. . . . . . "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 30, 2004  
Over 500 Dalits stage hunger strike

30 September 2004

Over 500 dalit activists from 32 different districts are taking part in a 48-hour hunger strike in the south eastern town of Rajbiraj beginning Wednesday.

Their demands include citizenship, abolition of the practice of untouchability, right on land issues and quota reservations for dalit community in employment opportunities, among others.
Over 40 organizations advocating the rights of dalits in the country are actively taking part in the strike.

In a press communiqué, the organizers said they would expand their protest, to fast-unto-death, if the government remained indifferent to their demands.
A Joint Struggle Committee of Sirah and Saptari districts have organized the protests.
Over 30 percent of the country's total population belongs to the dalit community, which is one of the major socially and economically disadvantaged groups in the country.

7:20 AM

Family ‘kills’ 15-year-old for eloping with Dalit

The Indian Express
September 28, 2004

She was 15 and said she was in love. She was to be married later this winter but chose to run away with a Dalit boy instead, leaving a seething family behind. She was found in Mumbai and brought home. Three weeks later, Neelam died. But nobody is mourning her death in Shahadpur.

Her father Roop Singh’s house is eerily quiet. There are no women in the house, and instead of mourning, the family is busy refuting charges of an ‘‘honour killing’’. On the night of September 22, Neelam died ‘‘under mysterious circumstances’’. At that time, only her grand uncle, father and uncles were home. Quietly, they had reportedly cremated her.

‘‘For two days, we kept hearing about a girl who had been killed by her family for running away with a lower caste boy,’’ recalls Ganpat Ram, SHO of the Mahua police station. By September 25 evening, the police had registered a case of murder against Neelam’s father and uncles. ‘‘We were not convinced with their explanation,’’ says Ram. ‘‘Now, we have initiated a full-blown investigation.’’

Roop Singh, a government school teacher, refuses to explain why his daughter was cremated in such a hurry. Instead, Neelam’s grand uncle says: ‘‘She was bitten by a snake when she went to the toilet at night.’’ Her other uncles nod in agreement. The family can’t explain why they didn’t take her to a doctor when Mahua town is a 10-minute walk from their house. They also can’t explain why they didn’t wait for the girl’s mother to come back before she was cremated. ‘‘Her mother and aunt have gone to their village in Bharatpur,’’ says Padam Singh. ‘‘They would not have made it back in time for the cremation .’’

In July, Neelam, her brother Mahipal, her friends Rajesh and Vyjanti had run away from home. ‘‘The two couples set up home in Mumbai, where we found them a month later,’’ says Ram.

7:07 AM

Tuesday, September 28, 2004  
UPA Govt. for building consensus on reservation in private sector

The Hindu
27 September 2004

The UPA Government has ruled out bringing a legislation for reservation in private sector but said it is working towards a consensus on the issue. "We are not thinking of bringing a legislation. We are working for consensus. We are not at all thinking about the legislation at the moment," Union Social Justice Minister Meira Kumar, said on a programme on BBC Hindi service last night.

"Once the consensus is there, I think it would be a revolutionary and path breaking step for the country," Kumar said and appealed to all intellectuals, thinkers and responsible citizens of the country to help the Government to achieve this cause.

She said the issue had been discussed in both Houses of Parliament on a private member's Bill and "all political parties have supported this and there is unanimity on the issue."
About the reaction from industry and main business bodies, she said: "we are talking to the leading representatives of Indian industry and we are getting support from them. At the moment talks are on and I cannot elaborate further. But they have a high tolerance level and that is the key. Those who are not tolerant are only responsible for the discrimination in society."

Asked specifically whether it would not amount to "murder of merit" as some are arguing that reservation belittled merit, she said: "See merit is not a property of anyone and it is not a private property of any individual caste."


1:39 PM

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