. . . . . . "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, August 24, 2006  
NGO appeals minister to visit Entapuli village

August 24 2006

People’s Watch, a human rights organisation, has appealed to the Minister of Adi Dravida Welfare A Tamilarasi Ravikumar to visit the Entapuli village in Periyakulam taluk in Theni district and examine the prevalence of caste discrimination meted out to Dalits.

According to a fact-finding team from the organisation that went to the village, following the alleged daylight murder of a Dalit manual scavenger Sangili (65) by Caste Hindus, the village is plagued by practices of untouchability such as two-tumbler system, sarcastic remarks hurled at Dalit girl students in abusive language, not allowing the Dalits to wear footwear on entering the area of Caste Hindus and forcing to do wage-free menial jobs.

Urging the Theni district administration to immediately address the practices of untouchability reported to have been practised in the village, the team suggested that collective fine be imposed on the entire community of Caste Hindus in the village. Action should be initiated as per the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989, and officials including the Collector, tahsildar, RDO and VAO should be booked under the provisions of the Act for being ‘inactive’, it said.

The police, according to their finding, had not conducted enquiry in the village in the aftermath of the murder. Charging the police with being biased, the team said that they were hand in glove with the Caste Hindus because of the political clout enjoyed by the latter.

Seeking declaration of the village as an atrocity-prone pocket, it called for providing necessary protection to the witness, victims’ family and the entire Dalit colony till the arrests of the accused were effected.

Link to the article

2:23 PM

Dalit man's eye gouged out in Bihar

August 24, 2006

Prakash Singh

There seems to be a horrific trend in Bihar gouging out eyes. Three incidents have occurred in a span of 10 days.

Sixty-five year old Bhola Chowdhary is not just in a lot of pain but he's also scared and bewildered. On Tuesday evening, a few influential men from his village Mahinawan near Patna showed up with a scythe and gouged out his eye.

Bhola, a Dalit labourer, doesn't even know what he was punished for and is too scared to name his attackers."The assailants came from behind and tied my hand and covered my face. Then I was helpless and they pierced my eye with sharp weapon," said Bhola.

No money for treatment
The family can barely afford the treatment and the doctors give them little hope."The villagers arranged Rs 600 so that my husband can be treated. We are poor people and cannot afford treatment," said Rampuri Devi, victim's wife."His left eye has been pierced with some sharp object. His eye socket has been damaged. There is no hope of regaining vision," said Dr U P Sinha, Eye Specialist, Patna Medical College.

The men who allegedly attacked Bhola are missing and the police are still investigating."We are investigating the matter. We are trying to find out who were the people who attacked him and if Bhola had any animosity with anyone we will punish the guilty," said Rajesh Kumar, SP, Patna.

Three victims in three villages, all Dalits and same punishment. This was just another sub-chapter in Bihar's saga of lawlessness.

Link to the article

2:12 PM

Monday, August 21, 2006  
‘Expand MDGs in India to include social justice’

OneWorld South Asia
18 August 2006

Rahul Kumar
New Delhi: Social activists in India want the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to include achieving social equity and curbing human rights violations against certain communities. Many communities like tribals, Dalits and minorities have been denied their social, economic and cultural rights and are therefore languishing in poverty.

MDG Campaign © Oxfam At a panel discussion on the release of the report - Millennium Development Goals and Dalits: A Status Report – activists said the MDGs have not focused on the human rights of certain groups which have been ostracized in India and prevented from accessing even the most basic of human rights. The report, released by Indian campaign group - NACDOR (National Conference of Dalit Organisations), measures the progress of the marginalized communities and says that these communities will not be able to achieve the development goals because of social discrimination.

The MDGs were accepted by the governments in 2000 to reduce poverty, hunger, disease and improve education and health standards for all people across the globe. Though the MDGs have set targets which have to be met by all countries by 2015 but, in a review last year, it was found that many nations are lagging behind in implementing these targets.

Director, Millennium Campaign, Salil Shetty said: “It is not a coincidence that 250 million of the poorest people in India happen to be tribals and Dalits. They are the most vulnerable people and if their human development standards are not improved India will fail to achieve the MDGs.”

Member of Parliament Ramdas Atavale said: “Development is taking place, particularly in the fields of information technology as well as education, but the benefits are not reaching all people equally. A minority in India holds most of the country’s land resources while the vast majority of people are left with a small piece of property.” Another parliamentarian Sanjay Paswan felt that the Indian government may not be able to address the issues related to social inequity and discrimination therefore international agencies and global humanitarian organisations will have to pitch in for the fight for justice for the oppressed classes. Paswan added: “The marginalized communities in India have to not only focus on economic empowerment but also have to maintain their cultural identity.”

The Deputy Director, Asia, UN Millennium Campaign, Minar Pimple agreed. He stressed: “The Dalit struggle in India will have to go beyond self respect, social, economic and cultural rights. It also has to include political rights. The struggle of the oppressed people is for human rights – it is about freedom from fear and freedom from hunger. This cannot be turned into a reality unless the government is accountable to its people.”

Hitting out at the Indian government for its aspirations of becoming a world power, the Oxfam MDG advisor, south Asia, B Murlidharan said: “We are the only country that aspires to be a world power which still has so many millions living in poverty and hunger. We will have to design our programmes and policies for the weakest and the poorest sections so that all of the people can benefit from government policies.”

Atavale added that the government will have to benefit the marginalized sections by providing social security benefits like pensions and insurance particularly to people in the unorganized sector.

Link to the article

11:46 AM

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