. . . . . . "Dalit Solidarity News" is an information project run by the International Dalit Solidarity Network. News stories are extracts from online newsservices. Link to the full story is found at the end of each blog. Visit the International Dalit Solidarity Network at www.idsn.org

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Formed in 2000, the IDSN is a network of international organisations, national solidarity networks and affected country groups, campaigning against caste-based discrimination throughout the world, from the dalits of South Asia to the Osu of Nigeria and the Burakumin of Japan. Visit our website International Dalit Solidarity Network for more information. SUBMIT DALIT NEWS HERE

Saturday, June 21, 2003  
Bihar: Case of dalit atrocity against Minister

Press Trust of India - 21 June

Two cases of atrocities against dalits have been registered against Bihar Public Relation Department Minister Sitaram Yadav, a top police official said today.

Superintendent of Police, Piyush Amrit Beck, said that the district police registered two cases against the Minister with Nanpur police station on the orders of sub-divisional judicial magistrate, Sitamarhi.

Beck said the cases were lodged on the basis of complaints relating to illegally cutting the wheat from the field of one Ramashish Ram and unauthorised construction of a house on the plot of one Ram Nandan Chamar.

The complainants had filed writs in the SDJM's court early this week which after holding hearings, ordered the police to lodge FIRs and thoroughly probe the matter. After this, police lodged two cases against Yadav on June 16, the SP said, adding the Minister would be questioned on the matter.

Sitaram Yadav is a ruling RJD MLA from Pupri Assembly seat in Sitamarhi district.

9:38 PM

Friday, June 20, 2003  
Rights groups ignoring Dalit cases, say activists

Himalayan Times - 19 June

The case of Muna Devi Damai from Dhangadi who was fed human faeces by the so-called upper-caste couple alleging her to be a witch, was widely covered by the media. But activists blamed human rights organisations such as the National Human Rights

Commission (NHRC) and the National Women's Commission (NWC) of ignoring cases of abuse and discrimination faced frequently by Dalits.

Damai related her torturous tale to journalists at an interaction programme titled 'Social crimes against communities at the Far-Western Region' organised by the Dalit Non-Governmental Organisation Federation (DNF) here today.

Damai said Bir Bahadur Thapa and his wife Parvati Thapa called her when she was on her way to work in the fields, and tortured her. "They physically abused me and fed me human wastes. I lay unconscious for a long time. When I asked them to leave me at a hospital, Bir Bahadur said that he'd rather kill me," she said.

The district police office, Dhangadi, has filed the case under the Public Offence Act at the district administration office, said Balram Bhattarai, legal officer at DNF in Kailali. Bir Bahadur, however, fled the village, while wife Parvati detained by police, has been released on a bail of Rs 10,000.

In yet another incident, Brikha Bahadur Nepali of Dhangadi, said that he had gone to a local shop where he accidentally touched Krishna Mal Bhandari who was sitting on a chair, at which "Bhandari hurled discriminatory abuses at me and physically abused me in public". The case against the culprit has been registered at the ward police office in Dhangadi. "I am scared to return home because Bhandari has threatened to wipe out my entire family," he said.

The practice of haliya is common in Darchula, Baitadi and Dadeldhura, wherein those who take money on credit, work for the creditors like slaves instead of paying interests. Bali Ram who is a slave to this practise said that the creditors torment them and abuse them, and harass the women as well.

Paru Devi Ahuji of Doti said that uppercaste villagers force Dalits to clear dead animals from their houses and eat them, which creates health hazards. "Though we refuse, they force us to do the humiliating job anyway," she said.

"Although the media covered the issued of Muna Devu, NHRC and NWC did not even make an effort to send a press release to the media condemning the discriminatory and inhuman act," said Durga Sob, general-secretary at the National Dalits Commission.

7:41 AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2003  
The stalking shadow of casteism

New Indian Express - 18 June

His caste came in the way of his running pickle business. And though V Rajangam tried hard to engage in some other ventures, the ghost returned from the past and continued to hamper the trade.

The stigma of untouchablity haunts this 34 year old bachelor hailing from Panaampattu hamlet near Villupuram. Just by mentioning the village name - Panampattu, the people living in the region could easily brand him as Dalit, and that is the end of business transaction for Rajangam. Rajangam, changed his name to Veera Rajangam and shifted to Villupuram town to contiune the business.He even masqueraded as though a Madurai lad, still the stigma continue to thwart his business. Rajangam started a small 'maami pickle' unit at his native village, Panaampattu, in April '90. Later, he expanded the trade with the help of government loan. Rajangam had peddled about 30 kms a day and reached over 100 villages in east Villupuram and north Cuddalore district. With help of two sales boys the unit was making about Rs 400 per day. Rajangam recalls that "trouble erupted when a 65 year old villager in Vadhanur hamlet, near Villupuram - Pondhicherry border, enquired about my residence and found out that I was a Dalit".

"Soon the villager returned the bottle and others selected the pickle bottles also followed the suit", he stated painfully. Later, he moved to Villupuram and changed his name as Veera Rajangam, even erased the village name from the cycle. However, the ghost of untouchablity continued to affect his trade.

The news about his belongings had spread fast among the people living in other villages, they gradually stopped patronising the youth. Rajangam left the pickle business and switched over to host of other trade. The youth had taken up screen printing, selling of cloth, fibre plates, etc. The stigma continued to chase the young man wherever he went. The locals feel humiliated to consume eatables that were prepared by a Dalits, says Rajangam. With finance assistance from friends, he plans to start a grocery supply network in about 20 villages.

6:35 AM

Tuesday, June 17, 2003  
Residents protest Dalit death, allege torture

The Hindu - 17 June, by P. Sudhakar

Tirunelveli June 16. Traffic on the north bypass road was thrown out of gear for nearly an hour this morning as residents of Manimutheeswaram under the Thatchanallur police limits staged a road roko, after a Dalit youth from the village, who was taken to police station for interrogation, died under mysterious circumstances.

According to the protesters, a team, on Saturday night, picked up L. Bhoominaathan alias Kuttiyappan(35) from his house for questioning him on his cousin, P. Santhosh (25), who eloped with his girlfriend and daughter of a head-constable, P. Maria (21), recently. The team also picked up Arumuga Nainar (58), maternal uncle of Santhosh.

Though the parents and wife of Bhoominaathan, Priya (30), claimed that he had any connection with Santhosh, the police forcibly took him for interrogation.

"While Arumuga Nainar was released on Saturday night, a weary Bhoominathan, returned home only around at 10.30 a.m. the next day. He wept a lot alleging that the police tortured him from Saturday midnight to Sunday morning and he could not eat and sleep properly.

"We could see the torture marks on his body. When his wife tried to wake him up this morning, she found him dead," wailed Lakshmanan, victim's father.

As the news spread, about 400 people, including a large number of women, gathered and staged road rook. Tension began to mount gradually as the villagers raised slogans against the alleged "police excess" and the demanded higher-ups to bring the "culprits to book". As relatives of

8:33 AM

Dalit woman sarpanch stripped and molested

Gunaah - 16 June

N Behera (25), a dalit woman sarpanch, was reportedly stripped and molested by a group of BJD supporters near the Batira hamlet yesterday.

A group of BJD men entered the residence of Behera and forcibly pulled her out of the house after gagging her husband. She was then stripped on the street and later molested by the men.

According to sources the Sarpanch had refused to buy adulterated cement from these men, which is said to have angered them.

The woman and her husband have been admitted to the district headquarters hospital as Behera sustained injuries and bruises on the face, spinal cord and other parts of the body.

Local residents are shocked and angered by the detestable act and state that the men attacked an elected representative as they were well connected to a senior BJD leader. They demanded that the men be arrested by the Patkura police station.

8:30 AM

Sunday, June 15, 2003  
15 years on, this Bihar village fears another massacre

New Indian Express - 15 June

Exactly 15 years ago, the village of Nonahi-Nagwan shot to national infamy when 20 Dalits were massacred for daring to demand wages. For the survivors and the victims' kin, little has changed in the intervening period; they live in fear of another massacre, the land they received as compensation has been seized, the promised jobs haven't come for all and, where they have, the salaries haven't. The thick cover of fear over the village is despite the judgement on June 6 of a special court ordering the death sentence for eight of the accused and life terms for six others. The landlords and political masters _ Bhumihars and Yadavs _ have instilled such fear in the Dalits here that no one dares to speak in the open. ``Please don't name me in reports. We fear another massacre any time'', Ram Prasad (name changed) whispers even as `spies' look on.

For the full article, go to: http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEH20030615125317&Title=Top+Stories&rLink=0

8:59 PM

Sikh civil wars
Casteism claims Sikhism. The long and invisible battle between Punjab’s Dalits and Jats is out on the streets

Indian Express - 15 June, by S P Singh

When violence broke out in Talhan in Jalandhar, politicians and the media woke up to what sociologists had been warning for long. The immediate provocation for the violence was religious. Talhan’s Dalits, 70 per cent of the village population, wanted a stake in a shrine which generated crores of income but the Jats controlling it refused to part with any slice of the cash pie. The result: violence, police firing and curfew returned to Punjab after nearly a decade.

The Dalits-Jat Sikhs clash also showed how religious institutions had defeated Sikhism’s central tenet of a caste-less society. As sociologist Surinder Jodhka of the Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Study of Social Systems, says: ‘‘Low caste Sikhs of Punjab are the only Dalits from a non-Hindu religious community listed among scheduled castes.’’

For full story, go to: http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=25787

4:47 PM

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