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Friday, 13 April 2012

Dalit panchayat presidents allege bias


Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 13.04.12
 
Dalit panchayat presidents allege bias - The Times Of India
National Commission for Scheduled Castes panel upset over low government spending on dalit welfare - The Times Of India
Naveen asks officers to expedite land distribution - The Times Of India
Dalit sugarcane ryots earn lakhs of rupees - The Times Of India
Children from weaker sections can now have access to private schools - The Hindu
Three rape cases in 24 hrs in Muktsar - The Tribune
 
The Times Of India
 
Dalit panchayat presidents allege bias
 
TNN | Apr 13, 2012, 01.54AM IST
 
MADURAI: Fifty-two-year-old K Perumal thinks twice every time he wants to enter thepanchayat office in Kadanaeri village. In fact, all the dalits of Kadaneri village in Peraiyur taluk of Madurai district hesitate to enter the panchayat office. But what is even more irksome is the fact that Perumal is the president of that panchayat.
 
"I don't even have the freedom to sit in the chair at my office. I keep standing when the vice-president and his associates are around. The vice-president and the clerk call the shots in the panchayat office. They took possession of the panchayat office as well as all the documents," says Perumal. "Even today (Thursday), I found irregularities to the tune of Rs 23,000," Perumal rues.
 
It is not just Perumal, but many more dalit panchayat presidents are undergoing silent humiliation despite being elected representatives.
 
A study by Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO has revealed that 85% of dalit panchayat presidents in 10 districts of Tamil Nadu, where a study was conducted, constantly face caste-based discrimination. More than 80% of the 171 panchayat presidents who were interviewed, alleged that there was interference from non-dalits in administrative matters and that non-dalit vice presidents dominated them. Seven of them, including Perumal even alleged that they were not allowed to enter the panchayat office and sit in their seats. Thirty-two panchayat presidents have given written testimonies of the discrimination they are facing.
 
A Janagar, panchayat president of Kotanipatti panchayat in Peraiyur taluk charged that his subordinates do not even provide him the panchayat records. "I had complained to the district collector two months after assuming charge. He ordered the officials to probe into my complaints, but so far the officials have not conducted any investigation," Janagar charged.
 
Shanmugasundaram, president of Puliyur Natham panchayat in Dindigul district said that he was not allowed to occupy his seat in the panchayat office even once by the non-dalit vice-president. "My father, who was also a panchayat president suffered the same humiliation. Now I am suffering. I want the government to end this discrimination at least when the next generation takes charge," urged Shanmugasundaram.
 
Admitting that there were discriminations against dalit panchayat presidents in villages, a
 
A senior revenue official from a southern district on condition of anonymity said that they could do very less despite their best efforts. "The dalit panchayat presidents seldom have political backing while the non-dalits enjoy the support of political parties. Besides, the panchayat presidents buckle under pressure from powerful non-dalits and withdraw complaints once we initiate an inquiry," he said.
 
A Kathir, executive director of Evidence, said that the panchayat presidents need to be properly trained on various aspects to empower them. "Exclusive grievances meet should be held for dalit panchayat presidents every three months. At least in reserve panchayats, independent authority should be given to presidents to eliminate undue interference from vice-presidents," he said.
 
The Times Of India
 
National Commission for Scheduled Castes panel upset
over low government spending on dalit welfare
 
TNN | Apr 13, 2012, 01.15AM IST
 
GANDHINAGAR: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has taken strong exception to the state government failing to allocate enough funds for the welfare of the dalits in Gujarat. Winding up its stay in the state, NCSC chairman PL Punia told newspersons on Thursday that while the dalit population in Gujarat is 7 per cent, the state government allocated only 4.5 per cent of the annual plan for the welfare of Gujarat dalits.
 
A statement on budgetary allocation for SC welfare, handed over to the commission, suggests that out of Rs 30,000 crore annual plan allocation in 2010-11, SC sub-plan got just Rs 1,331.79 crore, which is 4.45 per cent of the total. The statement, shown by a senior state official to TOI, suggested that out of Rs 1,331.79 crore allocation for the SCs, Gujarat government actually spent must less - Rs 752.82 crore, which comes to merely 56.53 per cent.
 
Punia alleged that even the money shown as "expenditure" for SC welfare is actually not spent for the benefit of the dalits. "A big sum goes to building roads, bridges, water supply facilities, educational infrastructure, all of which is used by all sections of society. This became clear during our interaction with government officials led by state social justice and empowerment minister Fakirbhai Vaghela. We believe, the spending must be need-based," he said.
 
Punia, who also met chief minister Narendra Modi, said the government has failed to implement the reservation law in its true spirit. "Several states have enacted new laws to ensure that the scope of reservation is widened to cover areas outside the government. Gujarat has refused to heed our advice. We have asked the state government to extend reservation to the co-operatives and to those employed by firms to which the government outsources its activities," he stressed.
 
During his interaction with Modi, Punia raised the issue of failure to comply with the provision to call the meeting of state-level monitoring committee for SCs once in every six months. "After 1999, the government held its meeting in 2004. Thereafter, it met in 2006, 2008 and February 2010. After February 2010, the monitoring committee, chaired by Modi, has not met," he said.
Punia said the need for holding monitoring committee meeting is particularly important in a state like Gujarat, where the conviction rate for atrocities cases is 3.5 per cent as against the all-India average of 34 per cent.
 
Then, there have been reports of continuing practice of manual scavenging, untouchability and refusal of entry into temples, he suggested.
 
The Times Of India
 
Naveen asks officers to expedite land distribution
 
TNN | Apr 12, 2012, 11.16PM IST
BHUBANESWAR: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday asked officials to expedite distribution of land among landless people belonging to the schedule tribe community in the state.
 
The state government would appoint community resource persons to help identify real beneficiaries to avail land under the scheduled tribe sub-plan scheme, an official release said. The government aims at executing the project in 6,094 villages in Gajapati, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Rayagada, Kalahandi and Kandhamal districts in first phase in 2012-13, official sources said. Altogether 3,970 and 7,910 villages would be covered in second and third phases.
 
The Times Of India
 
Dalit sugarcane ryots earn lakhs of rupees
 
TNN | Apr 12, 2012, 02.35AM IST
 
BHANDARA: Farmers from Dalit community in Paoni and Lakhandur belt are happy that they earned lakhs of rupees by selling sugarcane to the Purti group-led Vainganga Sugar Cooperative Factory.
 
The factory is concentrating on Paoni and Lakhandur as it has a large number of paddy growers. Due to bitter experience of the previous Vainganga management, farmers were initially reluctant to switch over to sugarcane farming.
 
Rupchand Pandit Rangari of Mangli village has six acres of land. Last year, he switched over to sugarcane production in view of better prospects from Vainganga factory. Rangari was paid Rs 3 lakh for his sugarcane produce. Like Rangari, his brother Gopichand too cultivated sugarcane in three acre land and got Rs 1.5 lakh. Similarly, Mahadeo Kajalkhane of Palora village got Rs 3.5 lakh for the produce.
 
Rupchand said that they were initially skeptical. "But has the sugarcane production is proving beneficial, we can send our children for higher education in reputed medical and engineering colleges," he said. Sugarcane production has spurred the local youths to take interest in agriculture, he added.
 
Anil Mendhe, director of Vainganga Sugar Factory, said that economic empowerment of farmers is the main motto of Purti group and this is the first step in that direction. There are around 50 farmers from Dalit community who have earned lakhs of rupees from sugarcane crop.
 
The Hindu
 
Children from weaker sections can now have access to private schools
 
Aarti Dhar
Bindu Shajan Perappadan
 
RTE Act makes it mandatory for all schools to reserve 25 per cent seats for such sections Children from the disadvantaged sections of society will now have access to private schools as the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
 
The Act makes it mandatory for all schools, except minority unaided (religious and linguistic minorities included), to reserve 25 per cent of seats for children from the disadvantaged sections, the burden of which will be borne by the government.
 
Many private schools had opposed the move saying that since they did not take any grants from the government, they could not be legally bound to reserve seats and also the per-child cost as suggested by the government was very low. The government spends between Rs.6,000 and Rs.18,000 a child annually on elementary education and this will form the broad basis for reimbursement under the RTE, though the final amount will vary from State to State.
 
However, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld all provisions of the Act, and this will now help the government in enforcing the law effectively so that disadvantaged students can also have access to good quality education at the elementary level.
 
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal expressed happiness at the verdict, saying it brought clarity and put all controversies to rest.
 
Talking to reporters, Mr. Sibal said litigation in court should never be seen as a victory or defeat — especially when the government was involved — because what the government was looking for from this litigation was clarity as it had an impact on millions of people.
 
"One of the biggest issues involved was [whether] 25 per cent reservation applies to private schools or not, which is also upheld by the SC, and it also does not apply to minority institutions. That controversy is also set at rest," he said.
 
The Centre provides 65 per cent of the funds for school education under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan while the remaining is shelled out by the States. However, the 13th Finance Commission allocated additional resources when the Act was notified. This raised the sharing pattern to 68:32 between the Centre and the States. This will be applicable in 2013-14.
 
Welcoming the verdict, private schools in the Capital noted that they would need the government's support to ensure that "sustained quality education is imparted to all the children."
 
Delhi Public School (Mathura Road) principal M.I. Hussain said: "Our school has been following the Delhi government's direction to provide reserved seats for students from the economically weaker section. This addition to the school, however, does put pressure on general students as the government has not made clear its stand on supporting the schools financially to take care of the EWS [Economically Weaker Section] students. We are committed to providing quality education but are not willing to tax paying parents beyond a limit."
 
Springdales School (Pusa Road) principal Ameeta Mulla Wattal said: "We have been taking in 25 per cent EWS students at the entry level for the past three years.
 
RTE Forum convener Ambarish Rai welcomed the court's decision as a step towards bringing in greater equality of opportunity for all children in India.
 
The Tribune
 
Three rape cases in 24 hrs in Muktsar
 
Archit Watts/TNS
Muktsar, April 12
 
In Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's home district of Muktsar, three rape cases have been reported in the past 24 hours. A Dalit girl at Danewala village was allegedly abducted from her house and raped by a gang of three persons late last night. She was dropped back at her house at 6 am.
 
The victim has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Malout. A case under Sections 376, 366, 452, 34 of the IPC and 27, 30, 54, 59 of the Arms Act has been registered against Jarnail Singh, Gurmeet Singh, an unidentified person and a woman accomplice. All are at large.
 
In another incident, a married woman of Bhuttiwala village was allegedly raped while she was working in her kitchen by a resident of the village. A case has been registered at the Kot Bhai police station.
 
In yet another incident, a resident of Davindera road has accused Rajinder Singh, alias Bobby, a resident of Dabwali road, of raping her. Bobby allegedly established physical ties with the victim promising that he would marry her but refused to do so later. Vakil Singh of Lambi village allegedly assaulted a girl while she was returning to Lambi from Mann village along with her brother. The accused reportedly slapped the victim's brother.
 
On the complaint of the victim's father yesterday, a case has been registered.
 

-- 
.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.