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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Bill to eliminate manual scavenging in monsoon session, Centre tells SC


Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 03.04.12
 
Bill to eliminate manual scavenging in monsoon session, Centre tells SC - The Times Of india
Manual scavenging refuses to die in UP - The Times Of India
Sterilisations carried out under torchlight on Dalits, SC asks why - The Financial Times
Ambedkar caricature irks dalits - Deccan Herald
Case against theatre activist Tabla Nani - The Times Of india
Dalit outfits petition collector against non-dalit association - The Times Of India
Protesters demand quota for SC/ST in BU - The Times Of India
Dalit 'split' shows up in Cong - Indian Express
Congressmen urged to take out rallies - The Hindu
 
The Times Of india
 
Bill to eliminate manual scavenging in monsoon session, Centre tells SC
 
TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 02.54AM IST
 
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it would introduce a Bill in Monsoon session of Parliament to amend the 19-year-old Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act to ensure rehabilitation of those engaged in such dehumanizing labour.
 
A bench, comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, wanted additional solicitor general Harin Raval to tell the apex court the salient features of the Bill and whether it would render the pending PIL by NGO Safai Karmachari Andolan infructuous.
 
The NGO's nine-year-old petition had detailed instances about the continuance of the abominable practice in many states, including Delhi, and alleged that the 1993 law against manual scavenging had not been able to eradicate the practice that found over five lakh people engaged in collecting and disposing night soil from homes in various states.
 
The NGO through advocate Shomona Khanna had filed a contempt petition againstUttarakhand government alleging continuance of manual scavenging in some places of the hill state. The bench asked the government to respond to the charges, while seeking answer from Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to similar charges.
 
The Times Of India
 
Manual scavenging refuses to die in UP
 
TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.46AM IST
 
LUCKNOW: Manual scavenging and dry toilets continue to be a grim reality, staring at the face of the state, even after both were banned almost 19 years ago. Even state capital Lucknow is not free from the social menace, as 57 such scavengers still render their services.
 
As per UP government's own admission in a government order (GO) - issued on March 21, 2012, - there are 5,530 human scavengers in 42 districts of the state. Meerut tops this list with 799 scavengers followed by Muzaffarnagar (574) and Farrukhabad (555). In fact western UP districts have a much bigger share of such people, when compared to central UP. The practice is alive in cities supposed to be a strong hold of the present government as well. These include Rampur (100), Etah (78), Mainpuri (74), Kannauj (48), Firozabad (27) and Etawah (12). Big cities of Ghaziabad (281), Aligarh (144), Lucknow (57), Kanpur (34), and Agra (12) are also a part of the list.
 
The UP government has been provided this data by the Supreme Court which is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue. Petitioner Anupam Lal Das demanded justice and right to lead a dignified life for human scavengers across India. In a recent hearing, he submitted a list of UP districts, where manual scavenging is still prevalent. Acting on the same, the state government has asked district magistrates to look into the problem, get a confirmatory survey done and demolish all the dry toilets in their districts. The DMs have been told to submit a report in 15 days.
 
The numbers may however be an underestimation of the prevalent scenario. Details gathered from the state Panchayati Raj department show that there are over one lakh dry toilets in 53 blocks of 18 districts. These blocks have been identified as highly vulnerable to polio. Against this, the GO issued on March 21, 2012 says that there are just 34,921 dry toilets in 42 districts. Incidentally, the 18 districts figure in state government list as well.
 
Sakrunisa, a community worker, employed by an NGO working to promote sanitation and use of safe drinking water in old city, says that more womenthan men work as scavengers. "They take up such work only when they do not get employed anywhere else. I have seen that all these women are ready to quit this work the moment they get an alternative," she said.
 
Officials in panchayati raj and poverty alleviation department say that the practice has survived only because of a weak policy framework. "Both legal and policy frame work are needed to stand up against social evils. Though the legal structure came into existence 19 years ago, the policy frame work is yet to take a shape. There is, in fact, no specific umbrella policy framework. All we can do is ask the local administration to get dry toilets demolished and sanction money for construction of toilets in select areas. As far as providing an alternative job is concerned, we really cannot help," said a state government officer.
 
The Financial Times
 
Sterilisations carried out under torchlight on Dalits, SC asks why
 
Agencies
 
Posted: Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 2033 hrs IST
 
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought the stands of the Centre and various state governments on a plea alleging sterilisation surgeries on women under torchlight, in various places, specially in Bihar, in gross violation of the medical and ethical norms.
 
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale issued notices to the Centre and various states and sought their replies within eight weeks on a public interest litigation by non-governmental organisation Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) which bought to the court's notice the alleged horrific incidents, particularly in Bihar.
 
Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Collin Gonsalves told the bench that operations "were performed by doctors under torchlight and activists of an NGO were administering anaesthesia to the patients."
 
According to the NGO HRLN, a sterilisation camp was held at the Kaparfora Government Middle School at Araria in Bihar in January this year by an NGO in coordination with the State Health Society, where a private doctor used the school classroom as an operating theatre for sterilisation surgeries on at least 53 poor, Dalit women.
 
Devika Biswas, the activist who filed the petition said women were operated on paddy straws provided by the local villagers leaving three women bleeding severely and requiring their subsequent treatments at a private medical hospital, the NGO said in its petition.
 
"In clear violation of the government guidelines and the basic human rights, the doctor performed surgeries at night, under torchlight. During the two hours he was operating, the doctor did not wash his hands, change gloves, or wear a surgical gown and cap," the petition alleged.
 
Most of the women from the camp had to seek costly private care later, the petition alleged adding that none of the women were counselled, either before or after the surgeries.
 
"The horrific human rights violations extend beyond these events in Bihar," the petition added.
"After their surgeries, untrained NGO workers placed the women on straw paddy provided by the families. The doctor operated on one pregnant woman, Jitni Devi, who miscarried days after her surgery. The doctor and NGO staff left three women profusely bleeding, including Saraswati Devi, who spent 8 days recovering in the hospital," the petition stated.
 
"Doctors and health facilities across the county routinely flaunt the ethical and procedural guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the constitutional obligations and international norms. The Public Interest Litigation specifically outlines examples of coerced and unsafe sterilisations in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan," it claimed.
 
Deccan Herald
 
Ambedkar caricature irks dalits
 
Mumbai, April 2, 2012, DHNS:
Enraged dalits across Maharashtra have threatened to take to streets over ''a highly derogatory'' depiction of Babasaheb Ambedkar through a cartoon in the NCERT's textbook for 11th standard. 
 
The Dalits have demanded of the National Council of Education and Research Training (NCERT) to withdraw its Higher Secondary (11th std.) political science textbook, containing the said cartoon of Ambedkar.
 
Republican Party of India-Athawale (RPI-A) leader Ramdas Athawale at a press meet here displayed the NCERT textbook contents. He demanded the resignation of NCERT president Kapil Sibal, under whose aegis "the book has been prepared and cleared for students."
 
The contentious chapter titled "Indian Constitution at Work" (Chapter-I of Political Science in Central Board of Secondary Educaiton curriculum)  while discussing the makings of the Constitution, carries a small box allegedly 'lampooning Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar atride a snail with reins in hand with Jawaharlal Nehru standing behind brandishing a whip.' The cartoon has been credited to 'Shankar.Children's Book Trust.'
 
Athawale said that his party had already intimated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Human Resources Development (HRD) Science and Technology Kapil Sibal about the "disparging figure," in the text book.
 
"However, we have not received any reply whatsoever. Even the content describing the making of constitution is also quite biased. It tries to project Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar as a mere critic and that the drafts were prepared by several committees formed at the time.
 
"We never said that the entire constitution was written by Babasaheb but then the fact remains that the final draft was not only cleared by him but also envisaged by him. Even Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other political stalwarts admired Dr Ambedkar's legal acumen and insight into world constitutions," Athawale said.
 
"We not only want an immediate withdrawal of the book but also an immediate rectification of the chapter. Sibal should immediately resign. He is a lawyer and claims to be a constitutional expert. Then it is strange that such berating drawings should be put up... This is not an imagined insult...anybody who sees it would find it shocking," Athawale said.
 
The Times Of india
 
Case against theatre activist Tabla Nani
 
TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.25AM IST
MANDYA: A case has been registered against actor and theatre activist Tabla Nani inMandya West police station under the SC/ST (Atrocity) Act for his alleged objectionable remarks against dalits at a programme on Sunday. The case has been filed by Santhosh.
 
According to programme organizers, Tabla Nani attended a cultural programme organized by Lion's Club Mandya at Sri Nalvadi Krishnarajendra auditorium. When Nani was on stage, some persons in the audience started disturbing him.
 
He sought their co-operation to continue the programme. When trouble continued, Nani allegedly made some remarks which the dalits thought are objectionable. Confirming the registration of the complaint, senior police officers said that they would investigate the case as per law.
 
The Times Of India
 
Dalit outfits petition collector against non-dalit association
 
TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.14AM IST
MADURAI: Dalit outfits here sought action on an association called 'Dalit Allatha Podhu Makkal Nala Sangam' (Non-dalit People Welfare Association) during the public grievance redressal day held at the collectorate on Monday. They said that the association was formed with the intention of discriminating against dalits.
 
The association has been registered at the District Registrar Office (Madurai South) under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 on March 2, 2011. with the association address as Door No: 60, Lakshmanapuram, Bypass Road, Madurai 16. The association has been given the registration number as 44/2011 MDU.
 
The list of members with the registration department states S Loganathan as president, P Sendilkumar as vice president, R Vasudevan as secretary and 20 others as the association members. Interestingly, all the addresses provided in the list are from Vadipatti block in the district. Though, the association in its registration forms mentioned its objective as constructing a society free of caste discrimination, dalit outfits strongly opposed the association as they felt its name was discriminating. Besides, local sources said all the members were cast Hindus and had formed the association to counter the dalit outfits operating in the region. The addresses provided in the list also confirmed that more than a dozen members had mentioned their fathers' name with the caste names all belonging to various backward and most backward communities.
M Thangaraj, district president of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front said that he had come to know about the existence of the association after the association wall poster was flashed in the internet. "When we learnt about it, we visited the place and enquired about the association. We posed as non-dalits who are interested to form similar associations and the office bearers told us that it was an association to counter dalits," Thangaraj said. "Hence, we are seeking action against the people who formed the association under the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act," he stressed.
 
On Monday, a dalit outfit, Tamil Puligal presented a petition to the district collector, U Sagayam urging the district administration to take action against the association and its office bearers. They raised slogans against the officials who registered the association and sought action on the officials as well. Upon receiving the petition, collector U Sagayam instructed officials to conduct an inquiry in this regard. "If at all, it was a public welfare association it should not have a pre-fix name as non-dalits. A public welfare association should be accessible to everyone and should not discriminate any community," he told officials.
 
The Times Of India
 
Protesters demand quota for SC/ST in BU
 
TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 07.05AM IST
COIMBATORE: More than 300 people, led by Adithamizhar Peravai founder-president R Adhiyaman, staged a protest in front of Bharathiyar University (BU) on Monday demanding proper reservation for SC/ST teaching staff in new appointments made at the university.

They also demanded that transfers of employees who demanded proper reservation as per UGC norms be revoked and funds allocated for the benefit of SC/ST employees and staff be properly utilised. Serious allegations that the university vice chancellor C Swaminathan gave preference to his Gounder caste while appointing teaching staff have also been raised.
 
The protestors raised slogans against Swaminathan. Coimbatore Member of Parliament PR Natarajan also took part in the protest. He said he will petition the Union human resources development minister Kapil Sibal over the misappropriation of funds allocated for SC/ST students and staff by the administrators.
 
Sources alleged that funds allocated for SC/ST students to the tune of Rs 5 crore have been misused by the university. The VC could not immediately be reached for comment.
 
Indian Express
 
Dalit 'split' shows up in Cong
 
Syed Khalique Ahmed : Ahmedabad, Tue Apr 03 2012, 05:19 hrs
 
A split is surfacing among the Dalits in the state Congress, with the larger sub-section Vankars among the scheduled caste demanding a bigger share of the power pie, vis-a-vis the other sub-caste, Chamar.
 
Vankars, who constitute nearly 52% of the Scheduled Castes in Gujarat, say they have been neglected by the state and central Congress leaders. They have written a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and other central leaders over the 'injustice', warning that it could impact the party in the forthcoming Assembly elections.
 
They feel that Chamar forming only 7% of SCs are being given more weightage in the party and also offered important posts ignoring the Vankars.
 
The revolt surfaced after the party nominated Pravin Rashtrapal, who belongs to the Chamar sub-caste, for Rajya Sabha for a second term.
 
A week ago, Vankar community leaders sent a letter to the central leadership, expressing their unhappiness over treatment meted out to them by the party. They said that BJP, instead, had given more weightage to the Vankars owing to their larger share in the SC population, as a result of which Vankars were gradually shifting their political loyalty to the saffron party. Vankar leaders said such an attitude of the Congress leaders does not send a good message to this section of voters.
 
There are many Chamar members who have been given important positions in the party or nominated in the board and corporations, even as there were equally or more competent candidates among the Vankars, they said.
 
While most Congress Vankar leaders refused to come on record, former minister Karsandas Soneri said the reports reaching him from the community suggest that they felt being neglected by the party.
"Renomination of Pravin Rashtrapal has not sent a good message among the Vankars," said Soneri, adding that earlier Raju Parmar, a Chamar, was nominated for RS for three terms and now Rashtrapal for two terms.
 
The Hindu
 
Congressmen urged to take out rallies
 
Special Correspondent
 'State nod for implementation of SC/ST sub-plan is revolutionary'
District Congress Committee president Naraharisetty Narasimha Rao on Sunday said the State nod for implementation of the SC/ST sub-plan was a revolutionary stand and it was an occasion to rejoice.
 
In a statement, he said in a gesture to express gratitude to the late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for being instrumental in implementation of welfare schemes for the SC and ST communities, the party cadre must pay rich tributes to the leaders in all towns and mandal units by garlanding their statues on Monday and Tuesday. This should be followed by a rally from the statue of B.R. Ambedkar to the party office where it could culminate in a meeting.
 
He said the district, town, and block-level leaders must take active part in the programme and make it a grand success.
 
He said party leaders in SC, ST colonies must become part of the event and educate residents of their respective colonies on the revolutionary decision taken by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
 
 

-- 
.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
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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.