. . . . . . "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 01, 2005  
Teacher suspended for casteist slur

September 1 2005

MUMBAI: Because I am a Dalit, the principal gave me strict orders not to touch the matka (pot) and related utensils. When I wanted to know why, she said that as I was from a lower caste, I must make separate arrangements for drinking water, and my tiffin.

The principal also asked me to wash her plates. When I resisted, she said that I belonged to a lower caste, and it was my job to wash plates.

These are few of the complaints that led to the suspension of a teacher at the Sadaphooli School for the mentally challenged in Kandivli.The Social Welfare Department (Suburban Mumbai) suspended Reema Wahi on August 13 after some Class III and Class IV employees gave written complaints against Wahi, who was the school principal till 2003, that she discriminated against them because of their reserved-category status.“Till the school submits the inquiry report, Wahi will neither be allowed to enter the school premises nor will she be paid,” said Yeshwantrao More, Chief Social Welfare Officer.

Several attempts to contact Wahi failed. More said that after receiving the written complaints in February, he had asked the school management, Ramkrishna Shikshan Mandal to take cognizance of the matter.When the management did not take any action, More sent a letter to the school on April 16, asking the school to take strong action against the principal, failing which, it would be assumed that the school was party to the discrimination.

But with the school then being closed for holidays, nothing happened. “For a probe, the trustees need to meet. That's why we couldn't carry out the inquiry during the vacations,” explained the school's Education Officer S Trailokya. Eventually, on June 12, an inquiry committee was set up. More, during a routine inspection of the school on August 12, came to know much to his shock that no action had been initiated in the matter yet.“That's when I decided that some preliminary action was needed to get the inquiry started,” he added.

Link to the article

6:52 AM

50 dalit houses razed in Haryana

1 September 2005

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

Nearly 50 houses, belonging to dalits, were set on fire on Wednesday by the upper caste jats for the incident in Gohana in Sonipat district of the state.

Bharatiya Janata Party has slammed the Haryana government for the incident.
Police however put the figure at around 40 houses.

Over 1500 dalits, living in the village, fled their houses in anticipation of the violence by the jats. The jats suspected that one of the dalits in the village was involved in the murder of a jat last Saturday.

"This is a straight case of non performance of its duty by the state government. The state administration knew that the tension between the dalits and the jats was building up over last few days but it did not take preventive measures to protect the dalits," charged Vijay Kumar Malhotra of the BJP.

But when it came to the role of Kishan Sagwan, BJP member of Parliament from Sonipat, Malhotra defended him saying that MP had nothing to do with the incident.
"He was attending parliament that got over on August 30. Law and order is the responsibility of the state government and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda must take the blame for the incident," he said.

The state government has rushed police and para military forces in the area to prevent further escalation of violence in the village.
Link to the article

6:48 AM

Monday, August 29, 2005  
Restructuring of state stressed

28 August 2005

Intellectuals and human rights activists have stressed on the urgent need to restructure the state so as to address the grievances of indigenous people.

Speaking at a two-day national conference on "Restructuring of State and Indigenous People", organized by Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), here on Sunday, they also said a federal system is required to settle the ongoing Maoist insurgency.

Ian Martin, representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal, said that indigenous nationalities are particularly vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and abduction.

"Discrimination, including discrimination against indigenous people as well as caste discrimination, is a major concern for the UN human rights system," he said in a written statement.

He also stated that Rodolfo Stavenhagen, special rapporteur appointed by UN to study the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, in 2001, had said that national laws in Nepal maintain the alienation and exclusion of indigenous peoples from the justice system.

Martin also said OHCHR has been regularly monitoring the issues of human rights violations perpetrated by both the state and Maoists. "Maoists as well as state security forces must understand that they are accountable for war crimes and other violations," he warned.
Similarly, Padma Ratna Tuladhar, noted human rights activist, said that it is high time the restructuring process was initiated. "Indigenous people have been living under state suppression for years and they should be provided with equal opportunity," he said.
Malla K Sundar, Dr Keshavman Shakya and Arjun Limbu had presented a joint paper stressing that the nation should go for federal system.

However, the paper, which mentioned the relevance of constitutional monarchy in Nepal, was strongly criticized by its commentators - professor Krishna Khanal, Dr Mahesh Maskey and Dr Krishna Bhattachan, among others

Link to the article

7:38 AM

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