. . . . . . "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, December 19, 2003  

No quota for Dalit Christians

The government on Thursday rejected the demand for extending benefit of reservations to Dalit Christians on the ground that the move could introduce new stratification in a community which claims to be free of such distinctions.

Social justice minister Satya Narain Jatiya said the Registrar General of India had opined that stratification among Christians on the basis of caste could lead to an international controversy. “It might be misunderstood as if India is imposing its caste system among Christians and that such reservation is not justifiable,” the minister quoting the RGI said.

The minister was replying to a calling attention of an independent member Rajesh Ranjan and three others regarding “the need to include Dalit Muslims, Dalit Christians and certain other backward communities in the list of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and provide reservation benefits to them” in the Lok Sabha.

The issue of inclusion of Scheduled Caste convert to Christianity in the list of Scheduled Castes has been processed in consultation with the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for SC and ST, he said. The National Commission for SC and ST has also stated that the inclusion of ‘Dalit’ Christians in the list of Scheduled Castes for the purpose of reservation “is neither desirable nor justifiable,” he said.

Jatiya said similarly in the case of inclusion of Scheduled Castes converted to Islam, the Registrar General had pointed out that it would be a serious controversy and also discontentment among the Muslims if their community was recognised at par with those of Hindu castes on the ground of backwardness arising due to traditional practice of untouchability. “In this regard, the National Commission for SC and ST has opined that there is no justification for the proposal to add Muslims in the list of Scheduled Castes,” Jatiya said, adding “for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes there is no bar on religious grounds.”

7:58 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2003  
Express News Service, Chandigarh, December 16: cities.expressindia.com

Dalit Swashikar rally taken out
A Dalit Swashikar rally was taken out in the city by Dr Ambedkar Study Circle in collaboration with National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. More than 500 members of the circle took part in the rally which started from Dr Ambedkar Bhawan in Sector 37. Later, the rally went to Guru Ravidas Bhawan in Sector 20 and to PGI. Similar rallies are being organised in four different cities Delhi, Jammu, Kanyakumari and Kolkata. They will converge at Mumbai on January 15, 2004.

7:57 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  
Newindpress December 16, 2003

Dalit segregation is taught in Gandhi's Gujarat

Tuesday December 16 2003

CHOTILA: At least seven Dalit teachers have been transferred in Gujarat's Surendranagar district for objecting to segregation of upper- and lower-caste students during mid-day meals in some schools.

Now upper-caste parents in other villages are using the threat of transfer to keep Dalit teachers from opposing the practice.

``During training, we are taught to treat every student the same irrespective of caste or religion, but here it is not so,'' said Girishbhai Wadher, a Dalit headmaster who was transferred from the primary school in Bhojpari village to one in Mehindad, and then to one in Kabran. Wadher, who joined service three years ago, said the discrimination was not so rampant or visible when he joined three years ago.

``In August some upper-caste parents in Bhojpari and Bhojpara villages asked the mid-day meals in-charge to make Dalit students sit separately,'' he said. ``When I and two other teachers protested, the villagers came and told us they would socially boycott the entire Dalit community in the village.''

Some teachers are too scared to talk, fearing that Dalits in their villages may be attacked. The fears are not unfounded: Dalits in Bhojpari village were beaten up on September 29. Said Inspector N. Ninama of the Chotila Police Station, ``An FIR was lodged on October 2 and we arrested 41 people, including sarpanch Karansinh Uttedhiya, for the attack. A day later, they were released on bail and held a dharna outside the district primary education officer's (DPEO) office, demanding that the teachers be transferred or they wouldn't send children to school.''

Wadher and two others_ Laljibhai Anjaria and Chaturbhai Chauhan_ were transferred on December 3. Before that, four Dalit teachers had been transferred in September.

DPEO P.F. Pargi, who acknowledged that Wadher had complained to him, said that this was only a temporary arrangement ``till things cooled down.'' He said: ``We cannot afford to have 200 students not attending school because of such a problem.'' ``Therefore, the only solution was to shift the teachers temporarily,'' he said. ``I think the issue has been solved for now.''

Asked what he was doing about the segregation of Dalits and non-Dalits, Pargi had no answer.

The social justice & empowerment department hasn't even taken the matter with the seriousness it deserves.

``We feel threatened,'' said one teacher. ``In most villages here, upper caste parents want segregation. We are seen as troublemakers. How can we work in this atmosphere?'' said P.G. Parmar, a Dalit leader and president of Gujarat Backward Class Communities Association, ``While feudalism is strongly prevalent in Surendranagar, sadly it has crept into the classrooms. The children don't even know why they are asked to keep away from school. We've written to the National Human Rights Commission.''

For the Dalit teachers, it was also galling to see that none of their upper-caste colleagues stood by them or raised a voice of protest when they were transferred. But then, many of them stood to benefit from the transfers.


8:14 AM

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