. . . . . . "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, August 03, 2005  
Lalu Prasad, Nitish support reservations for Dalit Muslims

Indo-Asian News Service
July 23 2005

(IANS) A decades-old demand for job reservations for backward and Dalit Muslims got a boost with Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar supporting it on the same platform here.Both leaders chose to openly support job reservations for backward Muslims on the lines of backward and Dalit Hindus at a function in Patna Saturday.Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad said: "I always advocated reservations for backward Muslims and would support the demand for it in the central government also.

"Former railway minister Nitish Kumar said he was demanding reservations for backward Muslims like Dalit Hindus or Christians because of their poor socio-economic conditions."The backward or Dalit Muslims should be treated like Dalit Hindus and be given reservations," said Nitish Kumar, who is being projected as a chief ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance before the state's assembly polls in November.Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar pledged their support for backward Muslims at a national conference on "Save Reservation For The Minorities" organised by the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj and the Bihar Pradesh Momin Welfare Society here.

The organisers had also invited Steel Minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan to participate in the conference, but he did not attend."We invited all except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is a communal outfit," said Ali Anwar, president of the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj.After president's rule was imposed in Bihar, Paswan favoured 16.5 percent reservation for Muslims in the recruitment of police personnel this year, evoking a hue and cry from BJP.

Even before and during the state polls, Paswan had promised 10 percent reservation for Muslims in government jobs, but failed to woo them.Muslims account for 16 percent of the 83-million population of Bihar. But an advocate of reservation for backward Muslims claimed that over 50 percent of Muslims belonged to the backward or Dalit caste.

11:06 AM

Call to remove all Dalit references

Gulf Times
25 July, 2005,

NEW DELHI: Although they have been the guiding lights of Hindu religion for centuries. Hindu scriptures for the first time, are under attack for allegedly denigrating Dalits, the so-called “untouchables”.

Such references to “Shudras” – or the lowest in the Hindu caste hierarchy now called Dalits – may be done away with if Hindu religious heads end up backing a campaign to “cleanse the scriptures” of their caste bias.

The man leading the campaign is Suraj Bhan, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, an autonomous body funded by the Indian government.
Suraj Bhan, himself a Dalit, says he is confident about getting the four Shankaracharyas, the Hindu pontiffs, to consent to remove anti-Dalit references and bring out edited versions of scriptures.

His proposal is yet to find broad support from scholars and Hindu priests who read from the scriptures regularly. “There should be a separate commission to take up the task of removing such references in scriptures.”

Suraj Bhan cited Article 13 of the Indian constitution which says that laws in force in India before the constitution was put in place in 1950 would be void if they were inconsistent with constitutional provisions.

Although the status of the 300mn-strong Dalit community has vastly improved, they continue to face deep-seated social discrimination from the so-called upper caste Hindus.
In the past, members of the community enjoyed no rights or privileges, were not allowed to enter temples and could only serve the upper castes as slaves, blacksmiths or cobblers. – Indo-Asian News Service

Link to the article

9:20 AM

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