. . . . . . "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, January 05, 2006  
Jharkhand woos girl students with cycles

Malayala Manorama
4 January 2006

Ranchi: The Jharkhand government has an answer to check the dropout rate among school going girls from poorer families - provide bicycles to them.

A plan to distribute 50,000 cycles to girls from Dalit and tribal families will begin at the end of this month, according to an official of the welfare department. Secondary schools are generally located far from villages where tribals and Dalits reside, and this is partly the reason for a large dropout rate among the girls.

The initiative is aimed at helping girls who stay far away from their schools not to quit studies midway. The state government is already providing free education and books to girls from the backward community up to the secondary school level. The overall literacy rate in Jharkhand is 54 percent and for tribal and Dalit women around 30 percent. The official said more than 60 percent tribal and Dalit girls quit schools after passing Class 7 and take up work as domestic help.

It was Chief Minister Arjun Munda who mooted the idea of distributing cycles four years ago when he was welfare minister. At that time 20,000 cycles were given away to tribal girls. This time Dalit girls have also been included. The first zone where the distribution will begin will cover Ranchi, Gumla, Lohardagga and Simdega (9,500 cycles). In the second zone, 11,000 cycles will be given away in East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Sarikela districts.Dumka, Deoghar, Latehar, Garwah and Palamau will be covered in the third phase and Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Giridih and Koderma in the fourth. In these phases too 11,000 cycles will be handed out.The fifth zone will cover Pakur, Sahenganj, Jamtara, Chatra, Bokaro and Dhanbad districts (9,500 cycles).

Link to the article

8:28 AM

Wednesday, January 04, 2006  
Caste violence continues in Bihar

3 January 2005
Patna: Two more shocking incidents of caste violence have been reported in Bihar, close on the heels of the killing of a pregnant woman and her five children by a man belonging to a different caste.Three members of an impoverished family in Bochaha Rampur village of Muzaffarpur district were injured when men from a powerful caste set their thatched house on fire Monday night.

Keshav Mahto, Kusia Devi and their granddaughter sustained burn injuries and have been admitted to hospital, police said.

In another incident, men from a powerful caste Monday beat a Dalit woman to death over a property dispute in a village of Sitamarhi district, police said.Two days ago, a 45-year-old pregnant woman and her five minor children in Rampur Shyamchand village of Vaishali district were torched to death in their hut because her husband refused to withdraw a police complaint against a Yadav for the theft of a buffalo.

The victims belonged to the backward Koeri caste while the accused belonged to the powerful Yadav caste.

Link to the article

8:39 AM

Dalit massacre haunts Belchi villagers

January 3, 2006

Supriya Sharma
Belchi village in Bihar lies more than 100 kms away from Raghopur district, where six members of a family were burnt alive on Sunday. For the people in Belchi, the incident was a painful reminder of a similar day 28 years ago when 11 Dalits were torched by local landowners. Much has changed since then, but as Raghopur showed, the conflict both of caste and class still continues.

Janaki Paswan and Lalita Devi are among the many in Belchi village, who are keen to know more about the Raghopur killings. Lalita Devi had lost four members of her family when the Dalits of the village were torched alive. "They burnt our people in the morning," she said. Caste warsThose who killed belonged to the backward 'Kurmi' caste, which emerged as the new owners of land in the seventies, pitted against landless Dalits who worked as farm labour.

The fight was not just over wages but also a piece of land."They wanted to capture a piece of land that belonged to us," said Janaki Paswan. The Belchi massacre was the beginning of two decades of violence, as Bihar was rocked by killings after killings.

It was almost always, landowners (whether they were the upper castes or kurmis) versus the landless Dalits, who began to group together under the naxals.The naxal assertion was then met by the emergence of upper caste private armies like the Ranvir Sena. What to the outside world appears as an unending cycle of violence, is in fact a very complex picture where caste and class have interacted to create hostility of a frightening level. But Raghopur isn't a caste massacre. It is instead a fight between two individuals, Vijendra Mahto and Jagat Rai. Yet the undercurrent of caste still remains.

The accused, Jagat Rai belongs to the Yadav community, which is the dominant caste of the area and are the new powerful feudal lords in Rabri Devi's constituency.

Link to the article

8:35 AM

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