. . . . . . "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

Thursday, September 16, 2004  
Dalits discriminated in Saptari

nepalnews.com pd Sep 16 04

Upper caste people in Bhagawanpur of Saptari district forcibly outlawed 204 Chamar Dalits from 35 families from using public facilities, a press release issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

According to the AHRC, the situation developed as Chamar Dalits, calling for their social status and rights, decided not to remove carcasses on September 5. Reacting to this decision, the upper caste people banned Chamar Dalits from using public facilities from September 6 onwards, the release said.

According to the release, the Dalits are not allowed to purchase supplies from grocery and medical stores and to use the pond they had been using for ages. Moreover, the upper caste men in the area have sacked Dalits from their jobs. As a result, about 20 Dalits lost their jobs, stated the release.

Saying urgent action was required to pressure the government of Nepal to intervene into this matter and protect rights of Dalits immediately, the AHRC has further said, “Despite complaints made to the Chief District Officer in Rajbiraj, the police have not taken action to protect Dalit’s rights.”

9:12 AM

Tuesday, September 14, 2004  
Caste divide at Madhya Pradesh school
India News
10 September
A few days ago students at a Madhya Pradesh school refused to eat food because a Dalit woman had cooked it, one more reminder that untouchability percolates down to even a new generation in India. That even school students practise untouchability in a caste-ridden social system that refuses to die was brought home at the Poorankheri Primary School in Shivpuri district when 115 students refused food provided to them under the midday meal scheme.
With 115 upper caste students of the 150 in the school turning away food, the school principal Rajendra Yadav and the village headman got into the act. But instead of reprimanding the children, they quietly acquiesced to the discrimination and appointed a new cook.

Yadav said he had no other option. The result - the previous cook Bhamri Devi's salary has been reduced to half. The other half is being given to the new cook because the school can have only one person doing the job.The sharp caste divide is scrupulously adhered to. The upper caste and Dalit students don't sit together at mealtimes.

Said Hari Om, a Class 3 student: "My parents have asked me not to eat food cooked by a Dalit woman." On the other side of the divide is Kishan Jatav, a Dalit student. "I belong to the Dalit community so the upper caste students do not have food with me," he said. A senior government official said he was not aware of the matter but would take adequate steps to rectify the situation.


9:14 AM

Police torture of Dalit sarpanch alleged

Express News Service
12 September 2004

THE sarpanch of Bonkar Gujran, a Dalit, was allegedly picked up by Batala police and was later released on Saturday. Taking a serious note of this incident, the Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission has urged the Prime Minister and Punjab Chief Minister to get the matter investigated and take strict action against the guilty police officials.

Addressing a press conference here today, former MP Harinder Singh Khalsa, the chief patron of the Mission and a former member of the SC/ST Commission, alleged that sarpanch Amarjit Singh was picked up by the Batala police on Thursday night and was taken to the CIA staff, Batala.

Khalsa alleged that Ashwani Kumar, in charge of CIA staff Batala was leading the police party and Manmohan Singh, an official at Batala jail was also with the police.

He said that on Saturday, sarpanch Amarjit Singh was released by the police and was handed over to his father Mansa Ram. He said that that all this had been done under a poll-related conspiracy. He said that there was a fight between the Ad-dharmi and Dalit communities in the village and the accused people belonged to the Ad-dharmi community.

Khalsa added that when no case had been registered against Amarjit Singh, the police cannot pick up him.

It may be mentioned here that about three months ago Gurbachan Singh, a property dealer of the Bonkar Gujran village had been murdered and a person and his wife had been arrested.
Amarjit Singh’s family has alleged that Manmohan Singh, who is the brother of the deceased property dealer, was trying to implicate Amarjit Singh in this murder case.

Batala SSP Ram Singh could not be contacted. Sources, meanwhile, say that he has denied the allegations that Batala police had picked up Amarjit Singh. Sources added that SSP Ram Singh has maintained that when their police party did not raid the house of Amarjit Singh, the question of his being tortured does not arise.

Read the full story

7:52 AM

Manual scavenging: Court summons Principal Secretaries

The Hindu
14 September 2004

By J. Venkatesan

The Supreme Court today directed the Principal Secretaries of seven States — Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Assam, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Manipur and Uttaranchal — to be present in the court on October 1 for their failure to file response to a petition seeking a ban on manual scavenging.

A Bench, consisting of Justice S.N. Variava and Justice H.K. Sema, gave the direction after it was found that the States had not filed their response despite reminders.
The court issued notice in January to the Centre, all the States and the Union Territories on a petition seeking firm action for the eradication of the degrading practice of "manual scavenging" in which over 12 lakh persons are engaged across the country and implement a scheme for their proper rehabilitation.

The petition filed by the convener of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, Bejawada Wilson, and the Chairperson, S.R. Sankaran, IAS (retired), and 13 other organisations and individuals sought a declaration that manual scavenging and operation of dry latrines was in violation of the fundamental rights of Article 14 (equality before law) Article 17 (abolition of untouchability) and Article 23 (right against exploitation).

The petitioners have also sought the implementation of the Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition Act 1993, which banned manual scavenging.
In its response, the Centre submitted that it had prepared a National Action Plan for the Total Eradication of Manual Scavenging by 2007.


7:50 AM

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