. . . . . . "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, April 13, 2005  
Supreme Court notice on reservation for Dalit Christians

New Kerala
11 April

The Supreme Court Monday issued notice on a public suit seeking to continue reservations in government jobs for Dalits or the socially underprivileged even after they converted to Christianity.A bench of Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and judge G.P. Mathur, which in February had said it would examine the question, issued the notice to the centre after Attorney General Milon Banerjee pointed out that no formal notice had been issued.

The Bench asked the attorney general and other parties to make brief submissions citing relevant case laws and directed listing of the matter for final disposal in August. The court had in October 2004 sought the views of the attorney general on a petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation challenging the constitutional validity of a statute of 1950 depriving converts to Christianity of reservations.

The attorney general had submitted that since this was a policy matter, the Courts should keep out of it. He had cited earlier apex court rulings holding that any amendment to the 1950 statute was within the purview of legislative action.

Link to the article

8:17 AM

Monday, April 11, 2005  
Dalits face discrimination in Madurai

April 10, 2005

Three panchayats reserved for dalits in Madurai have been without elected panchayat presidents over the past nine years. During these years, the upper caste people have been manipulating the elections to deny power to dalits and the district administration has been just a silent spectator.

Compounding the problem is the upper castes refusal to accept a dalit head. Although two dalit candidates are contesting, they are unlikely to win because the upper castes put up dummy candidates who are invariably working for them. The strategy is simple, have the puppet candidates elected and force them to resign. This happened in 2003."All the land belongs to the upper caste people and they provide us daily work. We have not had education to go for any other job, and we have to abide by what they say," said A Ponniah, a puppet candidate.

Dependent dalits
The dalits work for the upper caste people and depend on them for their livelihood. Now the majority community is against the panchayats being reserved for dalits as they wish to become leaders themselves."If the government does not change this into a general panchayat it will have to keep spending money every year for these elections. We will continue to make our dalit nominees resign. This is their fate," said M Rajayogiyam, representative, upper caste.Although two of the three reserved panchayats will have elections this time, the emerging dalit leaders will certainly be forced to resign, making a mockery of democracy.

Link to the article

7:15 AM

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