. . . . . . "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


























 
Archives
<< current













 
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



























DALIT SOLIDARITY NEWS
 
Friday, August 22, 2003  
Allies force Govt. to defer Bill banning cow slaughter

The Hindu - 21 August

The Vajpayee Government was today forced to defer the introduction of a Bill banning cow slaughter.

Within 48 hours of helping the BJP defeat the Opposition's motion of no-confidence against the Government, allies of the ruling National Democratic Alliance joined hands with the Opposition to derail a move designed to propitiate the Sangh Parivar as well as woo the BJP voters in the four northern States going to the polls later this year.

Much to the BJP's embarrassment, the resistance was spearheaded by its allies, the TDP, the DMK, the MDMK, the PMK and the JD(U), with support from the CPI(M), the Congress, the RJD and the IUML.

The Lok Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes, as soon as the Speaker, Manohar Joshi, asked the Agriculture Minister, Rajnath Singh, to move the Bill. Angry TDP, DMK, PMK and MDMK members were on their feet, demanding that the Bill be withdrawn.

Devendra Prasad Yadav (JD-U), Venugopalchari (TDP) and Ramachandran (CPI-M) were gesticulating at the Treasury Benches.

"This is not a part of the NDA agenda and cannot be forced on the people," said Mr. Yadav. In the midst of the din, Somnath Chatterjee (CPI-M) asked the Government to explain why it was not making an effort to evolve a consensus on the issue. As heated arguments continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes.

When the House reassembled, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, announced that the Government would not press for the introduction of the Bill. "We will convene an all-party meeting to try and evolve a consensus on the issue."

The Government's parliamentary managers were obviously caught napping; in fact, the lobby correspondents were aware that the Telugu Desam Party was mobilising opposition to the Bill and was in touch with other NDA allies.

The opposition to the Bill was equally vociferous outside the House. The TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, who was here, publicly cautioned the Government against acting with haste in the matter.

"This is not a priority item, there should be no haste, we have asked the Government to discuss the matter with all political parties," Mr. Naidu told newspersons.

Asked to elaborate, he said that apart from the issue being a State subject, there was an economic dimension to it that needed to be looked into.

(According to a PTI report, Mr. Naidu met the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and is understood to have expressed reservations over the Government's move to enact an anti-cow slaughter Bill.)

After the allies upset the BJP electoral applecart, Ms. Swaraj found herself doing a bit of explaining.

Talking to mediapersons, she said cow protection was not one of the three contentious issues which the BJP had agreed to put on the back-burner. According to her, cow slaughter was not a "no-no" issue.

She also defended the constitutional correctness of the Bill. "We expected some parties to raise questions on the Centre's legislative competence and we were prepared to deal with it. We did not expect allies to question the Bill at the introductory stage; all knew that the Bill would get sent to the standing committee where different parties' objections could be voiced," she said.

Talking to The Hindu, a visibly angry Adishankar (DMK) described the proposal as "anti-Dalit and anti-minorities".

The Congress said Parliament did not have the legislative competence to make a law on a subject that was on the State list.

The party's spokesman, Satyawarat Chaturvedi, said the Congress stand was clear from the fact that many of its States had such legislation in place already.

To a question on why Kerala and many of the northeastern States did not have a cow slaughter ban despite having Congress regimes at present or in the past, he said: "India is a nation of diversity, and we believe this is a subject that should essentially be addressed by the States concerned."

As for the Government's bid to introduce the Bill, Mr. Chaturvedi said that it had been done without consulting the allies.

Also, he said that if the BJP was serious, it should have the Governments of Goa and Nagaland — where the party/ally is in power — bring out such legislation.

Earlier, Ms. Swaraj admitted that the Meghalaya unit of the BJP had pleaded that the State should be exempted from the ban.

7:18 AM

 
Dalit sadhus feel cast in the wrong mould

NDTV - 20 August, by Shikha Trivedy

For centuries, the spotlight has perhaps justifiably always been on sadhus during the Kumbh.

However, dalit sadhus are trying to create their own space at the gathering. But they have to be careful to avoid being detected as dalits by the upper caste sadhus.

Sadhu Balak Ram, sits quietly in a corner at the Balmiki temple in Nashik, praying to the God of dalits - Balmiki Maharaj.

Money talks

Balak Ram has spent his life as a sweeper cleaning the tents of upper caste sadhus. Now as he looks back at his life he says if only he had the money, he would have been the most sought after sadhu at the Kumbh.

"We have no money and no organisation behind us," says Balak Nath, a dalit sadhu.

The next day it became clear what he had meant when he donned the sadhu's garb for his day at the Kumbh.

As people saw the television cameras, they thought Balak Ram must be an important guru and the effect was quite dramatic.

The faithful fell at his feet and sadhus who otherwise practice untouchability invited him into their tents to discuss religious matters.

Some are more equal…

"The sadhus don't accept us. They only want us to serve them but they will not treat us as equals," says Balak Nath.

But he knows it's only his anonymity today that bridged the distance between him and the world of caste Hindus. That is why he and other dalit sadhus don't dare to move around together.

And the only way for them to take the holy dip at the Kumbh is to go one by one so that their caste status is not recognised.

"Our children wanted to send us in a procession like the other sadhus on elephants and in chariots but the sadhus amongst us got scared because of untouchability. If the upper caste sadhus found out, they would not let us bathe on the same ghats as them," says Balak Nath.

Balak Nath would have loved to be a part of the spiritual world of the Kumbh, pitched his tent here and preached the love of God that all Hindus share. But all Hindus are still not ready to share it with him.

7:16 AM

 
Govt mulling uniform SC, ST status

Indian Express - 22 August

The government on Thursday night said it would consider a proposal to provide uniform scheduled caste and scheduled tribe status across the country.

Intervening in a discussion on atrocities on Dalits, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Satyanarayan Jatiya said the government would "certainly consider" how to give legislative shape to the proposal which would enable a person having scheduled caste or tribe status in any state to avail of the same benefits across the country.

He was responding to a suggestion mooted in this regard by Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) who initiated the discussion.

Jatiya assured the House that the government would consider ways and means to remedy the anomaly with regard to the provision in Lakshwadeep Islands, which denied the scheduled caste or tribe status to children born to the island's inhabitants outside the Union territory.

The minister said the Department of Personnel and Training was also making efforts to provide vacancy-based roster to fill up posts reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Jatiya listed various steps being taken by government to improve educational and economic condition of Dalits including scholarships and provision of small loans at five per cent interest to generate self-employment.

A total of 30 members participated in the discussion which continued well past midnight.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani will reply to the debate on Friday.

7:15 AM

Wednesday, August 20, 2003  
VHP activists disrupt Tanvir's play

NDTV - 19 August, by Sandeep Bhushan

Theatre personality Habib Tanvir has become the latest target of the Sangh Parivar. The BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are unhappy with his new play -- a satire on the anti-Dalit slant of the caste system.

After Gwalior, BJP and VHP activists for the second time violently disrupted his performance in Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh.

The play titled "Ponga Pandit Jamadarin" was being staged in front of a sparse audience in Hoshangabad.

The play is about a Pandit who devises a series of rites and rituals, which exclude his sweeper. In due course the sweeper revolts and rejects the pandit's religious system.

The play sponsored by the state government was set to travel all over the state. Protestors cut the power supply following which they invaded the venue. Tanvir who survived the attack is still in a state of shock.

The BJP alleges that the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is using Tanvir to malign Hindu religion.

Tanvir however, says that despite all threats the show will go on. In response to the controversy, various artistes are meeting in Bhopal in the next few days to chalk out a course of action to protect their freedom of expression.

8:08 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2003  
Efforts on to form peace panel in Nimbarga

The Hindu - 18 August

The Gulbarga district administration today initiated steps to bring about a rapprochement between the upper castes and Dalits in trouble-torn Nimbarga village by holding separate discussions with the leaders of the Dalit organisations and the Veerashaiva community to form a committee to bring back normality to the village.

The Superintendent of Police, K. Ramachandra Rao, held discussions with leaders of various Dalit organisations on Sunday in the Government Guesthouse here. Today, the Deputy Commissioner, Anjum Parvez, and Mr. Rao held a meeting with leaders of the Veerashaiva community.

Official sources said the response to the formation of such a committee from the Dalits and the Veerashaiva community was good.

In today's meeting, the Veerashaiva community members, who agreed to the suggestion made by the Deputy Commissioner to constitute a joint committee to ensure peace in Nimbarga, however, rejected the appeal made him to withdraw their call for a protest against the Nimbarga incidents in Gulbarga city on Wednesday.

Sources said that some of the Veerashaiva community leaders who participated in the meeting staged a walkout protesting against the appeal made by the Deputy Commissioner to withdraw the protest call. However, they were persuaded to return to the meeting.

They said they would go ahead with the protest as planned.

Later, the Deputy Commissioner was closeted with senior leaders of the Veerashaiva community to discuss the issue in detail.

The sources said the Dalits had also, in principle, agreed to the constitution of a committee to bring about lasting peace in Nimbarga.

6:46 PM

 
TN: Central probe sought into Sottathatti incident

Press Trust of India - 19 August

Puthiya Tamizhagam today sought an inquiry by the Union Home Ministry into an incident, where a Dalit Panchayat President was allegedly beaten with chappals for hoisting the tricolour on Independence Day in a village in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu.

As the issue involved both defaming the national flag and atrocity against a member belonging to the Dalit community, the Home Ministry should call for the details and hold an inquiry, the party President, Dr K Krishnasamy, told reporters here.

Narrating the incident, the Sottathatti Panchayat President, K Raju, who was also present, said he was beaten with chappals by one Subbaiah, for hoisting the flag at a school and used foul language.

Terming the incident as a national shame, Krishnasamy said the Tamil Nadu Government should also send a special officer to collect details of the incident and also probe the role of the District Collector and a senior police official for 'allegedly trying to hush up' the incident.

Water was not being released from the community well to the Dalits for irrigation purpose after the incident, Krishnasamy and Raju claimed.

Alleging that atrocities against Dalits were on the increase after the AIADMK came to power, Krishnasamy said a massive dharna has been planned for October 2, in front of Raj Bhavan in Chennai demanding action against Subbaiah and also against the officials.

6:44 PM

 
Dalit made member of Talhan gurdwara panel

The Tribune - 17 August, by Varinder Singh

To put all controversies to rest, the Jat-dominated management committee of Gurdwara Shahid Baba Nihal Singh today unanimously elected Amarjit, one of the two Dalit nominees, as the vice-secretary of the Sehajdhari Committee. Amarjit partook amrit in accordance with the June 26 peace agreement between the Dalits and the Jats.

The alleged delay on the part of the management committee in enrolling Amarjit as a regular member, even after he was inducted as a member of the Nigraan Committee of the gurdwara after the June 26 peace agreement, had given rise to controversies.

This had generated a number of doubts among the Dalits, particularly members of the Dalit Action Committee. The committee had been repeatedly expressing its apprehension that Amarjit might not be allowed to function as a regular member on the pretext that he had not attained the Sikh “saroop” and that the peace agreement might not be implemented in letter and in spirit.

Amarjit, who had partaken amrit at the historic gurdwara at Anandpur Sahib on August 13 and who has grown a flowing beard, performed his duties as a regular member of the gurdwara committee at its meeting today.

At the meeting, which was presided over by Mr Niranjan Singh in the presence of Mr Parvin Kumar, ADC and Mr Rajinder Singh, DSP, two representatives of the administration, it was decided unanimously to nominate Amarjit as the vice-secretary of the Sehajdhari Committee, said Mr Rajinder Singh, DSP. The Sehajdhari Committee, a decision-making committee, comprises all office-bearers of the committee, while the Nigraan Committee comprises ordinary members.

It was also decided to include Amarjit in the six-member Sehajdhari Committee.

6:43 PM

 
Efforts on to form peace panel in Nimbarga

The Hindu - 18 August

The Gulbarga district administration today initiated steps to bring about a rapprochement between the upper castes and Dalits in trouble-torn Nimbarga village by holding separate discussions with the leaders of the Dalit organisations and the Veerashaiva community to form a committee to bring back normality to the village.

The Superintendent of Police, K. Ramachandra Rao, held discussions with leaders of various Dalit organisations on Sunday in the Government Guesthouse here. Today, the Deputy Commissioner, Anjum Parvez, and Mr. Rao held a meeting with leaders of the Veerashaiva community.

Official sources said the response to the formation of such a committee from the Dalits and the Veerashaiva community was good.

In today's meeting, the Veerashaiva community members, who agreed to the suggestion made by the Deputy Commissioner to constitute a joint committee to ensure peace in Nimbarga, however, rejected the appeal made him to withdraw their call for a protest against the Nimbarga incidents in Gulbarga city on Wednesday.

Sources said that some of the Veerashaiva community leaders who participated in the meeting staged a walkout protesting against the appeal made by the Deputy Commissioner to withdraw the protest call. However, they were persuaded to return to the meeting.

They said they would go ahead with the protest as planned.

Later, the Deputy Commissioner was closeted with senior leaders of the Veerashaiva community to discuss the issue in detail.

The sources said the Dalits had also, in principle, agreed to the constitution of a committee to bring about lasting peace in Nimbarga.

6:42 PM

Sunday, August 17, 2003  
Party rivalry, dalit woman attacked

Gunaah.com - 16 August

Laxmi Devi, a dalit woman, was attacked after alleged differences cropped up between TDP and CPI activists over the election to the chairmanship of school education committee in Mellakunta village. According to the police TDP activists attacked the woman and her supporters when she was hoisting the national flag in the school premises yesterday. The activists reportedly tried to disrobe the woman when her supporters intervened, but they too were attacked. The police have registered a case and are investigating the matter.

10:18 AM

 
DSP to probe Sottathatti incident

The Hindu - 16 August

T. K. Rajendran, Inspector-General of Police (South Zone), today ordered an enquiry by the Manamadurai Deputy Superintendent into yesterday's incident at Sottathatti where a Dalit panchayat president was allegedly beaten up with a chappal for hoisting the national flag.

"Going by preliminary investigations, the incident was said to have occurred during a gram sabha meeting and the panchayat president, K. Raju, and his wife, Meenal, sustained minor injuries. However, the situation in the village is normal," Mr. Rajendran said.

The Sivaganga Collector, J. Radhakrishnan, visited Sottathatti and held talks with two groups.

"The incident did not occur during the flag-hoisting ceremony, which took place in the presence of several children and self-help group members."

Meanwhile, the CPI (M) has decided to launch an agitation uniting Dalit organisations, seeking a compensation and protection to Mr. Raju and his family members. "Yesterday's happening was a culmination of several incidents in which the panchayat president was humiliated. On August 2, an attempt was made to molest his daughter-in-law."

Untouchability in the village was confirmed by a fact-finding team comprising advocates, academicians and women's organisation representatives, the district secretary, M. Arjunan, said.

The issue would be taken up with the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for SC/ST.

10:16 AM

 
This page is powered by Blogger.