist ideology and practice must have gone far beyond the
limits of the main organisations of Hindu militant nationalism and must
have tended to the wide and intricate net of secondary militant groups
and centres of physical education or paramilitary training. This is
shown by the example of the Swastik League, founded on March 10, 1929 by
M R Jayakar — who became president — and by other local personalities.
In organising the Swastik League, Jayakar, who had a prominent position
within the Hindu Mahasabha, drew some inspiration from the fascist
paramilitary organisations. 

Savarkar and Nazism:

At this point we have to dwell on the
crucial problem of Savarkar’s position vis–à–vis the European radical
right. With Savarkar’s coming on the political scene, from the late
1930s to the Second World War, there was an intensification of cries in
favour or in defence of Italian and German policy, even if the
preference for Germany increased progressively.

Savarkar was declared president of the
Hindu Mahasabha as soon as he was released in 1937, and he held that
office until 1942. His presidentship covered the most sensitive period
of both Indian and international history in this century. According to
the commonly accepted opinion — supported by the organisations of
militant Hinduism — the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha have never been
particularly close, and during Savarkar’s presidentship, they severed
their links. Reality, however, seems to be different. In fact, the
available documentation shows not only that such a split never happened,
but that the two organisations always had close connections.


We should not forget that Hedgewar had been
secretary to the Hindu Mahasabha from 1926 to 1931. The RSS seems to
have provided support to the Hindu Mahasabha, as shown by the fact that
groups of RSS militants used to gather at the public meetings organised
to celebrate Savarkar’s release.


Two of the main topics of the speeches
Savarkar gave at the gatherings organised in his honour and at any other
public function of his party were the international situation and
Hindu–Muslim relations.


Regarding the first aspect, Savarkar had a
rather cynical view of the relations India should entertain at the
international level. He returned to freedom and entered into politics at
the time of the formation of the Rome–Berlin Axis and Japan’s adhesion
to the pact. Such an outcome was favourably assessed by Hindu radical
nationalism, including the Hindu Mahasabha.


‘India’s foreign policy’ was the subject of
a speech Savarkar gave to about 20,000 people in Pune on August 1,
1938. The following are the most meaningful parts of the speech,
according to a press note issued by the Bombay office of the Hindu
Mahasabha.

“He observed India’s foreign policy must
not depend on “isms”. Germany has every right to resort to Nazism and
Italy to Fascism and events have justified that those isms and forms of
governments were imperative and beneficial to them under the conditions
that obtained there. Bolshevism might have suited Russia and Democracy
as it is obtained in Briton (sic) to the British people”.


Political systems correspond then to the
nature of the respective population. This theory was clearly inspired by
a deterministic conception of race, similar to the conception of race
then dominant in Europe.


Starting a controversy with Nehru, Savarkar
openly defended the authoritarian powers of the day, particularly Italy
and, even more so, Germany: “Who are we to dictate to Germany, Japan or
Russia or Italy to choose a particular form of policy of government
simply because we woo it out of academical attraction? Surely Hitler
knows better than Pandit Nehru does what suits Germany best. The very
fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so
powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is
enough to prove that those political “isms” were the most congenial
tonics their health demanded”.


Savarkar asserted in a speech in the
presence of some 4,000 people at Pune on October 11, 1938, (that) if a
plebiscite had taken place in India, Muslims would have chosen to unite
with Muslims and Hindus with Hindus. This was a consequence of the
principle according to which it was not enough living together for a few
countries to form a nation, as “the common desire to form a nation was
essential for the formation of a nation”.


During Savarkar’s presidentship the
anti–Muslim rhetoric became more and more radical, and distinctly
unpleasant. It was a rhetoric that made continuous reference to the way
Germany was managing the Jewish question. Indeed, in speech after
speech, Savarkar supported Hitler’s anti–Jewish policy, and on October
14, 1938, he suggested the following solution for the Muslim problem in
India: “A Nation is formed by a majority living therein. What did the
Jews do in Germany? They being in minority were driven out from
Germany”.


Then, towards the end of the year in Thane,
in front of RSS militants and local sympathisers, right at the time
when Congress expressed its resolution against Germany, Savarkar stated
that, “in Germany the movement of the Germans is the national movement
but that of the Jews is a communal one”. And again the next year, on
July 29, in Pune, he said: “Nationality did not depend so much on a
common geographical area as on unity of thought, religion, language and
culture. For this reason the Germans and the Jews could no be regarded
as a nation”.


Without this unity, not even Muslims and
Hindus could be regarded as belonging to the same nation. Indian Muslims
should rather resign themselves to be considered as a minority, the
recognition of whose rights should depend on the magnanimity of the
majority.


Finally, at the end of 1939, on the
occasion of the 21st session of the Hind Mahasabha, Savarkar made one of
the most explicit comparisons between the Muslim question in India and
the Jewish problem in Germany: “…the Indian Muslims are on the whole
more inclined to identify themselves and their interests with Muslims
outside India than Hindus who live next door, like Jews in Germany”.


One can find a certain continuity between
the ideas of nations and nationhood expressed in Savarkar’s Hindutva and
the content of these declarations. Indeed in his book, Savarkar,
referring to the Muslims, asserted that “their holyland is far off in
Arabia or Palestine. Their mythology and godmen, ideas and heroes are
not children of this soil. Consequently their names and their outlook
smack of foreign origin (Hindutva: Who is Hindu?).


A feeling of admiration for the Jewish
policy of Germany seems to have been shared by the entire circle of
Hindu nationalism at the end of the 1930s. In We, or Our Nationhood
Defined, Golwalkar, who would  become general secretary of the RSS a
year later declared that:

“German national pride has now become the
topic of the day. To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture,
Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic
races — the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested
here. Germany has also shown how well–nigh impossible it is for races
and cultures, having differences going to the mot (?), to be assimilated
into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and
profit by”.


This had its root in the idea that being a
Hindu was a matter of race and blood, not only a matter of culture. In
turn that was an idea which was strikingly similar to the racial myths
celebrated in Germany, more than in Italy.


Golwarkar’s position regarding Muslims was
even more extreme than Savarkar’s: “in one word, they (Muslims) must
cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to
the Hindu nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less
any preferential treatment, not even citizen’s rights”. 


Waiting for the Right Enemy 

The literature promoted by militant
Hinduism is trying nowadays to compare the attitude adopted by the Hindu
Mahasabha towards the totalitarian regimes with Subhash Chandra Bose’s
position towards the axis powers. According to this literature, the
evidence in favour of such interpretation is a meeting which took place
between Bose and Savarkar in Bombay in June 1940.


My impression of the episode is that it is a
sort of historiagraphic invention, directed to legitimise the otherwise
ambiguous position of the Hindu Mahasabha during the war. Asserting
that Netaji’s project had Savarkar’s sanction means not only that
Savarkar had a sort of patronage on Bose’s activities in Europe, but
more important, that Savarkar played an important role in the freedom
fight.


Certainly the meeting did take place, and
very possibly the two leaders discussed Bose’s intention to go to Europe
and seek support of the axis powers. However, all this is far from
meaning that Savarkar inspired Bose, who, right from 1933, had his own
connections with the dictators’ governments. The president of the Hindu
Mahasabha put forward his claim on the content of his meeting with
Netaji four years after Gandhi’s assassination, when the image of the
Hindu Mahasabha and its affiliation were badly damaged by the suspicion
of their involvement in the murder. Accordingly it makes sense to think
that the organisations of militant Hinduism must have perceived the
necessity to rehabilitate their political past and re–invent a more
clear–cut anti–British stand. What stronger argument, therefore, could
be available than the assertion that the Hindu Mahasabha was secretly
ready to support Bose’s plan?

The involvement in Gandhi’s assassination
was not the only reason of crisis; the image of Hindu nationalism was
indeed already damaged by the ambiguous attitude adopted in the war
period. The policy actually followed by Hindu nationalism during the
war, namely, responsive co–operation, was far from being unambiguous on
both transfer of powers and relations with the British.


The committee wished for the realisation of
the militarisation of Indian society and the Indianisation of the army.
It requested a reform of the Arms Act, along the lines prevailing in
the UK. It demanded also that territorial forces and paramilitary groups
be strengthened, that new military organisations be created in those
provinces where they did not exist before, and finally that more Indian
students be accepted in the military academies. The Hindu Mahasabha
requested the government to increase the local production of modern
armaments so that India could equip its army, without depending on
imports from other nations.


Soon after this resolution, the Hindu
Mahasabha started to work for the creation of a national militia.
Naturally enough, Moonje became the person in charge. Inviting party
members to attend a preliminary meeting for the foundation of the
militia, in Pune on October 8, Moonje described the future organisation
in the following terms:

“I have the pleasure in bringing to your
notice a resolution of the Hindu Mahasabha for the organisation of the
Hindu Militia in the country for the purpose of taking part in the
defence of India both from external and internal aggression whenever an
occasion of emergency may arise during the course of the Anglo-German
War.


“…I believe that it will be quite in the
fitness of things, in view of the historic All–India Military leadership
of the Maharashtra, that a beginning should be made in the Maharashtra;
so that the lead may be taken up by the whole of India afterwards”. 

Who could be the internal aggressors if not the Muslims?


The answer seems to be contained in a
letter from Moonje to Khaparde of October 18: “… the Moslems are making
themselves a nuisance. The Congress government will not stand up but
will yield to them. We cannot expect any consideration at the hands of
the Congress government. We shall have to fight both the government and
the Moslems just as the Khaskars are doing in UP. The Hindu Mahasabha
will give its support to such fights as the Muslim League is supporting
the Khaskars: you must prepare the volunteers in your towns. The
Rashtriya Swaymasevak Sangh may be useful and handy.


The theme of the ‘internal enemy’ is a
further element of affinity between the ideology of fascism and of Hind
nationalism, expressed by a similar rhetoric. It seems nevertheless that
the Sanghatanists were inclined to fight the Muslims and the Congress,
rather than the British.


According to Moonje’s plans, the RSS should
be involved in the creation of the national militia. Indeed, in a
letter of October 18 to General Nanasahib Shinde of Baroda, Moonje
affirmed: “I am glad to note that you have approved of my idea of a
Hindu National Militia for Maharashtra as is being organised by the
Hindu Mahasabha.


“I have been myself thinking of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and I am corresponding with their leader.
They may have their peculiar (sic) difficulties and the point is that
the militia should be organised under these circumstances whether the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh can undertake the task or not.


During this preliminary phase, Moonje
consulted Hedgewar, with whom he exchanged several letters and whom
Moonje hoped to meet, in order to discuss the participation of the RSS
in the militia.


On October 27 a militant from Lahore
informed Moonje that: “We have at present in Punjab several Dals and
Sanghs, the total number of members of which is approximately about
50,000, but they are not working under a single organisation. There are
Rashtriya Sevak Sangh, Atma Sangh, Mahabir Dal, Seva Sangh and Akali Dal
working under different leaders. They have a sort of military
organisation. The Akali Dal is armed with swords, but the others have
other weapons. The Rashtriya Sevak Sangh has only lathis. The first
thing to do is to bring all these sanghs on a uniform basis working
under a single leadership though not of one man but of a council.


In spite of such mobilisation, the Hindu
militia had not been formed. The government did not withdraw the
existing restrictions imposed on military and paramilitary organisations
and schools.


It is difficult to establish if the
organisations of militant Hinduism were arming themselves against
possible foreign invaders, the internal enemy, or the British. Most
probably they were carefully hedging their bet, ready to take advantage
of any future development. However, it is a fact that at a meeting with
Linlithgow in Bombay on October 8, 1939, Savarkar adopted a decidedly
conciliatory position vis–à–vis the British.


When, in the 1940s, the totalitarian
regimes had already revealed their true colours, the attitude of the
organisations of militant Hinduism towards fascism and Nazism was still
benevolent. In spite of the already, even if only partially, known
atrocities committed by Hitler and Mussolini, the main organisations of
Hindu nationalism still praised the dictators and their regimes. This
position could be justified, had it been part of a coherent and strong
anti–British policy. However, as I have tried to demonstrate, the forces
of Hindu nationalism seem to have concentrated their efforts more
against the so–called internal enemies — Muslims and Congress — rather
than the foreign invaders. While Bose’s alliance with the axis powers
had mainly an anti–British function, the Hindu Mahasabha used its
support to the dictators as an instrument in blackmail the British.


Conclusions:

The preceding discussion has shown that:
(a) the main historical organisations and leaders of Hindu nationalism
had a distinctive and sustained interest in fascism and nazism; (b)
fascist ideological influences on Hindu nationalism were present and
relevant; and (c) to a certain extent, these influences were channelled
through direct contacts between Hindu nationalists and members of the
Italian fascist state. No doubt, beginning with the early 1920s and up
to the second world war, Hindu nationalists looked at the political
reality of fascist Italy, and subsequently of nazi Germany, as a source
of inspiration.


One of the results of the contacts between
the fascism and Hindu nationalism was the attempt to militarise Hindu
society and to create a militant mentality among the Hindus. If it is
true that the Hindu society elaborated its own patterns of
militarisation —  refer to the shakhas as a typically Indian phenomenon —
it is equally true that a most relevant result of fascist influence was
the transmission of a more functional organisation and a stronger
political character to the already existing organisation of political
Hinduism.


At the ideological level, the most
meaningful effect of the fascist influence is represented by the way in
which Hindu nationalism developed its own concept of diversity,
transforming ‘diverse’ people into enemies. Of course, the concept of
internal enemy is already implicitly contained in Savarkar’s Hindutva.
Nevertheless, the continuous reference to German racial policy and the
comparison of the Jewish problem in Germany with the Muslim question in
India reveals the evolution of the concept of ‘internal enemy’ along
explicitly fascist lines.

In my opinion, if one is to understand the
evolution of Hindu radicalism in the post–independence period, one has
to take into account both the domestic roots of this phenomenon and the
external influence on its development.


In the 1920s and 1930s fascism was an
international phenomenon. As such it was bound to influence the ideology
and practice of similar movements all over the world. Since many of Bal
Thackeray’s most outrageously anti–Muslim and racist statements are
literal quotations of Savarkar’s speeches and theories, it is legitimate
to conclude that such influence is still alive in today’s militant
Hinduism.


(The above article has been excerpted from a
much larger piece, with detailed references under the title,
‘Hindutva’s Foregin Tie-up in the in the 1930s — Archival Evidence’,
published in the January 22, 2000 issue of the Economic and Political
Weekly. Marzia Casolari is an Italian researcher). 

Source: http://www.sacw.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/casolari.pdf

http://www.ibtimes.com/hindu-nationalists-historical-links-nazism-fascism-214222

http://www.sabrang.com/cc/comold/mar00/document.htm


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Anti National Organization RSS

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh abbreviated as RSS (Rāṣṭrīya Svayamsēvaka Saṅgha; IPA: [rɑːʂˈʈriːj(ə) swəjəmˈseːvək ˈsəŋɡʱ], lit. “National Volunteer Organisation”[12] or “National Patriotic Organisation”[13]) is a right-wing volunteer, Hindu nationalist,[5] non-governmental organisation.[4][1] It is claimed that it is the world’s largest voluntary non-governmental organisation.[14] RSS states that its ideology is based on the principle of selfless service to India and the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra.[15]

RSS itself claims it does not agree to
constitution of India and need Hindu Rashtra which is called treason or
sedition by their members but still Indian government is not taking any
actions against this organization which indicates Government itself
surrendered to this Organization and controlled by it. Is RSS above the
Indian Government and Indian Constitution? Which directly proofs RSS is
an anti Nationalist organization and involved in the acts of treason and
sedition.  It also implicates that it has grown its members within the
Government machinery and other society controlling elements to that
level so that they will do whatever they want to do according to their
agenda. It implicates Brahmins hegemony restored again in the age of
democracy; its because RSS is a Bahamians controlled Organization. They
wants to implement Manusmritic theocracy to democratic India as like
dishonest Brahmin army chief  Pushyamitra shunga did to Ashoka’s kingdom
which is now known as India. They coin an Identity Bharat Mata. Who is
Bharat Mata? Before 1947 there was no official word existed named
Bharat. Its OK you see India as a Mother so its some extent to justified
Bharat is our Mata. Even every mothers of India is respected so “Bharat
mataon ki jay” is justified in that respect. Even its justified “Bharat
Pitaon ki jay”, “Bharat Bhaionki Jay”, “Bharat Kishano ki Jay” ……. so
and so on…. Even in that notion since India is a country of many
linguistic race “Al Hind Ammi Zaan zindabad or Al Hind Ammi zaan ki jay”
is also justified and  so and so on slogans equivalent to this type are
also justified from other linguistic origin….. Why RSS does not respect
these slogans? They say those don’t utter “Bharat Mataki jay” all are
anti national. It means they want to impose their ideology in their ways
of patriotism or in the cover of Hindu nationalism i.e. in the
concealment of “Bharat Mata ki jay” they wants to make India as a Hindu
Nation. I ask why they won’t utter “Al-Hind Ammi zaan zindabad or
Al-Hind Ammi zaan ki Jay?” If they won’t they are no-doubt anti
nationalist. If you expect patriotism imposing your personal feelings to
others then you should also respect others feelings of citizens of
India. First of all who gave them patriotic right to promote their
personal feelings “Bharat Mata ki Jay” as national slogan?

India officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area (3,287,590 km2),
the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the
most populous democracy in the world. Religion in India is characterized
by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. India is the
birthplace of world’s four major religions; namely Hinduism (15% of
world population), Buddhism (7.1% of world population), Jainism and
Sikhism. Religion has been an important part of the country’s culture
throughout India’s history. Its estimated approximately Hinduism holds
78.35%, Islam 14.88%, Christianity 2.5%, Sikhism 1.9%, Buddhism 0.9%,
Jainism 0.4% and other holds 0.9% of Indian population.

Demography of British India i.e. present
Pakistan + India + Bangladesh was a place of many kingdoms or princely
states in the “age of Kingdoms,” and “age of exploration,” without any
National name as like today’s India (Name given by British which is
derived from the word Indus/Sindhu, a river that flows through Pakistan,
the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, and western Tibet),
Hindustan (Given by the Islamic emperors, which indirectly says slave
to Islam i.e. land (Stan) of Hindus or dweller of Shindhus, and the word
Hindu is derived from Sindhu, a river that flows through Pakistan, the
Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, and western Tibet,
without any religion brand, like presently dedicated or hijacked to
Vedism or Santana Dharma) and Bharat (1. Given by Vedic promoters
claiming younger brother of Rama i.e. Bharat was the emperor of British
Indian demography once upon a time, but according epics he was a king of
only Ajodhya/Ayodhya which is a city i.e. a tiny part of present India
at the south end in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya used to
be the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom., 2. Other theory is; it is
named as Bharat because Jain’s first Tirthankar Lord Rishabhadev’s
eldest son Bharat Chakravorty had ruled to the land long and long days
back where exact time and area of demography is unknown; according to
Jains, Jain Dharma is an ancient religion & even older than
Vedic-Hinduism., 3. Another claim is, long days back in history, the
land had ruled by a brave like lion emperor Bharat, where exact time and
area of demography is unknown. He was the founder of the Bhārata
dynasty and thus an ancestor of the Pandavas and the Kauravas in the
Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. Vedic supporters claim, the Bhāratas are
prominent tribe in the Rigveda, the story of Bharata is first told in
the Adi Parva of Mahabharata, wherein he is the son of Dushyanta and
Shakuntala).

Majorly Sindhu/Indus River has been used
as an emblem or symbol to recognize the dwellers of this river’s side
gigantic plane without affiliation to any religion. Sindhu is a river
without relating to any faith or religion, which is badly used to
represent a faith for communal benefits in Hinduism. These names had
been given by their respective governments in their regime when they
were in the power to this big demographic area according to their favor.
India is practically unification of many kingdoms, tribes and nomadic
groups. These kingdoms, tribes and nomadic groups had their own
language, literature, social administration, heritage, with or without
any faith system, art and culture etc. in their individual regime. Now
we recognize major kingdoms, tribes and nomadic groups as a State or
province according to their respective languages like Hindi, Sindhi,
Punjabi, Guajarati, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Bihari, Odia, Sanskrit etc.
etc. These kingdoms, tribes and nomadic groups had always involved with
the warfare to enlarge their demography for acquiring resources. Kings,
tribal chiefs and nomadic cheifs were the head of their social
commune. The largest kingdom had ever ruled in this demography was by
King Ashoka (269 BCE to 232 BCE).  Ashoka reigned over a realm that
stretched from the Hindu Kush mountains in the west to Bengal in the
East and covered the entire Indian subcontinent except parts of present
day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Emerging with the demographics, amalgamations
of their art of living was also taking an evolution. According to
historic literature evidence we come across the race those were using
Sanskrit as their communicative language had written Vedas those were a
smallest part of this largest demography. Now even Sanskrit is spoken by
some people which is approximately or even less than 1000 in
Uttarakhand. Vedas are the proofs of these Sanskrit using clan was
believing in Rig Vedic fourfold class system. These Vedic supporters had
always trying to implement their fourfold caste system to administrate
the reined kingdoms society and always were considering the
non-implemented society as out castes or Atishudras. Vedic philosophy is
based on the faith of God that implements theocracy according to their
distribution of occupation maintained by Purusha Sukta as Brahmin,
Ksatriya, Vaisyas and Sudra. They were implementing this theory to the
society to administrate the kingdom after they rein it. According to
their creation story of Veda, it describes the division of the
primordial being Purusha into the four castes “for the protection of
this whole creation”. Brahmins were born from the mouth, Ksatriyas from
the arms, Vaisyas from the thighs and Sudras from the feet. Each one of
these castes from the beginning was assigned a particular purpose and
station in life. Brahmins (priests) were to recite and teach the Veda,
offer and officiate at sacrifices, and receive gifts, while Ksatriyas
(warriors) were charged mainly with protecting others, and Vaisyas
(merchants) were to engage in “trade, money lending or any kind of
actions of buying and selling goods and services.” These first three
castes constituted the ‘twice-born’ who had, if they led pure lives,
fairly decent chances of going to heaven but Sudras as lower castes
those were treated as menial which will serve to these three upper
castes without touching to them and have no chance for any change for
their present life. Brahmin, Ksatirya and Vaisyas are known as upper
castes those enjoy services of lower castes and lower caste had to serve
them without dignity, equality, education, liberty and property. Change
of occupation and social status strictly prohibited in Vedic believes.
It means Brahmins can’t be degraded to Sudra and Sudra can’t get the
position of Brahmin and vice versa for the other two castes Ksatriyas
and Vaisyas. Those were not belongs to a part of their society i.e. not a
Brahmin or Ksatriya or Vaisya or Sudra were considered as out castes or
Atisudras those were even treated as worse than animals and even more
degraded and cruel ways as they like. In their age of Vedism, Kingdoms
without having Vedic management system were considered as kingdoms of
Atisudras. In the age of kingdom the largest kingdom had acquired by the
king Ashoka who was a king of Mauryan Dynasty,
was a kingdom of Atishudra as per the Vedic philosophy; it’s because
Mauryans had declined the Vedic beliefs. Vedism is a faith of
“discrimination and violence” as its base, whose masterminds were only
Vedic promoter Brahmins. Vedic implementer Brahmins and Vedic adopted
Brahmins of different princely states have no biological relationship to
each others, so adopted Brahmins are also victims of Vedic
classifications; and enjoyed so called high status reserved by Vedic
class system by maintaining and promoting  the cruel rules of
discrimination for personal and communal benefits. Many Hindu followers
even don’t know cow slaughtering was an occupation of Brahmins in the
age of Vedism. Brahmins were officiating Bali (sacrifice) for fulfilling
the desires of followers by offering to their loving deities. Balis
(sacrifices) were eaten by Brahmins in that days. Sacrifice is a normal
word in Vedism. You can find also terms like gomedha (cow sacrifice),
ashwamedha (horse sacrifice), purushamedha (man sacrifice) in Veda and
many Vedic imposed Hindu scriptures. Another example is the Sanskrit
scripture
Bhagavad Gita which  was inserted into an epic called the Mahabharata
which had written by ved Vyasa that teaches justice by violence. The
story of Mahabharata is fight between cousin brothers for justice. 
Every human will agree, taking alcohol as bad habits and gambling is a
crime and sin but story starts with the gambling and ends with the
justice for Pandavas  those had defeated in gambling;  lord Krishna
helped Pandavas to make them win against thousands of  lives in the war
for a simple crime i.e. insulting or outraging modesty of a woman is
ridicules and foolishness justice ever made in ancient history. Against
the one woman’s modesty i.e. Drupadi, thousands and thousands of
innocent women and children lost their innocent husbands and fathers,
mothers lost their sons, sisters lost their brothers, is which kind of
justice by Lord Krishna only he knows or if its said by itself writer in
the name of Krishna then he knows, which reflects the level of
understanding of these identities. How a divine identity with the
position of God supported gamblers to kill millions of innocents  in the
war is a good example how violence is taught in the name of morals in
Hinduism.

Before 610AD there was no Islam so
non-united kingdoms of India has its own names according to their
kingdom regimes and they were having popular religions like
paganism(worshiping pagan deities like Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu….etc.),
Shamanism, Ajivika, Charvaka, Buddhism, Jainasm and Sanatan
Dharm(Bramhanism/Vedism). There was faith war among them but in the age
of Ashoka major faith was Buddhism so India’s first national religion is
Buddhism. When dishonest Brahmin army chief of Ashoka kingdom behead
last ruler of Maurayan emperor Brihadratha  mercilessly and captured
Ashoka kingdom he only implemented Sanatan Dharm to Buddhist kingdom of
Ashoka by shine of sword terrorizing threat of life. He implemented
fourfold castes system defined by them in purusha sukta 10:90 in Rig
veda and included pagan deities of  different linguistic race as their
God with honey coated mind-born stories to control their faith Sanatan
Dharm. These pagan deities like Krishna, Rama etc. can’t be found in any
Veda but they can be found in their created Puaranas and epics which is
fabricated version of mind born stories in favor of Brahmins. They even
created mind born identities to suppress real heroes. They created fake
identities like Narsimha, Durga, Hanuman, Bramha, Ganesh etc. those are
impossible biologically and scientifically which indicates all are mind
born and used to fool its followers. After 610AD when Muhammad reveled
Islam and his adopted faith emperors invaded India they used to
represent dwellers according to name of Shindh or Shindhu which is
wrongly pronounced as Hind. They were designated the demography as Al
Hind and with the time, dwellers are represented as Hindu without any
affiliation of any religion. Later they used Hindu to designate those
are not Muslims so Muslims emperors used the word Hindu to their slaves.
Later Sanatan Dharm used the word to represent their faith as Hindu to
hide Bramhanism or Vedism to make the crowd bigger excluding non Muslims
and non Christians making it as an umbrella. Name Bharat is Brahmins
imposed name to India which had no trustful origin and even communal.
Bharat word itself coined by Manuvadi peoples of India now organized as
RSS. Bharat Mata is totally a mind born identity to enforce Manuvadi to
democratic India. They use slogan “Bharat Mata ki jay” means
psychologically enforcing their created identity as your National Mother
as a God otherwise you are non-patriotic. If you want to certify
yourself a patriotic then you have to say their mind born identity ki
jay means Manuvad ki jay. What it is? Is not it treason? Its ok if you
portray the whole Nation as mother but politicization shows evil motives
and treason behind it. How could you change the national flag as your
wish? They use the saffron flag for Democratic India is not it anti
National? Why and how Bharat Mata use that saffron flag to represent
democratic India? Is not it treason? Is Bharat Mata an anti National
identity why it represent Indian demography with another flag which does
not seems to be Indian flag? If Bharat Mata represents India with
non-Indian flag then what should it be called? RSS use this Bharat mata
with saffron flag to represent India in their official website is not it
treason? Is not it non-verbal sedition?

RSSThe
word “Bharat” is not secular like the word “India.” So “Jay India” is
more secular than “Bharat Mata ki jay” where RSS and its sister
organizations are terrorists. Is Bharat Mata a part of our constitution?
Where it is written Bharat Mata is the representative to India as God
or whatever like this? These so called communal non government
organizations comes with their individual thoughts of patriotism and
enforce their idiotic thoughts in the name patriotism and link communal
feelings and sentiments to their created identities for their self and
organized benefits to make their crowed bigger playing sentiments of
their followers; if you don’t support them they portray you are an anti
nationalist. Who are these idiotic organizations to determine one’s
patriotism according to their heinous thoughts? Tomorrow some
organization may claim we see India as our father  or “Al Hind Abbu
Jaan” or “Bharat Pita” or “Al Hind Ami Jaan” so if you don’t utter 
“Bharat Pita ki jay” or “Al Hind Abbu Jaan zinda baad” or “Al Hind Ammi
Jaan zinda baad” you all are anti Nationalist. Is our patriotism will be
determined according to their communal thoughts? Is not it anti
nationalism? Why Government is not taking actions of sedition or treason
against them?

Bhart Maata

Bhart Pita

Al-Hind Abbu Jaan

Al-Hind Ammi


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Chitpavan brahminism persecution in Democratic India.

DALITS/ SCHEDULED CASTES – 2011

January to December 2011

Compiled By∗
Human Rights Documentation

Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110 003, (India)

Caste war over burial ground in AP village

Caste war among villagers at Basampalli
in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh has led to denial of final
rites for a Dalit farmer, whose body has begun to decompose awaiting
cremation for the last two days. Potla Ganganna (65) belonged to the
Namdhari sect, considered lower rung even among the Dalits. After his
death on December 30, his relatives took the body for cremation to the
graveyard on the outskirts of Basampalli, but had to return without
performing the final rites as the land was occupied by upper caste
villagers. The relatives then tried cremating Ganganna’s body at another
graveyard, where people of another Dalit sect—Modikallu—took offence
saying the cremation ground was closer to their home and a Namdhari
funeral rites, noisy by tradition with sounding of drums and bells
ringing, was a bad omen. Tension broke out between the Namdharis the
Modikallus, which led to the police being brought in to control the
violence. According to the village heads, the issue cropped up because
the prime Panchayat land, allotted for the graveyard, has been
encroached upon by upper caste political leaders. But according to the
Dalit elders, there was always friction between the Dalits and the upper
caste in the village, especially during festivals and over water woes
in the parched summer season. As the warring goes on, the body of
Ganganna, lying in his shanty for the last two days, has begun to
decompose, posing severe health risks to both upper and lower castes
alike. (Deccan herald, 03/01/2011)

Dalits pay the price for supporting BJP

HUBLI: Hundreds of innocent dalit
families residing in Harijankere of Antur-Bentur village of Gadag
district were ostracized from the village. All for supporting a BJP
candidate in the just concluded ZP/TP election. Dalit families who spent
a chilly night in a temple on the outskirts of the village on Saturday
night after being ostracized alleged that their only fault was that they
stood by the BJP candidate as he helped develop the temple in
Harijankere. Gadag district minister C C Patil has said that he will
hold talks with the upper caste people to establish a favourable
atmosphere in Antur-Bentur village. Speaking to The Times of India,
Patil said that he also visited the village on Sunday evening to assess
the situation. However, the villagers were being treated as untouchables
in the village even before the polls. Now the ostracism has been given a
political twist. “We have been denied water, entry into temples and
hotels after the election. Finally, we were ostracized from village.
Besides, we were allegedly attacked on Friday night, forcing us to leave
the village,” a member of the family rued. “I will hold a meeting with
the upper caste people in this village tomorrow to bring the situation
to normalcy and to establish conducive atmosphere in the village,” the
minister assured. Of the 11 GP members, 8 GP members including dalits
joined BJP which might have annoyed anti-social elements, minister Patil
said. Without mentioning Congress, he said that some youths who are
miffed with dalit families for supporting BJP have allegedly attacked
them. As dalit families sought protection, we deployed adequate police
in the village, Patil added. He also promised to make alternate
arrangements to supply ration to the dalit families in the village since
shops were closed due to the tension in the village. Left with no other
options, more than 100 dalit families including children, women and
aged spent their night on the premises of temple on Saturday night. They
have lodged a complaint with the Gadag rural police seeking action but
in vain. When the families were not allowed to enter the village on
Sunday morning too, they held a dharna near the temple demanding action
against those who ostracized them from the village. Police then rushed
to the village and convinced the dalits to go back to their houses.
Speaking to the Times of India, Chandru Hadimani, Kanakamma Sandimani,
Basavaraj Machhigudda and others said that some upper caste people
belonging to a particular party were waiting to take revenge against
them for their close association with the BJP candidate. “We appreciated
his help in helping us repair the temple,” they echoed. Untouchablity
still prevails here from many years, they claimed. Ravikumar Nayak,
Gadag SP, said that dalit families have already lodged a complaint.
“After we promised them to look into the matter and to take necessary
action, they got back to their houses. We are maintaing a vigil on
unruly elements who try to disturb peace,” he added. (TOI, 03/01/2010)

This is a collection of previously
published news and views from the print as well as the electronic media,
whose reference marked at the end of each news items. Department of
Documentation and Library (DDL) of the Indian Social Institute, New
Delhi neither claims to the veracity of the facts in the news nor
subscribes to the views expressed.

Punia: SC-ST panel can probe backward girl rape case

LUCKNOW: Reacting to cabinet secretary,
Shashank Shekhar Singh’s statement at that the National Commission for
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had no right to investigate the
Neelu rape case as the girl was an OBC and not the SC or ST, Punia said
that the commission was well within its rights to probe the case. Once
the principal secretary to Mayawati, Punia said that the commission was
empowered under article 338(10) of the Constitution to investigate cases
of atrocities against the backward castes including the OBC. Taking a
pot shot at the cabinet secretary, Punia said that Singh was acting like
a BSP spokesperson. “He is a government functionary. If at all he
wishes to act like a BSP spokesperson, then he should first resign,”
Punia said. The Congress MP from Barabanki, termed Shekhar’s allegations
as highly offensive and misleading. Addressing a press conference
earlier in the day, Shashank Shekhar had said that Punia was indulging
in petty politics regarding the case. He said that Punia’s demand of a
report from the state government was not under the purview of the
commission, since the victim was an OBC. TOI, 03/01/2011)

UP among states with high rate of Dalit atrocities: Punia

Uttar Pradesh is among those states where
the percentage of atrocities on Dalits is ”higher”, NCSC Chairman P L
Punia said here today. Punia said that UP did not cooperate with the
Commission when it sought a report over the recent incidence of rape of a
minor Dalit girl and even questioned the authority of the Commission to
do so. While he did not give any figures, Punia said the percentage of
Dalit atrocities in Uttar Pradesh was higher. “They do not consider
addressing the grievances of Dalits as priority,” he said. Punia said
the UP government had taken objection to his intervention in the rape
case stating that the Commission was not entitled to seek a report in
the case as the victim belonged to a socially backward community. “I
told the state administration that it should look into the
constitutional provisions before raising such objections,” National
Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Chairman said. “The
local Superintendent of Police later submitted a report to the
Commission stating that rape charges were not proved in the medical
reports,” Punia said. He also questioned the delay in taking action
against the BSP MLA who allegedly raped the girl, when BSP has already
suspended the MLA from the party. Punia said a false case of robbery was
registered against the minor girl and she was still in jail. He alleged
that large funds meant for the welfare of Dalits were diverted in UP.
“Rs 1500 crore from the special component plan for welfare of Dalits was
diverted to construct five medical colleges. We have nothing against
medical colleges. They are needed, but funds from general budget should
have been utilised for that purpose,” he added. Referring to
Maharashtra, Punia said the state has specific welfare schemes meant for
Dalits, scheduled castes and tribes, but said that there were
administrative delays in implementation. (Deccan herald, 05/01/2011)

Sending New Year card proves fatal for Dalit youth

In a land where falling in love is a
crime in the eyes of the society and youngsters are frequently killed
for being in love, sending a New Year card to his lover proved fatal for
a Dalit youth. The incident occurred in Uttar Pradesh’s Jat-dominated
Muzaffarnagar district, infamous for incidents of honour killings, about
500 km from here. Twenty-five-year-old Bobby was shot dead by a girl’s
family members on Wednesday after they came to know that he had sent a
New Year greeting card to her, according to police sources here. Affair
Sources said that Bobby, who lived in the neighbourhood of the girl in
Shazadi village in the district, had an affair with her for the past few
years. The members of their family, however, had no inkling about it.
Bobby, in an apparent bid to express his true love for the girl, sent
her a New Year greeting card. The card had the photographs of Bobby and
the girl, the sources added. Unfortunately, the greeting card fell in
the hands of the girl’s two brothers Salim and Yusuf. Enraged over the
incident, the duo confronted Bobby and his family members in the village
on Wednesday morning and had heated exchanges. In a fit of rage, Salim,
who carried a countrymade pistol, shot at Bobby killing him on the
spot, sources said. Bobby’s brother Bhishma and mother Amoli also
suffered bullet injuries and were being treated at hospital. The
culprits managed to flee from the spot, police said. A hunt had been
launched to nab them. Many lovers have been killed in the past in the
state, especially in the Jat-dominated western region. The caste
panchayats have already declared that they will, under no circumstances,
allow love marriages. (Deccan herald, 06/01/2011)

Rape accused UP MLA may face heat from scheduled castes body

The National Commission for Scheduled
Castes may soon send a team to UP’s Banda district to get a detailed
report on the rape of a minor Dalit girl allegedly by BSP MLA Purshottam
Dwivedi. The move comes after Lucknow Superintendent of Police Anil Das
sent a preliminary report about the incident to the NCSC office a few
days ago. “We may soon send a team to Banda for a detailed report about
the alleged incident. Depending on the contents, we may also recommend
his arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocity Act),” NCSC chairman P L Punia told PTI. He said that in the
absence of a national commission for OBC, the NCSC was empowered to
probe atrocities on people of backward communities as well. His comment
come after the Mayawati government raised objections to the NCSC taking
cognizance of the alleged rape case and blaming Punia, a former close
aide of the UP chief minister, for it. The Commission was of the view
that unless such matters are taken seriously, offenders think they can
get away with the crime. Meanwhile, the Congress in UP has alleged that
despite the local court directing that an FIR be lodged in this
connection, nothing has been done so far. The Opposition party on
Thursday demanded the suspension of the Banda SP, alleging that an
impartial inquiry by the CB-CID cannot be conducted till he was holding
the post. The 17-year-old victim was allegedly raped by the BSP MLA of
Nareni in Banda in December last year. After the girl threatened to file
a complaint against him, he levelled charges of theft against her. (IE,
10/01/2011)

Deprivation among Dalits remains high

A series of papers presented at the
national seminar on ‘Dalit households in village economies’ painted a
grim picture of deprivation among Dalits in rural India. These papers,
based on a series of village studies since 2004, pointed to Dalits’
relatively poor access to official sources of credit, their lack of
command over assets and amenities, and lower levels of employment and
income. Commenting on the papers, Abhijit Sen, member, Planning
Commission, pointed out that the value of these village studies —
conducted by the Foundation of Agrarian Studies (FAS) and other
researchers — was enhanced by the fact that they were not aimed at
finding out how Dalits were faring exclusively in socio-economic terms.
Instead, the extent and nature of deprivation among Dalits was being
demonstrated as a part of a study of agrarian relations in the country,
in which caste played an important role. Drawing on data from all the
village surveys conducted by the FAS, Vikas Rawal, Associate Professor,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, pointed out that ownership of
land accounted for an overwhelming proportion of the value of assets
among Dalits as well as non-Dalits. There is “a huge disparity” in the
levels of landholdings between the two social groups, he observed.
Madhura Swaminathan, Professor-in-charge, Social Sciences Division,
Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata, and Shamsher Singh, a
research scholar at the ISI, demonstrated the inequality, in terms of
access to basic amenities such as housing, water, sanitation and
electricity, faced by Dalits. Based on “pooled data” from surveys of 12
villages in five States, they pointed out that about one-fourth of Dalit
households lived in kutcha houses and 30 per cent lived in “single-room
structures”. “There appears to be a strong statistical association
between caste and access to the basic amenities,” Prof. Swaminathan
observed. Pointing out that public intervention “[did] make an impact,”
she said the provision of homestead plots for Dalits was “central” to
any programme aimed at improving their quality of life. Venkatesh
Athreya, advisor, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, pointed out that
the village surveys filled a serious gap in the data required for
studying agrarian relations in India. V.K. Ramachandran, Professor at
the Sociological Research Unit, ISI, Kolkata, said, “Caste not only
matters, but is right up there as a major explanation for inequality.”
Another paper, drawing on official data sources, provided an account of
how Dalits’ access to official credit sources has declined since
liberalisation. The seminar, which concluded on Saturday, was organised
by the Sociological Research Unit at the ISI. It was supported by the
ISI, the Indian Council of Social Science

Research and the Foundation of Agrarian Studies. (Hindu, 09/01/2010)

UP among states with high rate of Dalit atrocities: Punia

Uttar Pradesh is among those states where
the percentage of atrocities on Dalits is “higher”, National Commission
for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman P L Punia said. After taking over
as NCSC Chairman in October 2010, he visited states like UP, Jharkhand,
Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra among others. But complaints of
atrocities on Dalits is maximum in UP and most of these cases go
unreported, Punia told reporters here. The NCSC Chairman was in the city
to participate in programme organised for Scs He alleged that the funds
under Special Component plan for dalits in UP have been diverted by the
ruling BSP government in the state to open five medical colleges. After
UP, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh figure among those states where
atrocities on Dalits is high. He said that NCSC has its offices in 12
states and the rights body has asked the Central government for funds to
set-up offices in eight more states. (IE, 11/01/2011)

UP govt denying 23% quota to SC: Punia

VARANASI: Alleging that the UP government
had failed to provide the prescribed 23% quota to scheduled castes in
government services, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled
Castes (NCSC) PL Punia claimed it was also misutilising the funds meant
for the dalit. Talking to media on Monday evening, Punia said as per the
ratio of the scheduled castes in the total population of the state, a
provision had been made to reserve 23% seats in government services.
However, in class-I only 12% seats had been filled with SC candidates
while in class-II and class-III the situation was no better as 15% and
17% seats respectively had been given to the SC candidates. In class-IV,
the state government had claimed that 34% seats had been given to SC
candidates, said Punia. But, he said there were orders not to include
the figures of safai workers in the reserved seats of this class and the
state government had included them in the same 34%. “If the figures of
safai employees are separated from this 34%, it can be found that the
state government has not ensured the implementation of the orders in
this class as well,” Punia claimed. Misutilisation of funds reserved for
dalit population in the Special Component Plan (SCP) was also a cause
of serious concern for the NCSC chairman. He said the Delhi government
had spent Rs 748 crore of SCP in the preparations of the Commonwealth
Games despite the fact that the fund should have been utilised for
dalits only. The fund was spent in works like flyover construction,
stadium and road construction as well as gardening, he said. After the
commission took a serious note of it, he said, the Delhi government
returned the fund. “The UP government is also misutilising this fund,”
said Punia and added SCP fund was being spent in creating five medical
colleges in the state at Jalaun, Kannoj, Saharanpur, Ambedkar Nagar and
Banda. The SCP fund was also being used in homoeopathy hospitals and in
increasing facilities at animal husbandry department. He said how was
the dalit population going to be benefited by that? “It should be made
clear whether only dalit students would be admitted to those medical
colleges or only dalits would be treated there,” he pointed out. Punia
said report of the UP government had revealed that there had been an
increase of 24% in cases of atrocities against dalit in 2010. He said
provisions had also been made to provide compensation to dalits in cases
of crime committed against them but the Mayawati government was not
showing any interest in giving compensation to the victims. He said his
UP visits had irked the chief minister as he created awareness among
dalits about their rights. Punia also delivered a special lecture on
social cohesion and national development organised by the social science
faculty of Banaras Hindu University on Tuesday. He said the commission
had taken a serious note of the suicide committed by Laxman Prasad of
Jhansi after humiliation by Rakhi Sawant in a reality show of a
television channel. He said that she had been summoned by the commission
and a notice had been served upon her. Punia also attended a camp
organised by the Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights in Badalpur
to create awareness among the scheduled tribes on Tuesday afternoon.
(TOI, 12/01/2011)

Dalit woman resists rape, set ablaze in Punjab

MANSA (Punjab): A dalit woman was set on
fire in Punjab’s Mansa district after she resisted the attempts of an
upper caste farmer to rape her. The woman died on Sunday morning. The
accused, Sandeep Singh, was booked for murder but he is absconding, said
police. Singh and the woman lived in the same village. Her husband is a
tailor while she worked as a farm labourer. On Friday evening, when she
was alone at home, Singh barged in and attempted to rape her. The woman
fought hard to resist him. Singh then poured kerosene on her, set her
ablaze and ran away. On hearing the women’s cries, neighbours rushed to
her help. Her family members took her to a Bathinda hospital. ”Her
condition was grave and she was shifted to Baba Farid Medical College at
Faridkot,” her husband said. She died of burn injuries on Sunday
morning, said Behniwal police post head Rajinder Singh. Police are
looking for Singh. (TOI, 17/01/2011)

SC/STs missing in pvt sector jobs: India Inc’s first caste census

The first-ever caste census of India Inc’s human resources has revealed that the proportion of Scheduled

Caste and Scheduled Tribe employees in the private sector in some of the most industrialised states of

the country hardly reflects their
strength in the general population of those states. The only exception
is Tamil Nadu, which ranks number one in industrialisation and
employment (by number of factories and persons, according to the Annual
Survey of Industries 2008-09). SCs/STs account for almost 18 per cent of
the industrial workforce and 20 per cent of the state’s population. In
sharp contrast are some of the other most industrialised states such as
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West
Bengal, which show a sharp mismatch between SCs/STs as a percentage of
the total workforce in the private sector and as a percentage of the
states’ total population. Living under the constant threat that the
government may reserve jobs in the private sector as part of its
inclusive growth agenda, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the
country’s largest industry chamber, undertook a caste census of its
members spread across 22 states and Union territories. Covering 8,250
members of the CII, together employing 35 lakh people, it gives a
flavour of the manpower mix in India Inc. SCs/STs, for instance, make up
19.1 per cent of Maharashtra’s population but their share in the
private sector human resources is only 5 per cent. In Gujarat and
Karnataka, SCs/STs are just about 9 per cent of the staff strength, but
account for 22 per cent and 23 per cent respectively of the state
population. The survey, in a nutshell, reveals that companies in the
least industrialised eastern region, where jobs are far and few, have
the highest percentage of SC/ST employees. So, in Bihar — which ranks a
distant 17 as per the Annual Survey of Industries 2008-09 — they
together constitute a fourth of the total workforce, whereas they form
just 16.6 per cent of the state’s total population. Chhattisgarh is a
shade better, with more number of factories, but here too, half of the
total workforce comprises SCs/STs, compared to them making up 43.4 per
cent of the population. The private sector in the western region comes
as a surprise. Maharashtra, the hub of India Inc, is second only to
Tamil Nadu in terms of industrialisation and employment. CII members in
the state employ 20.72 lakh people in the state, almost 57 per cent of
the total employee base considered in the survey by the chamber. But
SC/ST proportion in the workforce is one-fourth of their percentage in
the total population. In Madhya Pradesh that ranks 11 in
industrialisation and workforce, SCs/STs account for 11 per cent of the
private sector’s total staff strength, less than a third of their
strength in the state’s population. States in south are an exception.
The private sector in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala has on its
rolls a remarkably high percentage of SCs/STs. Tamil Nadu — where the
politically driven Dravidian movement significantly empowered the
backward castes — is distinct because it also ranks number one in terms
of the number of employees and factories. SCs/STs here account for 18
per cent of the workforce in CII’s member companies, and 20 per cent of
the state’s population. In Kerala, for entirely different reasons such
as 100 per cent literacy, the percentage of SCs/STs in the private
sector is higher than their share in the population. In the north, Delhi
and Haryana buck the general trend, where the gap between SCs/STs at
work and their representation in the population is significantly higher.
The CII survey of the private sector’s manpower mix in Chandigarh,
Punjab and Rajasthan shows that SC/ST proportion there is 25-50 per cent
lower than their strength in the total population. (IE, 19/01/2011)

Mahapanchayat rejects govt assurance on CBI probe

JIND: There seems to be no early end in
sight to the ongoing impasse between Jat protesters and the Haryana
government as its two-day long efforts to pacify the agitators have not
borne any fruit. The maha panchayat which is spearheading the agitation
turned down the government’s assurance of recommending for a CBI probe
to the Centre in the Mirchpur caste violence case on Tuesday. According
to information, the talks resumed between the action committee of the
Maha Panchayat and the government side on Tuesday morning after which
Jind deputy commissioner Abhay Singh Yadav handed over a fax message
from the state government indicating the government’s intention of
recommending a CBI probe into the matter. Following this, a delegation
led by president of the Sarv Khap Maha Panchayat, Rajbir Dhanda,
returned to the people sitting on dharna on the railway tracks for
consultations on the government’s assurance. Dhanda later told TOI that
the 12-member action committee after consultations with the protesters
refused to call off their agitation on a mere assurance. We can’t trust
the promises and want the government to act to fulfill our demands. We
have made our intentions clear on day one and we will not budge from
here until the government actively addresses our demands,said Dhanda.
Meanwhile, Suresh Koth, convener of the maha panchayat declared that
they had decided to intensify their agitation from Wednesday onwards
when they would block a national highway in the state. I can’t disclose
right now as to which highway would be blocked but we have decided to
step up our agitation as the government does not seem to be in a mood to
lend an ear to our demands,said Koth. DC Yadav told mediapersons that a
meeting between the district officials and the protesters was held in a
conductive atmosphere and that he had conveyed to them the government’s
willingness for recommending a CBI inquiry into the Mirchpur violence
case. According to sources, PWD and Parliamentary Affairs Minister
Randeep Singh Surjewala who had held talks with a delegation of the Maha
Panchayat on Monday too was likely to hold another round of discussions
with them in a bid to resolve the stand-off. Thousands of protesters
have been sitting on dharna on the railway tracks on the JindFerozpur
railway section near Jind railway station for the last three days in
support of their demands comprising a fresh probe into the Mirchpur
violence case in which two Dalits were burnt alive. They are also
demanding the return of the 98 accused in the Mirchpur case to a Hisar
jail from the Tihar Jail in Delhi and shifting of the trial of the case
from a Delhi court to the Hisar court. (TOI, 19/01/2011)

Scheduled caste panel to serve notice to UP govt

LUCKNOW: The National Commission for
Scheduled Caste has decided to serve notice to UP government for alleged
irregularities in the probe into the Dr Vinod Arya murder case. Dr Arya
posted as chief medical officer with Family Welfare Department was shot
dead a few metres away from his house in Sector 14, Vikas Nagar just in
front of Rani Laxmi Bai School on October 27 last year, while he was on
a morning walk with his pet dog. “We have taken a note of the complaint
alleging irregularities and politicisation of the probe of dalit health
officer Dr Vinod Arya’s murder in which people have been falsely
implicated and real culprits are at large,” NCSC Chairman PL Punia told
TOI over phone. He said that a number of irregularities have been
committed in the probe due to which commission would also get the matter
probed by its own team. It has come to the notice of the commission
that those named in the case were not involved in the murder of the
health officer and contrary to rules the probe of dalit officers murder
is being probed by junior officers instead of deputy superintendent of
police rank officers. On December 12, police arrested two persons Vijay
Dubey and Ajay Mishra, allegedly involved in Arya’s murder. The two were
identified as sharpshooters who accompanied Sudhakar Pandey, claimed by
the police to be the main executor of the crime. “The conspiracy to
kill Arya was hatched by mafia Abhay Singh,” additional director general
Brij Lal had then said. The Samajwadi Party, with which Abhay is said
to be associated, later submitted a memorandum to Governor BL Joshi
alleging that he was being framed in the case. Besides, a joint
delegation of Faizabad unit of Congress, RLD and SP submitted a joint
memorandum to the Governor on the same issue. The NCSC will wait for the
reply from the UP government in this regard, Punia said. (TOI,
20/01/2011)

CM mute spectator to SC, ST atrocities: MLA

In a bid to strengthen the SC and ST
rights, the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDJM) in association
with the Odisha Manabika Adhikar Surakshya Abhiyan (OMASA) organised a
State-level consultation with the MLAs and civil society organisations
on National Coalition for Strengthening the SC, ST (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act 1989 and Rule 1995 here on Thursday. Presiding over the
meeting, Chairman Bhajaman Behera said the Act is a step forward in
enabling the SCs and STs to gain justice for the atrocities meted out to
them by the non-Dalits and allegedly the negligent State Government. He
demanded that the Government should enhance the punishment to the
culprits by amending the law and added that the atrocities on the Dalits
should be discussed on floor of the Assembly so that the Act could be
more effective. National campaign on Dalit Human Rights secretary
general Prasad alleged that enforcement of the law remains very dismal
with the conviction rate of less than five per cent while it needs to
create a National Coalition for amendments in the law and making it more
effective. Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi alleged that the Dalits in 25
districts of the State are living in a state of humiliation through
atrocities while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remains a mute spectator.
The inadequate investigating officers are further adding to the woes as
the number of cases are piling up while due disposal of the cases and
punishment to the perpetrators linger, he added. The CM does not want to
stop atrocities as the vote bank politics would get hampered by
eliminating the caste system, Majhi also alleged. Former Minister
Ranendra Pratap Swain said political parties have become redundant to
work for the interests of the Dalits and sought that the MLAs should
raise the question in the Assembly. He also alleged that the
State-initiated Operation Green Hunt has unleashed fear, stress and pain
on the Dalits and added that irrespective of political parties, the
MLAs should protest the Government’s inefficiency on guaranteeing the
Dalits with their Constitutional Rights. Among others, OMASA advisor
Ajay Singh, MLAs Adikanda Sethy, Subarna Nayak, Ramachandra Hansda,
Surendra Parmanik, Devi Prasanna Chand,

Ramamurti Motika and former police DG John Nayak were present. (Pioneer, 21/01/2011)

NCSC asks state govt. to arrest Banda DM, SSP

Turning the heat on the Bahujan Samaj
Party government the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has
issued directives to the state government to take action against the
district magistrate and senior superintendent of police of Banda.
Chairman NCSC PL Punia said that the commission has written a letter to
the state government on Wednesday to take action against the DM and SSP
because they failed to protect a 17-year old Dalit girl. “We propose
that FIRs should be lodged against these officials and both of them
should be arrested,” Punia told ‘The Pioneer’ on Thursday. It is for the
second time that the commission has written a letter to the state
government regarding the Banda rape case in which a BSP legislator from
Naraini (Banda) Purshottam Dwivedi is involved. The government is yet to
react to the first letter that was written almost a week back. “The
government is bound to reply to NCSC’d queries. They are bound to do so.
If they do not heed to our advise, the country’s Constitution has given
us enough powers to deal with the issue,” Punia said. Led by Punia,
other members of the NCSC met the victim Sheelu in her village to learn
her side of the story. He stayed there for three hours and met the
family members of the rape victim too. “The girl is traumatised. She
needs rest. The issue is being politicised by the Samajwadi Party but
this will do no good to the girl,” Punia added. (Pioneer, 21/01/2011)

Dalit officers feeling alienated in Maya raj?

Dalit officers in Uttar Pradesh are
feeling increasingly alienated in the Mayawati government and some of
them are even angry with their “own” government. The anger of dalit
officers has welled up to such an extent that about a dozen of them,
some retired, met at a private dinner two days ago and discussed the
issue threadbare. “This was supposed to be “our” government but this
time, it is the brahmin officers who have completely influenced the
chief minister and barring a few, all dalit officers have been
sidelined,” said one dalit officer who has remained sidelined since the
past two years. Another officer who faces a similar fate said, “With
dalit officers kept out of the chief minister’s favour, there is no one
to protect the interests of the dalit community in the government. Even
though the chief minister has formulated schemes for dalits, the
benefits are not reaching the target groups because the upper caste
officers are showing laxity in implementation.’ The recent removal of
additional Cabinet secretary, Netram from his post and Chandra Prakash
from the post of IG Lucknow, has clearly sent out wrong signals among
dalit bureaucrats. “Both these officers were removed on recommendations
of brahmin bureaucrats and their mentors. This kind of action has a
demoralising impact on dalit officers who, in any case, get shunted to
inconsequential postings in non-BSP governments,” said the officer.
According to sources, the biggest reason for the growth of BSP and the
popularity of the chief minister during her first three regimes was the
sincerity of dalit officers towards the government. If the officers are
to be believed, the success mantra of the BSP lay in the hands of dalit
bureaucrats. Talking to this correspondent on condition of anonymity, a
retired dalit officer who attended the dinner meeting said, “We went out
of their way to ensure good governance and protection of dalits in
Mayawati regimes. It is because of this that dalits felt safe in the BSP
rule and the state machinery was extremely responsive towards the
deprived sections of the society. This time, the chief minister has been
locked up in an ivory tower and her inaccessibility is the biggest
advantage that some upper caste officers are enjoying.” It is noteworthy
that senior dalit officers — all of them now retired — fell out of
Mayawati’s favour one by one. (AA, 21/01/2011)

Punia assures victim mother-daughter duo of help

KANPUR: Chairman of the National
Commission for Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe PL Punia on Thursday
met the mother and daughter duo who were allegedly fabricated in a theft
case by the Fazalganj police when their employer Shalini Gujral, the
owner of a beauty-parlour, failed to force them into flesh trade. Punia
claimed UP had been witnessing atrocities against the SC/ST and weaker
section, and said the Mayawati government had not been able to take
appropriate action. Referring to Banda’s Sheelu and Kanpur’s Divya
cases, he said cases of atrocities against dalits and weaker section had
escalated in the state. “Atrocities against dalits and weaker section
under the chief ministership of Mayawati, (who is) a dalit herself, has
increased,” Punia said while talking to media on Thursday. Merely
suspending a police official was not good enough, he said. The
government should lodge an FIR and terminate the service of the police
official who had “implicated” them in the false case, he claimed. He
said the Commission had taken a serious note of the incident and would
deal with it strictly. Punia visited Dwarikapuri house of the victims
and met their family. He assured them of all possible support from the
Commission in their resolve for justice. (TOI, 21/01/2011)

Hall of shame: Dalit woes take centre stage

JAIPUR: In ‘Hall of Shame’, a Jaipur
Literature Festival session, writers Chandra Bhan Prasad, Meena
Kandasamy and Patrick French discussed ways by which Dalits were
identified and excluded. “There is no caste’ gene,” said French.
“Despite bans on inter-marriages, no exclusive caste-based genes
developed among Indians. So, there’s no scientific basis for castes.”
Kandaswamy responded. “The concept of ‘upbringing’ is used instead. If I
poured water clumsily into a jug, my awkwardness would be explained by
my ‘Dalit upbringing’.” Prasad commented that methods to ‘identify’
Dalits were used by nonIndians too. “When I visited Durban with a
delegation, foreigners came to have pictures taken with ‘the Dalits’.”
Kandaswamy said she initially didn’t use a Dalit writer’ tag. “When I
translated a Tamil Dalit writer, people got suspicious. They enquired,
Are you a Dalit?’ was asked constantly, I started saying, yes.” She
remembered how insulted she felt visiting the editor of a prominent
newspaper down south. “He only spoke to the politician accompanying me
with this translated book. He asked him, “Is she a Dalit? She speaks
good English.” To the packed hall, Kandaswamy continued, “Indians are
always in denial about the caste distinctions they make.” Prasad felt
economic liberalisation was changing mindsets considerably. “Earlier,
people lived by social markers like sacred threads,” he said. “Now, they
are switching to economic markers. Mobile phones, money, cars are
becoming more important than caste or colour.” Kandaswamy disagreed,
pointing out Dalit villages in the south made prosperous by Gulf
earnings. “Despite their wealth, no-one is willing to marry them or make
them friends. Instead, they get attacked by the police acting with
Brahmins. Caste emancipation is much more political than economic.”
Remarking how he had never heard of inter-dining’ before he read Gandhi
who disapproved, French said, “Ambedkar didn’t fit the Congress Party’s
version of history written after 1947. He was never mentioned. Today, he
exists widely but as a statue. He is used as a political symbol but not
explored as a writer, a thinker, which he was like Orwell, deeply
passionate and very direct.” Prasad enquired, “How many people here have
invited a Dalit home to dinner? That is a marker of how we view caste
today. After a few drinks, people confide they think Dalit guests would
mix soda in wine, demand meat, laugh loudly.” The audience responded by
laughing loudly, moved by indignation over injustices old and new. (TOI,
23/01/2011)

Dalits driven out of violence-hit Alwar village

Dalits driven out of Husaipur village
near Bhiwadi in Alwar district of Rajasthan after a violent attack by
the dominant Meo Muslims of the region this past week are unable to
return to their homes because of a “reign of terror” reportedly
prevailing in the area and a Minister allegedly extending support to the
aggressors and trying to protect the accused. The houses of Dalits were
set on fire and their belongings looted and destroyed in a daylight
attack allegedly by Meos on January 19 following an exchange of fire
between the two communities, in which a Meo boy, Zahid, was killed. The
dispute started when a hen was crushed under the wheels of Zahid’s
tractor. A fact-finding team of the Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR), which
visited Husaipur on Monday, found that almost all houses of Dalits in
the small village were destroyed and ransacked, their belongings
including cash and jewellery looted and their cattle taken away by the
assailants. CDR director Satish Kumar said here that only a few Dalit
women were staying in the ransacked houses, while all the male members
of the households had fled to avoid reprisal by the dominant Meo
community and victimisation by police. Police have arrested five Dalit
youths on charges of Zahid’s murder, but have not acted on the FIR
lodged by Dalits. Dalits in the village, belonging to the poor Meghwal
community, have small land holdings which are not enough for their
sustenance. Even as there is a heavy police deployment in the area six
days after the clash, the dominant Meos are allegedly threatening Dalits
and not allowing them to come back to the village or repair their
damaged houses. While estimating the losses at about Rs.50 lakh, the CDR
noted that the district administration had so far not undertaken any
survey to assess the damage or provide relief to the victims, which was
mandatory in such instances under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. “The mob torched the houses
in the presence of police,” said Mr. Kumar. The team members were
shocked to find that State Medical and Health Minister Aimaduddin Ahmed
Khan – elected to the Assembly from Tijara constituency in which
Husaipur falls – attended the burial of Zahid, but did not deem it fit
to visit the nearby Dalit locality to observe the damage or offer any
kind of assistance to the victims of violence. “This act of Mr. Khan
gives credence to the suspicion among Dalits that he is supporting the
aggressors and trying to shield those named in the FIR,” said Mr. Kumar,
while affirming that Dalits were terrified by the reported political
connections of the accused. However, senior District Congress leader and
Municipal Councillor in Bhiwadi, Omar Mohammed, told The Hindu that Mr.
Khan had met some Dalit victims and assured them of the State
Government’s assistance during his visit to Husaipur. (Hindu,
26/01/2011)

Thanks to NAC, scavenging abolition gets priority anew

Action plan should be finalised to end
scourge before March 2012 A plan of action should be finalised within a
month or so with the target of ending the pernicious practice of manual
scavenging within the 11th Plan period that ends in March 2012, sources
in the Social Justice Ministry said. This was the key outcome of a
two-day consultation meeting which concluded here on Tuesday. Jointly
organised by the Ministries of Social Justice, Housing & Urban
Poverty Alleviation, and Urban Development, and attended by officials of
11 State governments, experts and a host of civil society groups, the
consultation was triggered by the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory
Council (NAC) directing the government to tackle the issue on a
war-footing. Four groups were set up during the consultations — the
first discussed the scope and methodology of a fresh survey of manual
scavengers; the second, amendments to the Employment of Manual
Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act of 1993;
the third discussed revisiting the self-employment scheme for
rehabilitation of manual scavengers, and designing an education and
skill development programme for their children; and the fourth discussed
drawing up a Plan of Action for the States to provide total sanitation,
including conversion of all unhygienic latrines and mechanisation of
cleaning of drainage and sewerage systems. Follow-up by Ministries The
sources in the Social Justice Ministry said: “The ideas that have
emerged during the group discussions will now be pursued by the
Ministries concerned with the object of producing a plan of action very
soon. The ideas thrown up by groups one and three will be followed up by
the Social Justice Ministry, the second by the Housing & Urban
Poverty Alleviation Ministry, and the fourth by the Urban Development
Ministry.” In the past too, the government has set and missed deadlines
to eradicate the curse but this time, Minister for Social Justice and
Empowerment Mukul Wasnik told TheHindu, “Rehabilitating manual
scavengers is our Ministry’s topmost priority. We have requested the
State governments to make public announcements so that anyone still
engaged in manual scavenging can come forward and report [his or her
situation] at the district headquarters, so that no one is left out.”
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand have requested Central funding for
conversion of 2.4 lakh dry latrines. This, Mr. Wasnik said, made it
clear that the scourge has yet to be wiped out. Citing figures provided
by the Safai Karamchari Andolan, which says there are still 4,833 manual
scavengers in 14 States, Mr. Wasnik said the governments concerned had
been told to immediately find them alternative occupations. Though
discussions have been on for a while, the push came after the NAC shot
off a letter on November 9 last, urging the Centre to coordinate with
all State and local governments and Central government departments,
including the Railways, to abolish manual scavenging by the end of the
11th Plan period. The NAC suggested a new survey in every State and
Union Territory of dry latrines and manual scavengers; the demolition of
all dry latrines; the rehabilitation in modern marketable skills of all
manual scavengers; and a special programme for education of their
children. The NAC also said it would monitor the progress of abolition
of manual scavenging on a quarterly basis. On Monday, Mr. Wasnik told
the meeting that the government — through the National Scheme of
Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers and their Dependents during
19922005 — succeeded in rehabilitating 4.28 lakh of the 7.70 lakh manual
scavengers and their dependents who had been identified in 1992. In
2007, a new ‘Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual
Scavengers’ was launched to rehabilitate the rest of them. But that task
remains unfinished. (Hindu, 26/01/2011)

Columnist found guilty under SC/ST Act, gets bail

A sessions court here on Thursday held
newspaper columnist Anish Trivedi guilty under the Scheduled Caste and
Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and sentenced him to six
months’ imprisonment. Mr. Trivedi, however, got bail when he went in
appeal. “[Mr. Trivedi] was given six months [imprisonment] and fined Rs.
25,000 under Section 3 (1) (x) of the Act for insulting members of the
Scheduled Caste,” public prosecutor S.B. Dukhande told The Hindu. In his
April 30, 2006 article, ‘Children of a lesser god’, a copy of which is
with The Hindu, Mr. Trivedi wrote that government-owned companies were
languishing in comparison to their counterparts on the other side of the
coin because they were manned by the “children of reservation.” He also
cast a slur on the Scheduled Castes. (Hindu, 28/01/2011)

Post office is out of bounds to us, say Dalits

Seventy five-year-old Bailu has never set
foot in the post office in her village in Betlhangady taluk for fear of
being thrown out. Dalits of Melanthabettu village, located about 6 km
from Belthangady, say they are denied entry into the post office and are
forced to carry out transactions from outside. Elderly Dalits of the
village are forced to wait outside the office for their pension, often
in the hot sun. “They will come outside and give us the money, or give
it to someone else who hands it over to us,” said Sunanda (name
changed). The post office is located in the Gumpoli area of
Melanthabettu in a separate building on the residential premises of the
postmaster. When The Hindu visited the post office, Mutti, 75, was there
to collect her pension. She had to squat outside for several minutes in
the sun before she was told to collect the money. Similarly, Sunanda
and her friend Priya, who had to buy inland letters, waited outside. “I
don’t know about the older generation, but we are a little educated. We
feel bad when we are made to wait outside while others are let in. We
(Dalits) and people from the other castes believe in the same bhootas
and gods,” Sunanda said. “We don’t want this practice to continue,”
Priya added. Dalits form nearly half the population in the village, said
Somappa, an autorickshaw driver and member of the Dalit Sangharsh
Samiti (Ambedkarvada). “If we try to enter the post office, they block
the door,” he said. Postmaster G. Ravindra denied the allegation that
such treatment was meted out to Dalits in the area. “It [the post
office] is a part of our house. There is no separate room. In villages,
it [post office] is in the house itself. We let them inside up to a
point, but the rest of it is our house. We can’t let everyone inside our
house,” he said. However, the Dalits said that for the past three years
the post office had been functioning in a separate building a few
metres away from the house. Convener of the taluk unit of the DSS (A)
Sanjeeva said when such discrimination prevailed in an office of the
Union Government, one could imagine the plight of Dalits in the rest of
the country. He said the DSS condemned the practice. (Hindu, 28/01/2011)

‘UP tops in crime against Dalits’

Accusing the Mayawati Government of
“cheating” Dalits, National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman P.
L. Punia on Thursday alleged that the community was facing “maximum”
exploitation and harassment under her regime. “In spite of the fact that
the UP Government is headed by a Dalit, 90 per cent of the complaints
(of atrocities against the Dalits) are from the State,” Mr. Punia told
reporters here. A former IAS officer and a Congress MP from Barabanki in
UP, Mr. Punia had worked as Principal Secretary in Mayawati Government.
He alleged that instead of providing security to Dalits, the BSP
Government was shielding the culprits involved in crimes against them.
“The Commission will not keep mum to the crimes against Dalits and will
ensure justice by taking suo motu cognisance of offences against them,”
he said. Criticising the State over the issue of corruption, he said:
“Every government post is for sale here and every appointment,
government or party related, is done only after the demanded amount is
paid.” (Hindu, 28/01/2011)

Honour killing: Teenager murdered in Haryana

BHIWANI (HARYANA): In a suspected case of
honour killing, a 17-year-old youth, a student of 10+2, was found
murdered in the fields of Jui village of Bhiwani district on Wednesday
night. From the condition of the body it was clear that the youth had
been brutally tortured by giving him electric shocks, while some parts
of his body were found to have been severed. Anup Kumar, son of Pawan
Kumar, a resident of Haluvas village in Bhiwani district had reportedly
been abducted from outside his house about a fortnight ago. The police
who have registered a case of murder against unknown persons, suspect
that his friendship with a girl of the same village, who is also from
the same cast could have been the reason behind his brutal murder. The
police sources said that they had gathered crucial evidence about the
involvement of the girl’s family and had been questioning two suspects
in the case. According to information, Anup, had gone missing from his
house on January 9. His family suspected that he was abducted by some
youths of the girl’s family. The police have registered a case under
section 365 (kidnapping) of the IPC against unknown persons in the case
and started investigation. When the police retrieved the call details of
his mobile phone, it was revealed that he had got a call from a family
member of the girl on the day he disappeared from his house. Anup’s body
was found in the fields of Jui village, about 20 km from Haluvas
village. Bhiwani SSP Ashvin Sainvi said it seemed to be a case of murder
as severe injuries were found on the body. “The body has been sent to
the post- graduate institute of medical sciences at Rohtak for
post-mortem. A case of murder has been registered,” the senior
superintendent of police said. (TOI, 28/01/2011)

Mirchpur violence: Dalits leave village fearing Jat threat

MIRCHPUR (Haryana): Nearly a dozen Dalit
families have left this village in the last 15 days as last year’s
violence in Mirchpur has come back to haunt them. It was here that a
70-year-old and his physically- challenged daughter were killed in an
attack by the dominant Jat community. The fear of violence from Jats,
who have over the past 12 days staged protests demanding the release of
those arrested for the incident in April 2010, looms over Dalit families
here despite repeated assurances from the state government and police.
“The state government has failed to punish the culprits accused of an
arson attack on Dalit families in April last year. The government is
playing votebank politics and does not want to offend the Jat community
as they are in a majority in Haryana,” Gulab Singh, a Dalit resident of
Mirchpur village, said. Around 300 Dalit families, among the most
socio-economically marginalized people, live in Mirchpur. “We have lost
all faith in the police and the government. Leave aside the question of
staying in Mirchpur, we do not want to live anywhere in Haryana. We make
an appeal before the government to rehabilitate us somewhere outside
this state,” stated Singh. Mirchpur village in Hisar district hit the
headlines last year when some people from the dominant upper caste Jat
community set fire to a row of houses belonging to Dalit families. A
70-year-old man and his 18-year-old physicallychallenged daughter were
killed in the April 21 arson attack and at least 18 houses were
destroyed. Around 150 Dalit families were driven out of the village,
about 300 km from Chandigarh, and their homes were torched. “We are
still getting threats from Jats. They are pressurising us to take back
our complaints,” Sheela, another Dalit, who is camping outside Mirchpur
village with her family, said. “The government is not doing enough for
our security and we have decided to leave Hisar district. Our children
are also afraid of working in places where they have Jat colleagues.”
“We are afraid caste violence will raise its head in our village again,”
said Sheela. In the Mirchpur violence case, 98 Jat youths were arrested
and are in jail in New Delhi. The trial of the case was shifted to New
Delhi in December following the directions of the Supreme Court. Jat
community members have staged widespread protests in various parts of
Haryana, demanding the release of the arrested youths and shifting of
the case back to Hisar. “If the Jats claim they are innocent, then why
are they demanding the shifting of the case from New Delhi to Hisar. We
want our government to take a stern stand,” asked Sheela. Ved Pal
Tanwar, a representative of the Non-Jat Association, Haryana, said, “So
far the state government has failed to ensure the safety of the Dalit
families of Mirchpur. They have given only verbal assurances of safety
and jobs, but actually nothing has happened. They are left with no
option than to leave Mirchpur.” “We have made staying arrangements for
nearly a score of Dalit families outside Hisar district as they are
afraid of the Jats. We are planning to launch a widespread campaign to
save the rights and dignity of Haryana’s Dalits,” said Tanwar. Police in
Hisar, however, deny any Dalit migration from Mirchpur due to a threat
from Jats. “We have deployed a heavy police force in the village to
provide security to Dalits. There is no threat from any community and
Dalits must be migrating because of some other reason,” said a senior
police official. (TOI, 28/01/2011)

Caste-based ragging in Bihar

”What is your ‘phylum’?” This is possibly
one question you will have to answer if you get admission in any of the
medical colleges in Bihar. ‘Phylum’ in loose medical parlance denotes
caste. The ‘degree of ragging’ will depend on your caste,
notwithstanding the official claim that no ragging takes place in Bihar
colleges. Barely 17, Sunny Kumar Roshan, a first year MBBS student in
Patna Medical College (PMC), learnt it the hard way. Only when the
ordeal became unbearable, he committed suicide in the state capital when
the nation was celebrating Republic Day. Though the college authorities
and his seniors deny the ragging theory, his father Kameshwar Rai
insists that Sunny was upset because of his seniors. “He had told me
about ragging incidents, and also that some senior medicos had asked him
to cough up Rs 1,200 as chanda (donation) for Saraswati Puja,” said the
distraught father. “Though the apex court has put a blanket ban on
ragging, it’s still prevalent in the state,” admitted a senior medico,
refusing to be identified. “If you belong to the upper strata of the
society, you may be let off. But in case you are an OBC or extremely
backward class, then you may have to bear the brunt of ragging,” he
said, but clarified further, “No one gets physical. That is for sure.”
Sunny, from a backward community, could possibly have been a victim of
this system. This is precisely why Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has taken
up the issue seriously and asked the PMC principal Dr N P Yadav to get
to the bottom of the matter. Dr Yadav, however, denies that Sunny was
ragged and hence committed suicide. “Sunny had joined the college seven
months back. If at all he was ragged, how could it continue for so
long,” said the principal. But since Nitish is personally monitoring the
case, the principal has set up a seven-member inquiry committee. The
probe panel will find out whether the boy was ragged. If yes, who were
the culprits? Thirdly, it will also identify which senior medicos had
asked for Rs 1,200 as donation for puja. The inquiry committee has been
asked to submit its findings within ten days. (Deccan herald,
31/01/2011)

Dalits on indefinite strike

HISAR (HARYANA): Days after the end of
the protest by Jats over the shifting of the trial as well as the
accused in the Mirchpur violence case from Haryana to Delhi, now 80
Dalit families who fled Mirchpur when the Jat agitation started are
holding an indefinite dharna outside the mini secretariat here. The
families are living in the camping site provided by Gair Jat Sangathan
at a farm house near Hisar. “Who would take care of them? Who would hear
their voice as their number is quite less as compared to the Jats,”
said Sangathan president Ved Pal Tanwar. Suresh Balmiki, one of the
persons sitting on dharna while talking about the plight as well as the
demands, said, “They (Jats) have used pressure to make the government
accept their demands. But who would guarantee our safety and security?
We want that the accused in the Mirchpur violence case are punished.”
Satyavan Balmiki who left Mirchpur along with wife Reena and two sons,
Pankaj and Devendar said, “We feared that we would be attacked by the
Jats. Give us work and social security.” DC Yudhbir Singh Khyaliya said,
“We are gathering information about their demands and would then take a
decision.” (TOI, 30/01/2011)

Dalit girl raped by three, sold for Rs 50,000

AHMEDABAD: A 24-year-old girl was
abducted and raped by a group of three persons in Amraiwadi. She was
then sold for Rs 50,000 to a prospective groom in a village of Amreli.
The girl was abandoned by her husband and in-laws last week when they
realised that she was not from the same caste. The victim was sent for
medical examination after she filed a complaint with the Amraiwadi
police on Monday. The Dalit girl, a resident of Baliyanagar in
Amraiwadi, used to work as a skilled labourer at Bharti Estate near
Rabari Colony. As per her complaint, she was abducted by a co-worker
Manu Vankar who took her to an isolated spot in Bhuriyo Rabari’s
autorickshaw. There she was raped by Vankar. Later, one Lagha Bharwad
also violated her modesty. According to police, the gang held her
captive for more than six months at different places in Ahmedabad
district and elsewhere where she was repeatedly raped by Vankar. Then
they took her to several villages to pass her off as a prospective
bride. They finally struck a deal at Jambuda village in Amreli district
where they got Rs 50,000 and forced her to marry Gabhru Rabari. “Vankar
had told Gabhru that the girl was an orphan and has been in their care
since many years,” said M S Sindha, inspector of Amraiwadi police
station. Soon after the marriage in November, 2010, Gabhru noticed his
wife’s behaviour suspicious and when he confronted her, the girl told
him her tale of woes. Furious, Gabhru tried to hunt down the trio who
had duped him but in vain. He then left her near her residence in
Amraiwadi last week. The girl later lodged a complaint with Amraiwadi
police. “We have sent the victim to Civil Hospital for clinical
examination. The case will subsequently be transferred to the city’s
SC/ST cell for further investigation,” said Sindha. (TOI, 01/02/2011)

Maya reinforces dalit agenda to counter Cong

LUCKNOW: An aggressive Congress trying to
make inroads among dalits and backwards has made chief minister and BSP
supremo Mayawati reinforce her dalit agenda. Last week, the BSP
government decided to reserve 70% seats for candidates belonging to
scheduled castes (SC) and 15% seats for other backward classes (OBCs) in
50 government industrial training institutes (ITIs) and four government
medical colleges to be set up at Jalaun, Kannauj, Saharanpur and
Ambedkarnagar. Now, Mayawati has directed officials concerned to
expedite the implementation of dalit welfare schemes and conduct on the
spot verification of whether the benefit has reached the target group or
not. The emphasis is laid on schemes like free housing for poor dalits
under the housing scheme launched in the name of her mentor Kanshiram,
Rs 400 per month to the poor who do not have below poverty line card or
any other certificate which makes them entitled to welfare schemes meant
for poor and downtrodden and implementation of the Forest Rights Act
which provides ownership rights to tribals on forest land. The CM has
instructed officials that the people at grassroot level should get the
feeling that government is working for them. The move to reserve 70%
seats for SC in ITIs and medical colleges is aimed to blunt the
allegations by National SC and ST Commission chairperson PL Punia that
the money given to the state under special component programme is being
misused by the BSP government. Punia as a bureaucrat was close to Maya
at one point of time but after retirement joined Congress and won Lok
Saba elections from Barabanki by getting substantial dalit votes.
Congress has now appointed Punia as chairman of the commission with
cabinet minister status to woo dalits. Punia has been troubling the BSP
government in state by raking up issues like rise in atrocities on
dalits. He has been personally visiting the places from where crime
against dalits are reported. As a counter, Mayawati has also issued
instructions to deal strictly with any incident of atrocity on dalits.
Senior officials such as commissioners, district magistrates and
district police chiefs have been warned that they would be held
responsible for any laxity in the implementation of the government
policies and schemes for dalits. Maya also made it clear that only a
dalit would succeed her as chief minister of UP, in case she goes to
Centre or post fells vacant due to some other reason. The BSP government
had already announced reservation (21% for SC and 2% for ST) in
allotment of construction contracts upto Rs five lakh in all government
departments. She wants that all work related to dalit welfare schemes
and projects should be implemented by July this year so that she can
publicise it thoroughly before next assembly elections in April-May
2012. Though dalit form BSP’s core vote bank, it had played brahmin card
to win 2007 assembly elections. It came to power with absolute majority
through its dalit-brahmin-muslim combination. BSP also got ample
support of most backward classes (MBCs). However, poor performance in
2009 Lok Sabha polls has made Maya revert to her dalit agenda for 2012
state assembly elections. Taking a head start in comparison to other
parties, she has shortlisted around 200 candidates and remaining will be
selected soon. Total assembly seats are 403. (TOI, 01/02/2011)

Dalits, upper castes face-off on temple entry

Uthapuram, a nondescript village near
Madurai that became infamous over an ‘untouchability wall’, is in news
again — this time following tension between Dalits and upper caste
Hindus over a temple where the backward community is denied entry. The
Muthalamman temple, built and maintained by upper caste Hindus, has
always been out of bounds for the Dalits, and has been the cause of
skirmishes between the two communities. A portion of the wall was
demolished following protests by the Dalits led by the Tamil Nadu
Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), a CPM-backed outfit, sometime
back. The Dalits had then demanded that the temple be thrown open to
everybody. But the community that owned the temple had opposed the
suggestion. Taking up the cause of the Dalits again, the TNUEF and the
CPM have demanded that the temple doors should be thrown open to the
backward castes and also announced a temple-entry agitation on Monday.
After the Marxists took up the issue, the upper castes formed another
group to ‘protect’ the temple, leading to tension in the area. The
district collector issued prohibitory orders in Uthapuram village and
the surrounding areas. A large contingent of police was deployed to
prevent any untoward incident. Despite warnings and requests from the
district administration, the party cadres, local Dalits and activists on
Monday tried to forcefully enter the temple. Hundreds of people led by
party MLA K Mahendran tried to enter the temple premises but were
prevented by the police, resulting in a scuffle. Over a hundred people
were arrested. (IE, 01/02/2011)

Dalit woman attacked over burial ground dispute dies

A 55-year-old-Dalit woman who was injured
in an alleged petrol bomb attack by a group of caste Hindus in
Koozhaiyanur village in Theni district died at the Government Rajaji
Hospital here on Tuesday evening. Chinnayi, who was attacked following a
dispute over access to burial ground on Thursday, had suffered 60 per
cent burns. The dispute over access to burial ground was on for quite
sometime in the village and on December 22, 2010, the caste Hindus of
the village had organised a meeting which was presided over by the
panchayat president, in which, Revenue Inspector Kodangipatty, Inspector
of Police Palani Chetti Patty and Sub-Inspector of Police Veerapandi
participated. In the meeting, it was decided that the Dalits should not
use the common burial ground and even if there was a dispute they should
refer it only to the revenue authorities and police and decide on the
place of burial. Meanwhile, on January 2, when an elderly Dalit person
died, the Dalits of the village decided to bury him in the common burial
ground meant for Hindus, but the dominant castes objected to this and
attacked them. The Dalits staged a protest, following which the
government authorities organised a peace meeting. However, the dominant
caste members did not allow the Dalits to bury the deceased in the
common burial ground. The body had to be buried in Dalits’own land.
Tension between the Dalits and caste Hindus had been brewing for
sometime and on January 27 a group of caste Hindus attacked Chinnayi by
hurling petrol bombs, in which she suffered injuries. Raja (35), son of
Chinnayi, lodged a complaint with the Veerapandi police who registered
cases against Rasu Thevar, Damodaran, Markandan Singam and Dhanasekaran
under Sections 147, 148, 436, 307 of IPC and Scheduled Caste and
Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 3(1)(10), 3(2)(5) and
were arrested. Madurai-based non-governmental organisation, Evidence,
visited the village and found that discrimination on the basis of caste
was rampant. A. Kathir, executive director, said that the State
Government should provide Rs.10 lakh as compensation for the family of
the deceased and demanded that a team of National Human Rights
Commission should visit the village and assess the ground reality and
give recommendations to the government for follow-up action. (Hindu,
02/02/2011)

Dalits demand judicial inquiry into attack by Meos

About a fortnight after the houses of
Dalits were ransacked, looted and set on fire in Husaipur village near
Bhiwadi in Alwar district, the police are yet to arrest those
responsible for the mayhem and ensure the return of Dalits driven out of
the village allegedly by the dominant Meo Muslims. A sick Dalit woman
staying in a damaged house has since lost her life reportedly under the
impact of the cold. The Dalits have charged State Medical and Health
Minister Aimaduddin Ahmed Khan – elected to the Assembly from the Tijara
constituency in which Husaipur falls – with shielding the accused. The
lack of action by the district administration against the “politically
well-connected” accused has baffled not just the Dalits, but other civil
rights activists here as well. Meos allegedly launched a daylight
attack on the Dalits belonging to the poor Meghwal community on January
19 following an exchange of fire between the two sides, in which a Meo
youth, Zahid, was killed. The dispute started when a hen reared by a
Dalit family was crushed under the wheels of Zahid’s tractor. While the
police have arrested five Dalit youths on the charge of Zahid’s murder,
the assailants who torched Dalits’ houses and looted their belongings
including cash and jewellery are still at large. Tension prevails in
Husaipur with the dominant Meos allegedly threatening the few Dalit
women and children, who are putting up in the village under the police
protection. Hundreds of Dalits staged a demonstration at Tijara on
Monday demanding a judicial inquiry into the ransacking of their houses
amid what they described as the ruling Congress leaders’ support and
protection to the aggressors. In a memorandum handed over to the
authorities, they demanded stern action against the police and district
officers for their “inaction”. Jaipur-based Centre for Dalit Rights
(CDR) patron P. L. Mimroth, who visited Husaipur on Sunday to attend a
meeting between the two sides arranged by the administration, told The
Hindu here that the Dalit men belonging to the 13 Meghwal families in
the village were scared of returning because all of them had been named
as accused in the case of Zahid’s murder. Sunday’s meeting ended
abruptly without any result as a crowd of five-dozen Meos allegedly
threatened the Dalit representatives and swore to take revenge for the
murder of Zahid. Mr. Mimroth, who met Alwar Collector Ashutosh Pednekar,
said extremist elements seemed to be dominating on both the sides and
the Sangh Parivar elements were provoking Dalits in the region. With the
administration having failed to take any step for Dalits’
rehabilitation, Meos are reportedly organising caste panchayats in the
nearby villages such as Khedi, Karenda, Kharkadi, Sarey Kalan, Chaupakni
and Chauksi and issuing “open and unrestrained threats” to Dalits. Mr.
Mimorth said while the Dalit youths – Rajvir, Bishan, Vikram, Sanjay and
Babulal – arrested in the murder case, who too had sustained bullet
injuries, were yet to be medically examined and provided with treatment,
the case against Meos registered on Dalits’ complaint had been
“deliberately made very weak” by inserting mild and irrelevant charges.
It was only on Monday that some relief in the shape of food and clothes
was provided to the Dalit families, 12 days after the violence. .
(Hindu, 02/02/2011)

CPI(M) holds Dalit Christians’ meet

Communist Party of India (Marxist) State
secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has called for initiating measures for
solving the problems faced by the Dalit Christian community who in spite
of being at the receiving end of social and economic backwardness on
account of being Dalits have found themselves without any social or
economic support for being Christians. Inaugurating a Dalit Christian
convention organised by the party here on Wednesday, the first of its
kind by the CPI(M) so far, Mr. Vijayan pointed out that a section of the
Dalit community had converted to Christianity on the basis of the
ideals propounded by missionaries as they were fed up with the
untouchability practised in the Hindu society at an earlier period.
(Hindu, 03/02/2011)

Govt turning blind eye to exodus of Dalits from Mirchpur: Dalit body

Haryana Valmiki Yuva Mahasabha, an
organisation representing Dalits, today alleged Haryana government was
turning a blind eye to the exodus of fear-stricken Dalits from Hisar
district’s Mirchpur village “During the past nine days, most of the
Dalit families have shifted from there but the government has turned a
blind eye and they have not stepped in to stop this. The Dalits have
been forced to shift to other places in Hisar and elsewhere because of
sense of insecurity and persistent social boycott and ostracisation,”
Mahasabha’s President Sanjeev Gharoo said here. He led a delegation of
Dalits and submitted a memorandum to Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia
here to bring to his notice the problems being faced by Dalits at
Mirchpur where a Dalit man and his daughter were burnt to death last
year allegedly by upper caste members. Gharoo said they had brought to
the Governor’s notice the alleged discrimination being meted out to
Dalits in Mirchpur. “Meeting their daily needs has become difficult for
the Dalits who are still left in Mirchpur because of the social boycott
at the hands of the dominant community. We cannot tolerate this grave
injustice being meted out to us, with the government remaining a mute
spectator,” he alleged. (IE, 03/02/2011)

Dalit oppression result of myriad years of caste system

Violence against Dalits is the outcome of
thousands of years of subjugation due to the existence of the caste
system. But the situation of Dalit women becomes more vulnerable due to
the intersectionality of caste with gender. The oppression against Dalit
women becomes multiple and is manifested through extreme forms of
atrocities committed against them by non-Dalits and violence by the
Dalits. After the framing of the Indian constitution, very few laws have
been enacted to protect the rights of Dalits. One of the laws whereby
some relief is given to the rights of the Dalit women is sec 3 (1) (X1)
and 3 (1) (X11) under prevention of atrocities against SC and ST Act,
1989. There are certain sections under Indian Penal Code (IPC) for the
protection of women in general, where Dalit women are also covered. Some
of the important sections relating to gender violence under the IPC are
sec. 304B (dowry death), sec. 306 (abetment to suicide) sec. 354
(assault or use of criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her
modesty), sec. 376 (rape), sec. 498 A (punishment for subjecting a
married woman to cruelty). Apart from the IPC sections there are no
stringent laws for the protection of the rights of women. A law to
protect women against domestic violence has been enacted in 2005, but it
does not impose any punishment to the accused. Gujarat as an
independent state is celebrating 50 years of its existence and the
prevention of atrocities Act enacted on January 30, 1990, has completed
20 years. The population of Dalits in Gujarat as per the National Census
of 2001 is 7.01 % of the total population. While boasting about its
development and progressiveness, the government of Gujarat also needs to
be questioned on the grounds of implementation of laws and sections for
the protection of Dalits and Dalit women’s rights. As per the fifth
report of the National Commission on SC and SC of1998-1999, Gujarat
stands second i.e. 62 cases per one lakh population, in terms of volume
of crime against Schedueld Castes, just after Rajasthan. Navsarjan, an
organisation dedicated to the upliftment of Dalits, has been addressing
the issues of social justice and rights of Dalits and Dalit women in
particular for more than 20 years in Gujarat. Through the legal aid
programme, we provide legal aid, moral and social support to the
survivors and victims of caste and gender based violence in Gujarat.
Navsarjan has dealt with and is working on several cases of extreme
forms of violence against Dalits and Dalit women. One of these cases was
the multiple rape of a female Dalit student in the Patan PTC College.
Although the six accused were sentenced to life imprisonment, in the
judgment, the court removed the sections under the Atrocity Act, its
stand being that the rape survivor was raped by a non-Dalit and Dalit
accused so it won’t fit in as an atrocity case. There are several cases
of rape of Dalit girls and women being handled by Navsarjan in the past
few years and are being highlighted in the media, but in how many cases
is the criminal justice system ensuring that the accused are punished
under the law? A case of sexual trafficking of a Dalit girl who was
kidnapped from the primary school in Bavla and sold off at many places
is going on in the Ahmedabad Sessions court for more than one year, but
due to weak criminal justice system, the survivor is still awaiting
justice. Another case of gang rape of a Dalit girl who was studying in
the 12th grade in a high school in Limbdi town is pending in the Limbdi
Sessions court. The rape survivor has sent an application to the state
legal department for appointment of Nainaben Bhatt as special public
prosecutor, but the state is denying appointing her without giving any
valid reasons. The recent cases of gang rape and trafficking of young
Dalit girls and women set off alarm bells to the vulnerable position of
Dalit women in the state. Ultimately the question to the state is, “Is
there an effective criminal justice system in place to ensure safety and
dignity of the Dalit community and Dalit women especially”? The time
has come when Dalit women should be recognised as a distinct social
group rather than classifying them under the general women or Dalit
category. Accordingly the state should evolve and implement a specific
focus andprogrammes on Dalit women’s rights within the broader framework
of the Dalit and women’s empowerment agenda. (DNA, 02/02/2011)

Dalit teen slashed with axes in rape bid

Three persons attacked a 17-year-old
Dalit girl with axes on Saturday evening, inflicting multiple injuries
during a rape bid in Fatehpur district. According to reports, the victim
Savita (name changed) resides at Udrauli village under Bindki Police
Station. She, along with her friend Chaya, had gone to attend nature’s
call outside the village. One Shiv Om, of the same village, had caught
hold of her and she raised an alarm when he began to drag her away.
Hearing the commotion, Shiv Om’s two accomplices — Hari Shanker Pasi and
Ram Ratan — reached the scene. The trio caught Savita while Chaya
managed to flee. They allegedly raped Savita and later attacked her with
axes, inflicting deep cut on her head, arms and chest. When Chaya told
Savita’s family about the incident they rushed to the scene. Seeing
Savita’s father Badlu and horde of villagers, the three accused fled.
Savita was rushed to district hospital Fatehpur and was given primary
aid. Seeing her condition as serious, the doctors referred her to Halot
Hospital in Kanpur. Special DG (Law, Order & Crime) Brij Lal on
Sunday said a police team led by the Fatehpur SP had visited the crime
scene. He said Pasi was arrested while efforts were on to track down the
others. Lal further said Savita said another man, identified as
Nambari, was also with the miscreants. Lal said an intensive probe was
being conducted and the accused would be dealt with an iron hand. He
added that the ADM and Circle Officer had been asked to gather further
details from Savita. (Pioneer, 07/02/2011)

Dalits attacked, houses ransacked in Virudhunagar

Some people belonging to the upper caste
have allegedly attacked Dalits and ransacked their houses at
Tamaraikulam area in the district, according to police on Sunday. Cases
have been registered against 46 people in connection with the case,
police said, adding 10 Salits were injured during the incident which
happened on Saturday. The incident took place in Tiruchuzhi Block
following a dispute over the erection of flag posts of Dalit-outfit
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), they said. Some people belonging
to upper caste attacked Dalits, including women and children, ransacked
their houses and took away valuables including some jewellery, they
said, adding the houses damaged in the incident included that of the
Tamaraikulam Municipal vice-president. Police said VCK partymen had
pasted posters against the “caste Hindus” of Tamaraikulam and nearby
Thachanendal that had opposed the erection of the flag posts. “People’s
Watch”, an NGO, alleged the two-tumbler system still existed in the
village, wherein Dalits and upper caste people are made to use different
tumblers in tea shops and eating joints. They also demanded
compensation for the Dalits affected by the attack. (Hindu, 06/02/2011)

File a complaint, Dalit activists urged

He was responding to DSS leader S.P.
Anand when the latter brought up the issue during the monthly grievance
reddress meeting of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes people
conducted by the district police. Mr. Rao said the Deputy Commissioner
had initiated action. He added that the police would take action under
the SC/ST Act if the activists filed complaints. An officer of the
police station concerned said he had visited the spot and the postmaster
said that the post office was a part of his house. The members of the
DSS, including several Dalits from Melanthabettu, objected to this. Mr.
Rao said he was yet to obtain clarification from postal department about
what qualified as a post office. Mr. Anand brought up the issue of a
murder of Rajappa in Bantwal taluk in 2008. Mr. Anand said even after
three years, the case had not been solved. Mr. Rao said the case was
still open and sought the help of activists who might have more
information. A unique feature of the meeting on Sunday was the special
number set up for persons from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
to phone-in and speak to the officials. Several callers used the
helpline, which had been started after a gap of a few years. Other
issues that were brought up during the meeting included the issue of
showcasing “bhootaradhane” as entertainment.


(Hindu, 07/02/2011)

Free multimedia course for SC/ST youth

The National Film Development Corporation
(NFDC) will conduct free training courses for Scheduled Caste and
Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) youth in Tamil Nadu from February 21. The
month-long training programme will include digital non-linear editing
(AVID or FCP) and multimedia. The income limit for youth joining the
course has been set at Rs. 2 lakh per annum. The age limit is 18 to 35
years. SC candidates who have converted to Christianity are not eligible
to join the course. The interview will be conducted at the offices of
the NFDC functioning from the Co-optex warehouse buildings, No. 350,
Pantheon Road, Egmore, Chennai, on February 14 and 15. Candidates should
have cleared Plus Two and be unemployed. They should bring original
mark sheets, community certificates, transfer certificates, ration cards
and income certificates. Attested photo copies of the certificates and
three passport size photos should also be produced at the time of
interview. The course, which is thoroughly job-oriented, is intended to
meet the growing demands of satellite TV channels, video and film
studios, said D. Ramakrishna, deputy general manager, NFDC. The course
is sponsored by Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development
Corporation Limited. (Hindu, 07/02/2011)

Gujarat HC allows rape victim to abort fetus

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court allowed
an 18-year-old dalit rape victim to terminate her 15-week pregnancy so
that the poor family does not face “innumerable mental, physical, social
and economic problems in future.” Last year, the same judge, Justice A S
Dave, allowed a dalit family to terminate a minor girl’s pregnancy in a
similar case. The victim belongs to Deodar taluka in Banaskantha
district. She was allegedly abducted on September 28, 2010 and was
illegally confined till December 5 by accused Amratji Thakor. He
repeatedly raped her in captivity. The girl’s father had lodged a police
complaint, but the accused is still at large. Her medical examination
on December 17 revealed that she was six weeks pregnant. When local
doctors refused to abort the foetus after hearing that she was a rape
victim, the family approached the HC mid-January seeking abortion under
the Medial Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. The court sought opinions
of medical experts before allowing the abortion on Tuesday. The court
wants the foetus preserved for future DNA testing to nail the accused.
“There is no bar for termination of pregnancy in case of a rape victim.
Keeping in mind the best interest of the girl and her parents and likely
consequences and innumerable mental, physical, social and economic
problems if pregnancy is not allowed to be terminated, this court has
come to the conclusion that the present case falls within the parameters
of Sections 3 and 4 of the MTP Act,” the court said. The HC directed
the civil surgeon of Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital to ensure that a
gynaecologist and obstetrician were involved in the process. And if they
thought the abortion would harm the girl, they could reconsider, the
court said.

(TOI, 10/02/2011)

Names of officials neglecting crimes against Dalits to be made public

The National Commission for Scheduled
Castes, headed by Congress MP P.L. Punia, will soon be making public a
list, of officials from Uttar Pradesh who had neglected, slackened on,
or not taken cognisance of crimes committed against Dalits in the State.
The Commission’s first step was to write to President Pratibha Patil
and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, drawing their attention to the
rapidly rising graph of atrocities against dalits. The Commission’s
Vice-President, Rajkumar Verka, said on Thursday that the object of
publicising the names of civil servants and policemen who were not being
pro-active in taking action on complaints coming in from dalits was to
tell them: “Don’t be pressured into not taking action because the crimes
have been committed by legislators belonging to the ruling Bahujan
Samaj Party.” He was referring to the case of the dalit girl who was
raped by a BSP MLA and then imprisoned by having a false case registered
against her. Evidently, Dr. Punia, who once served as Principal
Secretary to Mayawati when she was Chief Minister, had decided to take
the battle into the heart of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls next
year. The Commission’s actions come even as Congress general-secretary
Rahul Gandhi, visiting dalit rape victims in U.P., continues to
criticise Ms. Mayawati for the deteriorating law and order situation in
U.P.. U.P. will not be the only State to face the Commission’s scrutiny —
the next will be the Congress-ruled Haryana, another State in which the
plight of Dalits is dire, as the incident in Mirchpur last year
demonstrated. Dr. Verka said efforts would be made to bring succour to
dalits across the country. In the last four months, 568 crimes against
Dalits in U.P., and 348 from Haryana, had come to the Commission’s
attention. Most of the cases related to murder, rape, land grabbing and
atrocities by the police, he said. Asked whether the Commission was
targeting U.P. alone, he denied it, pointing out that the Commission had
taken the Congress-ruled Delhi government to task for shifting Rs.
4,000 crore, earmarked for dalit welfare, for the Commonwealth Games,
and the Congress-ruled Haryana government for shifting Rs. 3,400 crore
to other expenditure heads. He added that Rs. 6,000 crore in U.P. and
Rs. 2,600 crore in Punjab had similarly gone astray. (Hindu, 11/02/2011)

Communal violence in Rajasthan village forces dalit exodus

HUSHEYPUR (RAJASTHAN): A mournful silence
welcomes visitors to Husheypur village in Alwar district, 265 km from
Jaipur. For more than 20 days, men of the 40 Dalit households are
missing and their women live in fear of attacks by the village’s Muslim
community. On January 19, a minor scuffle between the two communities
turned violent. Zahid Khan was shot dead by a group of Dalits after he
ran over a chicken with his tractor. A spat led to a bloodbath between
the communities that have lived together for over a century. Men from
the Muslim community ransacked and set on fire Dalits homes. The
families fled and only elderly women with their children, who had also
fled, returned last week. SP Mahesh Goyal said a committee had been
formed from representatives of all communities to resolve the tension.
”We are in touch with the Dalits who have fled the village and members
of the other community. We have provided enough security at the village
and the Dalits should be back in a day or two,” he said, adding that
those who fled are the accused in the firing incident. Haaji Kallu, the
victim’s father, says, ”From administration to social activitists,
whoever comes here, asks us to maintain peace. We want peace but how
will I raise five grandchildren… Administration gave ex-gratia to those
whose houses were ransacked but no one asked me if I need anything,” he
says. Kamla Devi, whose house was also attacked, said, ”We were never a
part of the violence, yet we were targeted. They looted the cash and
jewellery I had saved for my daughter Suman’s wedding in May. I feel
helpless, it would be easy just to strangulate my daughter and commit
suicide.” (TOI, 11/02/2011)

Dalits told to unite to achieve political power

The Andhra Pradesh Dalit Mahasabha on
Sunday gave a clarion call to SCs, STs, BCs and minorities to unite to
achieve political power for themselves in the State. The post-Mandal
commission political situation in many States saw ‘Bahujans’ attaining
political power in many States. But the political hegemony of ‘two
politically dominant communities’ continued unhindered in Andhra Pradesh
for decades, Dalit intellectuals analysed at its State conference here.
Presiding over the conference, its founder Kathi Padma Rao, a prolific
writer of Dalit literature, underscored the need for a ‘grand alliance’
among SCs, STs, BCs and minorities to achieve political power and get
their due in allocation of State’s resources. He exhorted the
participants to take a vow not to succumb to electoral malpractices
including ‘money and liquor. Electrifying atmosphere prevailed at the
conference when the participants in unison asserted: “Let us elect our
own leaders. Let us decide our own destiny. Let us work for realising
the goals set by Father of the Constitution Babasaheb Ambedkar.”
Articulating the demand for division of the State, Prof. Ganta
Chakrapani impressed upon the ‘Bahujans’ that, “it will be relatively
easy to achieve political power in a smaller State.” Dalits were in the
forefront of movement for Telangana State, he said adding division of
the State would bring more opportunities for Dalits and pave the way for
‘Jai Bahujana Andhra’. Protracted struggle Recalling the unity among
Malas and Madigas at the time of Tsundur and Karamchedu massacres, Dalit
research scholar Visharadhan said when politically dominant communities
were alert to achieve political power, Dalits were in a relaxed state.
“We need to unite and wage a protracted struggle to achieve political
power,” he said. The conference was attended by among others by Andhra
Pradesh Dalit Mahasabha president Chintapalli Guruprasada Rao, Kula
Nirmoolana Sangam president K. Ramdoss, All-India Dalit Rights
Federation national convener K. Ananda Rao and families of victims of
Tsundur and Karamchedu massacres. (Hindu, 21/02/2011)

‘Welfare should reach Dalits directly’

Development of the downtrodden will be sustainable only if welfare reached them directly, said former

Secretary to the Prime Minister K.R.
Venugopal. Only if the allocations made for the benefit of the Scheduled
Castes and Tribes were spent totally, without leaving any unspent
balance, would they help, he told a round-table here on Sunday. He said
if allocations were to lead to their logical results, care must be taken
to see that the SC-ST Special Component Plans were implemented in toto.
This could be done only when pressure was built on the political
leadership, he said, adding that strong political will was essential in
enabling mechanisms to ensure that the allocation would be spent on what
it was intended for. B. Venkat, general secretary, Andhra Pradesh
Agricultural Labour Union regretted the ‘development untouchability’
that was present all over the State and country. He said the union was
close to completing a survey about the physical conditions of people in
‘Dalitwadas’. It revealed that in over 50 per cent of habitations, the
Dalits were deprived of approach roads, water supply and streetlights,
while in 80 per cent of them, there was a felt need for cemeteries to
bury the dead. P. Venkateshwarlu, convener, Development Sub-Committee in
the Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) that organised the round-table, said only
a united struggle could achieve the desired results. Conspiracy Korivi
Vinay Kumar of the Dalit Bahujan Front said it was just not
discrimination that was the result of the lack of progress for the SCs
and STs but a clear conspiracy to deprive them from their due. Among
others who participated were Sriram Naik, State Secretary, AP Girijan
Sangham and D. Prabhakar of the Struggle Committee Against Caste
Discrimination. (Hindu, 21/02/2011)

AG briefs CCPA on quota for Dalit Christians, Dalit Muslims

Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati on Monday
briefed the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on the long-standing
demand by Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims that they be given
reservation, the way Dalit Buddhists are, as per the 1950 Presidential
Order. The briefing was given in the context of a Public Interest
Litigation petition pending in the Supreme Court: at the last hearing,
it asked the government whether the fact that Dalit Christians and Dalit
Muslims are deprived of the benefits of reservation did not amount to
hostile discrimination under Article 14. The government will have to
either justify upholding the 1950 Presidential Order or accept the
Ranganath Misra Commission recommendation of reservation for Dalit
Christians and Dalit Muslims. Government sources said the special
briefing was given as “many complicated legal issues are involved” but
currently “no decision was called for.” However, the government will
have to deal with the matter sooner rather than later, the sources said,
as a decision will impact on the promised caste census: at present,
there are no authentic figures for the various castes. Taking a decision
on a quota for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims is complicated by the
fact that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has said if
reservation is given to these two groups, it should not be from the 15
per cent meant for Dalits — it should be a separate quota. The existing
position on reservation at the national level is: 27 per cent for the
Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 15 per cent for the SC (or Dalits) and
7.5 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes. The three categories together
account for 49.5 per cent, and till now, the Supreme Court has ruled
that reservation should not exceed 50 per cent. Clearly, therefore, a
decision one way or the other will open a can of worms. The members of
the CCPA, which is headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, include
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and
Defence Minister A.K. Antony. A special invitee at the meeting was
Minorities Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed. (Hindu, 22/02/2011)

Girl’s father kills lover, throws body in river

KAPURTHALA: In a case of honour killing,
the father of a girl allegedly killed her lover, who was from a
so-called lower caste, and threw his body in river Beas, early this
month. The accused, who has been arrested, reportedly told the police
that he killed the boy to “save the honour of his family”. The girl
belonged to Jat community while the boy was from Valmiki community,
which made the affair unacceptable to the girl’s father. According to
police sources, the victim, Sandeep Singh, 20, of Choladha village, who
was a cop in Punjab police and a promising Kabaddi player, had gone
missing on February 6. He was to fly to Malaysia for a kabaddi
tournament on February 14. Later his family learnt that he was kidnapped
by the girl’s father Balwinder Singh of neighbouring Lakh Waryan
village. The girl, Karamdeep Kaur, is a student of BA part-II, while the
youth had given up his studies after plus two. “Sandeep was preparing
for his tournament when he went missing. We kept searching him, but
failed,” said Balkar Singh, uncle of the youth. He said that Sandeep and
Karamdeep, who were class-fellows, had been having an affair since
their school days. “When Balwinder was rounded up and questioned on
Monday he confessed to his crime,” said SHO, Kabirpur, Narinder Pal
Singh Aujla. He said that efforts were on to search for the body. Call
details of Sandeep’s mobile phone revealed that the last call made from
his phone was to the girl’s cell phone. (TOI, 22/02/2011)

Dalit atrocity cases reviewed

In deference to wishes of dalits,
district Collector Kantilal Dande on Wednesday promised to ensure a
day’s wages and transport charges whenever dalits were called for
investigation in connection with cases registered under SC/ST Atrocities
Prevention Act. The Collector, who chaired the SC/ST Vigilance and
Monitoring Committee meeting, also promised to reimburse medical
expenses incurred by “victims” at private hospitals when they could not
access government hospitals. The Collector, who reviewed the status of
various cases sub-division wise along with SP C.S.R.K.L.N. Raju and
others , directed them to ensure that investigation was completed within
the stipulated time. He directed them to take up with forest officials
the alleged harassment of tribals eking out a living from bamboo
products in Diguvamitta near Yerragondapalem. The SP disapproved conduct
of marriages in police stations. Officials revealed that of the 437
atrocity cases registered in the district, chargesheets were filed in
122 cases, while 226 cases were closed after it was found during probe
by police that they were frivolous. Punishment was awarded by courts in
18 cases. (Hindu, 24/02/2011)

Scholarship to SC, ST students increased

Measures to provide amenities in
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe colonies and increase in scholarship
and food allowance provided to SC and ST students are among the
highlights of the 2011-12 budget under Social Welfare head. The budget
promises Rs. 300 crore for providing amenities at SC and ST colonies
across the State at the rate of Rs. 1 crore per colony. The annual
scholarship for students up to Class 7, who are not residing in hostels,
will be increased from Rs. 75 to Rs. 250 and for those who are studying
in Class 8 to Class 10 from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500. This will benefit 25
lakh students. Food allowance for students in SC and ST hostels has been
hiked from Rs. 650 to Rs. 750 for pre-matric students and from Rs. 750
to Rs. 850 for post-matric students. Allocation for development of
backward classes has been hiked from Rs. 606 crore last year to Rs. 760
crore. (Hindu, 25/02/2011)

Discrimination against Dalits prevalent: study

Caste discrimination practised against
Dalits does not spare even Panchayat presidents, reveals a study done in
select districts of Tamil Nadu. The study conducted by Evidence, a
Madurai-based organisation, in 213 Panchayats across 12 districts in the
State has come up with its findings on myriad forms of discrimination
experienced by Dalits under various categories. The survey was carried
out in Madurai, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai, Thanjavur,
Nagapattinam, Salem, Namakkal, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Coimbatore and
Tirupur. Forty-five Panchayat presidents from nine districts have given
testimonies of discrimination, the survey reports. The discrimination
takes the form of demand for appointment of Caste Hindu writer, refusal
to cooperate with the Panchayat president, obstructionist tactics by the
Caste Hindu Ward members and Panchayat vice-president to stall conduct
of affairs and harassment of women Panchayat presidents. The 198-page
report reveals an exhaustive account of various forms of discrimination
and how they assume universality under certain categories. These include
discrimination in temples, atrocities against Dalit women and
discrimination in processions, burial of the dead and in offering
services such as hair dressing and laundry to the Dalits. With a few
exceptions, almost all villages witness such discrimination.
Discrimination in temples varies from restrictions on entry to bar on
touching the temple car rope and participation in festivities or
allowing processions to go through Dalit colonies. According to the
report, 104 villages out of the total villages surveyed recorded the
practice of two-tumbler system, revealing 49 per cent prevalence. Among
them, 14 out of 22 villages in Coimbatore, 14 out of 24 villages in
Dindigul, 13 out of 21 in Salem, 13 out of 17 villages in Virudhunagar,
11 out of 17 villages in Thanjavur and seven out of 13 villages in
Madurai, recorded the practice. In Nagapattinam, the study carried out
in 16 villages in Vedaranyam reveals the prevalence of two tumbler
system in Kodiakkarai, Vedananagar, Ayyakaranpulamirandamsethi, and
Siriyankadu. Of the categories, discrimination was negligible only in
Government Hospitals and PHCs. (Hindu, 07/03/2011)

Dalit activist thrashed in Rajasthan for seeking information under RTI Act

Hot on the heels of the gruesome murder
of NREGA activist Niyamat Ansari in Jharkhand, a Dalit activist was
severely beaten at the panchayat’s social audit meeting at Bamanor
village in Barmer district of Rajasthan over the week-end for seeking
information about employment guarantee works under the Right to
Information Act. Sarpanch Ghulam Shah and his accomplices allegedly
attacked activist Mangala Ram with an axe and thrashed him, breaking
both his legs, at the Gram Sabha at panchayat building, where the
government-sponsored social audit of works was in progress, on Thursday.
A profusely bleeding Mangala Ram was rushed to the local Community
Health Centre. Mangala Ram, 33, had sought information a few months ago
on the details of all public works sanctioned and carried out between
2001 and 2008 and the works sanctioned under the Mahatma Gandhi National
Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme since 2006 in Bamanor village. On
being supplied with incomplete information, he questioned the panchayat
functionaries. According to the State unit of People’s Union for Civil
Liberties, Ghulam Shah has been occupying the post of Sarpanch for a
long time and his family has controlled the panchayat office for about
20 years. He was reportedly annoyed by the repeated questioning of the
Dalit activist. Mangala Ram sent two applications to the Barmer
Superintendent of Police during the past six months alleging that the
Sarpanch and his associates were threatening him ever since he has asked
for information. On February 28 last, he sought police security fearing
that he might be attacked. The Dalit activist went to attend the social
audit meeting, presided over by headmaster Ghevar Singh Chaudhary – who
is also in-charge of the Gram Sabha – and attended by Ghulam Shah,
cluster in-charge Arjun Singh and other panchayat members on Thursday to
seek clarifications about his queries. While the audit was in progress,
the Sarpanch allegedly abused Mangala Ram and attacked him with an axe.
Three persons who tried to save him were also injured. He was first
taken to the CHC, from where he was referred to the government hospital
at tehsil headquarter Dhorimanna situated 20 km away and later to a
hospital in Jodhpur. PUCL State general secretary Kavita Srivastava said
since Mangala Ram’s condition did not improve, his family preferred to
admit him into a private hospital at Deesa in Gujarat. Even though a
case has been registered in connection with the attack on Mangala Ram,
police have so far not arrested Ghulam Shah. The PUCL, in a memorandum
submitted to Chief Secretary S. Ahmed, has demanded that Section 307
(attempt to murder) of I.P.C. and relevant provisions of the SC/ST
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, be applied immediately to the FIR.
Civil rights activists staged a demonstration near Albert Hall in
Ramniwas Garden here on Sunday demanding that Ghulam Shah and other
accused named in the FIR be arrested without delay and the State
Government bear the expenses of medical treatment of the victim, besides
giving him financial assistance of Rs.1 lakh as well as the government
job. Activists also pointed out that this act of the Sarpanch should be
construed as misconduct in the discharge of his duties. “The incident
took place while the statutory Gram Sabha was taking place. It was
clearly done to silence any questioning related to diversion of funds
which a social audit exposes,” pointed out Satish Kumar of the Centre
for Dalit Rights. The demonstrators said the brutal attack by Ghulam
Shah on the activist amounted to misconduct under Section 38 (1) of the
Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, for which an inquiry should be
ordered under the Act and the accused should be suspended forthwith. Ms.
Srivastava said the two cases of Niyamat Ansari’s murder and attack on
Mangala Ram depicted a pattern where individuals fighting for better
implementation of MGNREGA and RTI Act have been brutally targeted by
vested interests. “While this is proof that both the legislations are
instrumental in challenging the existing power structures, there is [an
urgent] need to support and protect citizens in their anticorruption
efforts.” (Hindu, 07/03/2011)

Casteist remark against Dalit can’t be compromised: SC

Calling a Dalit by his caste is a serious
offence that cannot be condoned even if both the accused and the
complainant arrive at a compromise, the Supreme Court said today. A
bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said the only
way of ending the feudal mentality of those insulting the Dalits would
be by sending them to the jail so as to act as a deterrent for others.
“The only way is to send you to the jail. This is modern age. The days
of feudalism are over,” the bench said while refusing to compound (close
the case by way of fine) the dispute as sought by counsel S D
Dwaraknath In the instant case, Arumugan Servai, Ajit Kumar and nine
others of Samayanallur village in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district were
sentenced to six months imprisonment for calling a neighbour Paneeselvan
“parayan”(a slang for Dalit). The Madras High Court had upheld the
sentence, after which they appealed in the apex court seeking quashing
of the sentence on the ground that both the parties to the dispute have
reached a compromise to ensure caste harmony in the village. The apex
court however, turned down the plea for quashing of the case registered
under relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 on the ground that it was not a
compoundable offence. “How can you call a man a chamar or other names
just because he is poor? It is an offence which is not compoundable.
Even if you have reached a compromise, we cannot reduce the sentence
because there is no provision under the law for compounding the
offence,” the bench said. The bench rejected the plea of the counsel
that the court, using its extraordinary powers under Article 142, can
pass an order for quashing the sentence even if the law does not provide
for it. “We can’t reduce the sentence. It (special powers) does mean we
can break the law,” the bench remarked. Article 142 grants
extraordinary powers to the apex court to pass any order in the interest
of justice. The apex court said the accused cannot insult people and
get away with it. “People of India must change their way. If there is a
minimum punishment, you have to undergo it. You can’t insult people,”
the bench said. The bench then posted the matter for final disposal
after six weeks and said it would hear the case only on the merits of
the allegations. (Deccan herald, 08/03/2011)

`Raghuvansh calls for reviving ‘Chamar Regiment’

Former Union minister and RJD
vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Monday demanded reviving
“Chamar Regiment” to boost the morale of Scheduled Castes in the
country. Speaking during the zero hour in the Lok Sabha, he said, “The
(Chamar) regiment was formed by the British during the Second World War,
but they abolished it after the completion of war. The regiment was in
place during 1942-46. It is not that this is going to be something new.
When there are nine regiments named after different communities why not
the 10the regiment after this community. There are crores of people of
the said Scheduled Caste in the country, it (the regiment) will boost
the morale of this community that they also have a role in the security
of the country.” Raghuvansh persisted with his demand using the word
“Chamar” despite repeated caution against doing so from the chair.
Speaking later, he said, “My notice for raising this matter was
approved. My notice did use the word Chamar, so how can I be barred from
using that word while raising this matter in the Lok Sabha.” “I will
appeal against expunging parts of my intervention during the zero hour,”
Raghivansh added. (IE, 08/03/2011)

Mirchpur Dalit killings: Name those who led stir after accused booked, SC tells Haryana govt

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday
asked the Haryana government to identify the persons and organisation
responsible for holding demonstration in December last against booking
of some upper caste people in connection with the Mirchpur Dalit
killings case. A bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly also
directed the government and the Railway Board to spell out steps taken
by them to recover financial loss caused following the 11-day stir
organised by 12 khap panchayats. “Who are the persons behind it? You
must tell us the names of the persons and the party who were behind all
these agitations. There must have been some kind of political backing
behind it,” the bench said while granting two weeks’ time to reply. Not
impressed by the response of the state government that cases have been
filed, the court said, “Forget about cases. We know what happens after
case is registered. State must tell us who is responsible for this
(agitation).” Villagers had been protesting the booking of 98 members of
their community in the case relating to the killing of 70-year-old
Tarachand and his physically challenged teenaged daughter Suman at
Mirchpur village in Hisar on April 21 last year. Demanding a fresh probe
into the Dalit killings, upper caste people of Mirchpur and adjoining
villages had brought the rail and road traffic to Delhi via Jind to a
grinding halt earlier this month. On the last hearing the state
government had informed the court that loss of Rs 45.92 lakh was caused
to the transport department due to agitation and Rs 90,000 were spent by
forest department in removing 3130 trees which were uprooted by
protesters.

(TOI, 08/03/2011)

Dalit activist leaves hospital alleging negligence by doctors

Dalit activist Mangala Ram from Bamanor
village in Barmer district — who was brutally attacked recently for
seeking information under the Right to Information Act — left Sawai Man
Singh Hospital here on Tuesday, a day after being brought from Deesa in
Gujarat and admitted to the poly-trauma ward for treatment at the State
Government’s expenses. Mangala Ram, 33, was severely beaten up at the
village panchayat’s social audit meeting on March 3 allegedly by
Sarpanch Ghulam Shah and his accomplices, who took exception to his
applications under the RTI Act seeking details of all public works
sanctioned and carried out between 2001 and 2008. He sustained injuries
in head and arms, and his legs were broken in the attack. Following
protests by civil rights groups, the police have registered a first
information report against Mr. Shah, while Barmer Collector Gaurav Goyal
has provided financial assistance worth Rs. 25,000 to Mr. Ram. On the
instructions of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the victim was brought from
a private hospital in Deesa and admitted to SMS Hospital here on
Monday. Mr. Shah and other accused named in the FIR are yet to be
arrested. Dalit groups here point out that the Sarpanch enjoys
considerable clout in the region and has been occupying the office for
22 years. He had allegedly threatened Mr. Ram several times when he
raised the issue of incomplete information and demanded follow-up on his
applications. Mr. Ram left the hospital on his own on Tuesday while
alleging that doctors in the poly-trauma ward were not attending to him
properly. His fractured legs were bandaged with a heavy dressing and the
hospital’s orthopaedic surgeons were yet to take a final decision on
his surgery. “Doctors told me yesterday that surgery would be needed for
[treatment of] serious fractures. But they started saying this morning
that a plaster would set my legs right,” Mr. Ram told The Hindu lying in
an ambulance after leaving the hospital. He left for Palanpur in
Gujarat, where he said the surgery of his legs would be performed
shortly. The Dalit activist, who rested briefly at the house of an
acquaintance in the city, said he suspected that the doctors were
neglecting him “on the instructions of the political set-up” because he
had contested the panchayat election last year as a rival candidate
against Mr. Shah. “Everyone in our village knows that the Sarpanch has
[high] political connections. He can easily influence the hospital
machinery here.” SMS Hospital Medical Superintendent L.C. Sharma, when
contacted, said since there was a difference of opinion in the
orthopaedics department about the course of treatment for Mr. Ram, the
hospital administration offered to appoint a medical board. “The board
would have decided if the plaster would suffice or the surgery on legs
was immediately required.” Dr. Sharma said Mr. Ram and his relatives
were insisting that the Deesa hospital’s opinion in favour of surgery be
accepted here. “Even though we sought some time and facilitated his
telephonic talk with [social activist] Ms. Aruna Roy, Mr. Ram was
adamant on leaving. He gave us in writing that he is not willing to
undergo our treatment.”

The Centre for Dalit Rights, which has
taken up Ram’s case, was dismayed that he had left Jaipur within a day.
Gopal Ram Verma of CDR said the activist’s presence in Jaipur would have
helped in putting pressure on the State Government for dealing with the
threats issued by dominant sections to “ordinary people who dare to
question them” through the RTI queries. “The brutal attack on Mangala
Ram depicts a pattern emerging in the rural areas of Rajasthan.
Individuals fighting against corruption in public life are routinely
threatened and implicated in false cases by those having [vested]
interests,” pointed out Bhanwar Meghwanshi of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti
Sangathan. In view of the sensitivity of the matter, two teams of the
State Human Rights Commission and the Directorate of Social Audits have
visited Bamanor village to verify the facts. The State’s Dalit activists
leaving for Shillong to attend the Third National Convention on RTI
beginning on Thursday also plan to raise the matter vigorously at the
national level.

(Hindu, 09/03/2011)

Mirchpur dalit murders: HC notice to Selja for ‘threatening’ accused

Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja has
been issued notices by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a petition
that has accused her of “forgery, criminal intimidation, fabrication and
hatching a criminal conspiracy”. The petitioner, advocate B S Chahar,
has alleged that Selja, who was “instrumental in instigating leaders and
members of Balmiki community against Jat leaders in Mirchpur case”,
tried to save herself from a litigation by pressuring the undertrials
and forcing them to sign “blank non-judicial papers”. Chahar had
approached the HC on behalf of two accused in the case seeking bail. A
few days later, complaints signed by the duo, Dalbir Singh and Ajit
Singh, were sent to the HC, alleging that they had not engaged Chahar.
Following this, the HC directed the Jail Superintendent to record their
statements and find out the authenticity of the complaints. In their
statements, they submitted that they had not sent any such complaint and
wanted Chahar to be their lawyer. Meanwhile, Selja moved the court,
seeking removal of her name from the petition filed by the duo. It was
allowed by the court. After the report of the Jail Superintendent,
Chahar on Thursday filed a petition against Selja, oath commissioners
from whom unsigned judicial papers were allegedly obtained and the then
Jail Superintendent who allegedly acted at Selja’s behest to obtain the
signatures of the two undertrials. Chahar has requested the HC to direct
the Haryana government to register an FIR against Selja, oath
commissioner, Jail Superintendent for forcing the undertrials to sign
blank non judicial papers and level false allegations against him
(Chahar). (IE, 11/03/2011)

3 Barmer cops suspended for keeping Dalit in illegal custody

JAIPUR: Three policemen, including the
in-charge of Sindhari police station in Barmer district, were on
Thursday suspended for keeping a dalit man in illegal custody and
severely beating him up. The victim, identified as Jabarnath, alleged
that the cops threatened to implicate him and demanded a bribe of Rs
15,000. Jabarnath sustained injuries and is currently undergoing
treatment. Barmer SP Santosh Chalke said the victim was a suspected of
theft and was summoned to the Sindhari police station.He added that
Sindhari police station in-charge and two other constables have been
suspended till completion of a probe into the incident. However,
Jabarnath said that he was called to the police station on March 2 and
kept there for six days. “No case was registered against me. Two
constables of the police station demanded Rs 15000 to release me. When I
could pay them the money, they let me go after six days but only after
severely thrashing me,” the victim said. Jabarnath said that he was
taken to a hospital after he went home with injuries on his body.
Earlier, Dalit rights activists in the state had created an uproar after
a Dalit RTI activist was beaten up in a village of same district. Dalit
families of Husheypura village in Alwar district and Chandpur in
Bharatpur district had fled from their houses after they were attacked
by members of another community over petty disputes. (TOI, 11/03/2011)

Dalit activist commits suicide

Owing to alleged pressure from the police
and some politicians following his son’s elopement with an ‘upper’
caste girl, Dalit leader B.T. Sampangi (53) allegedly committed suicide
late on Friday. His body was found hanging from the ceiling of the Dr.
Ambedkar Community Hall in Bommanahalli. Ironically, this was the same
hall where he had delivered several speeches to mobilise members of his
community against caste-based oppression. In a suicide note, Mr.
Sampangi said he took the extreme step because of constant harassment by
the Madivala police, a local BBMP councillor and his supporters who
were hounding him for whereabouts of his younger son, Anand, who had
eloped with a girl from the Reddy community. Mr. Sampangi belonged to
the Scheduled Caste Holeya community and the councillor is said to be
related to the girl’s family. According to R. Mohan Raj, State convener
of the Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti. Sampangi’s family was facing
social boycott in the area and were feeling threatened by the behaviour
of the ‘upper’ caste people in the neighbourhood as well as some
political goons.

(Hindu, 21/03/2011)

Honour claims two lives in Sirsa?

SIRSA: In a shocking incident raising
suspicion of honour killing, 21-year-old boy and his 18-year-old
girlfriend died mysteriously in Bajekan village here on Sunday. Adding
more to the mystery, families cremated the bodies without any inquest
proceedings. And, more surprisingly, notwithstanding the fact that the
families as well as policemen, including Sirsa SP Satinder Kumar Gupta,
have confirmed these to be unnatural deaths, police are yet to act for
the want of any complaint. Deceased have been identified as Sonu son of
Banwari Lal and Mamta Rani, a resident of village Bajekan. According to
information Sonu was a student of polytechnic college in Moriwala and
the girl was a student BA-I in Bajekan village. Sources said both Sonu
and Mamta had been in love for past the two. As their parents had
accepted their relationship, Mamta was sent to her maternal uncle’s
house. As the circumstances in which the two were found dead could not
be ascertained their families claimed that they had consumed poison. “It
is case of suicide and even we have not received any complaint yet. If
anybody makes complaint in this direction, the police will take strict
action against the accused,” said Satinder Kumar Gupta, SP Sirsa. He,
however, chose to keep mum as to what stopped police in taking action
against those cremating the bodies without getting post-mortem
conducted. (TOI, 22/03/2011)

Revelry turns sour as Jat, Gurjars attack Dalits

ROHTAK: Holi revelery turned sour on
Sunday when a group of upper caste revelers attacked a group of Balmiki
youths in Balham village of Rohtak district. A group of youths from the
Jat and Gurjar communities were passing through the area where the
Balmiki community lives on Sunday when some youths who were in an
inebriated condition reportedly passed comments which did not go down
well with the Balmikis, who objected to it. The sources said that this
led to a verbal duel which soon took a violent turn as the two groups
clashed while raining blows and attacking each other with lathis. The
police informed that five Balmiki youths who were injured in the clash
were rushed to the PGIMS Rohtak. The injured have been identified as
Mukesh, Jai Bhagwan, Anil, Naresh and Manjit who are undergoing
treatment at Rohtak. The SHO of Kalanaur police station Hari Singh
informed TOI that a case under sections 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful
assembly), 323 (causing hurt) and some other sections of the IPC has
been registered against nine persons from the Jat and Gurjar communities
on the complaint of Amit Kumar, a Dalit. “The police have started
investigation into the incident and a police team has left for the PGIMS
Rohtak for getting statements of the victims,” the SHO said. “The
incident appears to have taken place as some of the youths were in an
inebriated condition. The accused have not been arrested so far”, the
SHO stated. (TOI, 22/03/2011)

Nine bonded labourers rescued

Nine bonded labourers, all from a Dalit
family, were rescued from a brick kiln in Hosahoodya village on the
outskirts of Chickballapur on Wednesday. Kadirappa (60) of Bogenahalli
in Gudibande taluk, his wife Gangamma and their sons, daughters and
sons-in-law were allegedly working as bonded labourers from the past one
year at the brick kiln belonging to one Narayanaswamy. Mr. Kadirappa’s
daughter Ramalakshmi (13) and son Gangaraju (14) were among the rescued.
After the intervention of Jeeta Vimukti Karnataka, a NGO working for
the cause of bonded labourers, officials rescued the labourers and
issued them release certificates on Wednesday. Chickballapur Assistant
Commissioner Vasanth Kumar told presspersons that the zilla panchayat
would immediately release Rs. 1,000 for each labourer and subsequently
chalk out measures for their rehabilitation. Mr. Kadirappa said they
were manhandled and their women folk ill-treated at the workplace. Loan
“After the working hours, the owner used to lock us inside a room,” he
claimed. Mr. Kadirappa had reportedly taken a loan of Rs. 20,000 from
Mr. Narayanaswamy and he was unable to repay it. When the labourers
expressed their desire to go home, Narayanaswamy allegedly threatened
them that they would meet the same fate as that of the “Orissa
labourer,” Mr. Kadirappa claimed. A few months ago, a bonded labourer
from Orissa was allegedly murdered at a brick kiln in Chickballapur
taluk. Official sources said that two of Mr. Kadirappa’s relatives, who
were working at the kiln, had managed to escape to Andhra Pradesh two
days ago. Efforts were on to trace and bring them back to Chickballapur.
A case has been registered with the local police station. (Hindu,
24/03/2011)

There shouldn’t be difference on basis of caste: Wasnik

Union Minister for Social Justice and
Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik, while addressing the 15th meeting of
committee for review of implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights
Act, 1955, and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989, said effective steps will have to be taken with
collective efforts to curb the offences of untouchability and atrocities
against the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes communities. Mr.
Wasnik, who was here during the weekend, said there should not be any
difference on the basis of castes and other considerations, and added
that the implementation of Act envisaged for social justice and
empowerment of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes needed to be
implemented strictly. He said the benefits of various schemes to the

Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes
should be ensured in the right perspective. He further said that
Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes students should get scholarships
under various schemes in time to enable them continue their studies.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and
Empowerment D. Napoleon said massive campaign should be launched to
eradicate the social bias against the Schedule Castes and Schedule
Tribes. He appreciated the role of State in doling out various schemes
for the empowerment of these communities. Himachal Minister for Social
Justice and Empowerment, Sarveen Chaudhary urged the Union Minister to
implement the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh

Gram Yojna in the entire State. The
scheme is presently being implemented in just two districts in the
State. Ms. Chaudhary said that according to the 2001 Census, the
Scheduled Caste population in the

State was 24.72 per cent of the total
population. So far in the State, 56 castes have been included in the
Scheduled Caste list. She said all Acts pertaining to their welfare were
being implemented effectively in the State, and added that the cases
filed under these in the State were negligible. The Minister also
claimed that the State Government had increased the allocation under
Scheduled Caste Component Plan, from 11 per cent to 24.72 per cent, to
ensure the speedy the development of the Schedule Castes concentrated
villages since 2008-09. She said that the Government had made provision
of Rs. 816 crore under the sub-plan for the year 2011-12 and added that
3,901 villages, comprising 40 per cent of Scheduled Caste population,
would be provided basic infrastructure facilities. The representatives
of Centre for Mountain Dalit Rights, a NGO from Palampur, fighting for
minority and Scheduled Caste rights, also met the Union Minister.
(02/05/2011)

Stress on holistic approach to Dalit liberation

South India has the largest number of
oppressed people in the world, according to A.M. Chinnappa, Archbishop
of Chennai and president of the Tamil Nadu Catholic Bishops’ Council
(TNBC). Releasing the Dalit Bible Commentaries (DBC) at a function
organised in connection with the 10th anniversary celebrations of the
Centre for Dalit/Subaltern Studies (CDS) at the Bishop’s House here on
Saturday, Rev. Chinnappa said that in no other part of the world there
are so many oppressed persons as in South India. Tamil Nadu is the State
where casteism is most prevalent in India, followed by Andhra Pradesh.
The attempt of the Dalit Bible Commentaries, namely Deuteronomy and 1
& 2 Samuel Commentaries, is to lead the people from darkness that
casteism symbolises, into light. The Archbishop said that the Dalits
constitute the root of theology, and therefore, the task of liberation
of Dalits should be taken up after integrating the different theologies.
Any attempt at Dalit liberation should not only involve the oppressed
people but also the oppressors, to have a holistic approach towards the
goal of Dalit liberation, he said. Rev. Chinnappa honoured James Massey,
Director, CDS and author of 1 & 2 Samuel Commentaries, and Monodeep
Daniel, author of Deuteronomy. I. John Mohan Razu introduced the
commentaries. The guests received copies of the commentaries from the
Archbishop. Rev. Y. William, Church of South India Bishop of Vellore,
released the Leviticus and Numbers Commentaries. Rev. P. Soundararaju,
Catholic Bishop of Vellore and Chairman of TNBC Commission for Youth,
welcomed the gathering. (Hindu, 02/05/2011)

Himachal BJP tries to win over dalits

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem
Kumar Dhumal told reporters here on Sunday that his government was
setting up community centres named after Dr B.R. Ambedkar in every
Assembly segment. “All these community centres will have a seating
capacity of 1,000-2,000 persons and will be built on a similar design.
Besides, villages having a dominant dalit population will be provided
drinking water facilities and solar light systems,” he said. Mr Dhumal,
who was here to attend a party programme, said that since tourism was an
important sector of his state’s economy, he had initiated the home-stay
programme in the rural interiors. “We will be providing housekeeping
training to the local people who have an additional room and toilet and
no commercial charges for electricity etc. will be taken from them. The
programme is designed to take tourists on routes other than known places
like Shimla and Manali,” he said. The Himachal government had also
decided to provide a free night stay to couples having a girl child. “If
anyone stays at our hotels for two days with their daughter, the third
night will be a free gift from the girl child to the parents,” the HP
chief minister said. Mr Dhumal said that his government was working
towards releasing a book containing tales of love, honour, courage and
even haunting spirits related to various villages. (AA, 02/05/2011)

Dalit body’s demo flays atrocities in State

The National Confederation of Dalit
Organisation (NACDOR) staged a demonstration before the Secretariat,
headed by it president Ashok Mallik here on Monday, against the
allegedly deteriorating law and order situation in the State and several
attacks on the Dalits across the State. NACDOR also demanded before the
Chief Minister for the correction of Sahar, Kabari, Saar and Soura to
Sabar and similarly, Mehetar instead of Mehentar so that those people
could reap the benefits of reservation provided to the STs and SCs
respectively as per the Constitutional provisions and also help
preventing land mafias from rampant land-grabbing. The demonstrators
also demanded allocation of homestead land to the landless Dalits and
tribals and also allotment of the agricultural land they have been
cultivating for decades in a time-bound period. Their demands also
included withdrawal of false cases lodged against peaceful Dalit and
tribal demonstrators on March 21 and punishment to the concerned police
officials under the Atrocity Prevention Act, inquiry and punishment to
the culprits, who killed an innocent Dalit boy Raja Patra (12) in the
BRPL company premises at Joda in Keonjhar district, justice to destitute
girl Dipika Barik, a victim of conspiracy and murder bid by a so-called
social worker with dubious background allegedly shielded by the
Commissionerate Police. The demonstrators further alleged that neither
any enquiry nor any action has been taken by the police on Dipika’s FIR,
vide Mahila PS case no 157 (3) and Sahid Nagar PS case no 87/2011.
Among others, Kailash Mishra, Latipur Raheman and Debaraj Naik were also
present. (Pioneer, 03/05/2011)

Jan Lokpal Bill Is anti dalit says Mayawati

Calling the Draft Committee for Jan
Lokpal Bill as anti dalit, the state unit of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
said rejecting Chief Minister Mayawati’s demand to include a dalit in
the committee shows anti-dalit mentality of its leaders. Spokesman of
the party said that the way Swami Agnivesh, member of the Draft
Committee, rejected CM’s demand shows that the members were not willing
for uplift of the downtrodden. “The BSP supports Anna Hazare’s
anti-corruption campaign because it believes in corruption free society.
In the same time the party also believe in social equanimity and
therefore Chief Minister Mayawati had demanded inclusion of a dalit in
the committee. And this is a justified demand,” the spokesman said. He
said that the BSP government was committed to wipe out corruption from
government working. “The Lokayukt is doing a good job and the government
has acted as per his advise. Besides, the Government keeps record of
every penny spent. Therefore, allegation of corruption levelled by
members of the draft committee were false,” he said. (Pioneer,
03/05/2011)

A village where dalits can’t wear footwear or ride bikes

MADURAI: Villur, set in a typical
agrarian backdrop with about 1,200 households was once a peaceful
village that was until the dalits challenged the diktats of the upper
caste’ Thevars. For dalits of Villur, about 50km from Madurai and the
scene of violence on Saturday night, buying a motorcycle was a sign of
extreme luxury just few years back. But only after they managed to buy
one they realized that the bigger challenge was riding it down the
neatly laid Kaliamman street in the village that leads to their colony.
When G Thangapandian (27), a dalit youth, decided to challenge the caste
diktat that dalits should not ride motorcycles on Kaliamman street, it
ended in a brutal attack on his house by a mob of over 500 persons,
including women armed with broomsticks. “If I am alive now it is because
of this grill gate,” pointed out G Murugan, Thangapandian’s brother.
The gate was damaged in several places. “The mob tried to break open the
gate with boulders, but left later on Saturday night,” said Murugan,
fear still evident on his face. The dalits, overwhelmed by the sheer
numbers and economic status of the more influential Thevars, obeyed the
diktats they did not wear footwear and they did not ride bicycles or
motorcycles on

Kaliamman street. “We are served tea in different tumblers and we are not entertained in the barber

shops in the village,” said Murugan’s
father Guru. The village has been a witness to the worst forms of caste
discrimination, as even schools have become a platform for such
practices. “My non-dalit classmates would demand that I address them as
Ayya.’ If I call them by their names they would abuse me with filthy
words and threaten me,” said M Palani, who just completed his Plus-Two
in the higher secondary school in the village. It all started about ten
years back when the family of Thangapandian, who owns a seven-acre land
beside a poclain vehicle, questioned the restrictions imposed on dalits.
“His family was immediately ostracized,” said Tamil Nadu Untouchability
Eradication Front secretary K Samuel Raj. In fact, the ferocity of the
attack by the non-dalits, when they surrounded the Villur police station
when the Madurai rural superintendent of police Asra Garg was inside on
Saturday night, shocked even police personnel. “I have not seen such
violent mob behaviour. We managed to escape their attack only because we
had fire arms,” said a police official. Despite Garg opening fire in
the air to disperse the mob, 12 of the total 14 people injured during
the violence were police personnel. The SP’s vehicle was also damaged.
“We have arrested 50 persons so far and are in the lookout for 150
more,” said Asra Garg. Police officials say that the caste
discrimination has social, economical and political facets and needs to
be dealt sensitively. “To start with we will begin with strict law
enforcement,” said a senior police official. “Police see caste
discrimination as a law and order problem. But it goes beyond that. A
detailed study should be done on caste discrimination and untouchability
in Tamil Nadu. The government should launch a campaign to spread the
message that untouchability is not only an offence, but also a sin,”
said A Kathir, executive director of Evidence, a NGO. (TOI, 03/05/2011)

Dalits agitate for restoration of burial ground

Over 100 dalits laid a siege to the
Prakasam Bhavan here on Tuesday, seeking restoration of their burial
ground in Edugulapadu village near Thuravagunta on the town outskirts.
The agitators, including a large number of women, refused to leave the
place and waited till late in the evening for return of District
Collector Kantilal Dande who was away from the town, seeking his
intervention to settle the matter. They also submitted a memorandum to
Superintendent of Police C.S.R.K.L.N.Raju seeking justice for them. The
community elder B. Abraham said “we have been using the land as burial
ground since the days of our ancestors. We were prevented from entering
the burial ground by some people who claimed to have purchased the land
on Monday. We want the Collector to restore our burial ground to us”.
Taluka Circle Inspector M. Lakshman said the trouble started when a
group of dalits who were prevented from performing funeral on Monday by
those who had claimed to have purchased the land close to the
Chennai-Kolkata highway. “We intervened and paved the way for conduct of
funeral”, he added. Meanwhile, on a complaint from the one Madanmohan
who had said to have purchased the land, the Madipadu police had
registered a case against the group under IPC section 324(causing hurt
with lethal weapons) read with IPC section 34(acts done by several
persons in furtherance of common intention).

(Hindu, 04/05/2011)

Three in custody for bid to disrupt Dalit wedding

JAIPUR: Tension prevailed at a Bhilwara
village after members of another community tried to disrupt marriage
rituals of a Dalit bride. The police took three men into custody and
lodged a case of atrocities on Dalits against 100 others after they
tried to stop a horse being part of a procession. The procession
continued under police protection. Police said the incident occured at
Alagwas village in Kareda police station area. “Parasi, a scheduled
caste (SC) girl, was to marry on Thursday. Her family were performing a
ritual called “Bindori” on Wednesday night in which a horse was to take
part,” said a police officer. When her family members reached a temple
in the village, Gujjars started a protest. The father immediately
informed the police following which a team went there. “The presence of
police initially did not make an impact. We tried to sort out things
peacefully, but they kept protesting against the ritual, we took three
men into custody for disturbing peace,” the officer added. “We provided
security to the family members until the rituals were performed,” the
officer said. Parsi’s father Asuram feared that Gujjars could create a
problem during marriage. “Additional force has been deployed to maintain
law and order,” the officer said. It is the second such incident in the
village in the past three years. In 2009 also, Gujjars had forced a
groom to get down from his horse. (TOI, 06/05/2011)

Fergusson College student among 6 young Dalits held for Naxal ‘links’

The Bhosale family may still find it hard
to believe that their brightest and most educated member, attending one
of the country’s topmost colleges, Pune’s Fergusson College, is accused
of being a Naxalite. Siddhartha Bhosale, a Master’s student in
Economics, who also took the entrance exams for becoming a Class I
government officer, was one of the six alleged Naxalites arrested by the
the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) near Chandwad in Nashik on April 29. All
the six are Dalits and the five arrested with Bhosale are young Dalit
women, three of whom are graduate students. The seniormost is Angelo
Sontakke, wife of Naxal leader Milind Teltumbde, who was allegedly
behind the February 2009 attack in Gadhchiroli that killed about 15
policemen. The other four: Sushma Ramteke alias Shraddha Gurav, arrested
from Pirangut in Pune; Mayuri Bhagat (23) alias Jenny; Jyothi Chorghe
(19) and Anuradha Sonule (23), all arrested from the Shivajinagar area
of Pune. Naxal literature, cash, a laptop, cellphones and other items
were seized from the suspects. Bhagat, a native of Chandrapur, is a
graduate in Arts who shifted to Mundwa in Pune to work with Sontakke.
Chorghe and Sonule, also Arts graduates, stayed in a small room in
Bhosari and allegedly worked as couriers for the group’s activity.
Bhosale, from Ahmednagar, lives in a small, rented house in Bhagyoday
Nagar, Kondhwa, in Pune. Police said he was trained in Gadhchiroli by
top Naxal operatives and was assigned the task of recruiting youngsters
from Pune and Nashik into the Maoist fold. Bhosale’s arrest and his
brief, police said, has underlined their suspicion that the Maoists are
targeting colleges and institutions in urban areas to recruit young
cadres from Dalit or backward classes. “It was a huge shock for us to
when we got to know about his arrest. He was a very sincere student, he
used to read lot of books. He also took the competitive examination of
MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission),” said his elder brother
Chandrakant, who works as a peon in a village school. “He was a very
active young man and never tolerated injustice,” his brother told The
Indian Express. “We could make out from the way he talked that he was
strongly against corruption. But he never just thought of Dalits or
backward classes. He was concerned about the welfare of all. It was
unbelievable when police told us that he was linked to Maoists.” Said
Chandrakant: “We are four brothers staying together in our rented house.
He used to stay out for a few days but not for long. He used to contact
us on phone when he would be away from home. We found he used to stay
with friends or relatives. We never questioned him as he is the most
educated among us and we believe he would never do anything wrong.” His
younger brother Sagar said that they belong to the Mahar caste, a
backward community. Investigators believe that Bhosale was
“indoctrinated” to join the Naxals and trained in Gadhchiroli a few
months ago. He is also believed to have been paid to recruit youngsters.
Not without reason. Ravindra Kadam, DIG (Anti Naxal operations), said
that the Naxals’ “Golden Corridor Committee” was set up to target
students and labourers in industrial centres of Gujarat and Maharashtra,
especially in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Thane and Nashik. Police said
they are exploring how these young men and women are linked to the
Golden Corridor Group and how far this network spreads. (IE, 07/05/2011)

SC/ST teachers allege discrimination

As many as 163 teachers, who are part of the Karnataka State Government Honorary Primary School

SC/ST Teachers’ Association, gathered at
Bannappa Park here on Monday to protest against the “discrimination” by
the Department of Primary and Secondary Education. The teachers
complained that their services had not been confirmed despite 24 years
of service and alleged that the honorarium they received was lower than
the regular teachers. The SC/ST honorary teachers were also denied other
benefits, they claimed. (Hindu, 10/05/2011)

TN village asks dalits to pay up more for tea

CHENNAI: A couple of weeks ago, when a
group of dalits from R Palakuruchi village lodged a complaint with the
police, alleging practise of the ‘double-tumbler system’ in the village,
the non-dalits reacted in a strange way. They hiked the rate of tea
served to dalits in village stalls. The tea stalls started charging
dalits Rs 7 for a glass of tea, costing just Rs 4 for a non-dalit. Since
most of the tea-stalls are run by nondalits, the dual price system has
dealt yet another blow to the dalits who have been facing oppression in
the remote areas of Tamil Nadu for long. However, K Gowri, sub-inspector
at the Ulagampatti police station, where the complaint was lodged,
claimed he was not aware of any hike in the price of tea for dalits. “We
have to investigate and see whether any shop is selling tea at a higher
rate to dalits,” he said. However, activists say the reason behind
hiking the rate of tea is simple. If you hike the rate, no dalit will
come and have tea. “The poor dalits can’t afford to have tea by paying
seven rupees. So instead of saying ‘no’ to serving tea to them, the
shopowners have hiked the charge,” says T L Ramu, activist and municipal
councilor of S Puthur. While every shop in R Palakuruchi keeps five
‘steel’ tumblers each for serving tea to dalits, the non-dalits are
given tea in glass tumblers. “We are not allowed to sit on benches. We
have been facing discrimination for a long time, but with this special
rate for tea, its has reached another level,” he says. It all started on
April 26 when a group of dalits complained to the police about the
practise of ‘double tumbler system’ in the village. Out of vengeance,
the non-dalits allegedly assaulted and tortured two dalits — Manimuthu
and Ganesan — after tying them with a rope. A case was also filed in
this regard and they were later rescued by the Ulagampatti police. The
decision to hike the rate for tea followed soon after this incident. “We
have arrested two people in connection with the assault case. We also
called people from different groups and a warning was also issued,”
sub-inspector Gowri said. “It’s high time the concerned collector
visited the place and ended the discrimination. Already, the two-tumbler
system is prevalent in many places. Now the issue has become more
serious with the hike in the price of tea served to dalits,” said K
Sundar, an activist based in Sivagangai. (TOI, 10/05/2011)

Dalit man killed, body hanged on tree

A Dalit man was killed and his body
hanged from a tree by some persons in Ballia district, the police said
here on Wednesday. The victim’s wife had alleged in her complaint that
brick kiln owner Ram Badan Singh and three others killed her husband.
According to the police, Rajmohan — who worked at the kiln — had been
pressurising Ram Badan for payment of wages, due to which the brick kiln
owner killed him.

Ram Badan has been arrested and efforts are on to nab the others, they said. — PTI (Hindu, 12/05/2011)

Congress Dalit workers resent over party’s office-bearers list

Punjab Congress ‘dalit’ workers plunged
into resentment for not getting an optimum number of seats in the list
of party office-bearers approved by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“There is no scope left for dalit workers in the party. Though 34 were
reserved for the dalits in the State, we did not even get that in the
newly formed team of State Congress office-bearers and district
presidents,” said a veteran leader while talking to The Pioneer. In
Punjab, 42 per cent of population belongs to the Other Backward Classes
and Schedule Caste. But the list formation is done on the basis of
‘super class category’ where dalits have alleged discrimination. During
the last president ship of Mohinder Singh Kaypee, six district
presidents and two each as general secretaries and vice presidents were
of SC category, and the team comprised with total 28 dalit members. But
this time only one-one seat has been given for general secretary (Aruna
Chowdhary) and vice president (Jagjit Singh). Chowdhary Santokh Singh
from Jalandhar (Rural), Jagdarshan Kaur from Moga and Malkit Singh Dakha
from Ludhiana (Rural) were only three successful dalit candidates who
have been accommodated as district president. The Congress, which is
known for the dalit serving party and talks about 30 per cent of
reservation of women even failed to give good share of women in the
list. Only three women got place in the list of 25 district presidents
and eight general secretaries. Besides this, family member of the former
Chief Minister Beant Singh has failed to get any seat in the team of
Captain Amarinder Singh. In another surprising change, Amarinder’s son,
Raninder Singh, who was earlier general secretary, is now an executive
committee member, along with MLAs Sunil Jakhar and Ripjit Brar in the
33-member committee. All the new vice presidents Kewal Dhillon, Lal
Singh, Jagjit Singh, Rana Kaypee, Sukhjinder Singh Sarkaria and Rana
Gurmit Sodhi and other general secretaries OP Soni, Gurjit Singh Rana,
Arvind Khanna, Harminder Jassi, Ramesh Dogra and Aruna Chowdhary are
said to be Amarinder loyalists. According to the list, the district
presidents are Jugal Kishor Sharma, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Sukhjinder
Singh Randhawa, Dharam Pal Agnihotri, Arun Walia, Santokh Singh, Harjit
Singh Parmar, Sunder Sham Arora, Satbir Singh Palli Chakki, Sukhbinder

Saini, Gurdaas Girdhar, Ashok Kumar,
Narinder Singh Bhaleria, Jagsir Singh Gagowal, Jagdarshan Singh, Subhash
Grover, Jagjit Singh Dhaula, Anup Singh and Surinder Gupta. The
important list of PCC office-bearers have only two members from camps
other than Amarinder’s Vikram Singh Bajwa, who is CLP leader Rajinder
Kaur Bhattal’s son-in-law and Fateh Singh Bajwa, younger brother of MP
Pratap

Singh Bajwa have been made general secretaries. (Pioneer, 12/05/2011)

Traders jam road after Dalit bandh call

SIRSA: Disorder prevailed here on
Thursday, when members of Dalit community gave a bandh call in the city
on Thursday. They did so to protest against the murder of a youth from
the community. There were incidents of looting and damage to shops. All
that led to the affected traders also blocking the national highway-10
for an hour. The murder had taken place in Bani village on May 1. Angry
at the protesters` action, Heera Lal Sharma, president of Haryana Vaypar
Mandal said, “Why are we targeted every time? Even the police kept mum
when miscreants were damaging shops. We demand that city SHO Maha Singh
be transferred and proper compensation be given to the affected
shopkeepers.” After the jam on NH-10, a situation of traffic chaos
emerged near the “Lal Batti Chowk” in 43 degrees celsius temperature.

Many people had to wait for an hour
there. Talking about action on the part of cops, DSP (headquarters)
Puran Chand Panwar said, “We have arrested four miscreants and impounded
one bike. Situation in the city is normal now and shopkeepers opened
their shops late in the evening. Heavy police force deployment in the
city to maintain law and order situation. We are in process of
identifying miscreants who were involved in looting and creating
disturbance. We will arrest them soon,” he added. In the May 1 incident,
Mukh Ram, 28, was shot dead by members of a group of youths due to an
old enmity. The assailants also attacked him with sharp weapons
mercilessly. The deceased was going to the Surewala village in his car.
Two days after the murder, vice-chairman of National Commission of SC
Cell, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, met the family of the deceased. He also gave a
seven-day ultimatum to the district administration as well as police
department to nab the accused. Ellenabad DSP Ravinder Kumar, who is also
investigating officer of the Bani murder case, said they had already
arrested five of the accused. However, protesters said that two accused
in the case were still at large. The bandh was to continue from 9am to
noon on Thursday. Dalit leader Veer Shanti Swaroop said, “We give five
days to police department for arresting all the accused. If police fail
to do that, we will take the protest to Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.” On
its part, the administration has announced Rs 12 lakh compensation to
the family of the deceased besides government job to a relative. (TOI,
13/05/2011)

Cabinet panel to study Bill on caste certificates

The State Government on Wednesday
constituted a three-member Cabinet panel to examine the proposed special
legislation to regulate issuance of caste certificates relating to SC,
ST and Backward Class people. The issue, which was a major item of the
agendas at the Cabinet meeting, could not be addressed due to lack of
consensus. As the draft on the special Bill amending the existing Act
envisages withdrawal of authority from the MLAs and MPs to issue caste
certificates and to vest it with the SubCollectors and Tehsildars, a
majority of the Ministers objected to the provision. They said that
there should be some sort of mechanisms under the existing dispensations
to ascertain the castes before the issue of certificated by the elected
representatives. Accordingly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed
setting up of a ministerial committee under the chairmanship of the SC
and ST Development and Backward Class Welfare Minister Lal Bihari
Himrika to examine the Bill in detail and to make necessary
recommendations. Chief Secretary Bijay Patnaik told reporters that the
committee includes Law Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and Health Minister
Prasanna Acharya. The panel would submit its report within one month so
as to enable the next Cabinet meeting to discuss and approve the
legislation to be introduced in the ensuing session of the Assembly.
(Pioneer, 18/05/2011)

Centre mulls special Mahadalit category

In a step which can have a major bearing
on Dalit politics in the country and challenge Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister Mayawati’s undisputed hold over her caste people, the Centre is
likely to carve out a special Mahadalit category and include them in
the Below Poverty Line (BPL) segment. The proposal is expected to come
up for discussion before the Union Cabinet on Thursday. Sources said the
Mahadalit category will consist of those sub-castes from Scheduled
Castes which are economically, socially and educationally most backward
in comparison to others and are landless, homeless and have symbolic
representation in Government jobs. The Congress feels that creation of
this Mahadalit category will deal a body blow to UP Chief Minister
Mayawati and other Dalit leaders. This proposal mooted by the Rural
Development Ministry could become part of the BPL census exercise once
the Cabinet gave its seal of approval. An official of the Rural
Development Ministry said there was need to reach out to the most
backward and poorest section of Dalits and this move will ensure their
empowerment. For the first time in 2007, NC Saxena committee report on
Below Poverty Line methodology talked about the need for giving especial
attention to Mahadalits and stressed that they be automatically
included in the BPL list. Expressing happiness over the Centre’s move,
Saxena told The Pioneer that “this will come as a big relief for
hundreds of thousands of Dalits.” On who will be identified as
Mahadalits, Saxena said, “those who are poorest among the poor and most
backward among the backwards.” Saxena said Mahadalits are present in
large numbers in States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu
and Assam. Bihar is the first State to treat Mahadalits as separate
category. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s revolutionary step helped
him isolate his political rival Ram Vilas Paswan in a big way. Saxena
said that while the States will have flexibility to include certain
Scheduled Castes in Mahadalit category, but they will have to ensure
that the BPL sealing fixed by the Planning Commission is not breached.
He said his committee had also recommended exclusion of ‘well-off’
castes from the list of BPL. Sources said the exercise to identify
people below poverty line will go hand in hand with caste census and be
part of it. The Cabinet on Thursday is likely to decide on the
methodology and agency to carry out this exercise. The Government will
like to complete it before September to take political advantage in the
next year’s elections in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Goa and
Uttarakhand. Incidentally, hundreds of villages have been identified
under Prime Minister’s Adarsh Gram Yojna, of which 25 are in UP. In such
villages, half of the population consists of the Mahadalits. In October
last year, the NAC had suggested inclusion of particularly vulnerable
tribal groups (PTGs), the Mahadalit groups, households headed by single
women or disabled persons or a minor, destitute households which are
dependent predominantly on alms for survival, homeless and bonded
labourers in the priority group for coverage under the Food Security
Act. (Pioneer, 19/05/2011)

Apex panels for ST, SC sub-plans reconstituted

Apex committees for reviewing and
monitoring the implementation of the sub-plans of Scheduled Tribes and
Scheduled Castes have been reconstituted with the induction of several
MLAs and MLCs. The reconstitution effected on Saturday followed approval
by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is the chairman for both
these committees. The committee on ST sub-plan has five MLAs and three
MLCs as members. The MLAs are M. Bhatti Vikramarka (Madhira
constituency), Arepalli Mohan (Manakondur), P. Rajanna Dora (Salur), G.
V. Seshu (Kondepi) and P. M. Kamalamma (Badwel). The names of the MLCs
are M. S. Prabhakar (Hyderabad), Sudhakar Babu (Kurnool) and Bharati
Naik (Nalgonda). Similarly, the State-level Vigilance and Monitoring
Committee on implementation of the Atrocities (Prevention) Act for SCs
and STs has also been reconstituted, with eight MLAs and three MLCs as
members representing SCs and STs. The MLAs representing SCs are K.
Sridhar (Wardhannapet), V. M. Abraham (Alampur), S. Jayamani
(Parvathipuram), Dirsam Padma Jyothi (Thiruvur), K. Murali Mohan (Rajam)
and Labbi

Venkatswamy (Nandikotkur). Those MLAs
representing STs are Rega Kantha Rao (Pinapaka) and Nimmaka Sugreevulu
(Palakonda). The MLCs from SCs are M. Prabhakar (Hyderabad) and Sudhakar

Babu (Kurnool). The committee has only one MLC from STs that is Bharati Naik (Nalognda). (Hindu, 23/05/2011)

Lovers meet grizly end in Moradabad

In yet another case of honour killing, a
man killed a youth when he caught him in a compromising position with
his daughter in Moradabad on Sunday morning. As per reports, the victim
identified as Manoj Saini (20) of Sitapuri village under Hayatnagar
police station fell in love with a girlidentified as Pooja- also of his
village. When their love affair became talk of the town, Pooja’s father
Om Prakash Sani restricted her movement. He also reportedly threatened
Manoj with dire consequences. Early in the morning on Sunday, Om Prakash
caught the lovelorn duo red-handed in a field. The incensed father shot
dead Manoj and Pooja with country made pistol and fled the scene.
Hearing the gunshots, villagers rushed to the field and found the couple
lying in a pool of blood. They rushed the duo to private hospital also
intimated the police about the incident. The lovers were profusely
bleeding and they were declared brought dead on arrival. A huge police
force reached the spot, to conduct investigations and prevent any
untoward incident. The police launched a massive manhunt for Om Prakash
and caught him finally from the out skirts of the village. Locals
claimed that Om Prakash accompanied by Durga Das, Hari Om and Amar Singh
descended on the field and killed Manoj and Pooja. “Om Prakash got a
whiff of Manoj and Pooja’s presence in the field and he decided to end
the chapter forever. He accompanied the said persons and killed the
duo,” the police sources said. Manoj’s father Nanhe Saini lodged an FIR
against Om Prakash, Durga Das, Hari Om and Amar Singh. The police have
registered a case and efforts are undearway to track down other named
persons. The local police have sent the bodies for post-mortem. The
incident sent shock-waves through the police department which is
grappling to counter the menace after the stern directive of the apex
court to prevent such incidents. Meanwhile, in another case of honour
killing, family members of a girl reportedly had shot their daughter
along with a youth after finding them in a compromising state in
Kushinagar on Thursday. The man identified as Dara Yadav, a native of
Pargan Chapra hamlet of Ramkola in Kushninagar, was employed as a driver
by Narpat Shukla, residing in Bihuli locality of Ramkola. A month back,
Narpat Shukla, sacked Dara after he came to know that he was in love
with his daughter Surabhi Shukla. (Pioneer, 23/05/2011)

‘Local bodies’ spending of fundsfor Dalits not up to the mark’

Gram panchayats and municipal bodies
which fail to spend 22.75 per cent of the budgetary allocation earmarked
for welfare schemes of Scheduled Castes and Tribes will now face
stringent action. Addressing a review meeting on the implementation of
welfare schemes in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts here on Monday,
Social Welfare Minister A. Narayanaswamy said the Government would not
release funds to local bodies, which fail to spend the special
allocation for Dalits. Officers who fail to implement welfare schemes
will be booked under The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989, he added, with the Civil Rights
Enforcement Cell playing a role in tracking down such cases. This
followed revelation that more than 12 gram panchayats in the two
districts had spent less than 30 per cent of the total funds and five
had spent zero per cent of the allocation for welfare schemes. Speaking
to presspersons after the meeting, Mr. Narayanaswamy said poor spending
of the 22.75 per cent reserved for SC/ST welfare was common across the
State. The Minister, who reviewed construction of homes for the homeless
under the Ashraya scheme, said that construction of thousands of houses
was pending in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts. He ordered for a
review of the works and their competition at the earliest. (Hindu,
24/05/2011)

MP govt sticks to discriminatory ’97 rule

The BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government
continues to stick to a 1997 order which discriminates between the
general category government officers and staff on the one side and those
belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward
communities on the other when it comes to holding an officer accountable
after departmental inquiry. The controversial order, issued on November
12, 1997 and signed by the then chief secretary K.S. Sharma, was being
enforced continually by four successive state governments, including the
present regime headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan. This issue was raised
prominently and serious concern was expressed regarding the “highly
demoralised” government work-force belonging to the general category by
serving and retired bureaucrats, who attended a seminar organised by the
Madhya Pradesh chapter of Indian Institute of Public Administration in
the state capital recently. The order in question, which was passed by
the state general administration department (GAD) to address the issue
of “discrimination against officers and staff belonging to the SC/ST and
other backward communities”, categorically goes on to emphasise that
leniency and special consideration should be shown towards the
government staff belonging to the reserved category. In service related
matters, the officers and staff belonging to the SC/ST and other
backward communities, should be let off in the first instance after
advising them to improve their working, the order goes on to say adding a
warning should be issued only if they fail to improve. (AA, 24/05/2011)

2,000 Dalits embrace Buddhism

Nearly 2,000 Dalits embraced Buddhism at a
function organised by the Karnataka Baudha Maha Sabha, and Karnataka
Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (Ambedkar Vada) here on Tuesday. The initiation
of the Dalits into Buddhism took place under the guidance of Buddhist
monks Manorakhit Bhanteji, Lobsana, and Tenguru. The initiation function
was held as part of 2,600th birth anniversary celebrations of Gautama
Buddha. The Dalits came in a procession from the Ambedkar Bhavan to Sri
Narayanaguru Sabha Bhavan, where the initiation function was held. Chief
convener of the Samiti Mavalli Shankar told presspersons that Buddhism
taught compassionate living. The teachings of Buddha kept people away
from bad desires. It was a known fact that priests following the Vedic
religion had driven out Buddhism from the country. But the architect of
Constitution B.R. Ambedkar was among those responsible for the revival
of Buddhism in the country, he said. On the comment of Vishwesha Tirtha
of Pejawar Math that Buddhism had little to offer to Dalits, Mr. Shankar
said he did not object to their thoughts as they were free to express
themselves in a democracy. The swamiji should realize that by giving
“Vaishnava Deekshe”, the lot of Dalits could not be improved. There had
not been any change in the lives of Dalits in 60 years after
Independence. Hinduism stood on the basic premise of caste. The heads of
maths did not want to remove casteism as they feared that this would
destroy Hinduism. “If Pejawar seer wants, let him embrace Buddhism, but
we will not accept his Deekshe”, Mr. Shankar said. President of Prajna
Vedike Krishnappa, eminent persons T. Murugeshi, Kantappa Alangar,
Bellubbi Nandakur, office-bearers of the samiti Rohitaksha, Byadarahalli
Prakash, Sundar Master, Kempanna Kamble, Ningaraj Mallady, and Hovappa
Master were present. (Hindu, 25/05/2011)

Govt drops move to divide dalits into sub-groups

NEW DELHI: The move to divide dalits into
sub-groups seems headed for cold storage, amid indications that the
Centre is apprehensive of the political consequences of the proposal
which has polarized the volatile community along sub-castes. The social
justice ministry has recalled its earlier proposal to amend the
Constitution to facilitate division of the SC list as per wishes of some
states. It will now seek the views of states on the entire issue. This
is set to put off the sensitive move by a few years. The
subcategorisation of SCs was mooted as a solution to the grievance that
powerful dalit communities had cornered reservation benefits
disproportionately to their population. The division of SCs into
sub-groups, with each bloc assigned a fraction of the 15% dalit quota,
would ensure better distribution of benefits, it was argued. Cabinet
sources said the social justice ministry has proposed that the Centre
consult the states on the sensitive issue and then hold discussions with
political parties to hammer out the way forward. This is an about-turn
from the earlier proposal which said that Article 341 of the
Constitution should be amended to enable states to seek division of the
SC list in their territory. The proposal said a state assembly could
pass a resolution seeking sub-categorisation and send it to the Centre
for Parliament’s assent. A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had in
2004 struck down subcategorisation in Andhra Pradesh, forcing the state
to ask the Centre for a constitutional amendment to overrule the apex
court order. For an issue which has polarized the supposedly homogenous
SCs into stronger and weaker blocs across the country, the Centre now
wants to tread carefully lest it be caught between the warring factions.
Sub-categorisation is seen to harm stronger SCs like Chamars in the
north and Malas in Andhra Pradesh because they enjoy claim over the
entire 15% quota for dalits. The subcategorisation would limit the bloc
to a fraction of the 15% quota earmarked for them. Dalit activists have
dubbed it a ploy to pit SCs against each other and break their
consolidation under identity-based political platforms like BSP. The
National Commission for SCs, chaired by PL Punia, has also been strongly
opposed to the move to amend the Constitution. It said, “Instead of
dividing SCs, the state government (AP) should devise proper mechanism
to empower the poorest of the poor among SCs through special schemes
aimed at their social, educational and economic empowerment,” it said.
(TOI, 26/05/2011)

Scheduled Castes commission to summon district magistrate, police chief over Bhatta-Parsaul violence

The battle of Bhatta-Parsaul in Uttar
Pradesh’s Greater NOIDA area, where violence raged recently over the
contentious issue of land acquisition, promises to get bigger. On
Thursday, the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes decided to
summon the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police of
Gautam Budh Nagar district, where the twin villages are located, to seek
a report on the plight of the Dalits who were victims of the alleged
police violence. NCSC chairperson and Congress MP Panna Lal Punia, who
paid a five-hour visit to Bhatta-Parsaul and Accheypur on Thursday, told
The Hindu that he would not just be summoning the District Magistrate
and the Superintendent of Police but also intended to file several cases
under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989, as about a dozen “required immediate
intervention.” Mr. Punia said that in the recent violence in western
Uttar Pradesh — highlighted after Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and
Rahul Gandhi visited the area, but subsequently denied by the State
government — “a large number of Dalits and OBCs have been affected.”
“During my visit today [Thursday], I discovered that the women were too
scared to speak for fear of reprisal from local police — especially the
CO — and the SDM,” Mr. Punia said. “I learnt that last [Wednesday]
night, the villagers received a visit from the police: they were told
not to say anything to us.” The District Magistrate and the
Superintendent of Police had expressed their desire to accompany Mr.
Punia — who was Principal Secretary to Mayawati in her last stint as
Chief Minister — but he told them that he preferred to make the journey
on his own, as only then would the locals feel “free to speak their
mind.” Clearly, Mr. Punia’s visit — and the promised action by the
Commission — will fuel the continuing battle between the Congress and
the Mayawati-led BSP government, as they fight for political space in
the State ahead of the Assembly elections due in 2012. Mr. Punia’s visit
also comes a few days after Minister of State for Communications and
Information Technology Sachin Pilot was arrested in the district while
attempting to go to the violence-hit villages on May 22. “The situation
is very grim… at least 22 villagers with no criminal records have been
booked on serious charges, including murder, while no proper legal
recourse is being provided to them by the government,” Mr. Pilot had
said, accusing the police of terrorising the locals, and demanding a
judicial inquiry. Earlier that day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
announced financial assistance to 110 persons from Bhatta-Parsaul and
Accheypur who were injured in the violence. The announcement,
interestingly, was repeated on May 23 by the new Group of Ministers on
the media. Mr. Punia’s visit also comes in the wake of a visit to the
violence-hit villages by the National Human Rights Commission, which
will submit its report soon. (Hindu, 27/05/2011) Priest, son held for beating Dalit boy

A 17-year-old Dalit boy was allegedly
slapped by a temple priest for touching the vibuthi (sacred ash) plate
in the temple in Mettupalayam on Saturday. The boy, a resident of
Govindasamy Nagar, went to a Vinayagar Temple in Mettupalayam. After
offering prayers, he took vibuthi from the plate kept near the deity and
smeared it on his sister’s forehead. The priest, Jambunathan (49), and
his son, Sugavanam, objected to it and allegedly slapped the boy. Based
on a complaint filed by the boy’s father, the Mettupalayam police have
registered a case and arrested Jambunathan and Sugavanam. Both were
remanded to custody. They have been booked under Sections 294 (B) (using
filthy language) and 323 (assault). (Hindu, 30/05/2011)

NAC wants new law to end practice of manual scavenging

The National Advisory Council headed by
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has recommended enacting a new legislation
to end the practice of manual scavenging, liberating those involved in
handling human excreta and providing them livelihood. The new law should
be passed as the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of
Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 has failed to eradicate this
dehumanising practice even after 18 years its enactment, NAC said. Under
the law livelihood rehabilitation should be implemented within three
months of identification and liberation of manual scavengers, provide a
BPL card to their families, special housing scheme house and education
facilities for their children with scholarship up to 12th standard.
However, for those engaged in sewer and railway workers liberation could
take a little longer but not more than 5 years from enactment of the
law as it will be dependent on technological change which will render
the occupation humane, dignified and safe, and avoid any direct human
contact with excreta. Meanwhile, NAC has demanded expeditious
notification of Social Audit rules of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Scheme. It has also suggested establishing a
Mission in the Rural Development ministry and Technical Support unit for
central employment council. It suggested that States be provided
technical support through Resource Groups on various aspects of the
implementation of the MGNREGA like Payment of Wages,

Transparency and Accountability,
Grievance Redressal, Planning, Natural Resource Management, Convergence,
and expanding the category of permissible works. The NAC has
constituted three new working groups to discuss issues relating to
Dalits, gender and sex ratio and social security for unorganised
workers. (Pioneer, 30/05/2011)

Dalit grooms asked to get off from horses in Raj

Tension prevailed in a Rajasthan village
after two Dalit grooms were allegedly asked to step down from their
horses outside a temple by some upper caste men. Jagdish Barwa, who is
from Barva community, had sent his two sons to a temple on horses to
offer prayers before the marriage procession in Dolar village yesterday.
However, some upper caste men from the village objected over this and
asked the two brothers, Chotmal and Ramhate, to get off from the horses
about ten feet away from the temple, SDM (Keshoraipatan) BL Verma said.
The father, however, insisted on taking the grooms to the steps of the
temple on the horses only. This led to an heated argument between the
two parties. The police force deployed there following a request by
Barwa pacified the two parties and brought the situation under control.
Later, the villagers complaint that one of the grooms was not eligible
for marriage as he was underage. After the verification, the younger
brother, Ramhate, was stopped from marrying as it was found that he was
20-years old. (IE, 28/05/2011)

Seven Dalit families flee from village

KANPUR: Seven Dalit families of Hasnapur
village in Ramabai Nagar fled when they were attacked by the members of
upper caste on Saturday. Tension prevailed in the village. Police and
PAC personnel were deployed. The incident was result of eve-teasing with
womenfolk of the Dalit families by the members of another community in
Hasnapur village. When a group of Dalits, led by Narkul, met SP Ashutosh
Kumar and apprised him of harassment of their women and girls by the
upper caste men, the houses of Dalit families were stoned and damaged on
Friday night. “A team of police including SO Rura Saligram Verma
visited Hasnapur. Many families have fled the village. Despite policemen
assurances only a few have returned,” said Ramai, a native of Thakuran
Gadhewa village. Verma said that the cops are providing assistance to
the victims. Munna, a resident of Hasnapur said: “They attacked us and
stoned our houses before misbehaving with women and girls. Many
sustained injuries in the attack. I have no other option and left the
village. Some policemen came and assured of safety, I returned on

Saturday. But many others have still not
returned.” Kumar said that action would be initiated against those found
involved in harassing women and girls of Dalit community. “We have
deployed force there to maintain peace at all cost,” he added. (TOI,
29/05/2011)

SC/ST officials can’t write ACRs of juniors: HC

AIPUR: State government officers
belonging to scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) —likely to
be reverted in light of a Supreme Court order that disapproved of their
promotions on basis of quota — have been temporarily debarred by the
Rajasthan high court from writing the annual confidential reports of
their subordinates. The order came on a bunch of petitions filed by one
Rajeev Garg of the state public works department and others.The
petitions were based on a Supreme Court order of December 7, 2010 that
conditionally denied the benefit of reservation in promotions to state
government SC/ST employees. The SC had last year upheld a Rajasthan HC
order striking down the state government’s notifications to grant
reservation in promotions and consequential seniority to SC/ST
employees, a bunch of petitioners informed the Rajasthan high court. It
was argued before the single bench of justice M N Bhandari that the
February 5, 2010 HC order categorically held that no reservation was
permissible in promotions in the state services since the Rajasthan
government had failed to fulfill the conditions laid down by the Supreme
Court in the M Nagraj Case judgment on the Constitutional provision of
reservation in promotions in October 2006. The HC also struck down the
state government’s notifications of December 28, 2002 and April 25,
2008. The state government then filed a special leave petition against
the HC order, but SC dismissed the government appeal on December 7,
2010. The petitioners argued that the reserved category officials who
had been promoted before December 7, 2010 in the PWD and other
departments were now due to be reverted. (TOI, 01/06/2011)

Vigilance panel for SCs, STs to be formed soon

MANGALORE: A state-level monitoring wing
under the ministry of social welfare to analyze the proceedings and
decisions taken at the district-level review meetings of vigilance
committees on SCs and STs will be constituted soon, said A
Narayanaswamy, minister for social welfare. The wing will also
assiduously follow up on actions initiated by officials in implementing
various welfare measures and schemes for the benefit of the community,
he noted. Chairing a review meeting of social welfare departments of
Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts here on Saturday, the minister
expressed displeasure at below par progress achieved by various
government agencies in implementing schemes and utilizing funds meant
for welfare of dalits and backward classes. Officials not measuring up
to the task will be disciplined. Each district has to send committee
meeting proceedings to the wing, he said. Officials of civil rights
enforcement squad have been vested with powers to visit all those
government departments that have a statutory obligation to spend 22.75%
of their income on welfare of SC/STs. Disciplinary action will be
initiated against those who have failed to utilize more than 50% of
funds allocated for welfare of SC/ST community and those who have
neglected or ignored the well-being of the communities, the minister
said. Taking note of the failure on part of urban local bodies and
panchayati raj bodies in the two districts to utilize funds set aside
for the upliftment of weaker sections of society, Narayanaswamy
instructed officials to ensure that the funds are utilized within the
given fiscal year. It has become a norm for most officials to carry over
the amount to the next fiscal without making any serious efforts to
identify beneficiaries for scheme and this will not be tolerated, he
warned. The government will shortly introduce biometric system in Moraji
Desai and Kittur Rani Channamma residential schools. “This system will
be made compulsory to the staff in these institutions as well as senior
officials including DC, CEO and Social Welfare Officials who are
required to visit the institutions periodically. Details such as time of
entry and exit will be registered. It will help us in observe the
movement of officials and staff,” he added. Irked by the apparent
negligence of Damodhar Naik, the in-charge district manager of Dr B R
Ambedkar SC/ST Development Corporation, Narayanaswamy directed the
managing director of the corporation to submit a report and placed the
official under immediate suspension. He also directed police to arrest S
R Patalappa, ITDP district coordinator, since suspended and on the run,
for allegedly misappropriating Rs 86 lakh of government funds. (TOI,
06/06/2011)

Midday meals cooked by dalits go waste

NEW DELHI: A dalit chief minister in
Mayawati has not changed the deep-seated caste bias in schools of Uttar
Pradesh. In 40% schools of Shahjehanpur, Badaun and Pilibhit districts,
teachers do not taste the mid-day meal food and students refuse to eat
it since the cooks belong to lower caste. The rot in MDM in these three
districts is not confined to caste bias alone. It has also been found
that in schools of urban areas of these three districts roti and green
vegetables are never given, in 80% schools there is difference between
the number of actual students present in the class and the number of
students who are shown to be availing of MDM. Also, in most of the
schools in urban areas there are no utensils. In rural areas of these
districts, MDM supplies of 95% of the schools are kept at the pradhan’s
house from where they are brought to the school every day for cooking.
The report on three districts was prepared by Lucknow University’s
department of education. It was discussed, along with another report on
Maharajganj district, in the MDM’s Project Advisory Board meeting last
month in the HRD ministry. The Centre has now asked the UP government to
look into the matter and send a report by July 31. The report said that
in the three districts upper primary school children take less mid-day
meal than those in the primary sections because the “upper primary
children belonging to general category are more aware of caste system
and do not like to take mid-day meal prepared by SC cooks”. The report
said in 10% schools of rural areas of these districts, village pradhans
do not give the required quantity of food grain for cooking mid-day
meal. It also said that in 95% schools of these districts children bring
their own utensils. Also, non-iodised salt is used in 5% of schools and
30% schools used wood for cooking mid-day meals. Another report –
prepared by GB Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad, and Lucknow
University – based on a survey of 110 schools of Maharajganj district
said that MDM was not served in 50% of the sample schools. (TOI,
07/06/2011)

Dalit boy roughed up

In the latest instance of caste
discrimination in the vicinity of the Malaimariamman temple in
Vedaranyam, a Dalit boy was roughed up for tugging at the temple car
rope at the temple car procession. This occurred in the aftermath of
failed peace talks in the area a fortnight ago when caste Hindus refused
to let the idol be taken in procession through the dalit colony en
route to the temple. A week ago, the thornykattu karuvel(Prosobis
Julieflora) had also been dumped in a panchayat pond after it was found
that dalit boys had taken a dip in it, despite warnings. A petition was
filed on behalf of the District Bonded Labour Relief and Vigilance
Committee, but no action has been taken. The temple and its vicinity is
no stranger to such instances of discrimination as evidenced by the well
that was sealed with a concrete slab in 2004 when it was found that
dalits had refused to heed instructions and drew water from it to bathe
after the tonsure ritual. Dalits in the area complain that often, those
who are party to the conflict also become judges who try to resolve the
issue. Officials continue to carry the baggage of caste loyalty, feels
M.K.Subramaniam, a Dalit and a worker in Chettipulam library (Hindu,
09/06/2011)

Caste tag: case against school

The police have registered a case against
the authorities of St Agnus English Medium LP School, Muttuchira, after
Class I students were asked to wear identity cards providing their
caste identity among other details. According to the police, the case
has been registered against a letter written by the Chairman of the
National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to the
District

Superintendent of Police in this regard.
The case has been registered under Section 31 (X) and Section 32 of the
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act.
The case refers to the incident in which the students of Class I were
given identity cards with their caste details on June 1. The new
entrants were then photographed along with the head of the institution. A
few of the parents had complained to the Education Department
authorities. School authorities maintained that this was done to ensure
that eligible students received their due welfare benefits. A
departmental inquiry was instituted after the issue came to light. A
representative of the Nation Commission for Scheduled Caste and
Scheduled Tribes also visited the school. However, the issue was settled
locally resulting in a situation where there was no one to press the
complaint. (Hindu, 09/08/2011)

Dalits enter temple near Pollachi with protection

The agitation was led by State Convener
of Adi Tamilar Viduthalai Munnani, Ravikumar and State Secretary of
Untouchability Eradication Front Perumal. Over 50 workers, including
women and children entered the temple in protest against discrimination
of the Dalit community denying them temple entry. Special puja Special
puja was also held. Agitators asked the government to eradicate
discrimination of Dalits and to take stringent action against
twin-tumbler system and 67 forms of atrocities on SC/ST. Over a hundred
police personnel led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police G.
Venkataraman, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Muthurasu were on
bandobust duty to prevent untoward incidents. Revenue Divisional Officer
of Pollachi A. Alagirisamy and Tahsildar M. Ravichandran were also
present. The members of the listed community hailed the Government for
ending the discrimination and paving the way for their entry into the
temple. (Hindu, 13/06/2011)

Man held on charges of assaulting Dalit boy

The Annur police on Monday arrested P.
Damodaran (33) on charges of abusing and assaulting a Dalit boy and
preventing him from fetching water from a common facility citing his
caste. According to police, A. Vasanthakumar of Nallichettipalayam
preferred a complaint stating that Damodaran abused, assaulted and
prevented him from fetching water at Kurukiliampalayam on Monday. Based
on the complaint, the police investigated into the charges and
registered a case against Damodaran under sections 323 (causing hurt),
506 (i) Criminal Intimidation of Indian Penal Code read with 3 (i) (x)
of the Prevention of

Atrocities on SC/ST Act. The accused has
been remanded in judicial custody. N. Easwaran, secretary of Periyar
Dravidar Kazhagam, in a complaint to the District Collector alleged that
there had been practices of discrimination against Dalits in
Nallichettipalayam, Achampalayam, Akkarai Chengapalli, Allikaran Palayam
and Kurikiliampalayam in Annur area. The petitioner said that in these
particular pockets the practices of twin-tumbler at tea shops existed.
Dalits were not permitted to use the Anna Renaissance common burial
ground or enter hair dressers shop. They were even prevented from
fetching water from common facilities, he said. (Hindu, 14/06/2011)

Village ostracises dalit for being a witness in murder case

TIRUCHI: A Dalit was allegedly ostracized
from his village near Tiruchi for presenting himself as a witness in a
murder case involving a local DMK functionary. M Palaniandi, a DMK union
secretary and key accused in the murder of N Purushothaman, had
allegedly threatened N Karunanidhi of K K Nagar near Somarasanpettai to
turn hostile in the case. A villager went around drumming the `tandora,’
announcing the decision of the village bigwigs to ostracise Karunanidhi
on Sunday. Purushothaman, also a Dalit was hacked to death by a gang in
2007. Palaniandi and his brothers were cited as key accused in the case
and were arrested. But he was granted bail nine days later, inviting
criticism from Madurai bench of Madras high court that ordered the
investigation be transferred to CB-CID. However, all the witnesses began
to turn hostile. Karunanidhi claimed that Palaniandi pressurised him to
turn hostile and as he declined to do so, the village ostracised him.
On Monday, Karunanidhi submitted a petition to Collector Jayashree
Muralidharan alleging that few influential men in his village who passed
the diktat also threatened other villagers with similar fate if they
did not boycott him. Jayashree forwarded the petition to the
superintendent of police S Nizamuddin. Police said they had already
received the information about the alleged ostracism and were
investigating. (TOI, 14/06/2011)

Mayawati wants PM to pay attention towards dalits of Mirchpur village

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and Chief
Minister Mayawati has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
drawing his attention towards the plight of Dalits of Mirchpur village
of Haryana who are being deprived of their basic rights despite an order
of the court. In her letter, she said that many national commissions
take undue interest in happenings of Uttar Pradesh but “astonishingly
they are silent on the plight of these dalits in Congress-ruled states.”
“The Chairman of National Commission for Schedules Caste P.L. Punia
belongs to Haryana. But he does not have time to go to Mirchpur. He is
more interested in visiting UP villages than meeting aggrieved dalits of
his native state,” Mayawati wrote in his letter. She said that two
members of dalit families were killed in a violence in Mirchpur on April
21. The court ordered that these families should be provided help but
this judicial intervention was ignored. When the aggrieved family
members went to Hissar on Monday to meet senior officials they were
beaten up. “This incident shows that Congress-led Governments are not
serious about the welfare of the dalits. This is the reason why
incidents of atrocities on dalits is high in Congress-led states,”
Mayawat said. She urged the PM to use his influence to provide help and
relief to the dalit families of this Haryana village. (Pioneer,
15/06/2011)

No creamy layer requirements for SC, ST candidates: CCB

The Central Counselling Board has
clarified that there is no creamy layer requirement to be satisfied by
candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the
allotment of seats reserved in the 30 National Institutes of
Technology, five Indian Institutes of Information Technology, 13 Central
Funded Institutions and 23 State Financed Institutions. In response to
the report, “Counselling Board will go by Central List of OBCs,” which
appeared in these columns on June 16, G. Srinikethan, a professor of the
NIT-Surathkal and Coordinator of the Board, said candidates belonging
to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes should produce the
latest caste certificate issued by a tahsildar or an additional district
magistrate or any other designated authority. The caste of the
candidate should be notified as an SC or an ST in the amended Government
of India Act, 1956. The creamy layer requirement, Mr.

Srinikethan said, applied to candidates belonging to the Other Backward Classes. As per the October

2008 directive of the Department of
Personnel and Training of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances
and Pensions, children of the families with an annual income of Rs. 4.5
lakh or above for three consecutive years will come under the creamy
layer and will not be entitled to the OBC reservation benefits. Mr.
Srinikethan said candidates seeking seats from the OBC quota should not
belong to the creamy layer. The caste of the candidate should be on the
State- and Union Territory-wise Central Lists of the OBC announced by
the National Commission for Backward Classes. (Hindu, 17/06/2011)

NAC writes to Govt. on need for new law to end manual scavenging

The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory
Council (NAC) has written to the Manmohan Singh government on the issue
of manual scavenging: in a letter dated June 9, it has made out a case
once again for a new law to end manual scavenging. The letter points out
that in a resolution on October 23, 2010, the NAC had expressed its
anguish at the official failure to end manual scavenging in the country
and that Ms. Gandhi had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
thereafter on November 9, 2010, requesting him to take steps to end this
demeaning practice in a time-bound manner. The letter notes that after
the issue was taken up at the highest levels in the government, Dr.
Singh wrote to Ms. Gandhi on May 9, 2011. In his letter, he had
reiterated the government’s “determination to completely eradicate this
abominable practice in a very short time” and had said that the
employment of SC/ST persons to handle excreta would be made an offence
under the SC/ST Atrocities Act. Noting all this, the NAC’s newest letter
says there is still need for a new law as the Manual Scavengers and
Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, has failed to
eradicate this dehumanising practice even 18 years after its enactment.
The NAC has, therefore, recommended to the government that it enact a
new law with the following features: the immediate demolition of dry
latrines and liberation of those manually handling human excreta in dry
latrines, together with a full rehabilitation package. For those engaged
in sewers and railways, liberation can take a little longer but not
more than five years from the date the law is enacted. livelihood
rehabilitation to be implemented within three months of identification,
with a guaranteed Below Poverty Line Card to all families in which one
or more member is engaged in manual scavenging, a special housing scheme
for liberated persons and education package for children from these
families including free education with fellowships up to XII Standard.
*for sewer and railway workers, liberation should come from
technological changes which will render the occupation humane, dignified
and safe, and avoid any direct human contact with excreta. guarantee
that no person who is employed at the time the Act comes into force in
casual, contract or regular employment, will be terminated; instead s/he
will be confirmed in regular employment. (Hindu, 17/06/2011)

LPG connection for SC,ST families in BPL category

The State Government will sanction LPG
connections to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe families living below
the poverty line at the earliest. A decision to this effect was taken
at a review meeting of the Social Welfare Department on Monday. Minister
for Social Welfare A. Narayanaswamy presided over the meeting, which
discussed the development works taken up for the benefit of SCs, STs.
Briefing presspersons after the meeting, Mr. Narayanaswamy said 10,000
families would get the connections in 15 months. Deputy commissioners
would be directed to identify the beneficiaries, and connections would
be given in phases. Mr. Narayanaswamy expressed displeasure over the
delay in the construction of houses for the poor. It was pointed out
that many of the Asare houses for flood victims in north Karnataka had
not been handed over so far. The Minister instructed officials to
construct around 8,000 houses under the Vajpayee housing scheme for SC,
ST families living below the poverty line. A sum of Rs. 10 lakh each
would be given to all town panchayats and municipal bodies to develop
infrastructure in areas dominated by SC, ST families. On the functioning
of vigilance committees in the districts, Mr. Narayanaswamy said the
Deputy Commissioner should convene the meeting of the committee once in
three months. Grant

Every year, the Social Welfare Department provided a grant of Rs. 5 crore to the Directorate of Civil

Rights Enforcement Squad (CRE), but the
cells confined their activities to checking caste certificates. He said
the cells should play a more proactive role. “Officials of the CRE Cell
can review the progress of work and the use of funds under the special
component plan. They can also complain against officials of departments
that fail to implement programmes,” he said. The Minister said that
officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police of CRE Cell should
visit all departments and review the progress of schemes meant for SCs,
STs and submit a report. Representatives of nearly 190 municipal bodies,
except the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike attended the meeting.
(Hindu, 21/06/2011)

MP seeks justice for Dalit farmers

Even as the government was saying that
wet lands were not being allotted for industries, the officials were
acquiring fertile lands on the pretext of industrialisation in Sri Potti
Sriramulu Nellore district, and the farmers were thrown on roads. “This
is an example on how the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure
Corporation (APIIC) allegedly cheated the SC and ST farmers by forcibly
taking their lands for setting up a cement brick manufacturing industry.
Though the industry requires less than five acres for setting up the
unit, the officials forcibly took some 40 acres from the Dalit farmers”,
said the Tirupati MP Chinta Mohan, who visited the village on Monday.
According to the MP, the farmers were enjoying the assigned land on the
bank of Swarnamukhi river, in Jyotsulavari Kandriga village in Ozili
mandal in the district for the past 50 years. Recently, the brick
industry management along with some officials met the farmers and said
the land was allotted for the brick manufacturing unit. When the farmers
refused to give their lands, the industry officials brought some
policemen to the village and threatened to file cases against them. They
allegedly took the thump impressions of some farmers on empty bond
papers and said the land was acquired for the industry. The MP who was
moved by the farmers’ plight met Collector B. Sreedhar on Monday and
submitted a representation. Speaking to ‘The Hindu’, a farmer Gadi
Venkataiah, who lost land in Jyotsulavari Kandriga village said the
brick industry management took our lands with the help of police. The MP
threatened to launch an agitation. (Hindu, 21/06/2011)

A dip of dignity for women scavengers

For 60-year-old Choti Parochia, once a
manual scavenger and an untouchable, a dip in the sacred waters of the
Ganges in the temple city of Varanasi and prayer at the historic Kashi
Vishwanath Temple here on Monday meant a liberating experience.
Ablution: Women scavengers from Rajasthan taking bath in the

Ganges in Varanasi . DH photoCondemned to
a lowly existence of a manual scavenger, the holy dip by Choti amidst
women from the upper caste was akin to salvation. A mother of six and
grand mother of eight children, Choti was part of a group of 203 women
manual scavengers brought from Tonk and Alwar districts of Rajasthan, by
Sulabh International, an NGO engaged in building public toilets across
the country. The women had darshan at the temple after taking bath in
the holy Ganges and then dined with the Brahmins and sanskrit scholars
of Kashi(the old name of Varanasi) on Monday. “People in Tonk used to
call us bhangi (those cleaning bucket toilets and who carry night soil
on their heads) and detested us, no one wanted to talk to us,” Choti.
Most women still believe manual scavenging can’t be abolished completely
in the near future. “Those, whose excreta was cleaned by us, used to
offer us water from a distance and used to throw chapatis so that they
might not be touched by us,” said Gora Parochia, Choti’s neighbour at
the Kali Paltan locality of Tonk town. These women used to get a meagre
two to five rupees from each of the houses. “We could barely earn Rs. 50
a month,” they told Deccan Herald.Choti and Gori quit the profession in
2007. They are now engaged in activities like preparing pickles, papad
and operating beauty parlours. And when these 203 women emerged from the
Kashi Vishwanath Temple and chanted “har har mahadev” and raised their
hands to the cameras, their happiness was palpable. “I had never
imagined that I would get an opportunity to have a bath in the Ganges,
have darshan at one of the Jyotirlingas and dine with the pandits of
Kashi,” said Kalpana, also from Tonk town. Similar were the feelings of
Rani, Shankuntala, Kamli and Munni. To their surprise, the Brahmins
served them a lavish North Indian lunch, amidst chanting of vedic
mantras and blowing of conch shells signalling the end of a miserable
era. The NGO founder, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak said: “It’s a big challenge.
Those who are engaged in scavenging must be rehabilitated and this
practice must be abolished altogether.” According to an estimate, there
are still about one lakh scavengers in the country. “It is prevalent in
UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and some other states,” Pathak
said adding however, that no effort had been made to ascertain their
exact number. Despite its abolishment in 1993, the shameful practise of
manual scavenging still prevails in the country. (Deccan Herald,
21/06/2011)

Dalit woman panchayat chief “faced discrimination”

The Dalit (Arunthathiyar) panchayat
president, P. Krishnaveni of Thalaiyuthu panchayat in Tirunelveli, who
was brutally attacked by a gang recently, had repeatedly filed
complaints with the police officials and district administration citing
caste-based discrimination but the administration failed to act, says a
factfinding report. A fact-finding team, comprising members of
Confederation of Federations of Elected Presidents of Panchayat
Government, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry; Tamil Nadu Federation of Women
Presidents of Panchayat Government; and Dalit Panchayat Presidents
Federation of Tamil Nadu, visited the village twice and spoke to the
villagers, members of gram sabha and a few officials. The report, which
was released here on Tuesday, says that Ms. Krishnaveni had been facing
discrimination right from the day of her announcement to contest
elections. She was not allowed to sit in the chair that was allotted for
the elected president. Since May, 2007, she had filed 12 complaints
with the police and district administration about the discrimination and
on her right to function independently but no action was taken. The
fact-finding team has found that Ms. Krishnaveni had to seek the help of
District Collector to execute her duties as the vice-president had been
thwarting all attempts made by her to work independently. There were
reports that the vice-president and his supporters usually disrupted the
proceedings of gram sabha meeting and she had to seek police protection
to conduct meetings. Irrespective of caste affiliation, she had
functioned in an unbiased way, stated the villagers. She had taken many
decisions in a bold manner which had invited the wrath of a few sections
of the dominant castes. The team also came to know that Dalit
presidents belonging to 125 panchayats in the district were subject to
one form of discrimination or the other. The State Government should
ensure legal and administrative safeguards and guarantees enshrined in
the Constitution. State and district administration should intervene
immediately and provide non-discriminatory and atrocity-free political
environment for the chiefs to function independently and effectively.
The report concluded that panchayat presidents belonging to Dalit
communities and women in particular were still being discriminated
against. (Hindu, 22/06/2011)

Dalit beaten to death following petty issue

A Dalit was allegedly beaten to death
following a quarrel on a petty issue of filling petrol in a station at
Tiruchendur in Tuticorin district. Pakshirajan (48) of
Keezhanalumoolaikinaru, who came in his twowheeler along with Kumar (33)
to fill petrol was reportedly beaten with an iron rod and ran over by a
van by Muthu of Kulasekarapattinam. A field report done by
Madurai-based non-governmental organisation, Evidence, says that on June
14, Pakshirajan had gone to a petrol station located on the Tirunelveli
road. While waiting to fill petrol, Muthu came there in a van and
shouted at him to leave way for him to fill petrol. But Pakshirajan, who
came first, did not allow him following which there was a quarrel
between the two in which Muthu had allegedly abused Pakshirajan by his
caste and attacked him with an iron rod and ran over him. Pakshirajan,
who was admitted to the Government Hospital in Tiruchendur, died, and
the Tiruchendur police registered cases under Section 302 of Indian
Penal Code and Section 3(2)(5) of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,
1989. The NGO claimed that this was a murder done with a caste motive
and the investigation should focus on this aspect. The police should not
close the case as an occurrence of previous enmity or personal reasons.
(Hindu, 22/06/2011)

Shame! Manual scavenging continues in KGF

KOLAR GOLD FIELDS: Over the past six
months, six persons have died in Kolar Gold Fields, 100km from
Bangalore, due to illnesses contracted from manual scavenging. This was
revealed by a fact-finding study conducted by the People’s Union for
Civil Liberties and Social Justice Organisation. That manual scavenging
exists under the shadow of the glittering IT capital, is shameful. Last
week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for an end to this practice;
on Monday, the Karnataka High Court directed the government to file an
action plan to eradicate it. The scavengers’ life is miserable. Geetha B
lost her husband G Babu and brother-in-law GS Nagaraj, 45, both safai
karmacharis. Her husband died on April 5 and her brother-in-law on Oct
10, 2010. Law and parliamentary affairs minister S Suresh Kumar visited
KGF on Tuesday and promised them rehabilitation and new jobs. Just one
hour after his visit, at least six safai karmacharis from Kennedy Telugu
Lane, near Oorgaum, went to nearby Henry’s Lane to clear a sewage pit –
without protection. (TOI, 22/06/2011)

Haryana fails to set up State Scheduled Castes Commission

In the backdrop of atrocities on Dalits
in Mirchpur last year and recent incident of lathicharge on non-Jat and
primarily Dalit communities in Hisar leading to the death of a woman,
Haryana Government’s failure to constitute a commission for the
community has raised eyebrows in the State. Despite a proposal, State
Scheduled Castes Commission or Minority Commission for the State is yet
to start functioning to address the grievances of these communities.
Despite nearly 20 per cent of the State population being Schedule Castes
and a population of 25 lakh from the minority community, the State
Government is shying away from constitution of a body to safeguard
interests of these groups. Mooted twice by Department of Social Justice
and Empowerment, the proposal concerning setting up of a Minority
Commission and Scheduled Castes Commission independently in Haryana has
not been approved by the State Government, which has said that there was
no necessity to set up such constitutional bodies separately. While the
neighbouring State Government of Punjab has both the Commissions, the
Haryana Government is overlooking the same since long. “A proposal
regarding the constitution of Minority Commission and Scheduled Castes
Commission was sent to the State Government but it has disapproved the
same,” said a senior official of the Haryana Government while talking to
The Pioneer. The official, requesting anonymity, said that the State
Government has rejected the proposal of setting up of two separate
bodies for the welfare of SCs and minorities recently. “If set up, such
constitutional body will certainly ensure the safeguard of rights of
such groups,” he added. The official said: “At present, the complaints
and grievances of Dalits and minorities are being registered with the
Social Justice and Empowerment Department. Undoubtedly, there is a need
to have a separate commission to look into the grievances of these
groups. Also, minorities and SCs form a major part of the population in
the State.” In the Mirchpur village of Hisar district, some members of
the dominant Jat community set 18 homes of dalits ablaze, leading to the
death of two Dalits — 17-year-old Suman and her 60-year-old father Tara
Chand. The Mirchpur incident was a reflection of longstanding and
deep-rooted acrimony between Dalits and Jats.

Violence against Dalits has a history in
the State with cases like torching of Dalit houses in Salwan, Karnal in
2007; mobs looting and burning the Balmiki basti in Gohana, Sonepat in
2005 and, the lynching of five Dalits in Jhajjar in 2002 were reported
in the recent past apart from the Mirchpur incident. (Pioneer,
23/06/2011)

Manual scavenging: Centre told to take action in 2 months

Deprecating an affidavit filed by the
Union Housing Secretary, the Madras High Court on Thursday said if the
Centre fails to amend the law to prevent manual scavenging in two
months, it will be constrained to direct the personal appearance of any
of the high dignitaries, be it, from the PMO Secretariat or other
departments. Passing further orders on an application in a contempt
petition, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice
T.S.Sivagnanam also directed the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary to follow
up the matter with the Centre. On the next date of hearing, August 22,
he should file an affidavit stating the steps that would be taken by the
State government for compliance of the court order. Posting the matter
for August 22, the Bench issued a caution that by that time if necessary
amendments were not made, it would be constrained to direct personal
appearance of any of the high dignitaries, be it, from the PMO
Secretariat, Housing Department or the Ministry of Law and Justice.
Earlier, A.Narayanan of Virugambakkam had filed a contempt petition
seeking to punish the officials for not complying with a High Court
order of 2008 on eradication of manual scavenging. On June 16, the Bench
had directed the appearance of the Union Housing Secretary before the
court on Thursday and file an affidavit on the steps taken to enact an
appropriate law to totally ban manual scavenging and when the law would
be implemented. When the matter came up, the Union Housing Secretary,
Kiran Dhingra, was not present. Her affidavit was filed in which she
submitted that the Housing Ministry had taken all possible steps
including the drafting of amendments to the existing law, “Employment of
Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines(Prohibition) Act” to
widen the definition of manual scavenging to cover cleaning of sewers,
drains and tanks. In its order, the Bench observed that the Additional
SolicitorGeneral submitted that actually he was of the impression that
the case has been posted for June 29 and therefore, proper steps had not
been taken. However, the Joint Secretary in the Union Housing Ministry
appeared in person with the Secretary’s affidavit expressing
Ms.Dhingra’s inability to come to the court. The affidavit said inter
alia that after the Chairperson, National Advisory Council, had sent a
letter to the Prime Minister recommending appropriate amendments to the
law, the Prime Minister himself was monitoring the situation. “We
deprecate such affidavit filed by the Secretary.” The court observed
that it was really surprising that for the last six months it had been
issuing directions for necessary amendments to the Act in order to
prevent manual scavenging, but nothing had been done till date. If
amendments are not made, court will order personal appearance of high
dignitaries (Hindu, 24/06/2011)

Dalits shift children from school at Villoor

The Government Higher Secondary School at
Villoor from where 10 Dalit students, fearing caste discrimination,
obtained transfer certificates and moved to a nearby school at
Kalligudi.— Photo: S. James Dalits of Villoor village fearing
psychological intimidation, bullying and problems in future have
withdrawn their children from the Villoor Government Higher Secondary
School near Tirumangalam in Madurai during the last two days and
admitted them at the nearby Kalligudi Government School. V. Ramakrishnan
(38), a farm hand belonging to the Dalit Pallar (Devendra Kula
Vellalar) caste in Villoor,

East Street, toldThe Hinduhere on
Thursday that close to ten Dalit families in the village have got their
Transfer Certificates from the school following pressure from their
children that they have been abused and bullied by their fellow dominant
caste students. “During the break, while playing and after school hours
when the teachers are not around they ask us to call them asAyyaand not
use words likeDeyorAelay,” this was the major complaint that our
children made in the recent past, he said. These complaints became a
regular feature so we decided to shift my son Karthiselvan to the
Government Higher Secondary School in Kalligudi where he has joined
eighth standard. K. Veerammal (32), said that her son Karuppasamy had
been abused by the fellow students and this had affected him
psychologically so we decided that enough is enough we do not want
unnecessary troubles that would jeopardize his education. M.
Palaniammal, wife of G. Murugan said that the prevailing situation in
the village was the reason for them to shift their daughter Balamani out
of the school to Kalligudi where she is now studying eighth standard.
Balamani’s father G. Murugan is one of the affluent Dalits in the
village and it was his brother who was abused for riding his vehicle on
the street where Dalits were not allowed to ride two wheelers but get
down and push them. V. Murugan, agricultural worker, took both of his
sons M. Muthupandi and M. Muniyandi from the school and has admitted
them in a hostel in a Government school at Kovilpatti. Agnimuthu, a
migrant labourer working in the construction sector at Coimbatore took
his son Ajith Kumar from the Villoor School to the Kalligudi School.
Alagammal wife of Muniappan said that problems are there, “but we have
taken our children because we are shifting to Kalligudi soon.”
Kaliappan, son of Irulappan, farmer, was also shifted to Kalligudi
School. Muthukrishnan who had passed Class VI has been shifted to a
government school in Krishnankoil. School authorities when contacted
said that this is a sensitive issue and we have warned everyone in the
school that there shall be no discrimination. They termed these
transfers as a usual affair and cannot say more on that. (Hindu,
24/06/2011)

Dalit labourers attacked

Four Dalits were injured in an attack by a
group of caste Hindus following a dispute over selling land to a
private windmill at Kallathikulam under Alangulam police limits in
Tirunelveli district on Monday night. A 16-year-old Dalit boy
A.Esakkimuthu, G.Kanagaraj, Arumugam and Murugan who were working as
construction workers were attacked with deadly weapons including a gun
by a 15-member gang. Esakkimuthu had sustained a bullet injury on his
left foot and Kanagaraj’s four fingers on the right hand got cut by a
sickle. Kathirvel of Sivalarkulam is a land broker who had brokered
between a private windmill company and the Dalit landowner Rayammal.
Muthu alias Anthony (deceased), father of Rayammal had 120 acres of land
in Kallathikulam. He portioned his 120 acres of land giving 40 acres
each to his two sons Deivendran and Yagappan and then divided the
remaining 40 acres to his four daughters 10 acres each. During 2010,
Rayammal’s siblings Bagyam, Gnanammal and Anthonyammal had sold their
lands to the Suzlon windmill. Rayammal refused to sell her lands and it
was during this time, the windmill had tried to purchase her land. Land
broker Kathirvel has approached Rayammal and had asked her not to talk
to the buyers directly as they would quote a lower price. Meanwhile,
Kathirvel had approached the windmill and quoted a much higher price for
which the windmill authorities had stated that they would directly talk
to Rayammal. On June 20, when the workers came in a lorry transporting
machineries of the windmill near Rayammal’s lands, they were stopped by
Kathirvel and his men and were attacked. Alangulam police have filed
cases under sections 147,148, 294(b),324, 326, 307, 506(2) of Indian
Penal Code and 25(1)(A) Indian Arms Act and 3(2)(5) of Scheduled
Castes/Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. Alangulam
police have arrested M. Chandran alias Chandramohan

(39) of Mullikulam, P. Anand alias
Vellaibatcha (28) of Sivalaarkulam, S. Saravanakumar (26) of
Sivalaarkulam, S. Murugaiah alias Mangala Murugan (48), Sathish and
A.Kathirvel. Madurai-based nongovernmental organisation Evidence visited
the village and did an enquiry and claimed that Dalits have become easy
targets for both land brokers who misquote prices and confiscate their
lands and for private companies who are doing the same on a larger
scale. The organisation also demanded action against the private
windmill for employing an under aged boy. (Hindu, 24/06/2011)

“Land issue pertinent to emancipation of Dalits”

Despite the existence two special laws to
protect the Dalits — Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Protection of Civil Rights, 1955 — Dalits seem
to be victims of various forms atrocities, said S.Viswanathan, Readers
Editor,The Hindu. Addressing a State-level consultation on land and
resource policy for Dalits, organised by Evidence, a Madurai-based human
rights organisation, here on Saturday, he said that the Land Reforms
Act and Land Ceiling Act which were brought to remove the unequal land
relations had not been achieved even after 60 years. The Tamil Nadu Land
Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961, was aimed to reduce
the concentration of land in the hands of a few, to end disparities
among landholders and ensure a just and equitable redistribution of
land. The major reasons why the Land Ceiling Act failed to acquire more
land for distribution was the advance public announcement about the
proposed Act, which gave enough time for many big landlords to
circumvent the law through fictitious transfers of land. There was no
will on the part of the State to implement the Act. Trusts were formed
by zamindars and lands were diverted by those means. In the recent past,
it was the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
that had given a great economic relief for the Dalits and other deprived
sections of society in the rural areas. Citing economist Sukhdeo
Thorat’s arguments that the government should bring in Equal Employment
Act, he also talked about the need to create opportunities for Dalits in
private sector and the media. Land question remained pertinent to the
emancipation and empowerment of Dalits. An economic survey done by
William Goudie and the Wesleyan Christian Missionaries during the late
1800s in Madras Presidency found that Dalits were living in the most
inhuman of conditions with high levels of oppression and submitted a
memorandum to the British government to allot lands to the Dalits to
improve their socioeconomic condition. The speakers at the consultation
appreciatedThe Hinduand said that it played a prominent role by
espousing the cause of social justice which continues till date. As
early as the 1800s,The Hinduhad played a prominent role in representing
the Dalit cause. It was during 1891, civil servant J. H. A. Tremenheere,
the then Collector of Chingelpet, argued that the government’s
emancipatory policies had not led to the social and economic elevation
of the Depressed Classes (Dalits). In this regard, he seemed to have
been influenced by a report that had been published inThe Hinduon 7

August 1891. There was a discussion in
the Letters to the Editor column on the condition of Dalits. The British
government approved Tremenheere’s demand and enacted a law in British
Parliament to distribute land to them to improve their socio-economic
conditions. The Government of Madras passed the Government Orders 1010
and 1010A dated 30 September, 1892 to specify that lands would be
assigned to the depressed classes. Once the G.O. was published, the
panchami lands were reserved and a few were assigned. It was estimated
that a total of 3.20 lakh acres had been gifted to the Dalits by the
British Government in all the districts of Tamil Nadu. Land rights and
education were the two important things that the late Tremenheere
emphasised but both still seem to be at large, said, A. Kathir,
executive director, Evidence. K. Samuel Raj, general Secretary, Tamil
Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), said that one has to
remember Dr.Ambedkar’s words here: Is it because that he is a Dalit, he
has no lands at his possession or since he has no lands at his
possession, he is a Dalit? Ambedkar was an intellectual who believed
that there was a thin line which separated caste and class. Speaking on
the current scenario in the Chennai metropolis where the Dalit
population seemed to be declining, it was later found that they were
pushed to the margins of the city because of the urbanisation process.
TNUEF was engaged in uniting the entire splinter Dalit organisations to
fight on this issue. (Hindu, 27/06/2011)

Dalit youth beaten to death

Peace prevailed in Amrawali Khera village
of the district on Sunday where a Dalit boy was allegedly trashed to
death on late Saturday night. Earlier there were reports of tension over
the death of the youth. In the morning, the family members and other
people of the deceased gathered here at local civil hospital refused
take the dead body expressing their dissatisfaction over the postmortem.
The kin also demanded `10 lakh as compensation and a Government job for
the member of the family seeking strict action against the guilty
persons. The villagers also sought another postmortem of the dead body.
Subsequently, a panel of doctors held another postmortem in the evening.
Jind Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashok Kumar said, “After the second
postmortem, the family members agreed to take the body when they were
assured that their demand would be forwarded to the State Government for
the

consideration. Now the conditions are
peaceful.” 20-year-old Pradeep, a Dalit boy, working as a servant in the
house of the accused persons, was allegedly thrashed on late Saturday
night. He was allegedly peeping inside the bathroom where lady of the
family was taking bath. A case has been registered at Pillukhera Police
Station against Karan Singh Rajesh and other family members under Indian
Penal Code (IPC) and SC/ ST Act. “We are investigating the matter, no
one has been arrested so far,” said Gurdial Singh, Station House
Officer.(Pioneer, 27/06/2011)

Dalits lay siege to Panchayat office in Kalipalayam village

A group of Dalits Kalipalayam village
laid siege to Panchayat office on Monday alleging they were not
enumerated as ‘Scheduled Castes’ despite them possessing all documents
to substantiate their claim of belonging to the community. They resorted
to the agitation after their representation to the district
administration was not looked into “properly”. K. Sundaresan, panchayat
member, said the discrepancy in enumeration was noticed during the ward
realignment process in 2010 in which each of the three wards were
bifurcated to form six wards. “The data on the government gazette
released in the ward bifurcation process stated that only 59 Dalits are
there in Kalipalayam village against the actual figure of 900,” he said.
In the Lok Sabha and the recent Assembly elections itself, more than
450 people from the community cast their votes, he added. (Hindu,
28/06/2011)

No takers for Ranchi’s SC/ST police station

Despite bring one of the oldest police
stations of the city, the special station meant to deal with cases
relating to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe members is in bad shape
with barely any manpower and hardly any cases being registered. The
ground in the front of the police station resembles a cattle stable and
the officer in charge (OC) can be seen feeding pigeons with barely any
assignments to take up his time. The officer, Bhikhari Ram, says the
response of the people towards the station that was set up in 1982 is
feeble. “Sometimes we get to lodge as much as seven cases in a month.
But there are months when only three to four cases are registered,” he
says. Ram has even issued a letter to the Ranchi Senior Superintendent
of Police, Praveen Kumar Singh, asking for an increase in the number of
personnel deployed at the station. Currently, the police station
functions with a total of five personnel: one subinspector, one
assistant sub-inspector, one constable and two home guards. Ram said
that this number of personnel is adequate for running a police station
successfully. However, the station works under a deputy superintendent
of police who also doubles up as the investigating officer for the cases
lodged in the police station. Ram says that a drop in number of
atrocities against members of the SC/ST is another reason for the drop
in the number of cases they register. “People have become more conscious
about tribal issues. These days there is not as much violence directed
at the SC/ST communities as before so we get lesser number of cases,”
said Ram adding that, “We first try to verify the facts and figures of
the complaint and then only lodge an FIR. But even for this purpose we
need to increase the number of police personnel.”, he says. He added
that at first, they try to go through a counseling session with the
involved parties because in most of the cases, it is the members within a
family that is at dispute. But to organise a proper counseling session,
he says that a specialized counseling team is required. The OC claims
to have highlighted this issue in his letter to the SSP saying that most
problems can be solved amicably with parleys without the need for
intervention by law enforcement agencies. SSP Singh, however, said that
the Ranchi SC/ST police station is in a far better position than other
such police stations in State. Presently, all the 24 districts have each
of an SC/ST police station. (Pioneer, 29/06/2011)

Dalits prohibited from using public well

Kodikulam, a village located under the
foothills of Yanamalai (elephant hill) near here, is a gifted place. It
boasts of an age old public well that provides tasty water round the
year. People from far and wide throng the place with cans and drums to
fetch the water home. But the Dalits of the village cannot dare even to
go near the well. “The SCs (Scheduled Castes) cannot go beyond this
point,” says a 61-year old farmer, A. Akkniveeranan, pointing to a
distance of about 150 metres away from the well. “They (Dalits) can ask
any of us to fetch the water for them and we will oblige. But they
cannot do it on their own. This practice has been there for ages and it
cannot be changed,” he adds with no shilly-shallying. The caste Hindus
of the village, occupied predominantly by people belonging to Kallar and
Moopar community, do not hesitate to talk about the discrimination of
Dalits even to journalists. The well has been associated with four small
temples built close to it and religious sentiments were given as a
reason to keep the Dalits away from it. “They (Dalits) will not be
spared. Honeybees will sting them if they try to go near the well,” says
Packiam, an aged widow. Concurring with her, 26-year-old P. Suresh, a
construction labourer, says: “The youngsters of our village will be in
these temples all round the clock. Some of us even sleep here in the
nights to prevent anyone from defiling this holy place.” The well is
surrounded by trees that are home to thousands of honeybees. Strangers
must be careful while nearing the well as they might suffer a sting or
two. The villagers have intentionally left the honeycombs untouched as
it serves their purpose of discriminating the Dalits. “The bees do not
sting us and we will not allow anyone to clear the honeycombs,” says C.
Karuthapaiyyan, a 19-year-old youth. A lawyer practising in the Madras
High Court Bench here and residing at Othakadai near here says that he
and many of his neighbours fetch water from that well for drinking. They
travel in two-wheelers to the village, which could be accessed either
through the Government Agricultural College or from the Madurai-Chennai
four-lane, and bring the water filled in cans. “Once when I had gone
there, some children asked me if I could give them some water to drink. I
asked them why they don’t take it themselves. They said they were not
supposed to go there. Then, I understood and felt very sad for the poor
children. This atrocity is being practised there for ages and nobody is
able to raise their voice for the fear of earning the wrath of the
dominant caste,” he says seeking anonymity. (Hindu, 30/06/2011)

80 SC/ST govt. college lecturers denied promotion, National Commission told

Of the several complaints received by the
National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Thursday, a major one was
on denial of promotions to 80 government college lecturers from lower
castes for the past 10 years, Member of the Commission, Latha
Priyakumar, has said. 32 pleas This was among the 32 petitions received
by the commission at the Collectorate, Ms. Priyakumar said. The other
major ones included denial of group-housing and crematorium facilities
to the SC/STs by the upper castes. Team The Commission
headed by Mr. P.L. Punia has three members, and Ms. Priyakumar
represented south India. The petitions were received from the affected
people and an organisation working for SC welfare in the district, in
the presence of E. Dasarathan, director of the State office of the
National Commission, and Collector, C.N. Maheshwaran. A meeting was also
convened to hear the grievances from the NGOs and associations of
SC/STs. Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Priyakumar said there were many
complaints received from different quarters regarding violence against
SC/STs. Regarding the demands and other grievances of the oppressed, a
review meeting with the officials had been convened on Friday morning at
the Collectorate. The meeting at the Krishnagiri Collectorate was
attended by C. Prakasam, District Revenue Officer, R. Jeevarathinam,
Personal Assistant to Collector (General), Venkatesan, District Adi
Dravidar Welfare Officer, and Meenakshi Sundaram, District Manager,
TAHDCO, among others. (Hindu, 01/07/2011)

Dalits’ organisation to protest against atrocities

The Bharatiya Dalit Varg Sangh has
decided to launch Dalit Bachao Andolan against the atrocities on the
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. In the first phase of the agitation
on the death anniversary of Jagjivan Ram on July 6, a national level
dharna would be staged at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. According to the
figures of National Crime Record Bureau of Home Ministry, 53,286
murders, 1, 20,855 rapes, 27,035 kidnapping, 19,168 arsons, 11,824 loot
and dacoity cases and 20,85,314 other criminal incidents and 23, 20482
incidents of atrocities have taken place against Dalits between 1947 and
2009. Giving this information at a Press conference, the president of
the Sangh Sudhir Mandelia said that the State Governments and Central
Government are not serious to check the atrocities against Dalits. The
role of 130 MP’s of Dalit class and two commissions has been
disappointing. Every party has got the opportunity to rule the country,
but there has been no difference in the position of atrocities. The
Bharatiya Dalit Varg Sangh, which has played important role in the
freedom movement, has now decided to launch a countrywide agitation
against the atrocities. The Sangh has raised important questions through
this agitation. First question is to the RSS and BJP if Dalits are
Hindus then why Hindus ill-treat the Dalits. Second question to the
Congress if the high and mighty feudal has increased their control in
the party, has it not made the policy of Dalit protection weak. Because
these people have changed the ‘Congress Ka Hath Garib Ke Sath’ and now
it has changed to Congress Ka Hath Sabke Sath. Third question to Bahujan
Samaj Party that why in Uttar Pradesh where Dalit rule are above all in
the country in the matter of atrocities. Fourth question to the Prime
Minister, after coming to power after 20 years, a package of 600 crore
was given to riot victims of 1984 why are Dalits are deprived of this
sentiments. Other questions were made to president of India, Media,
Gandhians, commissions, MPs, judiciary and social justice ministry to
give their answers. The Sangh put forward five demands, which include
that the Prime Minister should himself take over the responsibility of
Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, atrocities should be declared
national problem, anti-atrocities laws should be amended and strengthen
with in six months and others. (Pioneer, 04/07/2011)

It never stops in UP: 2 cases of honour killing in 24 hours

Notorious for gruesome crimes, western Uttar Pradesh registered two incidents of honour killing from

Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar in the last
24 hours. In Saharanpur, Nagma (21) of Kallan Heri hamlet of Badgaon
police circle was having an affair with a local youth which was opposed
by her parents and especially her elder brother Nadeem. The love-lorn
girl had even been warned by her brother to end the liaison or face dire
consequences. Undeterred by the frequent threats, Nagma however
continued with the affair. On learning that his sister had not acted as
per his diktat, Nadeem stopped Nagma from going outside the house. This
resulted in a heated exchange of words between the siblings. Refusing to
fall in line with her brother’s orders, a resolute Nagma tried to sneak
out of the house to meet her boyfriend on Sunday afternoon. This
incensed Nadeem who whipped out a country made pistol and fired at
Nagma. When her younger sister Nazia (17) tried to save her, she
suffered bullet injuries and succumbed on the spot. Unfazed by hi
sister’s death, Nadeem once again trained his pistol at Nagma and fired
from close range killing her on the spot. Reacting to the staccato of
gunshots, the neighbours rushed into the house only to find the two
sisters lying in a pool of blood. Nadeem fled the scene soon after the
crime. The locals informed the police and the bodies were sent for
autopsy. A case was registered and the police launched a manhunt to
arrest Nadeem. In a similar case in Muzaffarnagar, Tahira (18) of Paladi
village of Shahpur police circle was having an affair with her
neighbour Hamza Qureshi (22). Her family members were against the affair
as the youth was from a lower caste. The family members threatened the
couple to end their affair or face dire consequences. On Sunday evening,
Tahira and Hamza were found with serious wounds all over their person
inside the jungles of Aliyarpur area in Mansioorpur police circle. The
police rushed the injured to the District Hospital where Tahira was
pronounced dead upon arrival.

(Pioneer, 05/07/2011)

Dalits’ temple entry: NCSC summons DGP, CS

The National Commission for Scheduled
Caste has summoned the State’s DGP and Chief Secretary on July 18 to
explain the position regarding the ban on Dalits’ entry into certain
temples in the State and the Government’s action in eliminating this age
old discrimination. Commission chairman PL Punia is reported to have
stated this in Patna on Sunday. Punia himself was allegedly denied entry
into a temple at Ranapada in Puri district on June 25. Stating that
Dalits are not allowed to enter the temples’ vicinity, he said that on
getting such complaints he personally went there for verification. At
the Ranapada temple premises, there is a barricade with a board saying,
“Dalits not allowed beyond this and they can pray from this point,” he
said He said that after declaring that he and some others accompanying
him are Dalits, he removed the barricade and went ahead. There was an
iron railing and the room there was locked. Similar practice is rampant
at several other temples in Odisha. The commission has decided to hold a
hearing and the DGP and the Chief Secretary have been asked to appear
there, Punia said. He said the commission has powers to take action in
such cases. When a Secretary level official of the Union Ministry of
Social Welfare did not turn up for a hearing of the commission, a
warrant of arrest was issued and the official was arrested and brought
before the commission, he recalled. Punia said he is travelling across
the country for an awareness drive and to learn about the State
Governments’ actions and schemes to safeguard the interests of the
Dalits. (Pioneer, 05/07/2011)

Dalits prevented from drawing water from well

MADURAI: Dalits of Yanamalai Kodikulam
village have been prevented from fetching water from a well by
non-dalits to protect the ‘sanctity’ of the well. For decades, dalits of
the village, have not been allowed to use the well, the only source of
potable water in the village, about 12km from Madurai. The district
collector U Sagayam heard the plight of the Dalits on Monday and assured
that the problem would be set right in 10 days. Ward member of
Kodikulam panchyat, M Premkumar told TOI that more than 200 dalit
families reside in Indira Nagar, but there was no proper drinking water
facility in the area. So dalits are forced to depend on the well located
near the Malaisamy temple. But the non-dalits prevent them from going
near the well, saying the water would get polluted if they came anywhere
near it. President of the Kodikulam panchayat, S Santhana Lakshmi
Sathish Babu, a non-dalit herself, denied the allegations. She said
government officials had recently enquired into the issue and found the
allegation to be baseless. Malaisamy, a non dalit from the village, said
it was their right to prevent dalits from drawing drinking water from
the well. Madurai SP Asra Garg said a police team would be sent to the
village on Tuesday to investigate the matter. He said police protection
would be provided to dalits. (TOI, 05/07/2011)

“V-C posts elude Dalits”

Despite constituting 20 per cent of the
State population, Dalits have no representatives when it comes to the
Vice-Chancellorship in the 24 universities in the State. A Federation of
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Associations said that
this was a surprising fact to note as there were many Government Orders
passed reserving seats for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in many
departments in higher education, but has not been implemented properly.
In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Dalits were given adequate
representation; there were at least two Vice-Chancellors from SC/ST
communities in these States, said K. Purushothaman, general secretary,
Madurai Kamaraj University SC/ST Employees’ Welfare Association. The
association made a representation to the Chief Minister and the Governor
to look into the issue at the earliest and appoint members belonging to
the

SC/ST category for the vacant posts of
VCs at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Mother Teresa Women’s
University and Madurai Kamaraj University. Their petition to the Chief
Minister said that there were many erudite, qualified and experienced
persons from the community. (Hindu, 07/07/2011)

Call to end manual scavenging

Safai Karamchari Andolan, a grass roots
movement of conservancy workers, and People’s Movement of Social
Justice, a human rights organisation working among Dalits and tribals in
Madurai, have demanded immediate action to end manual scavenging in
Rajapalayam taluk of Virudhunagar district. Both the organisations are
engaged in exposing this inhuman practice in the State. P. Satya,
organiser, Safai Karamchari Andolan, Madurai and Southern Districts,
toldThe Hinduthat they had done a survey which showed that, apart from
Seithur town panchayat, manual scavenging existed at Krishnapuram,
Sundararajapuram and Watrap in Virudhunagar district. “We took adequate
efforts and have put an end to the practice at Mamsapuram and
Koomapatti. We are planning to the meet the Collector with all the
details soon.” I. Pandian of People’s Movement of Social Justice said
that instead of spending money on technologies that could remove humans
from direct contact with the excreta of others, the local government
relied on human beings from these caste to bear the social costs.
Kuruvan (60) of Krishnapuram panchayat has been doing this work for the
last 50 years; his wife K. Leela also is doing the same job for 30
years. P. Sabarimalai, P. Ganesan, Vairavan (Arunthathiyars) and K.
Gurusamy and his wife Palaniselvi (both Kuruvars) are also engaged in
the work at Krishnapuram. They all said that they did not want their
children to continue this job. Their recommendations include filing a
case by the Collector against the Sanitary Inspectors and the town
panchayat officials under Employment of Manual Scavengers and
Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 for employing
sanitary workers for manual scavenging. The workers shall be provided
adequate compensation under the 1993 Act. The Collector shall take
immediate action under the Act, to demolish the ‘dry latrine’ existing
near “Ekkala Devi Temple Street” beside the water tank at Seithur. Tamil
Nadu Government shall conduct a survey to identify dry latrines and the
practice of manual scavenging and take efforts to abolish and ensure
rehabilitation of manual scavengers. The National Human Rights
Commission and National Commission for Scheduled Castes shall take suo
moto action and appropriate steps to ensure justice to the victims.

(Hindu, 07/07/2011)

Caste revelation breaks marriage mid-way in Bhiwani

BHIWANI: In a sudden twist of
circumstances, two grooms had to return without brides as the marriage
was aborted at the nick of time, when the castes of families, both bride
and groom, was found different at the time of taking marriage vows in
Karu village of Bhiwani district on Sunday. According to information,
situated turned chaotic at the marriage venue, which was the house of
Ashok Kumar at Karu village, as soon as the priest declared the gotras
and castes of the grooms who had arrived to marry Ashok`s two daughters.
The two sides came to blows and later turned to the middleman Jai Singh
and gave him a good thrashing. Jai Singh had come to Ashok with the
offer to marry off his daughters Kajal and Karishma with two sons of
Rakumar, Surajmal and Dilbagh, resident of Rohilla locality in Bhiwani.
Jai Singh allegedly concealed the caste of Rajkumar, who belongs to
Dhanak community while Ashok Kumar is

from different scheduled caste community.
Someone from among the marriage guests however, informed the police
about the development and Tosham police station SHO Umed Singh arrived
on the spot. The SHO said both the parties cooled down after some time
realizing that it was the middleman who mislead them. “The two sides
decided to dispose off the matter in the presence of the police. The
groom`s family gave Rs 30,000 as compensation to the expenses incurred
by the brides` side in the arrangements and parted ways”, he said. (TOI,
08/07/2011)

HC seeks report on burning of dalit huts in Dindigul

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has
directed the state authorities to produce the report of the inspection
conducted by village administrative officers and the tahsildar on the
burning of 84 houses belonging to dalit villagers at Paralipudur’
Dindigul district. Passing orders’ the bench comprising Chief Justice M Y
Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam directed that the report submitted to
the collector be submitted to the court. The case has been posted for
further hearing after two weeks along with the writ petition filed
before the Madurai bench. The matter relates to an incident that
occurred in the village in February 2011′ in which members of Viduthalai
Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) hoisted their party flag at the village tank.
This move was objected to by the upper-caste Mutharaiyar community’ who
hoisted their own flag at the same site. While the VCK flag was soon
removed’ it was alleged that Mutharaiyar community flag was found with a
string of footwear around it the next morning which ignited the ire of
the community. They reportedly barged into the dalit settlements and set
the huts ablaze along with livestock and vehicles. According to
advocate P Pugalenthi’ the petitioner in the case’ the counter-affidavit
filed by the government said that 72 houses were affected of which six
were fully burnt and 19 were half-destroyed . The court wanted to know
what was the relief granted to the villagers and directed state
authorities to submit the report’ he added. (TOI, 11/07/2011)

Home dept intervenes to offer justice to Dalits

JAIPUR: In a first ever move of its kind,
the state home department recently took up 31 cases of atrocities
against Scheduled Castes, offering relief to the victims. Most of the
cases were registered under the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955,
and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)
Act, 1989. The move followed a study by the Society for Participatory
Research in Asia (PRIA) and the Jaipur-based Centre for Dalit Rights
(CDR) over two months on the plight of state Dalits. The study also
looked into the role of statutory bodies such as the State Human Rights
Commission, Commission for Scheduled Castes, Women’s Commission and the
State Assembly’s Committee on Welfare of SCs in providing relief in
these cases. The study’s conclusion that the commissions have failed to
provide constitutional safeguards or redress grievances of Dalits made
the state government sit up and take notice. It was then that the home
department approached the CDR and requested it to provide details of 31
specific cases submitted earlier to different commissions, forums and
the government departments concerned. No Dalit in these cases has got
relief. (TOI, 11/07/2011)

Dalit boycott by Muslims leaves Gujarat’s Sanand village edgy

For 500 odd dalits in Andej village which
has a population of over 5,000, buying 1 kg rice is a 30 km return
journey.This is despite the fact that there are a dozen odd shops in the
village laden with all the goods they need. The tragedy is that they
are refused even a rickshaw ride, though they have money to afford one!
The social boycott of the dalit families here by the dominant Muslim
community, has made life miserable for them. The Muslim boycott of the
backward communities started on July 1 after a scuffle between two
groups in which a dalit was left with a fracture in the left hand. The
injured man lodged a police complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities
Act against those who had assaulted him. This upset the majority
population of the village. It was soon followed bya verbal fatwa warning
the auto-drivers of the community that they would be fined Rs2,000 if
they ferried a dalit community passenger. The gorcery shops followed
suit. Andej has some 700 Muslim and 100 dalit families, includingShenwa,
Valmiki and Rohit communities. There are around 40 Patel families in
the village too. Since July 1, 2011, the 100 backward communities
including Dalits have been boycotted by the Muslims of the village and
are allegedly not allowed to purchase anything from the public market.
They are also not allowed to use the local transport system which is
dominated by Muslim auto-drivers from the village. The 100 families are
forced to use other means of transport which are much most costly. The
village has around 15 Shenwa and 60 Rohit community families. Both these
communities are considered backward even among the Dalit communities.
“We are not allowed to purchase anything from the local market,” Shankar
Shenwa

told DNA. “They (Muslims) have announced a
penalty of Rs2000 on any Muslim driver who allows us to sit in his
vehicle,” Shankar added. The scuffle that led to the atrocity case and
the boycott took place after Shankar’s brother, Manu Shenwa, was accused
of stealing stones meant for some construction work in the village
being carried out by one Hussain Khokhar.”Khokhar came to my house,
asked me about the stones, and then started beating me. Later other
people joined him,” Manu told DNA. He said that Khokhar, along with five
other people, had assaulted him and fractured his left hand. An
atrocity case was eventually filed by Manu. This precipitated a boycott
of all the backward communities of the village by the majority Muslim
community.Fatu Rehmu, sarpanch of Andej Gram Panchayat, was not
available for his comment but, her husband, who handles all the
activities of the panchayat, told DNA that it was true that the Muslim
auto-drivers were boycotting the backward communities. “But they are
doing this because they do not want any conflict between the two
communities. It is best to avoid people from these communities if there
is a possibility of conflict,” he said. However, he denied that members
of the backward community were being prevented from purchasing anything
from the local market.Suresh Jadhav, a local Dalit activist, told DNA
that when they tried to intervene and sort out the matter, Muslim
families said that they would do so only on the condition that the
atrocity case was withdrawn. (DNA, 12/07/2011)

‘50% of poor in India are SCs’

NEW DELHI: Fifty% of the poor in the
country belong to the scheduled castes, the National Commission for
Scheduled Castes has said in a study. The report was submitted by the
NCSC to the Prime Minister and the law minister in support of its
recommendation for reservation in admission and promotion for SC
students and employees, officials in the Commission said. “In view of
these facts, the Commission highlights the importance of reservation in
admission of SC students as well as reservation in promotion of SC
employees,” it said in a release. The report further states that there
is a literacy gap of 10.69 per cent between SCs and other castes and
dalits in many parts of the country were still subjected to social and
economic discrimination. NCSC chairman PL Punia has requested Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh to issue directions for initiating action in
view of the recommendations of the report, it said. Punia has also
written to UP chief minister Mayawati requesting her to provide
reservation in admission in private unaided professional colleges in the
state without any legal hurdles, the release said. (TOI, 13/07/2011)

13-year-old Dalit girl raped for two days in UP (2)

SULTANPUR(UP): In yet another rape case
in Uttar Pradesh, a thirteen-year-old Dalit girl was sexually assaulted
for two days in Kudwar area here, police said. The victim was held
captive for two days at a tubewell and raped by two youths from where
she escaped this morning, SP Govind Agarwal said. The girl, a resident
of CSM Nagar, had gone to Sultanpur to purchase some medicines on July
12, where she met the two persons who took her to the tubewell and raped
her, Agarwal said. Efforts are on to arrest the accused, he added.
(Times of India 14/7/11)

20-year-old dalit girl assaulted, gang raped (2)

AHMEDABAD: Two men allegedly raped a
20-year-old dalit girl, who had come to the city seeking a livelihood.
Police arrested six people including a woman and the two men who the
girl accused of raping her on Friday night in Sola area. Sola police
told TOI that Savita (name changed), who is from Amreli used to work
with a city-based film production company till four months ago. She was
out of the job for the last four months because of a severe back pain
and had been staying with her sister in Amreli. Her father died two
years ago and her mother remarried leaving her to fend for herself.
(Times of India 17/7/11)

Five States to initiate review of protection of Dalit rights (2)

A recent study on the role of statutory
institutions in protection of Dalit rights in Rajasthan, which prompted
the State Government to take action in 31 cases of atrocities against
members of Scheduled Castes, is proposed to be replicated in five other
States in the country. Civil rights activists and Dalit victims of
violence and discrimination highlighted the study’s findings and
deliberated on the specific instances investigated by it at an impact
assessment meeting here over the weekend. Victims narrated accounts of
atrocities and provided details of action taken as a result of the
study. The Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and the
Centre for Dalit Rights had jointly conducted the study which looked
into the role of statutory bodies such as the State Human Rights
Commission, Commission for Scheduled Castes, Women’s Commission and the
State Assembly’s Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes. Addressing
the meeting, PRIA’s Delhi director Manoj Rai said similar studies would
be undertaken shortly in five States – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka – where there is a “high prevalence”
of crimes against Dalits. The interventions made in Rajasthan would
serve as the benchmark for the study’s replication in the five States,
he added. CDR patron P. L. Mimorth said the frequency of crimes against
Scheduled Castes in the State had increased over the years. These cases
involve murder, rape, denial of access to public places, encroachment on
land allotted to Dalits, untouchability and physical assault. The
participants noted that the PRIA-CDR study had made a tremendous impact
on the State Government. Though the cases discussed in the study had
previously been referred to different Commissions, forums and Government
departments, the victims had not been given any relief. Lakshman Singh
Jatav from Bharatpur said the case of his daughter’s gang-rape and her
subsequent suicide, which was earlier hushed up, has since been reopened
and the accused arrested. Financial relief of Rs.50, 000 has been
provided to his family. In a horrifying case of a Dalit woman beaten up
and murdered at Nadbai in Bharatpur district, orders for action were
given by the Chief Minister’s Office, after which the anticipatory bail
application of the accused was rejected and they were arrested.
Financial relief of Rs. 75,000 has been provided in the case, said
Meethalal Jatav. Most of the cases analysed and investigated in the
study were registered under the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955,
and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities)
Act, 1989. The Home Department has taken up 31 cases with the
authorities concerned and given relief to most of the victims within a
span of six months. PRIA State coordinator Krishan Tyagi said the
statutory bodies should be held accountable for their work, and their
style of functioning should be changed to bring in “more transparency”.
He said the sharing of experiences by the victims had proved the utility
of the study. (The Hindu 18/7/11)

Mayawati in bid to win support of Pasi community (2)

In a bid to win support of Pasi community
(a dalit sub caste) in coming assembly elections, Bahujan Samaj Party
president and Chief Minister, Mayawati on Sunday assured to give
community members their due share in administration and politics. The
Chief Minister discussed problems of community with Pasi leader,
Ramlakhan Pasi at her residence in a meeting in morning which lasted for
two hours.

Mayawati appointed Ram Lakhan Pasi zonal
co-ordinator of BSP’s ‘bhaichara committees’ of Lucknow, Faizabad and
Allahabad divisions where Pasi electorates are in sizeable number.
Mayawati instructed him to work within Pasi community for ensuring
party’s victory to power in coming election scheduled in 2012. The Chief
Minister assured Pasi leader to take prompt action on five point
charter presented in the meeting and said, soon she would make some
announcements regarding welfare of the community. As a representative of
community Ram Lakhan Pasi, in charter stressed on five demands
including renovation of Bijli Pasi fort in Lucknow, announcement of
public holiday on September 16, the martyr day of Pasi icon Uda Devi,
inclusion of biography of both Pasi icons in school syllabus, prime
postings for Pasi officials in government departments and adequate share
to Pasis in the politics and administration. Later in day addressing a
conclave of Pasi community organised in Sahkarita Bhawan, BSP state
president and Panchayati Raj Minister Swamy Prasad Maurya said, the
renovation of Raja Bijli Pasi fort would be done by the government after
party returns in to power in assembly election in 2012. While other
parties were indulging in mere lip service for upliftment of dalits and
poor people only BSP was bringing change in their lives through its good
governance in UP, he said. Several BSP leaders including party MP,
Jugal Kishore, former Mayor Dauji Gupta, Ram Lakhan Pasi and UP state
SC/ST commission chairman Mahadeen Gautam addressed the conclave.
(Pioneer 18/7/11)

Govt to act tough against safai karmacharis (2)

Lucknow: With ‘karamcharis’ taking rest
in their homes subletting ‘safai’ work to others, the state government
has decided to act tough against such ‘safai karamcharis’. A Government
Order to this effect was issued on Tuesday asking district magistrates
to take strict action against truant bonafide safai karamcharis. The
order was issued following bureaucrats logged in their inspection
reports that ‘hired’ people were carrying out ‘safai’ of revenue
villages. The pradhans and lower level village officers confirmed
emergence of this new trend where Safai Karamcharis outsource safai work
in villages. “There is no caste bias in sub-letting their job. Earlier,
it was believed that only upper caste safai karamcharis

had sublet their work to others including
dalits. Inquiry showed that people from other castes had also adopted
this new phenomenon,” a senior official in Chief Minister’s office told
The Pioneer here on Tuesday. Issuing the fresh GO, Principal Secretary,
Panchayati Raj, BM Meena directed all the district magistrates to ensure
that cleaning of drains and roads of revenue villages were carried out
on regular basis. The order specified that the work should only be done
by state-appointed Safai Karamcharis. “Regular inspection of their work
should be carried out by Gram Panchayat Adhikari and Gram Vikas
Adhikari. In case of negligence, action will be taken against these two
official as well as the Safai karamchari,” Meena said. The State
Government had appointed around one lakh Safai Karamcharis last year.
They were appointed in all the 52,034 revenue villages. (Pioneer
20/7/11)

Dalit woman assaulted, paraded naked in Jajpur (2)

Jajpur: A 23-year-old Dalit woman,
Anganawadi worker, was beaten up and paraded naked through Manapur
village under Kuakhia police station in Jajpur district on Wednesday by
some upper caste people. An FIR was filed by Ramesh Mallick, the brother
of the victim on Wednesday against Tushar Samal, Baidhar Nayak,
Kaliprasana Samal, Loknath Panda, Sukanta Sahoo, Rajkishor Das, Amar
Samal, Sankarsan Parida and other upper caste persons in Kuakhia police
station, informed Inspector -in-Charge of Kuakhia PS. “We filed a case
against all the nine upper caste persons under sections-354, 323,294,
506 and 34 of Indian Penal Code and Section- 3 of SC and ST (Atrocity
Prevention) Act, 1989 on Wednesday. All the accused persons managed to
flee from the village. The police are raiding their hideouts to arrest
them and are also investigating the case”, said the IIC. The victim
sustained serious injuries on her body. She was initially admitted to
the Kuakhia community health centre (CHC). But, later she was shifted to
SCB Medical in Cuttack. Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) of
Rasulpur block Kusum Lata Kar said “The injured Anganwadi worker has
been managing the Anganwadi centre honestly since last three years. But
some unscrupulous persons of the village have been opposing her”. A
Dalit leader Harihar Mallick visited the village and met the victim
woman in the hospital. They also met the police officials and demanded
the arrest of the attackers. (Pioneer 21/7/11)

Minor Dalit girl gang-raped, murdered in Alwar (2)

ALWAR: A 17-year-old dalit girl was
gangraped and brutally murdered in Sadar police station area of Alwar
district on Wednesday night. The girl was stragulated by at least four
men who have been arrested.

The accused had dumped her body on
railway tracks after murder. Police said the victim, a resident of
Jatiyana village, had gone out with her cousin in the evening and was
returning home when she was intercepted by a person wearing a ‘burqa’
(veil). “The woman told her that she was scared of something and
requested her to accompany her to her house. She told the girl that the
house was nearby,” a police officer said. The officer said that the
victim sent her cousin home and accompanied the woman. “During the
interrogation of the four men, who have been arrested for the crime, it
came up that one of them had pretended to be a woman. Soon after the
girl started accompanying him, three others came there,” said the
officer. He added that the girl soon realized what was happening and
tried to attract the attention of others by crying for help, but they
gagged her with a piece of cloth. They took the girl to a forest area
and raped her one by one. “Fearing that the girl would tell someone
about the incident, they strangulated her and then dumped her body on
the railway tracks,” the officer added. He said that they threw the body
on the tracks thinking that the death would be considered an accident
after it would be run over by a train. However, some animals dragged the
girl’s body from the tracks. Meanwhile, the family members of the girl
launched a search when she did not return home and informed the police
after they could not find her. “The body was traced about five hours
after the murder. Some passers-by informed us late Wednesday night
following which a team was rushed there,” said the officer. The police
have arrested four men – Iqbal, Mushtaq, Foji and Mussaddi.
Interrogation of them is going on. Tension prevailed in the village
after the news of girl’s death reached them.(Times of India 22/7/11)

Punjab: Atrocities against SCs; NCSC hits out (2)

Chandigarh: The National Commission for
Scheduled Castes (NCSC) today hit out at the Punjab government for
“rising” atrocities against Scheduled Caste people. After a meeting with
state government officials, NCSC Chairman PL Punia said atrocities
against SCs in the state were on rise. The cases of atrocities against
SC families increased from 97 in 2009 to 118 in 2010, he said. Punia
said the state had not even held a meeting of the State Vigilance and
Monitoring Committee to monitor atrocities against SCs in the last five
years. “The committee should hold a meeting every six months but the
state government did not conduct such exercise during the last five
years,” he said. Punia pointed out that SC families constitute 31 per
cent of total population in Punjab as per the latest census. He accused
the state government of diverting funds meant for uplift of SCs out of
the state annual plan. (Zee News 22/7/11)

Aarakshan is anti-Dalit: RPI chief (2)

Republican Party of India (RPI) chief
Ramdas Athavale Sunday said his party will not let theatres in
Maharashtra screen Prakash Jha’s upcoming release Aarakshan” if the
movie does not change its “antiDalit” stance. “The film seems to be
trying to put a divide between Dalits and the others,” Athavale told
IANS. The RPI chief’s threat comes a day after the National Commission
of Scheduled Castes (NCSC) also termed the film “anti-Dalit”. NCSC had
earlier asked Prakash Jha to screen the film for a panel before its
release Aug 12. According to Athavale, the panel’s chairman N.L. Punia
wanted to ensure that the film does not misrepresent the constitutional
stand and laws on reservation. “But the screening did not take place. We
will wait for the film to release and then protest against it if it
promotes an anti-Dalit stand,” Athavale said. “Aarakshan”, starring
Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, is about
reservations in the Indian education system. Khan plays a Dalit teacher.
The censor board has cleared the film with a U/A certificate. (Times of
India 25/7/11)

Youth held for raping mentally-challenged girl in Kendrapada (2)

Kendrapada: The Pattamundai police on
Saturday arrested a youth on the charges of sexually abusing a 24-years
old mentally challenged Dalit girl six months back at Balipatana
village. Inspector- in-Charge of Pattamundai police station Rashmi
Ranjan Sahu said Biswanath Das , a resident of Balipatana village under
Pattamundai PS allegedly sexually abused a 24-year old Dalit girl ,
Katrina (name changed) of the village six months back in a lonely place .
The youth had also threatened the girl not to disclose about this
matter to anybody else she would face dire consequences . But the matter
came to the limelight, when the mother of the girl came to know about
the pregnancy of Katrina. On Friday, the victim girl’s mother lodged an
FIR at Pattamundai against the accused. The arrested youth was sent for
medical examination and on Sunday he was produced in the JMFC court of
Pattamundai under Section 376, 506 of IPC: 3 SC and ST Prevention of
Atrocity Act. The arrested youth was remanded into jail custody after
his bail petition was rejected by court, informed the IIC. (Pioneer
25/7/11)

CPI seeks justice for Dalit families (2)

The CPI wanted the government to take
steps to register the agriculture land at Serilingampalli on the city
outskirts which was handed over to Emaar Properties. In a letter
addressed to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, CPI State secretary K.
Narayana said the government forcibly acquired the land which was under
the possession of Dalit families and handed over to the rich. Action
was not being initiated against the firms which were trying to sell the
land given to them for development. (The Hindu 26/7/11)

Diversion of SC, ST funds deplored (2)

Various dalit organisations on Monday
decided to spearhead protracted agitation to put an end to diversion of
funds allocated for betterment of SCs and STs by the Union and State
governments to other departments. Special Component Plan and Tribal Sub
Plan ‘Nidhulu Sadhana Iakya Karyacharana Committee State convenor B.
Danam, speaking at the committee Prakasam district meeting here, said,
“only through protracted struggle we will be able to get justice.” CPI
Legislature party leader G. Mallesh promised all support to the dalits
in their struggle to press for spending at least 16.2 per cent of all
funds for SCs development and 6.6 per cent funds for STs development.
CPI(M)-led All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) State general
secretary B. Venkat alleged that in spite of formation of the Special
Component Plan and Tribal Sub Plan, funds allocated for dalits and
girijans were being diverted for other projects such as beautification
of Hussainsagar lake, Jalayagnam, and Outer Ring Road project.

(The Hindu 26/7/11)

Khairlanji massacre survivor Bhotmange denies remarriage (2)

NAGPUR: Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange, the sole
survivor of the Khairlanji massacre in Bhandara district, has denied
that he has re-married. Sheela, the woman living at his house is only a
domestic help. “All reports in media about his re-marriage are part of a
conspiracy to defame and demoralize me,” he said. Bhotmange addressed a
press conference flanked by Republican Panthers activists Ravi Shende
and Sanjay Jeevne. Presenting a strong case on his behalf even before he
could interact with reporters, they alleged that reports of Bhotmange’s
marriage were part of a upper-caste conspiracy to undermine the Dalit
movement to bring justice to Bhotmange who had suffered immensely having
lost all four members of his family. On September 29 in a mob attack by
the villagers in Khairlanji in Mohadi taluka of Bhandara district, 100
km from here, Bhaiyyalal’s wife Surekha, teen-aged daughter Priyanka and
two grown-up sons Sudhir and Rohan were lynched. Bhaiyalal survived as
he hid himself at a nearby place. While eight persons were awarded life
imprisonment in the case by the high court, an appeal against it is
pending in Supreme Court. “There is no evidence of me having got
re-married. I employed Sheela to do household chores. I was not keeping
well for last few days and my friends and well-wishers advised me to
hire a domestic help who could run the house for me while I went to work
and took care of the court case matter,” said Bhaiyalal. He went on
further to accuse a Mararthi private news channel of manipulating the
news and forcing him and Sheelabai to sit together for capturing visuals
on camera. “When the journalists visited my house I denied having got
into wedlock with Sheela. But they would not listen,” said Bhaiyalal.
Interestingly, Sheelabai is from Nagpur and agreed to work for him for a
monthly salary of Rs 700, he said. She was staying at her sister’s
place at nearby Fulmogra, and commuted from there to Bhandara and
Nagpur, he said. “These mediapersons turn a blind eye to the
celebrations at Khairlanji when the accused visit the village on parole.
Some people have been floating rumours about Bhotmange’s remarrriage
for last two years. They are now active again, just before the scheduled
hearing of the appeal in the apex court next month and before the fifth
anniversary of the dastardly attack at Khairlanji. September 29 is
observed as `Smruti Divas’ at the attack site,” said Jeevne. (Times of
India 26/7/11)

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit woman raped, stabbed (2)

Basti, Uttar Pradesh: In another setback
for the Mayawati government, and adding to the long list of rape cases, a
Dalit woman was raped and stabbed barely 50 metres from the DIG’s
residence in the Basti area of Uttar Pradesh. After raping her, the
three men repeatedly stabbed her on the terrace of a government quarter
in the district. One of the main accused Ajay Chaudhary is the driver of
a senior government officer, who stays in one of the quarters. The
woman is critical, and is being treated in the district hospital. Police
have lodged a case of rape. “Poonam mentioned that somebody misbehaved
with her. There are a few blade marks also on her. A case of rape has
been registered and we have constituted teams to look for the accused,”
said Rajesh Modak, SP, Basti. (NDTV 26/7/11)

National Commission for Scheduled Castes panel back to Delhi on a bitter note

LUCKNOW : The National Commission for
Scheduled Castes (NSCS) panel on Wednesday returned back to Delhi on a
bitter note. Before the panel left, its chairman and Congress MP, PL
Punia said, despite obstacles being put by Mayawati government the
commission would enhance its efforts to ensure justice to dalits facing
atrocities in Uttar Pradesh. On Tuesday the panel was denied holding
meeting with dalit students of Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical
University (CSMMU), who had complained of caste bias and discrimination
by university administration, on pretext of ongoing admission work
there. Despite the university administration had announced a holiday at
campus, Punia along with panel members met students and took serious
cognisance of their problems. On Wednesday NCSC panel visited Divisional
Railways Manager (DRM) office in state capital and held a public
hearing involving dalit employees of Railways. Besides Punia took part
in District Monitoring and Vigilance Committee in Barabanki from where
he is an elected member of Parliament. Talking to “The Pioneer” Punia
said, since the state government was unconcerned with the problems being
faced by dalits it tried, with all its might, to put all kinds of
hurdles to prevent us from holding meetings with them so we could not
know about the atrocities being perpetrated on them. The NCSC panel was
denied accommodation at state guest house, the administrative officers
were held from meeting with us and even vehicles were not provided to us
which should be given under protocol. The panel members were pressed to
hire taxi for their movement in state capital and were even left
without any security, he said. Pointing at ill intentions of state
government he said, the government was misguiding in saying that due
protocol was provided to members of constitutional panel. In fact the
government created a situation of confront to prevent the NCSC from
performing its duty. However legal action will be initiated against all
those including vice-chancellor of CSSMU who tried putting obstacles
before NCSC panel during its visit. (Pioneer 28/7/11)

‘Media pays little attention to the issues of rural Dalits’ (2)

Mumbai-based Anand Teltumbde is a leading
scholar-activist who has written extensively on issues related to
caste, class, imperialism and globalisation. In the second part of an
interview with Yoginder Sikand, he talks about the Dalit media, the
influx of NGOs and the impact of Dalit capitalism on the movement. How
do you assess the role of the Dalit media in raising and communicating
these issues which you feel Dalit groups have failed to take up? There
is not much of a Dalit media actually. There are several small magazines
and periodicals run by Dalits all over the country. Some of them do
raise valid issues faced by Dalits, but many others are simply tails of
this or that political group. This connection may not be always visible
but it does exist in terms of direct or indirect support coming from
these sources. During the last decade, a curious development took place
in Maharashtra in this regard. Some Dalits started daily papers, one
after another. Today, there are at least half a dozen full-sheet daily
papers run by Dalits in Maharashtra. They do satisfy rhetorical need of
having our own media. One does not know how their economics is managed,
however, given that newspapers basically run on advertisement revenue,
which is largely absent in their case. The content analysis of these
newspapers does not indicate that they have significantly contributed
raising the live questions of Dalits or catalysed any movement around
it. They just meet the identitarian need of having ‘our’ own media. I do
not know whether a media owned and operated by Dalits could really be
called a ‘Dalit media’. Most Dalit papers reflect the concerns and
interests of their readership — the ‘reservationist’ middle-class — and
that is why they deal mainly with religio-cultural issues, besides, of
course, reservations. They pay little attention to the issues of rural
Dalits. Many of them are averse to taking up economic issues or to
considering the need for a contextually-rooted class-cum-caste analysis
of Indian society. Basically premised on the identity of Dalits, they
often ignore other issues. The media reflects to some degree the state
of our intellectual activism. The tragedy is that we have few organic
intellectuals who can articulate the concerns and interests of the Dalit
masses. Instead, we have a whole lot of cut-and-paste intellectuals
whose only task, it seems, is to rehash what others have written before
them, refusing to engage in any creative intellectual work. The Dalit
media eventually mirrors it. Rediff: News 3/8/11)

National SC/ST Commission sends summons to Leela Samson (2)

The National Commission for Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes has issued summons to Leela Samson,
chairpersons of the Central Board of Film Certification, to appear
before it on August 8 in connection with the upcoming Bollywood movie
Aarakshan (Reservations). Commission has called Ms. Samson to examine
whether the movie violated any provision of the SC/ST Prevention of
Atrocities Act,

Sameer Bhujbal, MP and son of prominent
Maharashtra OBC (other backward caste) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, said in a
press statement on Tuesday. Dalit and OBC leaders have already demanded
a preview of the film which is slated to release on August 12. They
have warned of action if the stand in the movie is found to be
anti-reservations. All India Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad has called
for a peaceful protest depending on the film content. (The Hindu 3/8/11)

Samiti seeks sites, amenities for Dalits (2)

The Karnataka Pradesh Dalit Jagruti
Samiti has urged the Mysore district administration to provide sites and
amenities to Dalit families of Tayur village in Nanjangud taluk of
Mysore district. In a memorandum submitted to the district
administration, a copy of which was released to presspersons, convener
of the Mysore unit of the samiti M. Prabhu and other office-bearers
complained that the residents did not have access to proper roads and
hospitals. They urged the district administration to purchase 4 acres of
land in the north of the village to carve out sites for 150 Dalit
families. Housing schemes such as Ashraya, Ambedkar and Indira Awas
should be introduced in the village, they said. A separate ration depot
should be sanctioned for the village. Dalit families should be given
direct loans from the Social Welfare Department and the B.R. Ambedkar
Development Corporation, they said. Besides, every house in the village
should be provided toilets under the Total Sanitation Campaign, the
samiti added. (The Hindu

4/8/11)

Minor girl raped; one arrested (2)

A 13-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly
raped by a 33-year-old man on Tuesday. The victim has been admitted to
the Kottarakara taluk hospital. The man was arrested by the Pooyapally
police. The police said the accused, Ratheesh, was a relative of the
girl.The girl had been staying at Ratheesh’s house since one month as a
help to his wife who was delivered of a child. Ratheesh works as an
autorickshaw driver at Mannadi. (The Hindu 4/8/11)

After 4 years of stir, Kerala Dalits yet to get homes (2)

Kochi: Four years have passed since the
Sadhujana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi, an organisation of Dalits and
Adivasis, started their ‘agitation of tolerance’ among the hills of
Chengara in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district demanding land for home and
to cultivate but indications are that their efforts might not turn
fruitful anytime soon. According to the Vedi leaders, there are 2,736
families living in the shacks put up in the “agitation land” in the
rubber estates run by Harrison Malayalam Plantation Limited among the
Chengara hills. A new Congress-led Government has taken over the State’s
rule from the LDF, but that has not given the Vedi workers any new
confidence. “Somehow, the ruling class seems to be reluctant to consider
indigenous people as citizens of this country,” complained Sukumaran, a
Dalit agitating in Chengara. “In 2009, the then LDF Government had
offered land to some of us but what they were given were rocky waste
lands. Still, there is no word about the rest of us,” he said. About
7,000 families of Dalits and Adivasis from all over Kerala had launched
their epic struggle in Chengara on August 4, 2007 demanding five acres
of land and Rs 5,00,000 for each homeless family. The then Government,
led by octogenarian Marxist VS Achuthanandan, allegedly took an
antagonistic attitude towards them right from the beginning. Though the
police, restricted by a High court order not to use force, had tried to
evict them from the rubber estates but the Dalits successfully resisted
the move by threatening to commit suicide by hanging from the rubber
trees and setting themselves ablaze. As the struggle won national
attention, the then Government was forced to invite the Vedi leaders for
talks. Leading rights activists from all over the country visited the
Chengara hills to declare solidarity with the Dalits even when the stir
created tensions locally. Trade unions of major parties even manhandled
the agitators accusing them of causing disruption to their jobs as
rubber tappers in the plantation. Left leaders even described the
agitators as LTTE agents, pawns of imperialists and rubber thieves and
at one stage Achuthanandan threatened to send “police with teeth and
claw” to deal with them. However, after several rounds of dialogues, the
Government and the agitators came to a settlement on October 5, 2009
and the strike was withdrawn partially. As per the settlement formula,
one acre of land each was to be given to the Scheduled Tribes families,
half-an-acre each to the Scheduled Caste families and 25 cents of land
each to the other poor in the Chengara camp. The Government also
promised to provide them with houses worth Rs 125,000 to ST families, Rs
100,000 to SC families and Rs 75,000 to the other poor. A Government
survey among the agitators in Chengara had found that a total of 1,739
families were there in the agitation camp, and among them 1,432 families
were qualified for the rehabilitation package. The agitators also
included, as per the survey, 27 Adivasi families, each of who was to get
one acre land and Rs 125,000 for housing. It was later proved that the
Government had not planned properly for the rehabilitation of the Dalits
and Adivasis of Chengara. Those who were rehabilitated in Kasaragod and
Idukki districts found that the lands they had got were not arable.
Also, no steps were taken to ensure the delivery of the other helps
promised to them. At the same time, there was no word on the
rehabilitation of the remaining families in the Chengara agitation camp.
This forced the Vedi to resume the agitation demanding home and land to
the families left out in the earlier package. The Vedi is now planning
to intensify the agitation as the new Government’s response to the issue
is said to be lukewarm. (Pioneer

5/8/11)

No inequalities now (2)

Chandrabhan Prasad: In the Marxian
lexicon, inequality is fundamentally about the gap between the income
and expenditure. The World Bank goes by the same criteria. In that
sense, the two are similar. The Planning Commission in India also
follows a similar pattern when it comes to measuring the wellbeing of
the people. India, even today, is a caste society. Therefore, what is
applicable in order to measure well-being of class societies does not
hold water for a caste society. It is another matter that this society
has developed cracks now. In his seminal work Annihilation of Caste Dr
Ambedkar cites many instances of inequality that most people will find
it difficult to read. The year — November 1935, the place Zanu, a
village in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Having found financial independence, a
few Dalit women were spotted fetching water in metal pots. The Hindus
took an offense and assaulted the women for their imprudence. In April
1936, a similar incident took place in Chakwara district, Rajasthan. A
Dalit went on a pilgrimage. Elsewhere a Hindu son took his parents on a
pilgrimage — Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri, and Rameshwaram. Though
there is not much information on what happened probably because of lack
of information, a pilgrimage means that a good son should take his
parents on a tour of the charon dham. Whether the Dalit son took his
parents to all the four centres or just one temple is not important.
What is important is that the son took his parents as per the custom and
organised a dinner where he invited all his relatives and other Dalits
in the village. There is nothing strange about this ritual. After all it
is a custom in caste Hindus to organise such dinners after returning
from a pilgrimage. Then why did the Chakwara Dalit dinner catch the
media’s attention? The Dalit family were good hosts and served ghee — a
food item that is usually eaten by people of the higher caste. Dr
Ambedkar wrote: “While people were eating their food, Hindus in
hundreds, armed with lathis reached the house of the Dalit, threw all
the food and chased all the people away.” “But no one in the village
though that eating ghee was something that only the higher caste was
allowed…Hindus of Chakwara thought,” wrote Dr Ambedkar. Though the
incident happened almost 80 years ago, instances where Dalit grooms were
stoned because they rode horses are not too uncommon in badlands of
West UP, Haryana and North Rajasthan. This is similar to the three
tumbler system that exists at the tea stalls in villages of Tamil Nadu
and Andhra Pradesh. (I had written about it in my previous column).
These incidents establish that economic indices are inadequate in
measuring inequality. More importantly, economic inequality creates
class divide and is all about accessing or unable to access good things
in life. Social inequalities forces humiliation. Zanu and Chakwara
stories are not based on class divide but are caste based which is
forced on the Dalits humiliating them. Sadly, most scholars have a very
narrow view of the caste order — what is pure, impure, what is higher
case and lower. But these are ideological and organisational issues that
the caste order is based on. However, not much is known or debated upon
about the functional aspect of the order. The caste order is not only
about hierarchies, it involves other aspects of life as well. It rides
and survives on hierarchies which miss our intellectual discourses on
caste in general and Dalits in particular. So we have caste ordained
food hierarchy, dress hierarchy, language based hierarchy, and the most
fundamental of all — occupation hierarchy. During a visit to my
ancestral village recently, I was a witness to a near complete collapse
of food hierarchy. To cut a long story short let me give two examples to
explain. First, no one cultivates millets anymore. That means,
irrespective of what caste a person belongs to, everybody is eating
wheat, rice, pulses and vegetables. It is another matter that the upper
caste is eating a better variety of the produce. After making several
enquires, I came to the conclusion that farmers in my village have
started to grow crops that give a higher yields. Though there are some
farmers who cultivate crop that gives a lower yield but that is for
personal consumption. But one thing is certain, no crop irrespective of
its yield has a caste stamp on it. Earlier, millet was only eaten by
Dalits. Now it is something that the cattle eat. Second, pork is no
longer considered a food that only Dalits eat. A butcher that I spoke
with said that 50 per cent of his customers are non-Dalits. Post 1990,
within two decades of liberalisation, food hierarchy has collapsed. Food
Hierarchy is now a thing of the past. The question is why did food
inequality not end before? Post 1990, India’s massive industrialisation
and urban expansion attracted a many illiterate and school drop Dalit
youth migrated to cities in search of work in factories, industries and
truck drivers. They just didn’t bring back money to their homes, they
also brought with them urban lifestyle. This lifestyle is egalitarian as
far as basic food is concerned. (Pioneer 6/8/11)

IG’s ‘caste’ remark snowballs into controversy (2)

KAKINADA: A senior IPS officer has landed
himself in trouble over his alleged remarks on the increasing number of
SC/ST atrocities cases. The reported comment by Visakhapatnam range IG
Vinay Kumar Singh that a lot of SC/ST cases were fake drew strong
reactions from several dalit sanghams who demanded action against the
officer. Earlier on Friday night, 17 dalits were arrested and remanded
to judicial custody for obstructing his vehicle and shouting slogans
against him when he was on his way to Anaparthi. Trouble had started
when the IG, during his visit to Anaparthi police station on Thursday,
told the cops to be wary while dealing with caste-related cases. Singh
said that caste colour was being given even to minor incidents and
demonstrations were being staged without much provocation. He urged the
cops to be on guard against such fake atrocity cases. These remarks
kicked up a controversy in Anaparthi the next day during the IG’s visit.
He was gheraoed, his vehicle was obstructed and slogans were raised
against him by SC activists. Condemning the arrests, Amalapuram MP G V
Harsha Kumar said that the IG’s action was uncalled for and demanded
immediate release of the dalit activists. MLC

George Victor said use of force on peaceful protesters was unacceptable. (Times of India 7/8/11) Directive to Collectors on Thevar Jayanthi procession (2)

The Madras High Court Bench here on
Wednesday directed Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram Collectors to conduct
a peace committee meeting to solve differences between different caste
groups over the route to be taken by residents of 12 villages in
Tiruchuli taluk of Virudhunagar district for the annual Thevar Jayanthi
procession on October 30. A Division Bench of Justices P. Jyothimani and
M.M. Sundresh ordered that the meeting could be held at the
Virudhunagar Collectorate and the court should be informed of the
outcome within two weeks. The interim order was passed following a
public interest litigation petition filed by individuals belonging to
the twelve villages claiming that the police officers were forcing them
to take a circuitous route. Arguing for the petitioners, their counsel
W. Peter Ramesh Kumar said that it was not fair on the part of the
police to ask the aged and women to walk for about 100 kilometres rather
than taking the shortest route of just 25 kilometres. Claiming that
there had been no instance of law and order problem in the past, he said
that it was the duty of the police to provide necessary protection.
Then, Mr. Justice Jyothimani intervened and said that the court should
not interfere in matters related to law and order problem as the
policemen were the best ones to take a decision on those issues. “Just
one stone throw will spoil the whole show,” he said. Agreeing with him,
Mr. Justice Sundresh added that the best of the police force in London
itself was not able to manage the ongoing riots there. Later, the judges
asked the Special Government Pleader K. Mahendran to inform the
Collectors about the proposed peace committee meeting and the necessity
to attempt for a peaceful solution to the issue. According to the
petitioners, they had been taking out the procession by foot usually
through Tiruchuli town, Panaiyur, Sethupuram, Anaikulam,
Muthuramalingapuram, Mandalamanickam and Kamuthi. However, the police
changed the route and asked the participants to go through Tiruchuli
town, Tamilbadi, Ramalinga Mill, Kalloorani, Reddiyapatti, Mandapasalai,
Kanavilakku and Kamuthi and hence the present case. On Wednesday, M.
Dhanushkodi (65) of Muthuramalingapuram Pudur filed an intervening
petition in the case claiming to be the representative of Dalits in his
village. He opposed the writ petition on the ground that there could be a
law and order problem if the procession was allowed through his
village. (The Hindu 11/8/11)

Dalit minorities hold big rally in Gajapati (2)

The oppressed minority communities of
Gajapati district have demanded their inclusion in the scheduled caste
category and the right to get reservation. In a big rally on August 8
attended by about 10,000 dalit Christians and Muslims from different
block areas of the district took out a procession from the Parla bus
stand to the District Collector’s office chanting slogans in support of
their demands. Leaders of both the communities including a few Left
party leaders spoke at the meeting sharply criticising Government’s
apathetic attitude towards the Dalit Christians and Muslims in granting
them SC status and due reservation in various fields for which they have
been fighting since August 10, 1950 when the Dalit Christians, Muslims,
Buddhists and the Sikhs were denied the SC status. The leaders demanded
the Central Government act keeping the Supreme Court’s order in view
and announce its decision. They also threatened to intensify their stir
in case the Government continues with its present attitude. The rally
was jointly organised by the National Coordination Committee for Dalit
Christians, the National Council of Dalit Christians and the Odisha
Regional Commission for SC, ST and OBC. Former Zilla Parishad member

Thomas Michel, Mukim Khan, Mohmed Firoz
Khaliq, bishop SC Naik, father BK Naik, reverend Sovlon Pani and others
were leading the procession. All participants wore black badges
protesting injustice meted out to them in free India. (The Pioneer
12/8/11)

Govt lacks sincerity on Dalits’ temple entry: Congress (2)

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Pradesh Congress
Committee Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Cell chairman Ripunath
Seth on Thursday alleged that the State Government have no sincerity in
creating conditions for entry of SC and dalit people into the Jagannath
temple. SC and Dalit Congress State unit convener Bankanidhi Behera and
former Minister Ganeswar Behera reacting to a news that the State
Government has prepared a strategy to nullify the traditional
restriction on SC and ST people in entering the temple premises, said
the State Government had shown no interest for the uplift of the SC and
the dalit sections of the society during the 12 years of its tenure.
They said the Government suddenly woke up when the National Commission
for SC/ST asked for a report on the issue of temple entry. “Many
Ministers, MPs and other political leaders are also found using
disparaging words irritating the SC and dalit communities,” they
alleged. “Public awareness and strong implementation of law can
eradicate the practice untouchability from the society. If it continues,
the OPCC SC and Dalit Cell would take to the streets across the State,”
the leaders cautioned. (The Pioneer 12/8/11)

Derogatory remarks in Aarakshan: Commission (2)

The National Commission for Scheduled
Castes (NCSC) and the Censor Board have come to a stand-off over Prakash
Jha’s new film Aarakshan which deals with reservation and
commercialisation in education. The Commission, which viewed the film
earlier this week, said certain dialogues in the film were “derogatory”
and “objectionable” to Dalits and asked the Censor Board to order
changes. However, the Board, which granted the film a U/A certification,
said it would defend Mr. Jha’s right to free expression. “While the
overall theme of the film is not objectionable, it is loaded with
anti-Dalit and anti-reservation dialogues,” said NCSC chairman P.L.
Punia. He pointed to a scene where two businessmen remark that they
don’t want their children to study with those from Dalit communities
“who stink” and have no manners as particularly “humiliating”. He said
rather than condemning such an attitude, Bachchan’s character merely
replied that he would not take two sets of classes for Dalit and
non-Dalit students. Other characters mock the concept of reservation for
Dalits, comparing it to alms, and claiming that Dalit students should
be shining shoes rather than pursuing their studies. “The film ridicules
the rights given to the underprivileged by the Constitution,” said Mr.
Punia. However, Censor Board chairperson Leela Samson said there was no
question of reviewing its certification. “When you show a certain
situation, you must show reality as it is … [These dialogues] are
nothing new when you consider the abuse hurled in everyday dialogues in
this country,” she said. “I don’t think the film is anti-Dalit.” The
Amitabh BachchanSaif Ali Khan starrer had come under fire from Dalit
groups and politicians even before the Central Board of Film
Certification, better known as the Censor Board, cleared the film.
However, on Tuesday, the Mumbai High Court refused to ban the film,
observing that “the only appropriate authority who has a right to judge a
film is the Censor Board” adding that the filmmaker’s fundamental right
to freedom of speech and expression could not be restricted. Mr. Jha,
who organised the screening for the NCSC after the Court’s ruling, said
he had not received any instructions from Mr. Punia, adding that
everyone was free to air his or her observations on the film.
Scriptwriter Anjum Rajabali said the film should be seen in totality.
“It takes the issue of casteism, an old wound, head on and in doing so
it has to echo different prejudices and biases present in our society
for years,” he said. “Only then an active debate is possible. People
could have objections with dramaturgy or the inability of the film to
hold attention but as far as the issue of reservation is concerned it is
fairly debated. The film goes beyond reservation to show how it has led
to commercialisation of education.” Mr. Punia said that he would not
fight with the Censor Board if it refused to make the cuts or delay the
film’s release. (The Hindu 12/8/11)

Dalit Bahujana employees stage dharna (2)

Ongole: Scores of members of the Andhra
Pradesh Electricity Dalit Bahujana Employees’ Welfare Association staged
a dharna in front of the Prakasam Bhavan in support of their five-point
charter of demands. The agitators, including its district president S.
Ananda Rao and secretary K. Kottaiah, came in a procession on the
arterial trunk road raising slogans demanding filling of backlog
vacancies in the posts reserved for SCs and BCs. Leading the protest,
its State general secretary J. Anjaiah sought application of the rule of
reservation in the case of outsourced employees. They demanded an
immediate end to the alleged harassment of contract workers by higher
officials in the department. They also wanted earned leave and other
benefits to those recruited on contract basis. The protesters, who have
come from various divisions, including Chirala, Kandukur, Markapur, and
Kanigiri, submitted a memorandum to district Collector Kantilal Dande
listing their demands. (The Hindu 12/8/11)

Fruits, not milk, to be offered at K’pada temple (2)

KENDRAPADA: Due to the ongoing trouble
that erupted on Saturday between the Dalits and the priests of Beruhan
village over pouring of milk offered by some Dalits on the Shiv Ling at
the local Mukteshwar temple, the rituals at the temple were suspended on
Sunday as the priests skipped their responsibility in a couple of
temples in the village. The deities were left without bath and also
fasting on the day, said Beruhan Sarpanch Giridhari Rout. Tension
prevailed at Beruhan under Marshaghai police station on Saturday when
some Dalits, who had gone to the local Mukteswar temple to worship Lord
Shiv on the occasion of Rakhi Purnima, were, as per existing tradition,
denied by the priests when they offered milk to be poured on the Shiv
Ling. It led to squatting by the dalits in front of the temple in
protest with the priests leaving the temple in a huff.On Sunday, a
police team visited the village in order to take stock of the situation.
Later, the police organised a meeting with an aim to settle the matter
by inviting the dalits and priests of the village. The matter was solved
following a unanimous decision that only fruits will be offered as
offering at the temple and the priests will not receive milk or water
either from the hands of upper caste people or from the dalits to pour
it on the Shiv ling. The daily rituals will resume as usual from
Tuesday, said SDPO Pradipta Kumar Routray. If sources are to be
believed, the priests have decided to leave worshipping the deities in
the village temples. (Pioneer 14/8/11)

Government has increased funds for welfare of SCs, STs: Acharya (2)

Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya
said on Monday that the State Government had given more funds for the
welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the State in the
past three years. He was speaking after inaugurating a hostel for
students of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes built at a cost of Rs.
33 lakh under the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) at
Adiudupi here. He also distributed cheques to beneficiaries from the
Koraga community on the occasion. Dr. Acharya said there was a
significant increase in the allocations for Special Component Plan (SCP)
and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP). A sum of Rs. 3,359 crore and Rs. 1,344 crore
were provided for SCP and TSP, respectively, in 2010-11. But this
allocation had been increased to Rs. 4,633 crore for SCP and Rs. 1,867
crore to TSP in 2011-12. Food allowance to SC/ST students had been
increased to Rs. 650 for pre-matric students and to Rs. 750 for
post-matric students in 2010-11. But this was found to be inadequate.
Hence, the food allowance was again increased to Rs. 750 for pre-matric
students and Rs.850 for post-matric students in 2011-12. There was an
upswing in the facilities provided for the Scheduled Castes and the
Scheduled Tribes in Udupi district this year. As many as 34 youths from
the Koraga community were given autorickshaws, while 29 youths were
provided cars (taxis) in the first half of this year. Autorickshaws and
cars had been provided to increase employment opportunities for the
Koragas, he said. Raghupati Bhat, MLA, president of the Udupi Zilla
Panchayat Katapady Shankar Poojary, president of the Udupi City
Municipal Council (CMC) Kiran Kumar, vice-president Bharati
Chandrashekhar, Deputy Commissioner M.T. Reju, Chief Executive Officer
of the zilla panchayat Prabhakar Sharma, ITDP officer Urmila, and city
municipal council Commissioner Gokuldas Nayak were present. (The Hindu
16/8/11)

Allow Dalits to construct houses on allotted site’ (2)

Salem: Members of Ambedkar Makkal Iyakkam
here staged a demonstration on Tuesday urging the district
administration to allow Dalits to construct houses on the site at
Ariyakoundampatti, for which they have pattas. The members said that
during 1986, when M. G. Ramachandran was the Chief Minister, house site
pattas were issued to 47 families of inter-caste marriage couples and
Dalits at Ariyakoundampatti. But since then they were not permitted to
use the land. They alleged that a few caste Hindus in the area were not
allowing them to construct houses on the land till today. The members
pointed out that they had represented their cases to the district
administration umpteen times but nothing had materialised so far. For
the last 25 years, the Dalits had been denied their legally entitled
lands. They wanted the administration to restore the lands to the
beneficiaries. Salem district president A. Annadurai led the agitation
in which Dalit activists among others took part. (The Hindu 17/8/11)

Dalit movement stages stir (2)

Thiruvannamali: The Dalit Liberation
Movement (DLM) staged a demonstration here on Tuesday demanding quick
action by the police in filing a charge sheet in a case relating to
alleged swindling of scholarship money meant for SC/ST students, who
were studying in Danish Mission Higher Secondary School here, during
2005-2009. Speakers at the demonstration held in front of the RDO’s
office said a joint director of Adi Dravidar Welfare conducted an
inquiry in August 2010 in the school based on a petition submitted by
the DLM alleging that the then headmaster and a couple of teachers had
swindled scholarship money meant for Hindu Adi Dravidar Students.
Following the inquiry, the District Adi Dravidar Welfare Officer filed a
formal complaint with the Tiruvannamalai town DSP on August 24. “After
four months’ delay, the Tiruvannamalai town police registered a FIR
under Section 420, 468 and 477(a) of the Indian Penal Code but the
accused were not arrested as they got conditional anticipatory bail.
“But, a demand to book the accused under SC/ST (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act 1989 in addition to the IPC Sections went unheeded and
they are yet to file the charge sheet in the court even after several
months,” S.Karuppaiah, joint general secretary of DLM, said. (The Hindu
17/8/11)

Social boycott of Dalits in Theni district alleged

Madurai: A section of caste Hindus at a
village in Theni district is alleged to have called for “social boycott”
of Dalits over public address system following the arrest of two
persons on the charge of attacking a farm worker in a mango grove.
According to Evidence, a Madurai-based non-governmental organisation,
which sent a fact-finding team to Thangammalpuram village in Andipatti
taluk of Theni district on Wednesday, the problem started when two caste
Hindu youth, P. Arjunan and K. Karthik, approached C. Velmurugan (35), a
Dalit farm worker, for free mangoes from a grove on August 14. When
Velmurugan asked the duo to approach the manager of the grove for free
mangoes, he is alleged to have been abused. When Velmurugan and the
manager, Eswaran, complained to a relative of Arjunan they are alleged
to have been attacked. Later in the night, they went to the
Kadamalaikundu police station for filing a complaint. But the police
asked them “to go for compromise.” Since a case was not registered, a
group of 70 Dalits went again to the police station on August 15, where
they found around 50 caste Hindus waiting. This led to a tense situation
and the Kadamalaikundu police registered a case under Sections 294 (b)
and 323 r/w 3 (1) (10) of the Indian Penal Code against Arjunan and
Karthik and remanded them to custody. Following the arrest, the caste
Hindus are alleged to have made a call for social boycott of Dalits
through a public address system fitted to an autorickshaw. Residents
were asked not to hire Dalit farm hands and drinking water supply was
disconnected to Dalit houses for three days, it is alleged. The Dalits
were asked not to come to the bus stand or buy things in local shops.
The Executive Director of Evidence, A. Kathir, appealed to the police to
file a case against caste Hindus of Thangammalpuram under SC/ST
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act for giving a call for social boycott. In a
statement issued here on Friday, he wanted the Collector and
Superintendent of Police to visit the village and provide additional
police protection to Dalit families. (The Hindu 20/8/11)

“Dalits should assert their rights” (2)

Chennai: Instead of suppressing their
identity, Dalits should openly reveal it and assert their rights so that
they could transcend social barriers, said Ruth Manorama, convener of
the National Federation of Dalit Women (NFDW). Addressing a workshop on
human rights for Dalit women lawyers here on Saturday, Ms. Manorama,
winner of the Right to Livelihood Award, considered the ‘alternative
Nobel Prize’, said though some advocates tended to hide their identity
due to the hostile environment they were working in, it was not
necessary. “We know how much Ambedkar could achieve, despite being in a
hostile environment,” she said, and added that the purpose of the
workshop was to develop leadership among Dalit women lawyers. “It is not
just about developing their capacity and skill as lawyers, but also
about creating solidarity among Dalit women lawyers for bringing in
changes in the lives of Dalit women and their community,” she said.
Ezhil Caroline, State convener of the NFDW, called upon the lawyers to
play a supporting role in aid of struggling Dalit women and build a link
among them to oppose all forms of discrimination. (The Hindu 22/8/11)

Ostracism of Dalits in Nayakanur to be probed (2)

Hubli: Minister for Social Welfare and
Prisons A. Narayanaswamy said that an inquiry will be conducted into the
incident of Dalit families ostracised in Nayakanur village recently. An
officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) will
carry out the probe. Mr. Narayanaswamy visited Nayakanur village along
with the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Jagadish
Shettar on Sunday. The Minister said that action would be taken under
the Goonda Act against those who were involved in atrocities against the
Dalits, and those who provoke such incidents in the State. Assuring the
ostracised Dalits all help and cooperation, Mr. Narayanaswamy asked
them not to panic. Going on to describe the development works to be
taken up by the Government in the Dalit colony of the village, Mr.
Narayanaswamy said that the Government has released Rs. 50 lakh
development grants of which Rs. 25 lakh would be utilised for developing
roads, Rs. 20 lakh for underground drainage works, and Rs. 5 lakh for
the construction of the community hall. The Minister instructed Deputy
Commissioner Darpan Jain to identify land to be distributed among the
Dalit families here. Besides, financial assistance through Dr B.R.
Ambedkar SC/ST Development Corporation will be provided to the educated
Dalit youth to take up selfemployment initiatives. Mr. Narayanaswamy
said that shifting of exploited families cannot be the solution for the
problem such as ostracism. He said that the Government wants communities
to share a cordial relationship to build a peaceful and united society.
For the purpose, the Government is committed to provide all facilities.
Other communities should support the exploited communities to join the
mainstream society, he said. Mr. Shettar said the officials concerned
were instructed to take action immediately after Dalits were ostracised
in the village, and police protection was also provided to the aggrieved
families. Mr. Narayanaswamy and Mr. Shettar performed bhoomi puja for
infrastructure development works at the Dalit colony. Pralhad Joshi, MP;
Shankar Patil Munenakoppa, Navalgund MLA; Veerabhadrappa Halaharavi,
Hubli-Dharwad East MLA; Devaraj Urs Backward Classes Development
Corporation

Chairman Ashok Katwe; Social Welfare
Department Commissioner Naveendas Singh; Deputy Commissioner Darpan
Jain, and Superintendent of Police R. Dileep were among those present on
the occasion. Members of the district unit of the Rajya Adijambava
(Madiga) Sangha staged a ‘rasta roko’ near Shalawadi Cross on Sunday
demanding the arrest of Andanigouda Patil and others who allegedly
ostracised Dalit families at Nayakanur village. They submitted a
memorandum to the Ministers urging them to take steps to confiscate the
properties of Mr. Anadanigouda. They said the Government should
rehabilitate Dalit families by giving them land, financial assistance,
besides other facilities. (The Hindu 22/8/11)

‘Administration lacked mindset to rehabilitate landless dalits’ (2)

Bhubaneswar: Ramakant Mallick and his
fellow villagers in Bilasahi hamlet under Bari Tahsil in Jajpur district
are fortunate to have shelter over their head. But, the moment they
step out from their house to reach nearest main road, they confront
mountain of hurdles on daily basis. “We don’t have an approach road to
our village. The landmass that connects our habitation belongs to upper
caste families. They don’t allow us to step on their land,” alleged Mr.
Mallick participating in a public hearing on dalit land issues. The
public hearing was organised by the Orissa Dalit Adhikar Manch. He said,
in rain days, the condition is atrocious. People travel on a raft made
of thick banana stalks. Children often discontinue their education as
there is no road connecting the habitation. “Concrete road under Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sarak Yojana was perhaps sanctioned for our locality. But
the road ended about 700 metre away from our habitation,” he said. While
inhabitants of Bilasahi suffer on mainland, situation is worse for
about 45 families in Mahisa Brahmpur inside the Chilka Lake. The 32
decimal of land distributed among eight Scheduled Caste families by the
State government in 1980s now houses 45 families. The original eight
families were brought to do odd jobs like ferrying bridegrooms and
brides in shoulder-carried palanquin and agricultural operation. Now the
extended families are deprived of basic livelihood option like
accessing Chilka water for fishing. Several dalit families from
different corners of the State narrated that although country achieved
freedom 65 years ago, they were yet to taste what freedom was all-about.
They felt like living in 18th Century period when caste was determining
factor. Speaking on the occasion, renowned social scientist Manoranjan
Mohanty said governments land distribution policy for landless dalit
caste people turned out to be a big failure. The administration lacked
the mindset to rehabilitate landless dalit caste people, he said. Mr.
Mohanty called upon people to stake their claims on their rights as
approach of governance had undergone a change from charity and welfare
to rights. Retired bureaucrat Livinus Kindo, retired senior cop Surendra
Nath Swain and A.V. Swami, member of State Planning Board, heard agony
of dalitvillagers. (The Hindu 22/8/11)

NCSC plays politics, backs Rahul claims (2)

New Delhi: In a carefully orchestrated
move intended as a face saver for Congress general secretary Rahul
Gandhi, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) — has
inexplicably revived the controversy by demanding prosecution of the
guilty cops accused of rape at Uttar Pradesh’s BhattaParsaul village. In
a major embarrassment to Rahul, allegations of rape at Bhatta-Parsaul
village was dumped as farce by the UPA Government in Parliament based on
the report of National Commission for Women, another Central body. The
move ostensibly comes after seven rape victims from the village
approached the commission with affidavits claiming they were raped by
policemen during the farmers’ protest against acquisition of their lands
in Bhatta-Parsaul. NCSC Chairman PL Punia said that a letter in this
regard has been written to Noida Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)
to register a first information report (FIR) in the case and launch
investigations against the cops based on the affidavits filed by the
alleged rape victims. According to Punia, one of the Commission members
Latha Priyakumar had met the complainants, given them a patient hearing
after being satisfied by their testimonies wrote to the State police for
a fresh probe into the allegation. The letter written by Priyakumar has
further demanded that the investigation of the case be handled by a
woman police officer. Interestingly, the Bhatta-Parsaul rapes were given
a burial in Parliament on August 12 when the Centre came out with an
official denial of the allegations. The issue had raised tremendous
political heat in the poll-bound State of Uttar Pradesh after the first
charge was levelled by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi,
following his visit to the affected village. Gandhi had categorically
said that women in the villages were raped by policemen and several
burnt bodies were found in the village. But the Government’s Women and
Child Welfare Department put a quietus on the controversy. Minister
Krishna Tirath, handling Women and Child

Welfare, in a written reply to the Rajya
Sabha stated there was no “confirmation” of any rape in Greater Noida
villages in Uttar Pradesh. Responding to a question in this regard, she
said, “An inquiry committee constituted by the National Commission for
Women (NCW) visited the Bhatta-Parsaul villages in Uttar Pradesh on May
12, 2011. No specific case of rape has been confirmed by the inquiry
committee.” Besides, a detailed report by the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) on the same allegations was submitted to the Centre
lately. Though reports suggested that the contents of the report denied
the specific allegations of rape, the commission later issued a
clarification that the matter was under consideration before the members
of the commission. With the intervention of NCSC, it is the third such
Central body linked with protection of disadvantaged sections of
society, to go into the controversial set of allegations. The commission
has decided to monitor the progress of its letter as the case would be
heard by the panel next in the first week of September. (The Pioneer
22/8/11)

SC/ST panel chief too asks members to stay away (2)

New Delhi, August 24, 2011: After the
Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid asked Muslims to stay away from Anna Hazare’s
anti-corruption movement, Udit Raj, chairman of All India Confederation
of SC/ST Organisations, issued similar diktats. He asked Dalits, tribals
and Other Backward Communities (OBCs) to keep away from the ongoing
agitation. “The movement is trying to subvert the constitution drafted
by Dr BR Ambedkar. The attempt is to make a super government over the
elected government,” Raj said. He also questioned Team Anna on why there
was no representation of Dalits, minorities or OBCs in the core group.
“Apart from the demands, which are extra-constitutional and
undemocratic, it is surprising that there is no representation of
backward communities in the campaign. We would ask Dalits and others not
to participate in Anna’s protest,” the chairman said. The confederation
said they would submit a Bahujan Lokpal Bill to the Parliamentary
Standing Committee which is scrutinising the government version of the
bill at present. While the structure of the Bahujan Lokpal Bill is not
clear yet, Raj demanded reservation in membership of the lokpal
committee. The organisation is also holding a ‘Save Constitution’ rally
in the Capital on Wednesday. (Hindustan Times 24/8/11)

Dalits come out against Anna Hazare’s fast (5)

NEW DELHI: Contrary to the general
enthusiasm over Anna Hazare’s fast over Lokpal bill, the dalits have
struck a divergent note, warning that the government should not accept
the Gandhian’s demand against parliamentary processes, saying it would
set a dangerous trend and make backward classes vulnerable. With the war
of wits between Hazare’s camp and the Centre entering a decisive phase,
the unease felt by the dalit groups since the Gandhian sat on fast
spilt out in the open. Dalit activist Udit Raj, who was denied
permission for a rally against Hazare, said the protestors’ demand to
“sidestep” the constitutional process was a threat to democracy. He said
his group would write a more caste-wise inclusive ‘Bahujan Lokpal bill”
and send it to Parliament for consideration. Raj’s attack only
reflected the general wariness among backward classes contrary to
across-the-social-divide resentment against graft. Dalit intellectuals
said the possibility of mass mobilisation forcing a “set of solutions”
on the Centre against constitutional processes raised fears that
affirmative action could be a victim of similar techniques. According to
the activists, a precedent of government bowing to street power on the
corruption issue could put their position in danger because dominant
social sections were just as opposed to job and educational reservation.
Memories of the stir against OBC reservation starting from Mandal
Commission in the 1990s to education quota in UPA-1 are fresh in their
minds. Vivek Kumar, sociologist in JNU, said, “Crowds don’t lend
legitimacy to any cause. That is a dangerous argument.” Hazare cuts an
elderly Gandhian figure but it has not deterred dalits from dissenting
because of their touchy relationship with the Constitution delivered by
their first icon, B R Ambedkar. The dalits argue that affirmative action
survived for six decades despite pan-Indian ‘savarna’ anger because of
constitutional safeguards. Any indication that basic provisions of the
statute could be reopened would sound the death knell for SC quota in
jobs and education, they argue. Kumar said, “If dalits have achieved
anything, if you see any diversity today, it is because of the
Constitution, Parliament and bureaucracy. You cannot discredit the
Constitution.” Dalit writer Chandrabhan Prasad explained, “SCs see
everyone questioning parliamentary process as villain. The scepticism
started the day he questioned the integrity of electoral politics.”
Common Concern, a

group of dalit intellectuals, met on
Tuesday and expressed opposition to corruption in sociological terms.
“Dalits face corruption not from bureaucracy but from civil society
where caste system is the biggest oppressor. And this civil society
wants to overturn the Constitution which has given us respite from caste
system,” was its refrain. The criticism told when Hazare on Tuesday
dwelt on problems of SCs/STs in his address but said his village
Ralegaon Siddhi presented a picture of social brotherhood. (Times of
India

24/8/11)

Kerala Dalit land stir ends (2)

Thiruvananthapuram: The Sadhujana Vimochana Samyukta Vedi, an organization of landless Dalits and

Adivasis, on Wednesday decided to call off its more-than-four-year-long agitation in the rubber estates of

Chengara in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta
district after the Government agreed to allot 25 cents of land each to
1,000 families living in the agitation camp. At the talks on Wednesday
between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the leaders of the Vedi, the
Government also agreed to provide inhabitable land for the 1,495
families who were rehabilitated by the former LDF government in October,
2009. There were complains that most of the lands allotted to them were
unfit for living or cultivation. According to the understanding on
Wednesday, 1,000 families still living in the agitation camp in the
rubber estates run by Harrison Malayalam Plantation Limited among the
Chengara hills would be allotted 25 cents of land each within a month.
However, the Vedi leaders said that they would not leave the agitation
camp till the promised lands were practically allotted. A decision was
also taken to appoint a joint panel to examine the lands given to the
1,495 families by the former government. The agitators were promised
that livable land would be given to those whose allotted plots were
found useless. More than 7,000 Dalit and Adivasi families had started
their “struggle of sufferance” on the Chengara hills on August 4, 2007.
The Dalits had started their agitation demanding five acres of land and
Rs 500,000 for each homeless family. The then government, led by
octogenarian Marxist VS Achuthanandan, allegedly took an antagonistic
attitude towards them right from the beginning of the stir. Left leaders
had even described the agitators as LTTE agents, pawns of imperialists
and rubber thieves and at one stage Achuthanandan even threatened to
send “police with teeth and claw” to deal with them. However, after
several rounds of dialogues, the government and the agitators came to a
settlement on October 5, 2009 and the strike was withdrawn – partially.
As per that settlement formula, one acre of land each was to be given to
the Scheduled Tribes families, half-an-acre each to the Scheduled Caste
families and 25 cents of land each to the other poor in the Chengara
camp. The Government also promised to provide them with houses worth Rs
125,000 to ST families, Rs

100,000 to SC families and Rs 75,000 to
the other poor. A government survey among the agitators in Chengara had
then found that a total of 1,739 families were there in the agitation
camp, and among them 1,495 families were qualified for the
rehabilitation package. The agitators also included, as per the survey,
27 Adivasi families, each of who was to get one acre land and Rs 125,000
for housing as per the then formula. It was later proved that the
government had not planned properly for the rehabilitation of the Dalits
and Adivasis. Those who were rehabilitated in Kasaragod and Idukki
districts found that the lands they had got were not arable. Also, no
steps were taken to ensure the delivery of the other helps promised to
them. (The Pioneer 24/8/11)

Dalits consider Anna’s anti-graft agitation “upper caste”(2)

New Delhi, Aug 25: This was not one
definition that Gandhian Anna Hazare expected for his anticorruption
campaign, when certain Dalit and backward communities called Anna’s
anti-graft stir an “upper caste” endeavour. The snub from the oppressed
classes of society have dimmed the spirits of Team Anna who have strived
to fight the common evil of corruption that affects all sections of the
society. The cause of this sidelined feeling among the Dalits is likely
to have caused by the apparent anti-politician feeling generated by
Anna Hazare as well as the association with Arvind Kejriwal with the
Youth for Equality. This particular group was behind a major
anti-reservation agitation in the AIIMS. MPs from the Dalit and OBC
category called the Anna Hazare-headed agitation an “attack on the
supremacy of Parliament and the Constitution”. The MPs called the effort
a move to undermine the Constitution, a comment that was slammed by
BJP’s Hukumdeo Narain Yadav, JD-U president Sharad Yadav and Lok
Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan. This anti-Anna rhetoric
comes soon after Dalit leader Udit

Raj of the All India Confederation of
SC/ST Organisations marched along with 500 activists from Jantar Mantar
to India Gate protesting Anna’a agitation. Raj has been quoted as
saying, “Anna must clarify his stand on several issues before he speaks
about the Jan Lokpal Bill.” The Dalit activists who marched on

Wednesday called Anna’s protest an “upper
caste movement that has little to do with the oppressed classes of
society.” There was also considerable criticism for Anna’a proposed Jan
Lokpal Bill when Dalit supporters claimed that the bill excluded NGOs,
media and the corporate sector from the Bill’s ambit. Team Anna also
faced criticism from other quarters, like Narain Yadav, a Lok Sabha MP
from Bihar who expressed irk after the weaker sections of society was
avoided in the BJP parliamentary party meeting on the Lokpal Bill. JD-U
president Sharad Yadav, on the other hand stated in Parliament that
corruption was directly linked to the caste system, he said, “No law can
prevent corruption that is inherent in Indian society because of the
caste system. Unless there is social justice, corruption will continue
to plague the system. When the drains are flowing with sewage, how will
sprinkling a bit of DDT help? You need to clean the drain.” (One
India.in 25/8/11)

Dalits boycott meeting after being made to wait by tahsildar (2)

Mangalore: Dalit activists walked out of
the monthly meeting organised at the taluk level here on Wednesday after
being made to wait for nearly an hour by the tahsildar. The monthly
review meeting for schemes meant for the development of Scheduled Castes
was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and was to be chaired by the
Assistant Commissioner of Mangalore. Members of the Dalit organisations
had started arriving at the taluk panchayat well before the stipulated
time. Around 11.30 a.m., a few people demanded to know why they were
being made to wait. Taluk Social Welfare Officer Reddy Naik tried to
pacify them saying that the tahsildar Ravichandra Naik would arrive
shortly. After another 15 minutes, the murmurs grew stronger with
several people saying they felt humiliated. Gurupura Pirka, a member of
the Dalit Abhivridhi Samiti, said: “We drop everything to attend these
meetings. Why do we have to keep waiting like this?” Soon after, all the
members of the Dalit groups walked out of the panchayat office and
raised slogans against officials who did not come to the meeting. Mr.
Naik’s efforts to pacify them went in vain. Even as they raised slogans,
the tahsildar arrived and walked into the building without even
glancing at the protesters. This made the gathering more furious.
Shankuntala, a member of the samiti, said: “He did not even spare us a
glance and went inside. We will not come inside now.” Several others
demanded that the tahsildar should come outside and explain the delay.
Soon Mr. Ravichandra Naik came and apologised saying that he had been
deputed to go to Ulaibettu for a spot inspection on behalf of the Deputy
Commissioner. “I did not go to attend personal work, it was on official
duty that I went, which caused the delay,” he said. However, the
protesters were not willing to be mollified. They pointed out that
neither the Assistant Commissioner of Mangalore nor the Assistant
Commissioners of Police were present and walked away. Mr. Ravichandra
Naik told presspersons that Assistant Commissioner Prabhulinga
Kavalikatti had asked him to chair the meeting. Asked what the Ulaibettu
spot inspection was and whether it could not have been put off, he said
he had been asked to go to the spot by the Deputy Commissioner. He said
it would be recorded in the proceedings that the Dalits had boycotted
the meeting. Among the people who had come to discuss their problems
were a group of migrants from Koppal district. They had been living on
land belonging to the railways at Yekkur and had been victed from that
place. After that they shifted to Mudipu where the panchayat officials
asked them to leave the spot in 10 days, said a member of the Dalit
group. Now, they did not know where to go, he added. (The Hindu 26/8/11)

Dalits rally against Anna at India Gate, traffic hit (2)

NEW DELHI: A group of about a thousand
Dalits on Wednesday gathered at India Gate and marched to Parliament
Street to protest against the Jan Lokpal bill proposed by Anna Hazare
and his team. The protesters, led by Indian Justice Party president Udit
Raj, under the banner of “Samvidhan Bachao” (Save Constitution),
shouted slogans against Team Anna and said they would not allow anyone
to “tinker” with the Constitution. The protesters blocked traffic on the
India Gate roundabout for half an hour saying they won’t allow anyone
to pass till there was some communication from the Prime Minister. Udit
Raj said, “I have been writing to the Prime Minister to get an
appointment but we never got a chance. On the other hand, ministers in
the government go to the airport to talk to Ramdev and they are
negotiating with the Anna team. We are denied because we are Dalits.” He
said they are against the bill on corruption, pointing out that “no
SC/ST member is part of the panel which is not giving any priority to
the minorities.” Lashing out at the bill proposed by Anna and his team,
Udit Raj alleged that the Jan Lok Pal bill has been designed in a manner
which would enable it to target Dalit and Muslim officials. The protest
march resulted in long snarls around India Gate. Similar jams were
reported on Ferozeshah Road, Barakhamba

Road and all roads close to Connaught Place and Mandi House. (Times of India 26/8/11)

Why pay for public tap water, ask residents of Dalit colonies (2)

Bangalore: Opposing water charges levied
on the piped borewell water supplied by the Bangalore Water Supply and
Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to residents of Dalit colonies in Yelahanka
Satellite Town, members of the Dalit Sangarsh Samiti (DSS) on Thursday
staged a protest near Yelahanka Mother Dairy Circle. Shouting slogans
against the BWSSB and demanding the withdrawal of bills to these
colonies, the protesters also blocked the Doddaballapur Main Road for a
short while and laid siege to the BWSSB office in Yelahanka. D.V.
Veerabhadra Gowda, convener of Bangalore North taluk, alleged that the
BWSSB was charging for water supplied through public taps. “Although we
do not have individual connections, the board has given bills ranging
between Rs. 1,800 to Rs. 2,000 to those whose houses are close to the
public taps,” Mr. Gowda said. This concerns residents of Ambedkar Nagar,
L.B.S. Nagar, Jaibheema Nagar, Jaiprakashnarayan Colony, Tirumala Nagar
of Yelahanka Satellite Town and Maramma Layout, Kondappa Layout,
Chikkamuniyappa Garden of Yelahanka Old Town. Clarifying that the bills
were raised for piped borewell water supplied to those who had taken the
connections, a senior BWSSB engineer said it was charged at Rs. 50 per
month from November 2008 onwards. Representatives of the affected areas
been called for a discussion at Cauvery Bhavan on September 3, the
official added. (The Hindu 26/8/11)

People urged not to employ manual scavengers (2)

Hassan: K.B. Krishnamurthy, member of the
National Commission for Safai Karmacharis, has appealed to the people
not to hire manual scavengers to clear soak pits as it attracts
punishment under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act. He was talking to presspersons here on Thursday. Mr.
Krishnamurthy said that manual scavenging had been banned in the
country, and municipal bodies and panchayats had been instructed to use
vacuum machines to clear pits. People engaged in manual scavenging were
being rehabilitated under the Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual
Scavengers. However, he pointed out, the scheme had not been implemented
effectively in many States. In Karnataka, funds allotted for it was not
spent properly and Rs. 20 crore was returned to the commission. The
implementation of the scheme was based on a survey to identify manual
scavengers. The survey was incomplete, and many people, who would have
availed themselves of benefits, had been left out. “Recently an incident
of manual scavenging came to light in Kolar Gold Fields. I visited the
spot and came to know that an entire colony was not included in the
survey,” he said. The commission had ordered a re-survey and instructed
officials to take reports of manual scavenging seriously. Mr.
Krishnamurthy also interacted with representatives of various pro-Dalit
organisations. Jayaram of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti raised objections
on the working hours of Safai Karmacharis. He said that Safai
Karmacharis were asked to report for duty at 5 a.m. and they could
return home only in the afternoon. The present work schedule was
affecting their health and they were not able to take care of the
educational needs of their children. Mr. Krishnamurthy said he would
discuss the issue with other members in the commission. (The Hindu
26/8/11)

UP: Dalit woman raped, murdered in Rampur district (2)

Rampur: A Dalit woman was allegedly
murdered after being gang-raped in Shabhad tehsil of Rampur district,
around 60 kilometres from here, police said. The victim’s half clad body
was recovered from a field on Wednesday, they said, adding, the post
mortem report has revealed that she was murdered by strangulation.
Neeraj alias Geeta, wife of Sanjeev, who was a state appointed ‘Asha’ in
the village, was returning along with her husband after a medical check
up, when six persons, equipped with fire arms, abducted them. The
miscreants looted mobile phones of the couple besides Geeta’s ear rings,
they said, adding, the group later tide Sanjeev with a tree, before
raping her. As soon as the report of the incident reached divisional and
district headquarters, Inspector General Police MK Bashal visited the
site. (Zee News 26/8/11)

Govt may mandate procurement from Dalit-run firms (2)

NEW DELHI: The Centre is set to make it
compulsory that 4% of its annual purchases be made from the units run by
dalits and tribals, in what will be its strongest bait for classes
which hold the key to political battles at the Centre and states. The 4%
purchase quota proposal from ministry of micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSME) is part of the policy that 20% of government
procurement be done from MSMEs. Preferential procurement has been an
early poll promise of UPA and its delivery after seven years in power is
set to be seen through the prism of Uttar Pradesh elections where
Congress is vying with dalit czarina Mayawati to recapture some
political space after decades in wilderness. Activists have believed
that mandatory purchases from dalit units would boost entrepreneurship
among poor classes with assured state clientele and without the fear of
competition from entrenched businessmen. The demand gained ground in the
new economy where job quota was shown to have limitations of reach. The
quantum of business available for dalit entrepreneurs may be big. An
OECD estimate had suggested that government purchases amounted to 30% of
GDP, thereby making business of Rs 94,000 crore available for dalit
units. But even by the lower estimate based on Centre’s spending
pattern, Rs 25,000 crore may be available to units set up and run by SCs
and STs. This year, the Centre budgeted to spend around Rs 12.5 lakh
crore, of which defence spending and interest payments add up to Rs 5
lakh crore while subsidies are estimated at Rs 1.4 lakh crore. So,
procurement by MSMEs would be around Rs 1.2 lakh crore. It is not a
small figure going by Centre’s first tentative steps after years of
reluctance in the face of strong lobbying over the years. A
sub-committee of the cabinet committee on dalit affairs in UPA-1 had
recommended that 30% of government purchases be made from SCs/STs. The
inspiration for purchase quota comes from Digvijay Singh regime in MP
where it formed part of state policy after Bhopal declaration. The move,
at once part of affirmative action plan, is bound to attract attention
of social justice observers. For Congress, it would be a way to blunt
the criticism among SCs/STs after failing to extend the frontiers of job
reservation to private sector as promised in UPA-1. Its proposal for 5%
quota in private enterprises which availed government funding met with
lukewarm response and has been put in deep freeze. If enacted now,
Congress could use it as a weapon to contrast its achievement with the
work done by Mayawati regime for dalits, a segment Rahul Gandhi has been
trying hard to woo from its first choice BSP. Congress needs big ticket
decisions to back its chances in April polls in UP and is working hard
on a clutch of measures including a new land acquisition bill. (Times of
India 1/9/11)

Manual scavenging continues in parts of Karnataka: Study (2)

Bangalore, Aug 31: Manual scavenging is
still practised inparts of Karnataka and pathetic and inhuman condition
prevailed in these social groups, a research study on the lives and
problems of Safai Karmacharis has revealed. The study carried out by
Research Scholar K G Gayathridevi of Centre for Ecological Economics and
Natural Resources of Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC),
Bangalore, has revealed that manual scavenging has not been totally
eradicated and those engaged in it are yet to be fully rehabilitated.
According to the study report, released to the media here today, field
studies conducted in Gulbarga and Tumkur Districts–two fast growing
urban centres of the state–have revealed that the heinous system is
thrust upon very poor and migrant scheduled caste families, forced to
pursue this occupation, debunking a theory propounded by a section of
sociologists who argue that nonSCs and non-Bhangis are attracted to get
into such activities. While in the North India, it is the Bhangi
Community who are the safai karmacharis by caste and profession, in
Karnataka a numerically small subcastes of the Mehtars and Mangarodis,
found in Gulbarga and a few other districts, are those who are
exclusively employed as manual scavengers. (New Kerala 1/9/11)

Dalit leaders to meet Singhvi with their Lokpal draft (2)

NEW DELHI: There is now a fourth Lokpal
draft that the standing committee may need to consider. A delegation led
by Udit Raj, chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST
Organisations, will meet Abhishek Singhvi, chairman of the parliamentary
standing committee on law and justice to hand over a copy of the
Bahujan Lokpal Bill – their version of the legislation for an
anti-corruption ombudsman. The bill, according to Raj, will address
issues of corruption pertaining specifically to the socially deprived
classes. “The most important demand that we are making is that there
should be representation of dalits, minorities and backward classes in
the Lokpal to ensure that socially victimized are not made victims in
this. We are also demanding that embezzlement of funds meant for uplift
of dalits, backward classes and tribals should be included in the ambit
of corruption. Huge amounts of money are released for schemes like the
Special Component Plan and the Sub-tribal Plan which is misutilised,
embezzled or returned unspent,” Raj said. He demanded that the Bahujan
Lokpal Bill too should be looked at by the panel before pronouncing its
recommendations on the Lokpal draft. Dalit activists and some sections
of Muslims have been upset with the Anna Hazare movement because of lack
of representation from the communities and they even held a protest
rally at India Gate during the fast. To counter this perception, Team
Anna chose a dalit and a Muslim girl to help Hazare break his fast on
Sunday. “The existing versions do not take into account issues
pertaining to dalits and minorities. That is the lacuna that we hope our
bill will fill,” Raj added. (Times of India 2/9/11)

BSP leader Mohammad Aslam arrested (2)

Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader
Mohammad Aslam was finally arrested from Ghaziabad on Monday afternoon.
He was accused for instigating a dalit woman for self immolation after
teasing and slapping her in Bara Banki. He will be now brought and
produced in local court at Bara Banki on Tuesday. Briefing the media
persons here on Monday afternoon, Special Director General of Police(
Law and Order, Crime) Brij Lal said that Aslam was arrested by cops of
Sihani Gate police station in Ghaziabad this afternoon. However, he
denied that he was a BSP leader. Brij Lal also ruled out charges of
teasing the girl as alleged by cousin brother of the victim in his FIR
lodged with Fatehpur police and said that the girl set herself ablaze on
her own and it was only case of instigating her to do so. ” We have
asked the police officials to investigate into the teasing of the girl,
who is in critical condition in a hospital in the state capital” he
said. Reports said that Mohamed Aslam, whose wife is the village pradhan
and he himself is the district Panchayat member, was sitting during a
panchayat meeting at Sihali village under Fatehpur police station on
August 29 last. He slapped victim Munni Devi for giving shelter to
another woman Rani Devi, who had escaped from her husband Bajrangi’s
house about two years back and eloped with one Hansraj Lodhi returned
about a fortnight back. Munni Devi, who left the panchayat sustained
critical burn injuries after she tried to self-immolate herself. She is
now being treated at the Trauma Centre at Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj
Medical University in Lucknow. Munni Devi, during her dying declaration
before a magistrate had claimed that she took the extreme step on her
own and no one should be held responsible for it. However later her
brother Surendra Kumar accused BSP leader and member of the District
Panchayat, Mohmmad Aslam. Earlier Aslam claiming himself innocent named a
BJP leader of the district and said that he instigated the family
members of the woman to file FIR against him.” The BJP leader is trying
to malign my political image in the district,” he alleged. (The Pioneer
5/9/11)

Banda rape case: SC gives last chance to UP Govt to respond (2)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today gave a
last opportunity to UP government to file reply on a petition seeking a
judicial probe into the alleged rape of a Dalit girl by Banda BSP
legislator Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi. A bench of justices Aftab Alam
and R M Lodha granted two weeks time to the Home Secretary of the state
and Superintendent of Police of Banda to file reply saying that they
will have to personally appear before it in case they fail to do so. The
court passed the order on a public interest lawsuit filed by advocate
Raja Ram and Irudaya Nathan seeking an independent judicial probe into
the incident, allegedly involving the BSP legislator and his aides. The
petitioner have alleged that the authorities had committed a grave error
by foisting false cases against the victim, who was a minor and was
entitled to protection under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
They alleged that the magistrate, in violation of the JJ Act, had sent
her to jail, while she should have been sent to a juvenile care centre.
“A magistrate is not empowered under the Act to try the case of a
juvenile. The magistrate, who had the theft case filed against the
juvenile, had to follow the Act regarding grant of bail of juvenile,”
the petitioner had said. The petitioner alleged that the police and
judicial officers were trying to protect the MLA. Initiate enquiry
showed that the juvenile ws sent to jail instead of being produced
before the competent authority as required under the Juvenile Justice
Act. The 17-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by Dwivedi in Banda
on December 10 and 11. The girl had escaped from his residence on
December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her again. The
girl, however, was arrested in connection with an allegedly false case
of theft lodged by the legislator’s brother against her. 48-year-old
Dwivedi was later arrested from Banda. The apex court had on January 17
agreed to consider a plea for a judicial enquiry into the alleged rape
case. (The Pioneer 5/9/11)

Suicide by Dalit students in 4 years (2)

Madurai: Eighteen Dalit students in
premier institutes of higher education in India committed suicide in the
past four years after they underwent traumatic experiences of being
victims of caste-based discrimination. The documentary film, ‘Death of
Merit,’ talks about suicides of Dalit students studying in reputed
institutions of higher education across India. The film was screened at
People’s Watch here on Friday. It portrayed three cases of student
suicides; the first case was that of Bal Mukund, a Jatav (Chamar) Dalit
from Kundeshwar in Uttar Pradesh, the first Dalit from the village in 50
years to enter an elite institute like All India Institute of Medical
Sciences, Delhi. The whole family, including his mother and sister, had
toiled hard to pour all their earnings to support Mukund. Mukund, a
topper all through his life, had scored 82 per cent in Class X; had won
the International Mathematics Contest and cleared the IIT and AIIMS
entrance examinations but chose AIIMS as he had the dream of becoming a
doctor. For Mukund, urban life and its myth of being caste-free space
and questions of anonymity were mere terminology. He was taunted every
now and then by the faculty and fellow students just because he was
being born a Dalit. “How could Chamars become doctors? You have come
here only because of quota, you cannot go ahead” were the usual comments
that chased him in classrooms, hostels and canteen. The film shows
interviews of his parents and sisters, aunt and uncle. He tried to
change his name as Srijan Kumar to escape caste. He repeatedly talked on
phone about caste and settling down abroad but before that depression
made him commit suicide in March 2010. Jaspreet Singh, a Dalit by birth
and a student from Chandigarh, ended his life unable to bear the insults
and taunts thrown at him at the medical college library. Unable to
overcome the loss of her elder brother, his sister, a student of
Bachelor of Computer Application, also committed suicide, heartbroken at
the injustice done to him. The suicide note recovered from his coat
pocket charged his head of the department with deliberately failing him
and threatening to fail him over and over. Seven months later, after the
National Commission of Scheduled Castes intervened; a three-member team
of senior professors re-evaluated his answer sheet and found that he
had in fact passed the examination. NCSC’s intervention only made the
police file the FIR under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Jaspreet
of Government Medical College, Chandigarh, was an excellent student
throughout and had never failed in any subject until he reached the
final year. His elder sister, father and mother that Dalit students in
institutions like this should be given proper support system to tackle
discrimination. The last case in the documentary was that of Manish
Kumar of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorke, who was alleged to have
committed suicide jumping from the fifth floor of his hostel. He hailed
from Muzaffar Nagar and was a bright student. Both his father and
mother had found that their son was a victim of caste abuse by fellow
students and complaints to the authorities went in vain. Even after he
shifted out of hostel the taunts did not stop. He went into depression
and finally was found dead after he allegedly committed suicide by
jumping from a building. The documentary filmmaker Anoop Kumar had a
discussion with the viewers and explained that 80 per cent of the
suicides in all the seven IITs were of Dalits and none of these
institutes had a grievance redressal mechanism to address caste based
discrimination. R. Thirunavukkarasu, Assistant Director, Institute of
Human Rights Education, said that caste-based discrimination in
classrooms was very subtle and complex in nature. “It’s a kind of an
experience that many could not easily understand the intricacies and
dynamics of how it functions, unless and until one faces it.” The
Post-Mandal Commission agitation era did provide a lot of opportunities
for the entry of Other Backward Classes in many spheres of higher
institutions inviting large-scale protests and demonstrations. Elite
higher educational institutions had always been a hostile and
discriminating space for most of the oppressed communities and the
practice of discrimination had almost become part of their culture.
Documentaries and short films like these could initiate a larger debate
on these complex and sensitive issues of discriminatory practices at
institutions of higher learning. Pandian of Dalit Foundation said that
the documentary was made by Insight Foundation, started in 2003 by Anoop
Kumar of Uttar Pradesh and a group of Dalit and Adivasi students of
Jawaharlal Nehru University. Anoop Kumar had to discontinue his
engineering course in Kanpur due to caste discrimination by his
professors. He later completed his undergraduation through
correspondence and joined JNU for higher studies. (The Hindu 5/9/11)

Police reluctant to register complaints, say Dalit activists (2)

Mangalore: The issue of police ignoring
and refusing to register complaints given by Dalits dominated the
monthly meeting organised by the district police on Sunday. Kusappa from
Puttur said the police had been unwilling to register a case when a
Dalit man was beaten up at Addebailu in Sullia taluk a few months ago.
He said although they had brought it to the attention of the Assistant
Superintendent of Police Puttur, it had not yielded results.
Superintendent of Police Labhu Ram said that unless they inquired into
the incident, they could not give a reply to the allegation. He said he
would let them know in the next meeting. Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (B.
Krishnappa Sthapitha) Krishnananda said this instance clearly showed
that the police did not register cases brought by Dalit people. Mr. Ram
assured him that he would look into the incident. Another man spoke of
an incident that occurred within Bantwal Rural limits in which a Dalit
man had been assaulted over a land dispute and even after it became
clear to the police that the disputed land did indeed belong to the
Dalit man, the police had registered a complaint against him. “What was
the need for a second complaint?” the man asked. A woman said that she
had lodged a complaint at the Mangalore Rural police station against a
man who had cheated her of Rs. 1.5 lakh on the pretext of securing a
job. She said that she wanted to know what happened to her complaint.

At Kotehitlu in Uppinangady, Puttur
taluk, a degree college was being managed from a building which was
actually an Ambedkar Bhavan, said Somnath, former president of Dakshina
Kannada Zilla Panchayat. He said that although they had requested the
college authorities to vacate the building, the latter refused to do so
stating that the college had spent thousands of rupees on developing it.
Balakrishna, a teacher, said that there were no basic amenities in a
Dalit colony in Chelur, Bantwal taluk. The road to the colony had been
encroached by people belonging to other castes, making it impossible for
them to move about. Although they had brought it to the notice of the
tahsildar who had ordered the encroachers to remove the illegal
construction, it had been two months since they heard from the officer.
Scheme inconsistencies Ramesh Naik from Belthangady told Mr. Ram that
there were inconsistencies in a scheme of the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Development Corporation involving the sanctioning of borewells to
persons from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He said the actual
measurements of the borewells significantly differed from the
measurements recorded in the bills for 135 borewells sanctioned in the
taluk. He said that these should be investigated. Mr. Ram said that he
would take the necessary action. Several Dalit activists requested the
Superintendent of Police to direct officials from other departments to
be present at the meeting called by the police. (The Hindu 5/9/11)

Proportionate representation for Scheduled Castes in polls (2)

Madurai: The local body elections
scheduled for October would be free and fair and there will be 12
Returning Officers for the 100 wards in the Madurai Corporation, said S.
Natarajan, Corporation Commissioner. Addressing an all party meeting
here on Friday to discuss local body poll preparations after the
extension of Madurai Corporation wards, he said that the Government
Order had been passed on the increase in the number of wards but the
classification of wards into general, and reserved categories for
Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes and women had not been finalised. The
city boundaries would be expanded by including the municipalities of
Avaniapuram, Anaiyur and Tirupparankundram; town panchayats of
Harveypatti, Tirunagar and Vilangudi, and 11 village panchayats, thus
taking the total number of wards from 72 to 100. There would be 1,119
polling stations for the 100 wards with an average number of 1,200
voters in each polling station. Every station would have facilities such
as ramps for differently abled people in accordance with Election
Commission of India guidelines. If there were any anomalies in the
facilities, it would be rectified soon, he said. Answering a question on
whether electronic voting machines (EVM) would be used or ballot
papers, the Commissioner replied that it had not been decided. But all
the party representatives unanimously demanded EVMs. Clearing the doubts
on reservation of wards for local body polls for Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes, the Commissioner said that proportionate
representation would be followed, based on population of the SCs and
STs. “It will not be on the basis of constitutionally-guaranteed 19 per
cent reservation for SC/STs.” On the basis of the density of population
of SCs, wards would be reserved on a descending order. Since there were
no Scheduled Tribes in substantial numbers within the city, there would
be no wards reserved for STs, he said. In the case of women, not less
than one third of seats had to be allotted for them and it could roughly
come to 34 wards with two reserved for SCs. R. Annadurai, MLA, Madurai
South, enquired about the number of Assembly constituencies coming under
South Zone and the official concerned said that three segments formed
part of South Zone, Tirupparankundram had 6 wards, Madurai West 9 and
Madurai Central 10. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam representative opined
that the possibility of having an additional zone should be taken into
account. CPI (M) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi representatives
shared their opinions on the proximity of polling stations. R.
Sundararajan, MLA, Madurai Central, P. Salaimuthu, All India Anna
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Corporation Council leader, and M. Ganesan,
Communist Party of India (Marxist) council leader, among others,
participated in the discussion.

(The Hindu 10/9/11)

Caste-based inequity hampers access to rural infrastructure (2)

New Delhi, Sept. 10: Scheduled Caste,
Scheduled Tribe and minority habitations have limited or no access to
public infrastructure, according to National Infrastructure Equity Audit
conducted by Social Equity Watch — a non-Governmental Organisation.
There is continued presence of deep-rooted castebased inequity in the
distribution and availability of infrastructure , says the audit. These
findings will be presented to the Planning Commission before the Twelfth
Plan is finalised, Mr Tom Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of
Participatory Practices (Praxis), said while releasing the report here
on Friday. Access to public infrastructure by different social groups
was surveyed in 124 Gram Panchayats

(GP) of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka,
Orissa and Rajasthan covering 1,000 caste and religious habitations.
There are many SC/ST habitations that are still officially uncovered,
says the audit. Over 60 per cent of GPs surveyed had no health centres,
schools, panchayat bhawans and post offices located in SC/ST and
minority areas. In many instances where infrastructure is present, the
service provider is from an upper caste. The SC/ST and minority
communities rated the access to services much lower than their G/BC
counterparts in the same habitation. “The caste dynamics in the village
then play out to ensure that lower castes are denied access to them,”
said Mr Thomas. During the 11th Plan, of the total estimated investment
of Rs 13,82,846 crore for infrastructure, 13 per cent was to be spent on
rural areas . “Given the overall lack of infrastructure facilities, the
burden of shortage is borne by these marginalised social groups,” says
the survey. “The task ahead is to monitor the location of new
infrastructure in such a way that the existing equity gap can be filled
over the years. This would be crucial for scarce resources, such as
drinking water and newer infrastructure such as internet kiosks,” Mr
Thomas said. The public infrastructure surveyed include anganwadis,
health centres, drinking water, primary health centre, community centre,
panchayat bhavan, road, PDS, post office, secondary school and
telephone and information kiosks. The first phase of the audit was
conducted over three months this year. Phase-II of the survey is
expected to gauge the access to infrastructure in urban spaces. (HBL
10/9/11)

UPA govt set to make 4% of its yearly buy from dalit-run firms (2)

NEW DELHI: The Centre is set to make it
compulsory that 4% of its annual purchases be made from units run by
dalits and tribals, in what will be its strongest bait for classes which
hold the key to political battles at the Centre and states. The 4%
purchase quota proposal from ministry of micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSME) is part of the policy that 20% of government
procurement be done from MSMEs. Preferential procurement has been an
early poll promise of UPA and its delivery after seven years in power is
set to be seen through the prism of Uttar Pradesh elections where
Congress is vying with dalit czarina Mayawati to recapture some
political space after decades in the wilderness. Activists believe that
mandatory purchases from dalit units would boost entrepreneurship among
poor classes with assured state clientele and without the fear of
competition from entrenched businessmen. The demand gained ground in the
new economy where job quota was shown to have limitations of reach. The
quantum of business available for dalit entrepreneurs may be big. An
OECD estimate had suggested that government purchases amounted to 30% of
GDP, thereby making business of Rs 94,000 crore available for dalit
units. But even by the lower estimate based on Centre’s spending
pattern, Rs 25,000 crore may be available to units set up and run by SCs
and STs. This year, the Centre budgeted to spend around Rs 12.5 lakh
crore, of which defence spending and interest payments add up to Rs 5
lakh crore while subsidies are estimated at Rs 1.4 lakh crore. So,
procurement by MSMEs would be around Rs 1.2 lakh crore. It is not a
small figure going by Centre’s first tentative steps after years of
reluctance in the face of strong lobbying. A sub-committee of the
cabinet committee on dalit affairs in UPA-1 had recommended that 30% of
government purchases be made from SCs/STs. The inspiration for purchase
quota comes from Digvijay Singh regime in MP where it formed part of
state policy after Bhopal declaration. The move, at once part of
affirmative action plan, is bound to attract attention of social justice
observers. For Congress, it would be a way to blunt the criticism among
SCs/STs after failing to extend the frontiers of job reservation to
private sector as promised in UPA-1. Its proposal for 5% quota in
private enterprises which availed government funding met with lukewarm
response and has been put in deep freeze. If enacted now, Congress could
use it as a weapon to contrast its achievement with the work done by
Mayawati regime for dalits, a segment Rahul Gandhi has been trying hard
to woo from its first choice BSP. Congress needs big ticket decisions to
back its chances in April polls in UP and is working hard on a clutch
of measures including a new land acquisition bill. (Times of India
12/9/11)

SC orders CBI probe in Banda rape case (2)

New Delhi, September 12, 2011: The
Supreme Court on Monday directed the CBI to probe the alleged rape of a
dalit girl by Banda BSP MLA Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi in December last
year. A bench of justice Aftab Alam and justice RM Lodha stayed the
court proceedings in the case in Banda and directed the Uttar Pradesh
Police to hand over the investigation to the agency. The court passed
the order on a PIL filed by advocates Raja Ram and Irudaya Nathan
seeking an independent probe into the incident, alleging that impartial
investigation was not possible in the case as the ruling BSP legislator
and his aides were involved. The state government did not oppose the
plea for CBI probe and agreed to hand over the case to the central
agency. The petitioners alleged that the authorities had committed a
grave error by foisting false cases against the victim, who was a minor
and was entitled to protection under the provisions of the Juvenile
Justice Act. Alleging that the police and judicial officers were trying
to protect the MLA, they alleged that the magistrate, in violation of
the JJ Act, had sent her to jail while she should have been sent to a
juvenile care centre. The 17-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by
Dwivedi in Banda on December 10 and 11 last year. The girl had escaped
from his residence on December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to
rape her again. The girl, however, was arrested after alleged false
charges of theft were levelled by the legislator’s brother against her.
48-year-old Dwivedi, who was later arrested from Banda and suspended by
Mayawati’s party, denied all the charges.(Hindustan Times 12/9/11)

Police firing on Dalits: Toll rises to seven (2)

Paramakudi (TN): With two more persons
succumbing to injuries at a hospital, the death toll in the police
firing on a stone-pelting mob of Dalits, who indulged in violence
following detention of their leader John Pandian, has risen to seven,
police said today. Two persons identified as Teerpukani and Vellaichamy
succumbed to injuries late last night. Officials have suspended bus
services to the rural areas in the sensitive districts, including
Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar as a precautionary
step. Additional police reinforcement have been brought from
Tiruchirappalli, police said. Violence broke out yesterday after news
spread that Pandian had been detained at Tuticorin en route to
Paramakudi when he was on his way to pay homage to Dalit leader Imanuel
Sekar on his death anniversary. Police used tear gas and batons before
firing at the crowd at Paramakudi. Several people and police officials,
including DIG Sandeep Mittal and SP Senthil Velan and DSP Ganesan were
injured in the stone pelting. More than 15 vehicles were set ablaze in
the violence. Police said they had arrested 57 persons in Tirumangalam
and more than 50 in Paramakudi for indulging in violence. Local Dalit
leaders blamed police for not making proper arrangements to manage the
huge crowd expected for paying homage to the Dalit leader. However,
defending the police firing, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had yesterday
blamed some people for disrupting law and order “for their own political
gains.” “The protesters indulged in large-scale violence and torched
police vehicles. Police opened fire in self defence and to protect
public property”, Jayalalithaa, who announced Rs one lakh compensation
to the next of kin of those killed, said. Meanwhile, Ramanathapuram
District Collector N Arun Roy said normalcy was returning and situation
in most parts of the district was peaceful today. A holiday was declared
for all educational institutions in the district today, he said.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been promulgated in the
district and caste leaders would not be allowed to enter into the
district in view of the tense situation, he said. Public properties
worth Rs two crore had been damaged in the violence. Thirty buses and 15
police vehicles had been damaged in the arson and stone pelting. Some
level crossing gates and signal lights were also damaged, he said.
Meanwhile, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko
has demanded a judicial probe into the police firing. He also met some
of the injured in the violence at the Government Rajaji Hospital in
Madurai. About 150 members of Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam
observed fast in Theni condemning the firing on Dalits. They also
demanded action against those who were responsible for the firing.
(Pioneer 12/9/11)

DU student alleges caste bias (2)

NEW DELHI: A final-year student of MA
sanskrit at Delhi University has alleged that she has been denied the
option of studying astrology as part the course because she is a dalit.
The girl, Sarita Pawar, filed a complaint with National Commission for
Scheuled Castes and Scheduled Tribes last month alleging that the head
of department, Mithilesh Chaturvedi, did not arrange for classes in
jyotish because he was biased against her. “Five of us had opted for
jyotish as an optional subject. As a rule in DU, a teacher has to be
provided by the department concerned if at least five students want to
study a particular subject. When we requested the department for the
same, we were told that there was no teacher available for the course.
Later, others were threatened due to which two of them did not pursue
the matter further,” said Pawar, a resident of Nangloi. She said, “When I
went to meet the HoD, he told me that people from my caste cannot study
that subject. I even sent an email to the vice-chancellor complaining
against the discrimination. But no action was taken.” She said that the
commission has written to the department on September 5 asking for an
explanation within 15 days. “In fact, the department had last year
allowed just one student to pursue jyotish. What has gone wrong now?”
she asked. However, Chaturvedi denied having received any notice from
the commission and alleged that the student’s version was not true. He
said that no student can be discriminated against on the basis of caste.
“The student has been motivated by some people who want instability in
the department. We can’t deny an academic option to any student on the
basis of caste. The option of jyotish cannot be provided to her only
because there are three students interested in it. No student has been
threatened. In fact, we already have many SC and OBC students pursuing
research in jyotish,” said Chaturvedi. He said that last year, the only
student pursuing jyotish as an optional subject was attending classes on
South Campus. (Times of India 13/9/11)

Dalit leader released, seeks probe by SC judge into firing (2)

TIRUNELVELI: As sporadic incidents of
violence were reported from some parts of southern Tamil Nadu on
Tuesday, police released Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam founder P
John Pandian, whose detention on Sunday sparked violence at Paramakudi
in Ramanathapuram district leading to police firing in which seven
people were killed. Soon after his release, Pandian told reporters at
Vallanadu in Tuticorin district that the probe into the firing should be
conducted by a sitting Supreme Court judge. He alleged that the clashes
were instigated by certain officials with vested interests. The Madras
high court on Tuesday admitted a habeas corpus petition alleging
unauthorized detention of Pandian and issued notice to the government.
In Rajapalayam, an attempt was made to derail a train while more than
half a dozen buses were damaged by miscreants who hurled kerosene and
petrol-filled bottles at the vehicles in Ramanathapuram and Theni
districts. A concrete sleeper was found placed across the railway track
in the Murambu-Paraipatti section near Rajapalayam. The presence of the
sleeper was noticed only after the Podhigai Express heading to
Sankarankoil from Rajapalayam station rammed into it around 8am and came
to a screeching halt. Fortunately, none was injured. (Times of India
14/9/11)

“Firing, bid to suppress Dalit assertion” (2)

MADURAI, September 15, 2011: The
Paramakudi police firing was State-sponsored, brutal murder of six
Dalits and an attempt to suppress and oppress the democratic form of
Dalit assertion in the State, said John Pandian, founder president,
Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), here on Wednesday. Tension
prevailed at Government Rajaji Hospital during his visit to meet those
injured in the firing and rioting at Paramakudi and Chinthamani near
Madurai. Mr. Pandian clarified that there was no relation whatsoever
between the murder of a 16-year-old Dalit boy, Palanikumar, on September
9 and the violence. He was arrested after two days, on September 11, at
Vallanad in Tuticorin. “I was allotted time between 3.p.m. to 5.p.m. to
pay my respects at the memorial of Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran but
was later illegally detained saying Section 144 Cr. P. C. has been
promulgated prohibiting me from entering Ramanathapuram.” Strongly
condemning the police report, he said that it was an effort to
communalise the events by trying to link it with wall graffiti. He
demanded that First Information Report be filed against Rajesh Das,
Inspector General of Police, South Zone, and K. A. Senthilvelan, Deputy
Commissioner, Adyar (who was on deputation) under Section 302 and
Avaniapuram (Madurai) Inspector Gajendran under Section 307 of the IPC
in relation to the firing. The TMMK, All India Devendra Kula Vellalar
Munnetra Sangam and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi will organise
peaceful protests till further action is taken against these officials,
he said. “VCK chief Thol. Thirumavalavan is a comrade in our struggle
and it is not today that we are working together, but have been doing it
for long,” Mr. Pandian said. The party would take up the issue with the
National Human Rights Commission and the National Scheduled Caste
Commission. The firing happened because a few “casteist” police officers
“orchestrated” the violence. A sitting High Court Judge should conduct
an enquiry and a fresh post-mortem should be done on all the bodies as
there were reports that there were deaths due to torture. Earlier, VCK
general secretary Chinthanai Selvan, along with members of the VCK and
TMMK, met the injured victims. The TMMK leader said that observing
Immanuel Sekaran’s guru puja was a democratic practice that was
happening for years. During the last few years it was observed with
great pride on the part of Dalits. (The Hindu 15/9/11)

Karnataka ‘pathetic’ in dealing with cases against SC/STs: Study (2)

Bangalore: The performance of the
Karnataka government in discharge of its duties under the Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities Act) was “pathetic”
as it stands sixth in the country as far as crimes against SCs and STs
are concerned, according to a report. The overall conviction rate for
the crimes against SCs and STs in 2010 was five per cent and seven
districts had zero per cent conviction rate during the same period, the
Karnataka State Report on implementation of SCs and Sts (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act in the State in 2010 said. In Tumkur, which is one of
the 15 districts declared by the government as an area prone to
atrocities against SC/STs, 101 cases were disposed off in 2010 without a
single conviction by the special court, the study said. The undivided
Gulbarga district and Bangalore city top the number of cases reported in
the past three years, it said, adding that Mandya has seen a surge in
number of cases reported and is second highest in 2010 with 87 cases (39
cases in 2009 and 29 cases in 2008). Meanwhile, Energy Minister Shobha
Karandlaje gave a call today to provide emotional support to SCs and STs
to bring them to mainstream after releasing the report here. Karandlaje
said that she would suggest to the government to implement the
recommendations made in the report. The recommendations include setting
up of exclusive courts to deal with such cases, judges with the right
aptitude and understanding and time-bound completion of trials (within a
year). Though the government is supposed to prepare an annual report on
implementation of the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the
State, it had not done so for the past three years, the study said. The
government is also supposed to hold half-yearly review meetings but
only one such meeting was held in the last three years, instead of six
meetings, the study said. Hassan and Chickballapur are additions in the
top ten districts with the maximum atrocities against SC/STs. After a
steep increase in such incidents, they take their place alongside
districts such as Bangalore, Gulbarga, Bellary and Mysore, which
consistently feature in the top ten, it added. “Awareness should be
created regularly and systematically to school and college students on
the Act and Ambedkar Jayanthi should be used to conduct debates and
other programmes to highlight the Act,” Opposition leader in Legislative
Council, Motamma said. A group consisting of organisations and
individuals working on human rights and RTI in Karnataka namely,
Anti-Corruption Forum (ACF), Buddhist League, Karnataka Dalit Mahila
Vedike (KDMV), National Campaign for Dalit

Human Rights (NCDHR), OpenSpace, Rural
Education and Development Society (REDS) and Sanchaya Nele compiled the
report. (The Financial Exp. 16/9/11)

Dalits, Muslims smell a rat in Congress move (2)

Mumbai | Agency: DNA: The proposed
Prevention of Communal and Violence Bill is being pushed with an
objective to check communal violence across the country. But the Dalits
and minorities, who are often soft targets of communal violence, are
sceptical about the Bill. They are wondering if it is a ploy to polarise
the system instead of tackling the root cause that triggers unrest in
the society. “I have apprehensions that the Bill would make any
difference to Dalits and minorities. It sounds alright on the paper. But
what really matters is its implementation,” said Dalit writer Arjun
Dangle. He cited the example of Atrocities Act, which the Congress
introduced in 1989. “Is it being implemented in letter and spirit? The
cases of atrocities against the Dalits are rising every year,” Dangle
said. He alleged that efforts are being made by the Congress government
to further dilute the Atrocities Act. “When it came into existence, it
was a nonbailable offence. But later, bail was granted. Now, they have
set up a ‘tantamukti’ scheme where panchayats attend to the disputes. Do
you think a Dalit will ever come forward to lodge a complaint against
an individual representing the majority community?” The statistics
provided by the Ministry of Social Justice show the rate of conviction
in cases against Dalits and minorities are dismal. Even if cases are
registered, it does not come to a logical end. Or a person who lodges
the complaint is often forced to withdraw the case following prolonged
harassment. A senior Muslim leader in the Congress said the bill once
implemented is likely to foment further polarisation among communities.
“If the prejudice is among the agencies, which implement the Bill, then
the entire purpose of getting justice is defeated.” (DNA 19/9/11)

Dalit slum-dwellers in Delhi to get free flats (2)

New Delhi, Sept. 19: Slum dwellers from
SC and ST communities in the city will be eligible for flats costing a
little over Rs 3 lakh virtually free, with the Delhi government as well
as the Centre deciding to bear the expenses. A Cabinet meeting chaired
by the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dixit, decided to waive Delhi
government’s share of Rs 60,000 for each dwelling unit if an SC or ST
family gets a flat built under Rajiv Ratan Awas Yojna. “The Delhi SC and
ST Commission will pay the amount on behalf of the families from these
two categories. The Central government and the land owning agency will
also make their contribution,” Ms Dixit said, adding that the SC and ST
families will get the flats almost free. Ms Dixit said Delhi government
would start allotment process of nearly 5,000 low-cost flats to slum
dwellers by next month and out of the total allotees, SC and ST
beneficiaries will not have to make any contribution to the government.
The Chief Minister said the government will start allotment of around
7,000 flats by December. Officials said government will shift select
slum clusters to the newly built flats and if there was any SC and ST
families in the selected slum cluster, then they will get the flats free
of cost. The government had earlier decided to begin the process of
relocation of 33 slums by allocating low-cost houses to eligible
families as construction of 9,660 flats have been completed and another
5,168 are nearing completion. Out of total applications, the government
has found 42 per cent from these selected slum clusters eligible. Around
15,000 families are currently living in these 33 slum clusters
identified for relocation in the first phase, out of which around 10,000
families had applied for allotment of flats. Out of the total
applicants, 6,738 were found eligible. Delhi has around 685 slum
clusters, out of which 56 have come up on Delhi government land. Slums
have come up on land owned by various other agencies and departments
including railways, NDMC, CPWD, MCD, Cantonment Board and Delhi Urban
Shelter Improvement Board. Following the city Lokayukta’s rap on Ms
Dixit in July this year for “misrepresenting” facts about low-cost
houses, the Delhi government had announced that it will expedite the
process of allotment and decided to take a series of measures, including
sale of land, to collect funds to construct more flats. The flats ready
for distribution are located in Baprola and Bawana area of the city.
Officials said the approximate cost of each flat, which will be
distributed in October, would be Rs 3.34 lakh, out of which the Centre’s
contribution would be 1.19 lakh and contribution of the land owning
agency would be Rs 93,000. (Business Line 19/9/11)

Dalits appeal for reopening of temple (2)

Tirupur: The Dalits from Vellakoil block,
who have been fighting for their rights to enter the Uthamapalayam New
Mariamman temple without any discrimination, have appealed to the State
Government to open the temple immediately in the wake of legal issues
that got resolved recently. A meeting convened by Uthamapalayam temple
entry agitation committee on Sunday evening had passed a resolution
asking the government to constitute an endowment committee for the
temple at the earliest. The Committee convener S. Karuppaiah told The
Hindu that though the bylaws formulated by Hindu Religious and
Charitable Endowment department stipulates the formation of such
endowment committees for all temples coming under its control, the rules
were not followed in the case of the Uthamapalayam temples. He said
that instead of forming endowment committee, the cash and jewellery of
the original Mariamman temple that was taken over by HR & CE in
1962, were transferred to the control of a private trust flouting all
laws. “The trust should be dissolved and the temple reopened by ensuring
that every Dalit could offer prayers without being humiliated,” he
added. The meeting condemned the police firing on Dalits at Paramakudi
recently. (The Hindu 20/9/11)

“Dalits being denied space in mainstream politics”

Madurai: It has become common to depict
Dalits as a class of violent people and, by coming up with such
contrived ideas, they are being denied space in mainstream politics by
ruling parties and the administration, said Thol. Thirumavalavan, MP and
president of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, here on Tuesday.
Addressing a protest meeting, he said that the Paramakudi police firing
exemplified this. It was an annual event in which Dalits gathered in
huge numbers to pay respects to one of their iconic leaders, Immanuel
Sekaran. During this event violence was unleashed against Dalits saying
they had turned unruly. This was one of the most gruesome attacks
against Dalits in the history of Tamil Nadu. The ruling All India Anna
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had tried to give a caste colour to the
episode, which was nothing but State-sponsored violence against Dalits
in the name of law and order. Claiming there was “anti-Dalit stand”
among officials and rulers, Mr. Thirumavalavan said there were several
instances of human rights violations in the incident like the police
targeting Dalit activists and attacking them brutally. He condemned
those leaders who spoke of Tamil nationalism but did not vociferously
oppose the barbaric attack on Dalits. No matter who was in power almost
all police firings that took place in the history of the State were
against Dalits. The VCK saw a larger conspiracy behind the police
brutality. There was a feeling among a few top-ranking officials and
rulers that the attempts to celebrate Immanuel Sekaran’s guru puja
should be thwarted because it had become a mass event equivalent to that
of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar’s guru puja and could become a
government function or rallying point of Dalit assertion every year, he
said. The report given by the police and read out by the Chief Minister
in the Assembly was false and an attempt to divert public attention from
the police attack. He thanked the members of the Mukkulathor community,
who maintained calm and did not get provoked by such “false remarks and
statements” made by the Chief Minister, terming the attack a clash. The
VCK demanded Rs.10 lakh compensation for each of the families of the
dead, Rs.5 lakh for families of the injured and CBI inquiry, “as we have
a history of all the commission reports appointed by the State
justifying police action against Dalits.” He demanded the shifting of
the injured persons to private hospitals as there was no adequate
medical care provided at the Government Rajaji Hospital here. All police
personnel involved in the event should be booked under Section 302 of
Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act 1989 and Rules 1995. (The Hindu 21/9/11)

Paramakudi incident has cast a shadow on police, says Paswan (2)

Lok Janshakthi Party president Ram Vilas
Paswan has said that the Paramakudi firing incident is a fit case for
initiating criminal proceedings against the police officers concerned.
He was on a tour of Paramakudi and surrounding areas on Tuesday to get
first-hand information about the firing, which claimed the lives of six
Dalits. Terming the police action “atrocious” and “inhuman,” Mr. Paswan
said though he had come across many incidents perpetuated against Dalits
in different parts of the country in the past, the Paramakudi firing
was one of the most terrible attacks. The victims were pointedly fired
at above their chest. The indiscriminate attack had cast a shadow on
police of Tamil Nadu, which he regarded as a pioneering State as far as
social justice was concerned. He demanded that the police officers
concerned be booked under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The case
should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation and an
exclusive court established to complete the trial in six months.
Complimenting The Hindu for its balanced coverage of the incident, Mr.
Paswan said that he had met the President Pratiba Patil a few days ago
and presented a petition along with the reports carried by The Hindu to
seek her intervention in the matter. A high-level meeting of the Dalits
and Minorities National Front had been convened at Nagpur on September
28 to discuss the issue. Mr. Paswan said that the government should
announce compensation of Rs.20 lakh each to the kin of victims and Rs.5
lakh to those injured. Besides, at least one person from each victim’s
family should be given government job.

(The Hindu 21/9/11)

Police firing, result of ‘anti-Dalit bias’ prevalent in State machinery, says fact-finding team (2)

Madurai : Paramakudi police firing is a
result of an “anti-Dalit bias” among police and government officials and
a few belonging to dominant castes, who are unable to digest the
economic mobility and assertion of the Dalits, says a fact-finding
report. A fact-finding team, comprising civil rights activists and
intellectuals from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh,
visited Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram and Madurai on September, 19 and 20
and met the family members of the deceased and injured at hospitals,
government officials and general public to inquire about the police
firing and subsequent attack in which six Dalits were killed and many
injured. The team said here on Wednesday that casteist forces among the
State machinery and certain sections of the dominant castes did not like
to see Dalits getting organised and celebrate Immanuel Sekaran’s guru
puja in a big way. The team found a letter circulated by Aappa Nadu
Maravars Sangam, Mudukulathur, asking its members to take efforts to
prevent Immanuel Sekaran’s guru puja which was getting attention
equivalent to that of Muthuramalinga Thevar’s guru puja.

Against this background, a Dalit school
boy, Palani Kumar of Pallapacheri, was murdered on September 9,
following which five members were arrested. But the Chief Minister cited
a wall writing with objectionable words against Muthuramalinga Thevar
in Thevar-dominated Muthuramalingapuram and Dalit-dominated Pacheri as
the reason for the murder. But Muthuramalingapuram was a village where
Dalits could not walk with their footwear on. How could a Dalit boy walk
up to the ration shop in the middle of the village with ease to make
wall a writing on a seven-foot-high wall, they posed. The team found
that among 28 Dalit students at Mandalamancikam Government High School
23 got their transfer certificates and moved to another school because
of caste animosity during 2010-11. Eyewitnesses at the riot torn area
and youth who sustained bullet injuries said that tear gas shells and
water cannons, which were mandatory, were not used before resorting to
firing. They also said that the policemen started to attack after
abusing them by their caste names and this showed the casteist attitude
among the state machinery. The fact finding team condemned the Chief
Minister’s statement justifying the police firing in the Assembly which
reflected an “anti-Dalit” outlook. The CM should retract her statement
because it had given an impression among the Dalits that there would be
no room for justice for them, the team said. While demanding a CBI
inquiry into the firing, the team sought the suspension and booking of
cases under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against police
officials Sandeep Mittal, Deputy Inspector General, K. A. Senthil Velan
(Deputy Commissioner) and Sivakumar, Inspector. Families of the deceased
should be given a compensation of Rs.10 lakh each, along with a
government job. Dalit villages in and around Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram
lacked proper basic amenities and had been neglected for long. The
government should provide them basic facilities. Government should also
provide details of how many among the policemen and revenue officials in
Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram and surrounding areas were Dalits and other
dominant castes to assess the situation sociologically. Immanuel
Sekaran’s anniversary should be announced as a government function and
the road leading to his memorial widened. The team said that government
should take efforts to sensitise government officials on issues related
to caste and inculcate democratic and constitutional values among them.
The team was led by writer A. Marx of People’s Union for Human Rights.
(The Hindu 22/9/11)

CBI registers case against BSP MLA in Banda rape case (2)

New Delhi | Agency: PTI: The CBI today
registered a case against BSP MLA Purushottam Dwivedi and four others in
the alleged rape of a minor Dalit girl in Banda district of Uttar
Pradesh in December last year. The Supreme Court on September 12 had
directed the CBI to take over probe into the case as allegations were
levelled that Dwivedi being a ruling party MLA used his influence in the
administration to dilute the probe. “On the directions of Hon’ble
Supreme Court of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation has
registered a case against a Uttar Pradesh MLA and four other private
persons U/s 376, 354, 323, 504 and 506 of IPC relating to a case in
Banda (UP) in which a minor was allegedly raped.The case was earlier
registered by the local Police and later was investigated by CB-CID of
UP,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said here. The sections relate to
rape, assault for outraging the modesty of a woman, voluntarily causing
hurt, intentional insult and criminal intimidation. The 17-year-old
Dalit girl was allegedly raped by Dwivedi in Banda on December 10 and 11
last year. The girl had escaped from his residence on December 12 when
the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her again. The girl, however, was
arrested after allegedly false charges of theft were levelled by the
legislator’s brother against her. Dwivedi, 48, who was later arrested
from Banda and suspended by Mayawati’s party, denied all the charges.
The apex court had passed the order on a PIL filed by advocates Raja Ram
and Irudaya Nathan seeking an independent probe into the incident,
alleging that impartial investigation was not possible in the case as
the ruling BSP legislator and his aides were involved. The state
government did not oppose the plea for a CBI probe into the case and
agreed to recommend handing it over to the central agency. The
petitioners alleged that the authorities had committed a grave error by
lodging false cases against the victim, who was a minor and was entitled
to protection under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Alleging that the police and judicial officers were trying to protect
the MLA, they alleged that the magistrate, in violation of the JJ Act,
had sent her to jail while she should have been sent to a juvenile care
centre. (DNA 22/9/11)

15 convicted, 82 acquitted in Mirchpur Dalit murder case (2)

New Delhi: Fifteen people have been
convicted and 82 acquitted by a Sessions court here in the much talked
about Mirchpur killing case in which a physically challenged girl and
her septuagenarian Dalit father were charred to death in neighbouring
Haryana. In the ghastly incident of caste violence that rocked Haryana
on April 21 last year, a mob belonging to the dominant Jat community had
also burnt down 18 Dalit houses. Three of the 15 have been convicted
for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They had set fire to the
house in which Tara Chand and his daughter Suman had taken refuge. Six
persons have been held guilty of setting other Dalit houses on fire and
six others have been convicted for unlawful assembly and stone-throwing.
In a major relief to the accused, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau
on Saturday ruled that the serious charges of murder, rioting, looting
and criminal conspiracy could not be established beyond reasonable
doubt. Narnaud Police SHO Vinod Kumar Kajal, who was one of the accused
in the case for allegedly exhorting the mob to burn down Dalit homes and
alleged negligence of duties under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled
Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, was acquitted as the charges
against him could not be proved. The Supreme Court had ordered shifting
of the case from Haryana to Delhi last December following apprehensions
whether a fair trial would be conducted in the neighbouring State. There
was also fear for the safety of witnesses and lawyers appearing in the
case. A total of 68 prosecution witnesses including Tara Chand’s wife,
44 defence witnesses, and one court witness – son of Tara Chand whom
neither the prosecution nor the defence wanted to rely on — were
examined. The trial against one person was separated after he absconded.
Another five juvenile accused are to be tried by a Juvenile Justice
Board in Hisar. The arguments on sentencing are listed for September 29.
(The Hindu 24/9/11)

Dalits allowed to fetch water from well (2)

ONGOLE, September 27, 2011: The
CPI(M)-led Kula Vivaksha Porata Samiti under the leadership of its
district secretary A. Malyadri brought the plight of the dalits to the
notice of the Collector. On the orders of the Collector, Pamur revenue
and police officials rushed to the village and ensured access to dalits
to the well. The dalits, including 35 women, happily fetched water from
the well. KVPS Pamur Division Secretary K. Malyadri said the dalit
families were forced to sit with their pots for long and were provided
water. Evictees’ demand Dalits of remote Verayapalem village in Darsi
mandal under the aegis of the CPI(M)-led Kula Vivaksha Porata Samiti
staged a dharna in-front of the Prakasam Bhavan here in protest against
their eviction from their houses by lower level revenue officials.
Leading the protest, A. Malyadri said the dalits had been living in
government waste land for over 20 years and had been provided ration
cards and voters identity card. The dalits along with CPI(M)-led Andhra
Pradesh Agricultural Workers Union district secretary P. Hanumantha Rao
pressed for action against the Mandal Revenue Officer concerned. They
submitted a memorandum to Additional Joint Collector Ch. Mohan Rao, who
directed the lower level officials to provide them alternative land. The
dalits also pressed for sanctioning of five houses under Indira Awas
Yojana for five dalit families whose houses had been burnt in a fire
recently. Dalit students under the aegis of the Bahujana Students
Federation staged a dharna in-front of the Prakasam Bhavan to press for
action against a B.Ed college which had allegedly collected more fees
from students. The students, led by Federation state convenor D.
Charavaka, alleged that the management of the college near Kandukur had
forcibly collected from students even the ATM cards and withdrawn
scholarship amount of Rs. 4,200 each meant for them. (The Hindu 27/9/11)

‘Stop the drama of visiting Dalit houses’ (2)

MANGALORE, September 28, 2011: The
swamijis of all maths should stop the “drama” of talking about social
reforms when they have not initiated a single concrete step to bring
about the change they speak about, Seer of Nidumamidi Math Veerabhadra
Channamalla Swami said on Tuesday. To a question during an interaction
organised by the Journalists’ Study Centre, he strongly criticised Sri
Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math and seers of all maths who
“talk about social change but do nothing about it”. He urged the
swamijis to “stop the drama” of visiting Dalit houses or washing the
feet of Dalits, which would not bring an end to their social or economic
problems. Although he had “great respect for Pejawar swamiji’s concern
for society”, Nidumamidi swamiji was critical of his actions with regard
to Dalits. . “For half a century, he has spoken about social change,
but has not managed to solve even a single fundamental problem of
Dalits,” the swamiji said. In a region where ajalu paddhati was
practised, Pejawar swamiji had not said that it was “wrong”. Similarly,
he had remained silent about “made snana” which was a “de-humanising”
practice, the practice of making Dalits carry night soil on their head,
the problems of davadasis and prostitutes, Nidumamidi swami said. “Let
alone taking steps to address social problems of Dalits, have any of the
swamijis even agreed that all people from Dalits to Brahmins have been
created equal and that they all have the same rights?” the swamiji said.
There was a time when “religious institutions were pro-people but in
our times, that is not the case”. Maths today unite only to further a
communal agenda or work for their caste groups, but not to work for the
social, economic, political, or national interests of all people.
Although religious heads have supported political power historically, in
a “healthy democracy” it was imperative that the “immoral nexus”
between religion and the ruling class ended and each functioned
independently of the other. The swamiji said he had been saying for the
last 20 years that “not all, but a majority of religious institutions”
received money earned illegally and were being run by ill-gotten wealth.
No religious leader had declared that ill-gotten wealth should not be
donated to their institutions. The former Tourism Minister G. Janardhan
Reddy donated a crown that cost over Rs. 40 crore to Tirupati temple in
2009, but even though there were demands to return the crown after his
arrest, the temple refused saying that offerings could not be returned,
the swamiji said. To a question on how he resolved his personal conflict
with the math system, the swamiji replied that he had rejected the
system completely and taken up teaching. . He said that he entered the
math to bring about social change. To this effect he had appointed
Dalits as priests, arranged inter-caste and inter-faith marriages,
visited houses of people of all castes and faiths, and organised
awareness programmes. (The Hindu 28/9/11)

Impartial probe will be held: Justice Sampath (2)

Paramakudi: Justice K. Sampath, who heads
the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the government to probe the
Paramakudi firing on September 11, said here on Wednesday that he would
hold an impartial inquiry into the incident, which claimed the lives of
six Dalits. Speaking to The Hindu here, Mr. Justice Sampath said the
commission would discharge its duties and responsibilities to bring out
the truth. “I have an open mind. I don’t act on assumption or
perception,” said the retired Madras High Court judge. Stating that he
had visited the spot at Paramakudi and the Immanuel Sekaran Memorial,
Mr. Sampath said he

had met the family members and relatives
of those killed in three villages, including Veerambal and Sadayaneri.
He could not visit other three villages. He sought the cooperation of
the people and said that this would enable him to probe the matter in
detail and understand their views and grievances. Asked about his
opinion about the police firing, Mr. Sampath said he had not formed any
opinion on it. He heard the views of all sides, particularly those
affected. The police also expressed their views. It was only a
preliminary visit and the formal recording of statements would be made
in due course. The commission had gathered views from all sides on what
happened that day. It was not possible to come to any conclusion or
opinion at this stage. Asked how the panel would continue its
proceedings in the backdrop of opposition among the affected people, Mr.
Sampath hoped that the situation would improve. They would cooperate
with the commission. Later, Mr. Sampath enquired with V. Arun Roy,
Collector, Ravikumar, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mahesh Kumar,
Superintendent of Police, and others for the second day on Wednesday.
(The Hindu 29/9/11)

DSS holds protest in Chitradurga (2)

Chitradurga, September 29, 2011: In
support of its various demands, the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS) took
out a rally and staged a dharna near Onake Obavva Circle here on
Wednesday. In a release, the DSS mentioned several demands related to
the development of the district and schemes related to the welfare of
Dalits. The release demanded that the Government expedite works on the
Upper Bhadra Irrigation Project, as it was a lifeline for the people of
the drought-prone district, and urged the State Government to get
environmental clearance for it from the Union Government immediately.
With regard to the prevailing drought-like situation in the district,
owing to which over Rs. 450 crop loss has been estimated by the
Agriculture Department, the release urged the Government to declare the
district drought-hit to provide relief to farmers. Alleging that the
Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was not being
implemented properly, the release demanded that the Government ensure
the effective implementation of the law by taking stern action against
offenders. The release also urged the Government to effectively
implement the land ownership scheme framed under the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Development Corporation and the SC/ST Development Corporation. The
samiti demanded that the Government construct more hostels for SC/ST
students in Chitradurga with adequate infrastructure. Stating that
several Dalits had not been given houses under the Ashraya scheme, the
release urged the District Administration to provide houses to some 75
Dalit families in the locality of Sadiq Nagar. The release also urged
the Government to provide title deeds to several slum-dwellers in the
city. The release said the slum dwellers had demanded that the
Government handover the title deeds, but no steps had been taken to meet
their demand, the release added. (The Hindu 29/9/11)

‘Dalits, tribal people being denied their due’ (2)

HYDERABAD, October 2, 2011: Speakers at a
meeting convened by the Left parties here on Saturday on SC, ST
Sub-Plans said that the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the State were
still being subjected to social and government discrimination.
Respecting them properly was the prerequisite to the effective
implementation of the SC, ST Sub-Plans effectively, they felt. The
speakers suggested booking of criminal cases against the officials who
fail to spend or divert the allocated funds of the Sub-Plans to bring
some accountability. State secretary of the CPI (M) B.V. Raghavulu said
Dalits and tribal people were being deprived of even basic amenities as
the government was not allocating the prescribed 26 per cent funds to
SC/ST Sub-Plans. Even the allotted funds were not being spent and
instead diverted to other programmes. Insufficient allocation of funds
and not spending even the lesser allocation was an insult to the
government itself as it was a constitutional provision, State secretary
of CPI K. Narayana said. He suggested Dalits and tribal people to
question their elected representatives and mount pressure on them to
spend at least the allocated funds first. He gave a call for ‘Chalo
Assembly’ protest on the issue during the winter session of the Assembly
to highlight the issue and build pressure on the government for proper
implementation of the Sub-Plans. Venkat Reddy of MCPI (U), B. Veeraiah
of CPI (ML), K. Venkateswar Rao of ML Committee, Muralidhar Deshpande of
Forward Bloc, V. Janaki Ramulu of RSP and others spoke at the meeting.
The meeting adopted several resolutions demanding the government to
spend the allotted funds through nodal agencies, carrying forward the
unspent funds and bring in a special legislation for proper
implementation of the Sub-Plans among others.(The Hindu 2/10/11)

‘Dalit communities in State made huge progress’ (2)

KALPETTA, October 3, 2011: A.P. Anil
Kumar, the Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes
has said that the economic position, standard of living, and other
development aspects of the Dalit communities in the State was much
better compared to the rest of the country. Inaugurating the State-level
‘social solidarity fortnight’ observance at the panchayat community
hall at Mananthavady in Wayanad district on Sunday, Mr. Anilkumar said
the State had achieved the progress by implementing various development
schemes in a time-bound manner. Mr. Anil Kumar added that though the
Kerala had set a model for the other States in this regard, the
condition of the tribal people continued to be dismal in many aspects,
especially in protecting their rights and economic status and in
education. A collective attempt was needed to uplift the marginalised
sections to the mainstream, the Minister said. The government had given
prime importance for providing education to the children who belong to
the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC and ST) as social equality
could be achieved only through education, Mr. Anilkumar said. The
district had a huge tourism potential and the United Democratic Front
government was planning to implement a comprehensive project for the
district to tap this, the Minister said. P.K. Jayalakshmi, Minister for
Welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Youth Affairs, presided over the
function. Gold medals were awarded to SC and ST students who secured A +
in all subjects in the SSLC examination and first rank in the medical
and engineering entrance examinations conducted in 2011, at the
function.(The Hindu 3/10/11)

Pachery’s Dalits to boycott civic polls (2)

RAMANATHAPURAM, October 4, 2011: The
residents — all Dalits — of Pachery village, part of the Mandalamanickam
panchayat, where a boy was murdered allegedly by a group of caste
Hindus recently, have decided to boycott the local body elections. They
have cited police failure to arrest the remaining accused (other than
the five already arrested) in the murder case and denial of access to a
road by caste Hindus. The decision comes amid allegations that the
president and vice-president of the panchayat have been ‘selected’
through ‘auctioneering’ at a price of Rs.15 lakh. Though two ward
members can be elected from Pachery village, part of the Mandalamanickam
panchayat, no nominations have been filed. The process is over and
there will be no representation from the village in the panchayat. The
boycott decision was taken at a ‘village meeting’ held at Pachery
recently, to protest continuous “harassment and torture” by caste Hindus
and failure of the government in addressing their grievances. Though
the Mandalamanickam panchayat, which has eight villages (hamlets) under
its jurisdiction, has been categorised as reserved, the Dalits of
Pachery allege that the caste Hindus have been following illegal and
undemocratic methods of selecting a ‘puppet’ candidate from another
Dalit community, which has very few in numbers in the entire panchayat.
(The Hindu 4/10/11)

Banda ‘rape victim’ examined at AIIMS (2)

New Delhi: More than a fortnight after
the CBI took over the probe into the alleged rape of a minor Dalit girl
at Banda in Uttar Pradesh involving a BSP MLA, the medical examination
of the girl was carried out at the All India Institute of Medical
Sciences (AIIMS), here on Monday. The girl was allegedly raped by
Purshottam Dwivedi in Banda on December 10 and 11 last year. The Supreme
Court on September 12 had directed the CBI to take over the probe as
allegations were levelled that Dwivedi, being a ruling party MLA, used
his influence in the administration to dilute the investigation. “The
case was registered on the directions of the Supreme Court. The CBI
registered a case against a UP MLA and four other private persons under
Sections 376, 354, 323, 504 and 506 of the IPC relating to a case in
Banda (UP) in which a minor was allegedly raped,” said a CBI official.
The agency is trying to reconstruct the scene of crime along with the
examination of forensic evidence collected by the local police. Said a
CBI official, “The need for a medical examination was felt as sleuths
thought of seeking a second opinion on the nature of injuries suffered
by the victim.” The 17-year-old girl had escaped from the MLA’s
residence on December 12 when he allegedly tried to rape her again. The
girl was arrested after false charges of theft were allegedly levelled
by Dwivedi’s brother against her. From the jail, she moved the local
court, alleging rape and other criminal acts by the MLA and his men. On
the court’s order, a case was lodged on January 12. The medical
examination, more than a month after the incident, ruled out rape.
(Indian Express 4/10/11)

Dalit woman given witch tag, beaten up (2)

Bhilwara, October 04, 2011: In a repeat
instance of atrocity on scheduled castes, a Dalit woman was described as
a witch, beaten and paraded half-naked in a village in Bhilwara
district last week, the police said on Monday. Rani (name changed) of
Phulia Khurd village, about 70 km from Bhilwara, said in her

FIR filed on Sunday that four villagers
entered her house on September 27, dubbed her a witch and beat her up.
In Bhilwara in the past six months this is the third incident where a
Dalit woman has been beaten up and branded a witch. “The villagers –
Gheesu Jat, Chothu Mali, Balu Mali and Godu Mali – insulted and tortured
me. They wanted me to leave the village,” she told media persons in
hospital. She has injuries on her head and hands. “A couple of days ago
they harassed me on the road and threatened me to leave the village. I
am scared. How can I live in such a place where people are after my
life?” she asked. Acting station house officer Shahpura Fatah Lal said
the victim’s son had filed an FIR, naming the four accused. The son said
his mother was cooking when the accused broke the door and started
beating her. “They assaulted her and tore her clothes. Then they paraded
her half naked in the village.” (Hindustan Times 4/10/11)

Dalit beaten up, threatened rape over land claim (2)

AJMER: A Scheduled Caste woman in
Nasirabad block of this district alleged on Wednesday that two men from
Bubaniya village – Shankar Singh Rawat and Surajmal Rawat – and others
abused and tried to outrage her modesty when she was working in the
field. “They came in a group and abuse me using casteist slurs and
threatened to rape me, they dragged me to a nearby mines area and beat
me brutally,” said the victim Savitri. The bone of contention is a six
bigha plot. The land touches the boundaries of Shankar and Suraj’s
fields. “They wanted to occupy my agriculture land. Earlier, they had
claimed I am sitting on a government land, I called in the revenue
inspector and he showed me the limits of my agriculture land, now they
claim that they have purchased the land from government, so I must
vacate it,” said Laxman, husband of Savitri. (Times of India 7/10/11)

27 held for ‘attacking’ Dalits (2)

Kakinada: The Amalapuram police on Sunday
arrested 27 people from the fishermen community in Pichukallanka
village of Atreyapuram police station limits on the charge of attacking
12 Dalits residing in Dowleswaram. The fishermen were charged with
indulging in arson – targeting a house and a cattle shed belonging to
the SCs on October 7. Superintendent of Police C.M. Trivikrama Varma,
said differences cropped up between the two groups over the issue of
sharing the fish and prawn seed that is available in Godavari waters
near the Dowleswaram barrage. They were arrested by the police and cases
were registered against them under the provisions of the SC, ST
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act (The Hindu 10/10/11)

Advise people not to practise untouchability, Pejawar seer told (2)

Hubli, October 11, 2011: State convenor
of Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti Laxminarayan Nagavar said that the
visits by Vishvesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Math to the localities
inhabited by Dalits would not yield any results unless he convinced
members of the community he leads, to stop practising untouchability.
Addressing presspersons here on Sunday, Mr. Nagavar said that the
Pejawar seer was visiting the ‘Dalit keris’ (streets inhabited by
Dalits) to meet the persons who were actually victims of untouchability.
“What the seer should have done instead is to meet his own community
members who still practise untouchability against Dalits”, he said. Even
after over 60 years of Indian independence, the practice of
untouchability was prevalent in many places. “Organisations like
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishat (VHP)
chanted the ‘unity mantra’ before demolition of the Babri Masjid. But
when it comes to untouchability, they forget the Dalits”, he said. Mr.
Laxminarayan Nagavar said Buddhism advocates humanity and that was the
reason why B.R. Ambedkar followed it. To mark the 55th anniversary of
the acceptance of Buddhism by B.R. Ambedkar, a State-level convention
will be organised at the Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bangalore on October
23. Writer U.R. Ananthmurthy and socialist ideologue Ravivarma Kumar
will be among those who will take part in the convention. Playwright
Chandrashekhar Kambar, who won the Jnanpith, would be honoured on the
occasion. Mr. Nagavar said that along with the along with the Karnataka
Dalit Sangharsha Samiti, Karnataka Rajya Dalit Vidyarthi Okkoota and
Karnataka Rajya Dalit Mahila Okkoota would be coordinating the event,
which was likely to attract over 2,500 persons from across the State.
(The Hindu 11/10/11)

Dalits organise protest (2)

Srikakulam, October 11, 2011: Dalit
families on Monday organised a protest in front of MPDO’s office
demanding that they be issued pattas as all of them were living in
Adivarampeta for the last 30 years. They said they were approaching
revenue officials and public representatives for the last few years but
could not get concrete assurance over the issue. They alleged that the
revenue officials were trying to remove their houses under the guise
that they were illegally constructed on government lands. CPI(M) leader
Panchadi Paparao threatened that dalit families would intensify their
agitation if they did not get a favourable response from the officials
over the issue. (The Hindu 11/10/11)

‘Officials failed to give succour to Dalits’ (2)

BANGALORE: Leader of Opposition in the
Legislative Council Motamma on Tuesday alleged that the Deputy
Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Gadag have failed to
solve the difficulties of Dalit families in the district where upper
caste people have boycotted them for more than two months.

Speaking to reporters here, Ms. Motamma
said that Chikka Manchaiah, a Dalit of Kirugaval village in Malavalli
taluk, was attacked on Sunday by two men with razors for daring to enter
“Sringar Hair Dressers” owned by them asking for a haircut. Mahadev and
his father, Mari, are absconding since the complaint filed by Manchaiah
with the police, she said. She said that the two men first refused to
cut Manchaiah’s hair but later agreed to his request. A quarrel broke
out among them and Mahadev deliberately slashed Manchaiah’s face, Ms.
Motamma said. She said that cases of untouchability continued to occur
and the Government had failed to act against the offenders. Ms. Motamma
criticised the Sub-Inspector of Police in Kirugaval for saying that it
was not a “serious offence”. Ms. Motamma said that in Gadag, there was
no semblance of administration as top officials had failed to lift a
Dalit boycott for over two months in Nayakanur. (The Hindu 12/10/11)

Attacks on Dalits condemned (2)

MYSORE, October 12, 2011: The Dalit
Hakkugala Horata Samiti, has condemned the spate of recent attacks on
Dalits. In a press release, it condemned the recent attacks on Dalit
places of worship by ‘upper caste’ groups. It also condemned Sunday’s
incident in Kirigavulu of Malavalli taluk in Mandya district where a
barber refused to attend to a Dalit man and then cut off his nose. The
samiti said that attacks on Dalits and other minorities had increased
due to the Government’s apathy in punishing the guilty. — Special
Correspondent (The Hindu 12/10/11)

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