. . . . . . "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

Monday, October 24, 2005  
Critical gaps' in rebuilding tsunami-hit village: study

23 October 2005

S. Dorairaj
Rehabilitation made little impact on 10 Dalit families
Many boats lying idle for lack of adequate workforce
Initiatives taken by Government, NGOs commendable

The rehabilitation work in the tsunami-hit districts is progressing in full swing. But some recent studies by the Tamil Nadu Tsunami Resource Centre (TNTRC), a joint initiative of the UNDP, the State Government and NGOs in the affected districts, brought out important issues including "critical gaps" in the reconstruction phase.

Salient features of these studies have been highlighted in first issue of the TNTRC newsletter at a function here on Friday.

The studies have revealed commendable initiatives taken by the Government, NGOs and other agencies such as construction of permanent shelters, improvement of infrastructure, livelihood restoration and enhancement of health and welfare.

But they also found some grey areas. For instance, the study, undertaken recently at Samanthanpettai in Nagapattinam, where the tsunami claimed 150 lives apart from destroying the fishing boats, reveals that as many as 200 new fishing boats — more than double the number of craft compared to pre-tsunami situation — have been provided to the fishing folk by NGOs. But many of the boats were idle owing to inadequate workforce to pursue fishing or due to depletion of fishery resources.

A resident has expressed the fear that many schoolchildren may be drawn into the trade , This would "jeopardise their education," says the study.
Another startling revelation relates to the plight of the Dalits in the village. The rehabilitation and reconstruction measures have made little impact on the 10 Dalit families, it says.

Water and sanitation
The water and sanitation position at the temporary shelter where around 300 displaced families are living is "quite abysmal." Most of the hand pumps are not in working condition. Open defecation by children was a common sight as water was unavailable in toilets.
Some locals expressed optimism over completion of the construction of the 300-odd permanent shelters at Samanthanpettai.

The upcoming orphanage and the home for the aged have raised the hopes of the people.
Identification of the critical gaps will enable personnel of different agencies to introspect and act with `mid-term corrections' wherever possible in this crucial phase of rehabilitation and reconstruction, the study hopes.

Link to the article

9:31 AM

Isolated dalits turn to India

Kantipur Online
22 October

After the blockade imposed by locals of Sakarpura VDC upon a dalit community, some seven Chamar (dalit) families have been forced to depend on Indian markets since a week.
Accusing the dalits of not playing drums during the Dashain festival and refusing to clean carcasses, some 'high caste' locals warned villagers not to provide anything to the dalits. The former also directed locals not to buy anything from the dalits and boycott them in every activity.

After being isolated in their own hometown, the community has started to sell milk at Kunali, an Indian village, while they have to reach another Indian market Topa bazaar, to buy essential commodities.

"Local shopkeepers do not sell us even a packet of salt," acting Chairman of Dalit Service Association Saptari Jaksan Ram said. Those who violate the instruction are made to pay a fine of Rs 551. "We cannot sell anything to them due to the fine system," said local merchant, Lalit Mandal.

The district administration has corresponded with the police to bring nine persons including former VDC chairman Gunu Mukhiya, who led the campaign, to the administration.
Meanwhile, our Baitadi correspondent reports that the newly-established dairy depot in the district headquarters has stopped buying milk from dalit farmers due to objections from some 'high-caste' customers. The latter refused to purchase milk-made products of the dairy, accusing them of using milk sold by 'low caste' communities.

Our correspondent from Parbat reports that locals from Barrachaur and Ranipani VDCs in the district organized a common feast during Dashain festival with a view to remove racial discrimination. A joint gathering of VDCs, which was organized by Dalit Jana Samaj, Self Dependent Development Forum, Deepsikha Youth Club and Navabihani Dalit Women Network, declared the villages a racial discrimination free zone.

Link to the article

9:05 AM

Dalit woman candidate set ablaze by 'rivals'

The Hindu
22 October 2005

A Dalit woman, contesting local elections on a BSP ticket, is battling for life with 90 per cent burns after she was allegedly set ablaze by her rivals for refusing to withdraw from the fray.

Police said three persons, named in an FIR, went to a shop run by Prabhavati Devi's husband in Mujehra Khurd village in the district last night, threw petrol on her and set her ablaze.
She has been admitted to the district hospital with "90 per cent burns and is battling for life", doctors said.

Prabhavati Devi, who contested the Kshetra Panchayat poll on Thursday, had a heated exchange with her rivals during polling day, police said.
They have launched a hunt for the three assailants.

Former district BSP chief Ashok Bharti, accused a former MLA, who was stripped of his Assembly membership on the high court's directives, of being behind the attack.
He said since she was a BSP nominee and had "good chances of winning, her opponents resorted to such tactics".

Link to the article

8:07 AM

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