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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lathore inferno Dalit victims still homeless


Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 19.02.12
 
Lathore inferno Dalit victims still homeless - The Times Of India
Dalits ask CM to spend SC/ST funds - IBN Live
Banda rape victim campaigns against BSP - The Times Of India
Dalit attacked for drinking from upper caste's pot - The Times Of India
BSP emerges as an alternative to RPIs in Vidarbha polls - The Hindustan Times
Procedural errors no ground for quashing conviction: SC - Zee News
Clear dues or no books for SC students: PSEB
State Welfare Department owes
 Rs 47 crore to the education board for books supplied by it - The Tribune
FIR against minister's husband - The Times Of India
Buddhist monk, Dalit leaders get bail - The Hindu
Rs 3 lakh grant for Dalit victim - The Tribune
 
The Times Of India
 
Lathore inferno Dalit victims still homeless
 
TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 08.00AM IST
 
BALANGIR: Around 218 Dalits are living in a temporary shelter in a school even a month after upper caste people torched their houses and looted their belongings in Lathore in Balangir district.
 
Although the district administration had promised to reconstruct the houses in a meeting with members of Lakhe Ghara Ganda Samaj Unnayana Samiti of the Dalit community, there has been no headway. "Initially the administration was reluctant to construct the houses. It only wanted to give compensation. But after we organized a rally and placed our demands in a memorandum, the collector invited us for a discussion, where he agreed to construct the houses. But sadly, it is yet to begin," said Omprakash Kumbhar, president of the outfit.
 
On January 23, upper caste people had torched 30 houses of the Dalits in Lathore after which 250 men, women and children were shifted to the temporary shelter. Police subsequently arrested 42 persons and sent them to judicial custody. Property worth about Rs 2.5 crore was reportedly damaged in the riot. "We know that we won't get the valuables we lost when our houses were burnt down. We have lost important documents, ornaments and land records. But at least we should be provided with houses to live in. For how many days will we live in the school," said Jitendra Suna, one of the victims of the riot.
 
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Odisha government, calling for a report on the incident within four weeks. Earlier, a team of Jawahala Neheru University (JNU) students visited Lathore to sympathize with the victims and also met the district collector.
A few days ago, Dalits of the district and Lathore victims organized a rally and walked through the main road in Balangir town, holding placards and raising slogans. They demanded action against the erring police officials, who allegedly overlooked the warnings of the upper caste people a day before the incident. They also demanded Balangir district to be declared SC-ST atrocity prone.
 
The Lakhe Ghara Ganda Samaj Unnayana Samiti outfit had given a fact sheet to the district administration mentioning incidences arising out of caste antagonism in the district. It said in the last two years 12 such incidents have taken place in the district. According to the outfit, the atrocity prone villages are Lakarma, Belpada, Jamsar, Pardhiapali, Kalijharan, Bandhpada, Gaibahal, Uparbahal, Bubel and Ambahali. "In each incident, either false allegations were slapped on lower caste people or the upper caste people openly expressed untouchability by speaking insulting words," said the outfit's secretary Sitaram Kumbhar.
 
IBN Live
 
Dalits ask CM to spend SC/ST funds
 
HYDERABAD: Demanding full utilisation of funds allocated under SC/ST sub-plan for development of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, a delegation of intellectuals and activists called on chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy here on Saturday requesting him to initiate measures for implementation of tribal sub-plans.
 
The delegation led by former chief secretary Kaki Madhava Rao comprised retired IAS officer B Danam, Centre for Dalit Studies director M Anjaneyulu, senior journalist Mallepalli Laxmaiah and Dalit Bahujan Party secretary P Shankar.
 
In their representation to the chief minister, the delegation stated that `40,829.65 crore under SC special component plan and tribal subplan was sanctioned. However, out of the sanctioned amount about `21,604.41 crore remained unspent denying the SCs and STs of their legitimate share in development.
 
The chief minister is learnt to have assured the team to look into the issue.
 
The Times Of India
 
Banda rape victim campaigns against BSP
 
Pankaj Shah, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.35AM IST
 
NARAINI (BANDA): Dalit girl Sheelu, who was allegedly raped by BSP Naraini MLA Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi in 2010, has found her own way to seek justice for her trauma.
 
The 18-year-old dalit girl, who holds a grudge against BSP, has joined ranks with the Congress and campaigning for the party candidate Mahendra Singh Verma in Naraini assembly constituency.
 
Although chief minister Mayawati dumped Sheelu's perpetrator Dwivedi -- who is in jail for the crime -- after media played up the incident, Sheelu's support may dent the prospect of BSP's Naraini candidate Gyancharan Dinkar.
 
Naraini village where Sheelu lives is dominated by dalits. Her stance, therefore, may affect the political prospects of BSP in Banda which goes to the poll on Sunday.
 
Even Sheelu's father Achhe Lal, who ardently campaigned for BSP when Dwivedi was the candidate in 2007, has come out in support of his daughter.
 
"No one from the BSP came to us when we needed them the most. I think it is the Congress which can bring justice to us," Sheelu said.
 
In Naraini village, a police outpost outside Achhe Lal house is the landmark. The cops are there to protect Lal's 18-yearold daughter Sheelu. Sheelu's nightmare did not end after she was raped by the MLA and his men. She was later jailed on charges of theft. Her life shattered, Sheelu now lives under the police shadow. Her every movement is under constant vigil of cops who fear that she may be attacked again.
 
Ironically, Acche Lal, a dalit, was a hardcore BSP supporter. He campaigned for Purushottan Naresh during the 2007 assembly election. Naresh went on to become the MLA. Three years later he darkened Sheelu's life and shook the confidence of villagers of Naraini, majority of whom are dalits.
Achhe Lal recalled the nightmare. In the summer of 2009, Sheelu went missing from her grandmother's house in Harnampur village on UP-Madhya Pradesh border. Sheelu's mother Sudama Devi died when she was three. Since then she had been living with her grandmother. "She could not be traced for over a year and we were getting worried,'' he said. Acche Lal contacted Purushottam who assured of helping him in finding Sheelu.
 
One day Achhe Lal got a call from a woman who claimed that Sheelu was locked up in a hut in Patra village in Banda. "I went to the said house which was locked. I tried to look through a hole in the door and found a heap of mattresses on the floor,'' he recalled. He barged into the hut and started removing the mattresses only to discover Sheelu lying underneath them, unconscious. It transpired that one Rajju Patel had kidnapped her. The girl was brought back to Naraini village.
 
Purushottam approached Acche Lal telling him that he will take care of Sheelu. "He said that he would provide education to my daughter and even get her married,'' he said. Within four days he received a call from Sheelu. "Her voice was shaking. She was crying and pleading repeatedly to take her away,'' he recalled. The phone got disconnected before Acche could understand what exactly happened to his daughter.
 
Next day he found Sheelu locked up in Naraini police station with charges of stealing Rs 90,000 and a case slapped on her. With all the media glare around, it was soon established that Sheelu had been raped and framed in wrong charges. Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi, who had won the 2007 election by a margin over 5,000 votes, soon found himself expelled from BSP. While Dwivedi is still cooling heels in Banda jail, Sheelu lives under a shadow of terror.
 
The Times Of India
 
Dalit attacked for drinking from upper caste's pot
 
Bhaskar Mukherjee, TNN Feb 17, 2012, 05.43AM IST
 
HISAR: In a macabre act of caste violence, a Dalit youth in Saniyana village was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon and had his arm nearly chopped off for drinking water from an earthen pot belonging to an upper caste family.
 
While doctors have stitched up his arm, the police arrested one Rajender of Daulatpur village and booked him under SC/ST Act.
 
The Hindustan Times
 
BSP emerges as an alternative to RPIs in Vidarbha polls
 
Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
 
Nagpur, February 19, 2012
 
The increasing might of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the virtual fall of Republican Party of India (RPI) in its stronghold in Vidarbha, particularly in Nagpur have raised many eyebrows in the region after the local bodies' elections.
 
agpur has been the citadel of RPI where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in 1956 but the BSP has dealt a severe blow to their vote bank in the recent elections.
 
BSP earned 12 seats in the Nagpur Municipal Corporations alone while 6 seats in the neighbouring Amravati municipal corporation and their candidates finished second in 30 wards, giving a threat to the RPI politicians. Moreover, the party got one seat in Akola Municipal Corporation elections.
 
In Nagpur, it got 10 seats from north and south Nagpur assembly constituencies—predominantly dalit areas  which are considered as RPI citadel and dalit voters are the deciding factor for the state elections.
 
In Akola, where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's grandson Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar has a considerable clout, the party could manage to win only seven seats and the BSP also made its presence felt in the elections.
 
The BSP also fared well in entire Vidarbha's Zilla Parishad elections and emerged as the top party for Dalits and backward classes by winning eleven seats while all RPI factions could manage to win only nine seats.
 
Milind Pakhale, chief of RPI (Ambedkar) in Nagpur, admitted that the traditional RPI factions have lost their credibility among the voters because of their hobnobbing with the ruling class as well as the saffron combine which was cleverly used by the BSP in the region.
 
"We are assessing the entire issue and would rectify our mistakes. This was lesson for us in our stronghold and we would certainly work to reclaim our share of votes in the next elections," he said.
 
Nagpur has been a significant power base of RPI where they ruled the civic body for several years but all the three RPI factions could manage only four seats.  RPI (Kawade ) failed to win a single seat while Prakash Ambedkar faction got two while former state Maharashtra minister Sulekha Kumbhare and Ramdas Athavale factions received a seat each.
 
Zee News
 
Procedural errors no ground for quashing conviction: SC
 
Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 11:20
New Delhi: Procedural errors cannot be the sole ground for quashing conviction or ordering retrial in a criminal case unless there was manifest miscarriage of justice to the accused, the Supreme Court has ruled.
 

"Decidedly, there has to be a fair trial and no miscarriage of justice and under no circumstances, prejudice should be caused to the accused but, every procedural lapse or every interdict that has been acceded to and not objected at the appropriate stage would not get the trial dented or make it unfair," said a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari.
 
The bench gave the ruling while dismissing an appeal by some murder convicts - Rattiram, Satyanarayan and others, belonging to Madhya Pradesh.
 
The convicts had come to the apex court challenging the life sentence imposed on them by a Madhya Pradesh sessions Court in August 1996 and upheld by the state high court for murdering a Dalit.
 
"Treating it (conviction) to be unfair would amount to an undesirable state of pink of perfection in procedure. An absolute apple pie order in carrying out the adjective law, would only be sound and fury signifying nothing," the apex court said, dismissing the appeal in a case under Section 302 of the IPC and various other provisions of SC / ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
 
After their conviction, the convicts had sought a re-trial on the ground that the case as required under Section 193 CrPC was not initially committed by a magistrate to the sessions court as the latter had directly taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by police.
 
The apex court bench, which also included justices TS Thakur and Dipak Mishra, said "the seminal issue is whether protection given to the accused under the law has been jeopardised as a consequence of which there has been failure of justice or causation of any prejudice."
 
The bench pointed out that "the concept of fair trial and conception of miscarriage of justice are not in the realm of abstraction and not operate in a vacuum."
 
"They are to be concretely established on the bedrock of facts and not to be deduced from procedural lapse or an interdict like commitment as enshrined under Section 193 of the Code for taking cognisance under the Act," it said.
 
Underlining the risk of ordering retrial on grounds of minor violations of procedures, the bench said, "It would have the effect to potentiality cause a dent in the criminal justice delivery system and justice would eventually become illusory like a mirage."
 
The apex court said judged from these angles the trial of the convicts was not vitiated in any manner. 

"It does not vitiate the trial and on the said ground alone, the conviction cannot be set aside or there cannot be a direction of retrial," the bench added.
 
The Tribune
Clear dues or no books for SC students: PSEB
State Welfare Department owes
Rs 47 crore to the education board for books supplied by it
 
Jangveer Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 18
 
Lakhs of schoolchildren belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) families in the state may not get free books for the next academic session with the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) informing the State Welfare Department that it won't supply the same in case its whopping book bill of Rs 47 crore was not cleared.
 
Free schoolbooks are given to all SC students from classes I to X. These books are printed by the PSEB. The Welfare Department has been defaulting on the payment for these books for the last three years.
 
Sources say the supply of books starts by February 15 so that these reach schools before the start of the new session. However, this time there are problems in even getting the books printed because the printers are demanding their payments, which the PSEB is unable to make.
PSEB Chairman DS Dhillon had requested the government and also met the Finance Secretary on the issue, but to no avail. The sources say if the situation continues, the board will find it difficult to run its 10 Adarsh Schools as well as to meet its salary requirements.
 
The Welfare Department owes Rs 2 crore to the board for books supplied in 2008-09, Rs 20 crore in 2009-10, and a further Rs 25 crore accumulated because of non-payment on the same account, taking the total pending bill to Rs 47 crore.
 
Besides, the Welfare Department also owed Rs 30 crore to the board on account of examination fee borne by it for Scheduled Caste students for the last many years.
 
The board claims that it has been spending Rs 4 crore per annum on account of examination fee. It says it is being reimbursed only Rs 1 crore per annum. The Welfare Department has asked the Finance Department to pay the money due to the Education Board so that free books can reach the students before the start of the next session. It has also asked the finance wing to increase the allocation for free books from Rs 18 crore per annum to the actual cost incurred on this account.
 
The Times Of India
 
FIR against minister's husband
 
TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.39AM IST
 
MADHEPURA: A case was lodged under the SC/ST Act against state industries minister Renu Kumari Kushawha's husband Vijay Kumar Singh on the charges of abusing and assaulting some Mahadalit women at Udakishunganj in Madhepura district on Friday.
 
Madhepura SP Gopal Prasad said an FIR was lodged against Singh for allegedly abusing and assaulting some Maha dalit women at the circuit house, Udakishunganj, on Friday. Some Mahadalit women of Pipra-Karaut panchayat, on getting information that the minister would visit Udakishunganj, went to meet her at the circuit house. The minister was not present there, but the minister's husband and JD (U) leader Vijay Kumar Singh, Pipra-Karaut panchayat mukhiya and some other persons were there.
 
As the minister was not present, the Mahadalit women decided to vent their grievances before them and complained that their names had not been listed for the benefits related to rehabilitation. Peeved at their "audacity", the JD (U) leader allegedly abused and assaulted them, police said. Two Maha dalit women , Rukiya Devi and Runa Devi, lodged the FIR against the minister's husband, mukhiya and the bodyguard, sources said. However, Singh said it was a conspiracy hatched by his opponents to malign him. "Earlier also, my opponents had tried to implicate me in an accident case," he said.
 
The Hindu
 
Buddhist monk, Dalit leaders get bail
 
T. V. Sivanandan
They were charged with removing idol found at ASI site
 
Fourth Additional District and Sessions judge Basavaraj Belawagi has granted conditional bail to Buddhist monk Banteji Bhodidhamma and four Dalit leaders who were charged with removing an idol of a Hindu goddess from an excavation site in Chithapur taluk of Gulbarga district under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
 
Allowing the bail application of the monk and Dalit leaders Nagendra Jawali, Santosh Melmani, Kishore Gaekwad and Hanumanth Itagi, the judge ordered their release on a personal bond of Rs. 25,000 each.
 
The judge rejected the contention of the prosecution that the accused would jump bail and influence witnesses in the case.
 
The monk, who was initially lodged in the high security Gulbarga Central Prison, was later shifted to a private hospital by the jail authorities after he complained of uneasiness. The four Dalit leaders were lodged in the Gulbarga Central Prison.
 
The arrest of the monk on February 6 under non-bailable sections of the IPC sparked off angry protests from fellow monks in different parts of the country and various Dalit organisations in Gulbarga and other districts in the State.
 
The claim of the monk and the Dalit leaders was that the idol had been placed in a Buddhist site located at Sannati with the ulterior motive of proving that the site also contained remnants of Hindu gods and goddesses.
 
Incidentally, the ASI and independent historians identified the site, which dates back to between the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D., as one of the oldest Buddhist sites in Karnataka.
 
The Sannati site also has a special place due to the fact that four major rock edicts of the Mauryan period are found there. It is said to be similar to other known eminent Buddhist sites at Ter in Maharashtra and Nagarjuna Konda in Andhra Pradesh. The stupas found in Sannati are considered much larger and artistically richer than the famed Stupa at Sanchi.
 
Dalit organisations and the monk gave a representation to Regional Commissioner K. Ratnaprabha to remove the idol and set up an enquiry on how it was placed in an excavation site under the control of the ASI.
 
The Tribune
Rs 3 lakh grant for Dalit victim
 
Hisar, February 18
Agriculture Minister Paramveer Singh has announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh to the Dalit youth, Rajesh, who had been wounded seriously when he was attacked by an upper caste farmer at Daulatpur village of the district.
 
The minister called on the victim in the hospital here last night and assured him of all possible help from the government. He appealed to all to maintain brotherhood and communal harmony in the area.
 
Meanwhile, a team of the National Scheduled Caste Commission has directed the district administration to provide adequate security to the victim and the witnesses. The directive was given when the team met the victim at a hospital here.
 
A handful of activists of Dalit organisations staged a demonstration outside the hospital where the victim was undergoing treatment. The police used mild force to disperse them to allow the team to proceed to the hospital.
 
The demonstrators were demanding Rs 25 lakh as compensation and a government job to the victim.
 
District Welfare Officer Dalip Singh visited the victim in the hospital here today and handed over to him a cheque for Rs 50,000 sanctioned by the district administration under the Scheduled Castes Act. The Dr Ambedkar Student Front of India handed over a memorandum to the district authorities demanding compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the victim. — TNS
 
 
-- 
.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
...................................................................
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and  intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.