. . . . . . "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

Friday, July 11, 2003  
Film Director Gopal Menon Attacked By VHP And Kerala Police At Kozhicode

CHRO News Update, 8 July 08, 2003, Tuesday (By Sarat)

Well-known documentary film maker Gopal Menon, who has made the film `Hey Ram - Genocide in the Land of Gandhi' (that documented the post-Godhra communal carnage in Gujarat), as well as many other films on human rights issues, was anhandled today by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Kerala state police at a public function being addressed by VHP chief, Praveen Togadia, in Kozhikkode today.

Gopal Menon was accompanied by a film team consisting of Viju Verma and Mustapha Deshamangalam, who were also subjected to manhandling.

As soon as the team reached the spot in Mudalakkulam Maidan where Praveen Togadia was addressing the crowd, Gopal Menon was identified by the VHP activists, who with the help of the state police, manhandled all three and threw them out of the meeting place. The VHP activists threatened the film makers and asked the police not to allow them inside. The police in turn, threatened to arrest them if they failed to leave immediately. According to the group, they escaped since their lives were under threat.

Later, Gopal Menon and his team argued that since the event was a public meeting, they had every right to attend and also film the function. They expressed shock at the way the police force of a state like Kerala that is supposedly committed to secular principles could be used by a communal outfit like the VHP for its nefarious ends. According to Gopal, the organisers had violated all the basic ethics of press and media freedom. Marad, said
Gopal, marks the beginning of fascism in Kerala.

The team stated that if the socially-conscious citizens of Kerala did not wake up at this crucial hour, the state would soon become a ground for bloodshed as a result of the poisonous statements of communal-minded politicians.

The team appealed to all right-thinking and socially-conscious citizens to pledge themselves to fight the communal canker, and see to it that the 'Gujarat experiment' is not repeated in state of Kerala. They urged all citizens' groups to respond immediately and take all possible steps to isolate communal organisations and politicians who spread communal poison.

8:27 PM

CIA report says leaders stoking communal fires

Indian Express - 11 July, by Anju Agnihotri Chaba

While the administration is slowly turning its gaze away from Talhan with the situation limping back to normal, it is learnt that some political leaders during their visits to the village are trying to re-ignite communal fires.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in its recent report sent to the Home Ministry mentioned that some political leaders — including those from the BJP, the BSP and the Congress — have been instigating Jats and Dalits against each other.

Sources said the CIA report said while people from both castes want to maintain peace, some political leaders are provoking them against each other. The Home Ministry is also seeking reports on the situation in Jalandhar district, which was hit by caste clashes recently. The report added that routine rivalries are being given a communal colour by unscrupulous persons.

7:06 AM

Talhan: SC/ST panel blames govt

Indian Express - 11 July

While holding the district administration directly responsible for caste clashes in Talhan, Chairman of National Commission for SC/ST Bijay Sonkar Shastri today said, in a missive to the PM, that he would make a case against some district officials for their ‘‘dubious’’ role during the episode.
Shastri, addressing mediapersons, after visiting Talhan and meeting leaders of both Jat and Dalit communities, said he would send the report of his visit to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and President Abdul Kalam.

Blaming the district administration and the government for the clashes, he alleged that the agreement between both the communities and the administration had only been partially implemented as around 20 persons, arrested for the violence, are yet to be released.

Flaying the government’s decision to appoint an SDM-level official to inquire into the incident, Shastri said a senior officer should be entrusted with the enquiry. He also demanded a relief of Rs 10 lakh for Vijay Kumar Kala’s family, who was killed in the Boota Mandi firing incident, as against the Rs 5 lakh announced by the government. He further demanded Rs 25,000 for every injured and Rs 50,000 for seriously injured as against the grant of Rs 10,000 announced.

Shastri said his office, which had been regularly monitoring the incident, had found that suggestions given by the Commission to senior level officials in Punjab, including the Chief Secretary, had been ignored.

He added that owing to these incidents, the British government had stopped the grant it used to send for the welfare of Dalits.

7:05 AM

Tuesday, July 08, 2003  
Dalit ends life in police custody

Times of India

Illegal detention of a dalit at a police outpost in Sitapur allegedly forced him to end his life by committing suicide on Tuesday evening. DIG Lucknow Range AKD Dwivedi rushed to the spot for a first hand account of the incident.

Reports said that 35-year-old Dollchand of Ameer Nagar in Ramkot police circle of Sitapur was rounded up by constables Suresh Singh and Kesri Narain Verma on Tuesday around 2 pm. He was reportedly held in connection with a warrant issued against him from the office of the district magistrate and was expected to appear before the court on July 23. Police were unable to say what the warrant contained.

Dollchand was brought to the Kachnar police outpost of Ramkot police station where the two constables reportedly locked him in a room and went away. When they returned an hour later, they found Dollchand’s body hanging from the ceiling of the room tied with a gamcha (cotton scarf).

DIG AKD Dwivedi said there were a few unasnwered questions about the conduct of the police including as to why Dollchand was not properly arrested.

7:01 AM

Monday, July 07, 2003  
Two Dalits injured after clash with Jats near Ludhiana

Press Trust of India - 6 July

At least two Dalits were injured on Sunday in a clash with Jat Sikhs in Bhatian village on the National highway near Ludhiana.
Angry Dalits, raising anti-government and anti-Jat slogans blocked the traffic on Ludhiana-Amritsar GT Road near Amaltas tourist complex for about an hour and a half, police officials said adding the blockade was lifted after persuasion by senior civil administration and police officials.

Sarwan Singh, the newly elected Dalit sarpanch of Bhatian said tension had been prevailing in the village since he defeated Jarnail Singh, a Jat, by a margin of 151 votes.

According to him the Jats, smarting under the defeat, chided and passed humiliating comments on some Dalit women who had gone to the fields a couple of days ago. They were also threatened to stay away from the fields, Singh claimed.

The matter, he claimed, was brought to the notice of the police but no action was taken against the alleged culprits.

Matters came to head early this morning when two men were were allegedly assaulted by some Jats of the village when they had gone to answer nature's call, the Sarpanch said.

While the injured men were rushed to the hospital, other Dalits blocked the traffic on the main road in protest.

SP (City) Pritam Singh said a case has been registered on the complaint of the Dalits and four persons of the village have been taken into custody.

Although the situation was stated to be under control, tension still prevailed in and around the village, he said.

One Dalit youth was killed recently in Talhan village on the outskirts of Jalandhar city in a clash between the Dalit and Jat community.

4:53 PM

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