. . . . . . "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

Wednesday, March 31, 2004  
The Indian Express
March 31, 2004

Don’t tell India Shining to these Dalits

KURAVADE (RAIGAD DISTRICT), MARCH 30: Just 25 kilometres away lies Mahad, where Dr B R Ambedkar launched his campaign against untouchability over six decades ago. But for the Dalits of Kuravade, a dusty village in Mangaon taluka of Raigad district, it may as well have been another world. It’s been a year since they were socially boycotted by the rest of the village, and they’ve been struggling to cope with its effects ever since.

Their crime: they drew water from the common vilage well. That too only after some miscreants threw human excreta in the well near their hamlet, following an altercation with them. This happenned in March last year. It was a local NGO, Sarvahara Jan Andolan, which staged a satyagraha and encouraged the Dalits to draw water from the common well.

The local administration intervened in order to avoid a confrontation. It laid pipelines and provided tap water at a few common places in the village, including a separate tap for the Dalit families. But it was too late. Angry villagers decided to boycott the Dalits. And with 75 upper caste families as opposed to the 10 Dalit families, the latter hardly had any say.

‘‘It’s been a year since we raised our voice against the injustice. Upper-caste villagers have boycotted us,’’ says Anant More. All the inhabitants of this village, 150 km from Mumbai, have the same title: More.

‘‘Earlier, we used to get invitations for weddings and pujas in the village. If somebody failed to go, they used to send meals to his house. All that has stopped. Nobody from the village invites us now,’’ says Vandana More.

It doesn’t stop at that. The Dalits, most of whom have some agricultural plot, are finding it hard to cultivate their land. The villagers are not renting out their agricultural tools. Nor are upper-caste labourers agreeing to work on their land. ‘‘I had to hire labourers from a remote village. So I had to pay them more,’’ points out Sahdev More, a retired constable.

However, the upper-caste families dismiss the allegations. ‘‘There is no such problem here. Just one or two Dalits say this, and you outsiders believe them,’’ claims an elderly villager.

As for the administration, it clearly doesn’t know what to do. ‘‘We tried to solve the problem by providing tap-water supply in these villages. But untouchability cannot be erased from their minds in a short time,’’ says Vishwas Patil, Chief Executive Officer of Raigad Zilla Parishad. ‘‘I am sure they will be back on talking terms sooner or later,’’ he hopes.


8:33 AM

Tuesday, March 30, 2004  
India News
Mar 29, 2004

Caste tension in Bihar after backward caste killings

Caste tension has erupted in Bihar after three backward caste people were allegedly killed by the Ranvir Sena, a private militia of landlords, say police.

The incident took place in Bishunbigha and its adjacent villages in Jehanabad district Sunday. The victims included a Dalit, say sources at the police headquarters here.

A senior police official camping in Bishunbigha village told IANS that backward caste people there were fear-stricken, but some could retaliate against the Ranvir Sena.

All the three victims, who were killed by heavily armed Sena men on the spot, were supporters of the outlawed Maoist outfit People's War Group.

The Ranvir Sena is openly supported by Bhumihars, a powerful landed upper caste in central Bihar. It is alleged to have killed about 300 people since it came into existence in 1994 in Bhojpur district to oppose the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist.

The Ranvir Sena also enjoys the support of upper caste professionals within and outside Bihar. It targets lower castes, including women and children, for supporting Maoist outfits that are opposed to landed gentry.

The state government last year ignored a proposal to declare the Ranvir Sena a terrorist outfit under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).


6:41 AM

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