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Saturday, 3 March 2012

Film on dalit atrocities kicks up hot debate on Modi

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Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 02.03.12
 
Film on dalit atrocities kicks up hot debate on Modi - Daily Bhaskar
No escape for Dalits from caste discrimination - The Hindu
Anand Patwardhan's docu on Dalits to compete at 36th Hong Kong
International Film Festival- Dear Cinema
Odisha: School teacher fights for barbers' rights - IBN Live
Bihar: Youth's hands cut for not repaying loan - Zee News
 
Daily Bhaskar
 
Film on dalit atrocities kicks up hot debate on Modi
 
Ahmedabad: A discussion launched on Chief Minister Narendra Modiduring the question and answer section after the screening of the film'Jay Bhim Comrad,' saw vitriolic attack about the portion of the film which showed Modi's visit to Mumbai for election campaigns. The film
is mainly focused on the cultural movement by dalit youths called 'Kabir Kala Manch' and deals about atrocities on dalits and their struggle to sustain cultural revolution in Maharashtra.
 
However, the acrimonious attack on Modi soon ebbed to allow discussion on the dalit atrocities. The film, made by award winning documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, was screened at The Ravi Matthai Auditorium at IIMA on Thursday under the programme 'Insaf Ki Dagar
Par' to mark the decade of Gujarat Carnage-2002.
 
The film is focused on the songs, poems, ghazals written and performed on Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar in Maharashtra and his increasing acceptance among the dalits. The film is focused on three main aspects of dalit politics - the case of suicide of Vilas Ghogre, a dalit poet; delayed
justice to the Kherlanji mob lynching case of Maharashtra; and the police pressure on a cultural group run by dalit youths, Kabir Kala Manch (KKM).
 
Disturbed with illegal police firing on dalits at the Ramabai Colony in Mumbai, Ghogre committed suicide. The poet felt: 'The country is not worth fighting for anymore' as had been witnessed by his friend, singer Sambhaji Bhagat.
 
"When I learnt that the members of KKM were under police scanner and are threatened to be declared as Naxalites, I decided to complete the film as soon as possible and screen it across the country," Patwardhan said while answered a question. "Raising a voice, does not mean
Naxalism, the members of KKM are forced to remain underground," he lamented. KKM members, mainly educated dalits and professionals, were working to raise awareness among people on various social issues through their forceful street plays, songs and sahiris. "They are
harassed by the police for doing nothing, the group members have not seen their houses since many months," Patwardhan said.
 
The Hindu
 
No escape for Dalits from caste discrimination
 
K. Venkateshwarlu
 
The Hindu Parimala taking care of her mentally unstable elder sister's daughter at Public hearing on Containing Violence Measures for Resolution organized by Dalit Sthree Sakthi at Padmarao Nagar in Hyderabad on Thursday.
 
A gritty fighter, Dalit cloth vendor, Ammulu and her two teenaged daughters managed to escape from the ferocity of the tsunami that swept away her humble dwelling and a wayside shop in Andamans.
 
When they reached Sarpavaram in Kakinada after a long arduous journey from the islands they heaved a sigh of relief having survived nature's fury, though it meant picking up a shattered thread of life. The relief proved to be short-lived as they soon found themselves caught in tsunami of the caste kind.
 
"After six years of hard work, when we started building a house in 2010 on a six-cent site, we faced the wrath of the Kapus," she narrated at a public hearing organised by Dalit Shree Sakthi here on Thursday. They started harassing her, denied her access to a common pathway, saying it belonged to Kapus. After holding out threats they demanded Rs. 30,000. She managed Rs. 10,000 but the harassment and hurling of abuses naming her by caste continued leading to assault on June 2. A case of atrocity was registered but there was no further progress.
 
Suicide
Another Dalit, Hanumanthu of Miyapur, Ranga Reddy district, recounted how his long cherished dream of seeing his 14-year-old daughter, Renuka becoming an IAS officer was shattered when two upper caste teachers humiliated her so much that she set herself ablaze. Miyapur police registered it as a case of suicide and not under Prevention of Atrocities Act. G. Jhansi of DSS recalled that police in RR district showed no interest in investigating cases of atrocities on Dalits as the perpetrators often brought pressure invoking name of the Home Minister.
 
Raped by relative
A modest crowd of families of victims, activists and the jury members was stunned when Chellapu Sesha Rao of Devavaram in Visakhapantam district narrated how his mentally challenged daughter was raped by a relative. When the case came to light, the 18-year-old was three months pregnant. She delivered a baby boy but does not know how to take care of him now.
 
The jury members included former Supreme Court Judge K. Ramaswamy, former IAS officers -- K. R. Venugopal and K. Madhava Rao -- and president of RPI Bojja Tharakam.
 
Dear Cinema
 
Anand Patwardhan's docu on Dalits to compete at 36th Hong Kong
International Film Festival
By NewsDesk | Thursday, March 1st, 2012
Jai Bhim Comrade, a 198 minute documentary directed by Anand Patwardhan will compete at the 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival.
 
Shot over 14 years, this documentary follows the music and the tradition of activism of the Dalits in India. It won a Special Mention at the Dubai International Film Festival 2011 followed by an award at the 12th Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short and
Animation films.
 
Bitter Seeds, a documentary by Micha X. Peled of USA on the plight of a cotton farmer in India will be screened at the festival. The documentary questions how crops are grown and how they reach the consumers and the real human cost involved.
 
Lucky (South Africa) directed by Avie Luthra will also be screened at the festival.
The 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival will be held from March 2, 2012.
 
IBN Live
 
Odisha: School teacher fights for barbers' rights
 
Puri: It was a shameful tradition. In the name of 'Bartan', 5 lakh barber families of Odisha were forced to wash the feet of the upper caste members during marriages. But Baghambar Patnaik, a retired school teacher, spoke out against this evil practice.
 
Homecoming is the only thing that the barber families from a village in Puri, Odisha, wanted. However, the courts had to intervene to ensure their safe return under police protection. They were beaten and driven away from their village by the upper caste families four years ago.
 
Benguli Barik, a barber, said, "They threatened to kill my husband and son if they came back to the village. I am so scared. We just want to live in peace."
 
Banik's s eyes fill up as she remembers the humiliation her family was forced to go through just because they refused to blindly follow the archaic tradition of 'Bartan'.
 
It's an evil practice where barbers are forced to wash the feet of the upper caste members during social ceremonies like marriage. Their women are made to cut the nails and decorate the feet of the upper cast women. And what they get in return is a pittance of 15 kgs of paddy only once a year.
 
Refusal to follow the shameful tradition invited the ire of the upper caste members. For years, political leaders turned a blind eye to these tales of horror. Until a 62-year-old retired school teacher - Baghambar Patnaik - stepped forward.
 
Baghambar, an upper caste himself, started by organising a campaign for barbers' rights in 2004. While his own community banished him, he also faced the wrath of the police and the state government. In 2005, Baghambar was arrested. For 110 days, he stayed in jail refusing bail. The police was finally compelled to drop the case against him and he was virtually removed out of the jail.
 
Baghambar's fight before the State and the National Human Rights Commission and the courts finally yielded results.
 
In February 2011, the Odisha government labelled 'bartan' as a practice of servitude which is punishable under the 'Bonded Labour System Abolition Act, 1976'.
 
Said Baghambar, "My dream is to see that all these people get back their dignity and live in peace in their village."
 
Apart from this, Baghambar has also been fighting for the Dalits' right to pray in the same temples as the upper castes. For the five lakh odd barber families and many more Dalits across Odisha, Baghambar is a real hero.
 
Zee News
 
Bihar: Youth's hands cut for not repaying loan
 
Last Updated: Friday, March 02, 2012, 17:40
Patna: A young man whose hands were chopped off after he failed to repay a loan languishes on the floor of a government hospital here, frightened and worried about his life ahead while police are yet to take action against his attackers more than a week after the incident.
 
Twenty-year-old Ram Sagar Chandravanshi, belonging to an extreme backward caste, has not been even given a bed at the Patna Medical College and Hospital where he has been lying for the past many days.
 
Narrating his tale of horror, Chandravanshi said he owed a Rs.300 debt to a powerful man in Kodra village in Bihar's Arwal district, 70 km from Patna.
 

"When I expressed my inability to repay the debt and requested them to give me some more time, they ordered me to work for a couple of contractors in lieu of the Rs.300 that I owed. But when I refused, it angered them so much that they first beat me badly and started hitting my hands with an axe, chopping them off," he said.
 
"I fell unconscious and they threw me in a field," he added. Chandravanshi is now worried about sustaining himself ahead.
 
"How I will earn my livelihood as my hands have been chopped off and there is little hope for proper treatment at this government hospital. My fate is now at the mercy of God," said chandravanshi. 

His family members sitting near him at the hospital said to a news agency that the local police have not taken any action in the case.
 
"No arrest has been made, the accused are roaming freely and threatening our family members to withdraw the police case. Police will not help poor people like us," Chandravanshi's newly-wedded wife Buchchi Devi said.
She said police were behaving as though nothing has happened.
 
"We have neither time nor resources to run for justice because his treatment is our prime concern at present. We are poor people," she said.
 
Ram Bali Singh, convenor of the Chandravanshi Struggle Committee, said he was shocked that local police initially were reluctant to lodge a first information report (FIR) against the accused.  later, the FIR was lodged but no action has been taken against the alleged attackers.
 
"I was told by his family members that Arwal Superintendent of Police Bimal Kumar has termed the incident as concocted and claimed that Chandravanshi's hands were lost in an accident on the railway tracks near Danapur (in Patna). We will seek justice for him," he said.
 
Contacted over phone, Kumar refused to talk on the issue. But Deputy Inspector General (Magadh range) NH Khan said he will order district police to record Chandravanshi's statement and investigate the case.
 
 
 

-- 
.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.