Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 05.05.12
TN govt offers incentives against untouchability - Indian Express
Dalits demand action against MLA, his son - The Hindu
Manual scavenging still continues in Tumkur - The Hindu
Beef festival: professors condemn booking of cases - The Hindu
Caste certificates issued without vigilance reports invalid: Court - The Hindustan Times
TN govt offers incentives against untouchability
Express news service : Chennai, Sat May 05 2012, 01:14 hrs
Faced with the challenge of eliminating untouchability that is still prevalent in several rural areas of the state, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to increase funds for development works as an incentive for villages which do not practise it.
The amount has been raised from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, which will be awarded to one village in each of the state's 31 districts, said Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Minister N Subramaniam in the Assembly on Friday. The money is used to undertaking development works.
Even though the state boasts of being at the top in terms of industrial development, the scourge of untouchability continues to exist in Tamil Nadu, especially in the rural areas. At some places, there still are two-tumbler system where the upper and lower castes are served in different vessels at tea shops while at other places there are fences and walls built by caste Hindus to physically separate them from the "lower" castes.
At some other places, Dalits are not allowed to travel on vehicles while taking certain interior roads — they have to get down from their bicycles or two-wheelers and push it through.
The most recent case was that of the 'untouchability wall' at Uthapuram village where a wall built between caste Hindus and Dalits stood for nearly two decades.
Dalits demand action against MLA, his son
A protest was organised by dalits under the aegis of Dalitha Girijan and Mahila Sanghaala Ikya Vedika at the Collectorate here on Friday demanding criminal action against Elamanchili MLA UV Ramana Murty Raju and his son U. Sukumara Varma for their alleged cheating and corrupt practices to siphon off funds meant for welfare of Scheduled Castes.
In a memorandum addressed to the District Collector, the Vedika leaders alleged that the duo had indulged in cheating and corrupt practices that were detrimental to the interests of SC s by 'looting' the government subsidy in the names of unskilled labourers. They said that this was brought to light in the report of the Vigilance and Enforcement Department.
The signatories to the memorandum included the president of SC/ST Hakkula Parirakshana Sangham Bayye Mallayya, MRPS district president A. Kondababu, Visakha Mahila Vedika representative K. Kusuma and Akhila Bharata Dalita Hakkula Samakhya convener Kottapalli Venkataramana.
Manual scavenging still continues in Tumkur
Even though manual scavenging was banned in Karnataka in 1970, the inhuman practice is still being followed in Tumkur by Dalits.
Though Tumkur has underground drainage, many toilets in Upparahalli, Chennakeshavanagar, Nazarabad, Shanthinagar, Goods Shed Colony, N.R. Colony and Santhepete are not connected to the drainage system.
Each toilet has an individual soak pit in which waste gets collected and at regular intervals, labourers are engaged to manually clean the soak pit.
There are more than 100 manual scavengers in Tumkur. Usually two people are engaged to clean the soak pit and each of them is paid a maximum of Rs. 250. Most of those who are engaged in manual scavenging are are pourakarmikas or construction workers who do this work to earn some extra money.
Ganagappa (26) told The Hindu, "I have been working as a manual scavenger since my childhood. I was 12 years old when I started doing this work with my father."
He added that he cleans at least five or six soak pits each month, and that helps him earn his livelihood to take care of his three children and his family.
Ramakrishnappa (46) said , "I hate cleaning soak pits but there is no choice as my four children and wife are dependent on me."
He added that he is suffering from asthma, skin disease, nausea and loss of appetite because of his job.
The health of most people who are engaged in cleaning soak pits manually gets affected. There have been several instances of labourers being asphyxiated in the septic tanks. In the recent past, such instances have come to light in Kolar, Mangalore and Bangalore.
Joint secretary of the district unit of the Pourakarmikara Sangha K. Narasimharaju said that many people earn their livelihood by cleaning soak pits manually. The State Government must provide alternative jobs to such people before stopping them from doing it. And, it is necessary that a survey is conducted to find out exactly the number of people engaged in manual scavenging in the State, he said.
General Secretary of the district unit of Pourakarmikara Sangha N.K. Subramanya alleged that many families of labourers who were asphyxiated in soak pits have not been given compensation. It shows the apathy of the State Government towards labourers who died while cleaning soak pits manually, he added.
Beef festival: professors condemn booking of cases
Over 93 professors and scholars in the capital in a signed statement expressed shock over cases that were booked against former Osmania University professors Dr. P.L. Vishewaswara Rao, Dr. Kancha Ilaiah, Dr. Ansari and others over the beef festival, which was recently organised at Osmania University.
The professors from University of Hyderabad (UoH), English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in a press release appealed to all the secular and democratic forces to condemn such actions.
"The beef festival on April 15 at Osmania University is an assertion of Dalit-Bahujan self respect and food culture. Nobody should force anybody not to eat what one wants to eat and nobody should force anybody to eat something that one doesn't want to eat. Preserving one's own food culture is democratic right of every individual. We oppose any attempt that thwarts this democratic freedom," they said in the press release.
The Hindustan Times
Caste certificates issued without vigilance reports invalid: Court
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 05, 2012
Last Updated: 01:38 IST(5/5/2012)
More than 35 lakh persons across the state belonging to various reserved categories may have to get their caste claims re-validated. The Bombay high court, on Friday, held that the caste validity certificates issued to them were invalid in the absence of vigilance reports. A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice Niteen Jamdar held that the Caste Scrutiny Committees set up to examine caste claims are required to refer every claim to their respective Vigilance Cells and could not have validated any caste claim without the vigilance report.
However, the high court has stayed the operation of the judgment for 10 weeks, after the state government sought time to approach the apex court.
The landmark ruling has cast a shadow over the term of several candidates elected to civic bodies across Maharashtra, as the court has held unconstitutional the very composition of the 33 Temporary Caste Scrutiny Committees. The committees, one for each district, were set up specifically for speedy settlement of caste claims of persons who wished to contest the recently concluded civic polls across the state. These committees issued more than 27,000 validity certificates within a day or two.
Around the time of the polls, several petitions were filed in the high court questioning the caste certificates. Petitioners in one group had challenged the constitutional validity of the 33 specially constituted Caste Scrutiny Committees, whereas another group had questioned the validity of the certificates issued by these committees.
Sugandh Deshmukh, counsel for the petitioners, had argued that Caste Scrutiny Committees are required to refer every matter to the Vigilance Cell in view of guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court (SC). He challenged the validity of the 33 committees contending that their composition was not as per the guidelines laid down by the SC and therefore their composition itself was unconstitutional.
However, special counsel for state government, VA Gangal, argued that in 2001, the state government enacted a legislation governing validation of caste claims and therefore, the guidelines laid down by the SC would not apply. The advocate argued that as per the legislation, Caste Scrutiny Committees are not required to refer every matter to Vigilance Cell.
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.