. . . . . . "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, February 27, 2004  
Time of India
26 FEBRUARY, 2004

Fund crunch? In Punjab, Dalit education can wait...

CHANDIGARH : What would be better: to dole out money for ‘‘shagun’’ for the marriage of a girl or to spend it on her education? The Punjab government thinks the first option makes sense.

It has released Rs two crore for its ‘‘Aashirvad Scheme’’, which is ‘‘Shagun’’ given to Dalit girls on their marriage instead of paying scholarship money to such students.

Despite claims of promoting education among Dalit girls in its advertisements, the Punjab government has not released funds during the current financial year for over four lakh scheduled castes (SC) girl students studying in primary schools even though the academic session is about to close, according to sources.

Under the attendance scholarship given to SC girls, each primary school girl student is given Rs 50 per month for ten months.

The government had made a budgetary allocation of Rs 21.54 crore to benefit over 4.30 lakh such SC students in the state. So far, only Rs 5.38 crore has been released. Out of the released amount, only Rs 52.25 lakh have been drawn from the treasury which shows that only ten thousand students have benefited from the attendance scholarship scheme this year instead of the targeted 4.30 lakh.

Delayed or non-payment of assistance can result in higher dropout rate among Dalits who are already backward in the field of education.

8:06 AM

26 February, 2004

India's low castes going up economic ladder

Discrimination against lower castes in India may still be prevalent but they are climbing the economic ladder thanks to education and political self-awareness, a new book by a sociologist says.

The period after independence from Britain in 1947 has seen so-called Dalits, who are at the bottom of Hinduism's ancient caste hierarchy, becoming an increasing social and political force, said Professor Shyam Lal in his book, the Untouchable Movement in India.

Although India banned so-called untouchability after Independence, millions of Dalits are still treated as 'unclean' in many parts of India. Discrimination runs particularly deep in villages where Dalits cannot live with, pray in the same temple as or drink the same water as higher caste Hindus.

However, the situation for Dalits is gradually changing, Lal, himself a Dalit, writes in his book published by Sublime Publications.

He cites the example of the Bairwas in the northern desert state of Rajasthan, who were among the lowest of the 'untouchable castes' and constituted 'an unusual case of political activism among the most depressed people' on the fringes of Hindu society.

Lal said the advent of British rule set in motion the process of social mobilisation in India, offering Dalits the means to free themselves to some extent from traditional socio-economic and educational restraints.

The Bairwa movement gained momentum in the 1940s to challenge the social and ritual order demanding equal access to the practices of Hinduism.

7:58 AM

Thursday, February 26, 2004  
25 February 2004
'Untouchables can't become A-I airhostesses'

On Monday [19 February] , about 1,000 members of the Air Corporation SC/ST Employees’ Association demonstrated at the Air India Colony, Kalina. An officer had maligned the backward classes, they claimed, demanding his suspension. They stayed there till 10 pm, returning on Tuesday morning for another round of sloganeering, galvanised by long-distance support from Republican Party of India (RPI) Member of Parliament Ramdas Athavale.

Their contention? RPI vice-president of Mumbai region, Shravan Nikalje, and two others had gone to meet captain M.K. Hathi, director (operations) on January 29, asking about reservations for the backward classes. Hathi is alleged to have driven them off saying the following: ‘‘Dhed aur chamaro ki ladki hawaii sundari nahi ho sakti (Daughters of untouchables and cobblers cannot become airhostesses)’’.

RPI activists claimed Hathi also said there are no beautiful women among the backward classes. Hathi stoutly denied the allegations. ‘‘I welcomed them like any other visitor. I asked them twice what they wanted. They exchanged pleasantries and left,’’ Hathi said. But on Monday and Tuesday, the 1,000-odd protesters were in no mood to back off. The police were called to control the situation.

1:20 PM

Tuesday, February 24, 2004  
vol 2, 18 February


The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the young couple named Manoj Khanga and Parbati Raut, who had an inter-caste marriage, has been kidnapped by the girl's relatives on 27 January 2004, and the Dalit community (80 people) of Bishanpur VDC-9, which the male victim belongs to, was attacked by 200 upper caste people and forced to leave the village on 30 January 2004. All the property of 12 Dalit families was destroyed and robbed by upper caste people and they are now living under a miserable situation in Rajbiraj, the district headquarters.

The Alleged perpetrators: Asharphi Raut, Pitambar Yadav-the lecturer of the Mahendra Multiple Campus in Saptari, Bholi Ram Sahu-former VDC chairperson, Baija Nath Yadav, Surendra Gupta, Mahanti Yadav, Birendra Ram Gupta, Ram Narayan Yadav, Sita Ram Roy, Ram Kumar Yadav, Dukhi Khalipha, Dev Narayan, Hari Devi, Ashok Nageshwor, Bisheshowror Satyanarayan, Sushila Shah, and 200 other people with them have attacked to the villagers who belongs to Dalit community on 30 January 2004.

The young couple, who had an inter-caste marriage, has been kidnapped by the girl's relatives and the Dalit community, which the male victim belongs to, was attacked by 200 upper caste people and forced to leave the village.

Read the full story at: http://www.ahrchk.net/ma/mainfile.php/0203/68/

10:07 AM

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