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Friday, 18 May 2012

‘Social boycott made Dalits in 77 Gujarat villages migrate'



Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 16.05.12
 
 'Social boycott made Dalits in 77 Gujarat villages migrate' - The Hindu
In 'open' NHRC meet, edgy govt orders media out - Express India
In the birthplace of self-respect movement, Dalits fight for their dignity - DNA
'People must have space to express anger against injustice' - The Times Of India
CM asked to take over SC/ST portfolio - Zee News
Atrocity cases: Guj promises NHRC on conviction - Zee News
 
The Hindu
 
'Social boycott made Dalits in 77 Gujarat villages migrate'
 
Manas Dasgupta
Dalits in at least 77 villages in Gujarat have been forced to migrate due to social boycotts, according to chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.
 
A team of the NHRC, headed by Justice Balakrishnan, on Tuesday completed a two-day visit to Gujarat for an Open House to hear the complaints of the backward classes. He rounded it up with a meeting with Chief Secretary A.K. Joti and some other government officials to discuss steps being taken by the government to attend to the complaints.
 
Talking to journalists at the conclusion of the visit, Justice Balakrishnan said nearly 100 complaints were also received by the NHRC on alleged police atrocities, particularly the police refusing to register their complaints, or showing total inaction in pursuing the cases after registering the complaints. Some of the specific cases, however, were promptly refuted by the government. It pointed out that the complainants might be unaware of it, but the police had filed FIRs on the basis of their complaints, and investigations were on.
 
Expressing concern at the low conviction rates — just 5 per cent — in atrocity cases in the State, Justice Balakrishnan said this usually happened because of improper investigation by the police, or due to the failure of the public prosecutors to present the cases properly. He said the attention of the State government had been drawn to the situation, and it had promised to take necessary remedial measures. The government had also agreed that henceforth the meeting of the vigilance committee for the backward classes would be held twice a year as required.
 
Justice Balakrishnan said the NHRC was satisfied with the past performances of almost all State governments, as most of the suggestions and recommendations of the commission had been implemented by all States.
 
As far as social boycott of the Dalits by the upper castes was concerned, it was the outcome of the "mindset" of the people for centuries, which would take time to be removed.
 
Justice Balakrishnan was all praise for the Gujarat government, for formulating "innovative schemes" for the betterment of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Describing Gujarat as a "model State" in this sphere, he said: "Many innovative schemes are being implemented, which are all working well. This is the State where the penetration of education among the SC and ST communities has reached 70 per cent," he said in his opening remarks.
 
Express India

 

In 'open' NHRC meet, edgy govt orders media out

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/in-open-nhrc-meet-edgy-govt-orders-media-out/949955/

 

Parimal Dabhi

Posted: May 16, 2012 at 0323 hrs IST
 
Ahmedabad Rattled by questions over atrocities on Dalits, the state government on Tuesday ordered the mediapersons out of an "open" hearing of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that began here yesterday.
 
During the two-day public hearing that started on Monday, the NHRC team, led by its chairperson and former Chief Justice of India, Justice (retired) K G Balakrishnan, had received a number of complaints from various individuals and NGOs.
 
The team was expected to meet state government officials at Circuit House in Shahibaug area of Ahmedabad on Tuesday to get clarifications over the complaints, mainly about atrocities against Dalits and scheduled castes.
 
On Monday, the information and public relations officer of NHRC, Jaimini Kumar Srivastava, had made it clear that the next day's meeting with state officials was not to be a closed-door meeting and that media would be allowed in.
 
Accordingly, mediapersons were present at the conference hall on Tuesday.
 
All was well when the meeting began with powerpoint presentations by Principal Secretary (Social Justice & Empowerment Department) Sanjay Prasad and Additional DGP (SC/ST Cell) Deepak Swaroop, who higlighted the state government's "pro-Dalit approach".
 
Swaroop even said the government was practising total "transparency" because of an "overactive media".
After their presentation, NHRC chief Justice (retired) Balakrishnan and member B C Patel addressed the gathering.
 
However, as soon as the Commission started asking questions that were raised by Dalits and NGOs the previous day, Chief Secretary A K Joti promptly intervened, asking mediapersons to leave the hall since it was a "closed-door meeting".
 
When confronted, NHRC member B C Patel said it was up to the state government to decide on whether to allow the media in or not. Joti, in turn, maintained they did not want media presence during the interaction.
 
The meeting was attended by top state officials, including the director general of police, district collectors and superintendents of police.
 
DNA
 
In the birthplace of self-respect movement, Dalits fight for their dignity
 
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 20:18 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Madurai | Agency: DNA
 
Caste discrimination has reached a state of abominable proportion in Tamil Nadu, which is ironically the birthplace of self-respect movement.
 
Forget the poor in villages and small towns, even doctors in major cities are abused and discriminated against by their colleagues and juniors calling them by caste names.
 
The latest incident is the humiliation faced by to Prof V Pugalendhi (52), the head of department of orthopaedics surgery and traumatology at government Rajaji Hospital and a faculty memeber at Madurai Medical College, both of which, are elite institutions in southern Tamil Nadu. Prof Pugalenthi, who holds a masters degree and post graduate diploma in orthopaedic surgery was instrumental in converting the department into the best organisation ever since he took over.
 
"Some of the faculty and staff of the department were opposed to the move to shift the orthopaedic surgery and traumatology to the new Trauma Centre since this would have prevented their business interests and private practice. All of them leave the hospital by 11:30 am for work in private hospital," Prof Pugalendhi, the first ever Dalit to head this department, told DNA.
 
Hailing from a scheduled caste community, Prof Pugalendhi is quite often humiliated by his colleagues and juniors.
 
"You are the only untouchable scheduled caste dog and we will see to it that you are out soon," Prof T Chandraprakasam, a colleague reportedly shouted at Prof Pugalendhi once.
 
The Hindus in his department were upset because Dr Pugalendhi questioned thelate arrivals and unauthorised absence.
 
Though Dr Pugalendhi has raised the issue with his superiors, he is yet to get any relief. A letter addressed to chief minister Jayalalithaa (a copy of the same is available with this newspaper) remains unanswered.
 
Had he accepted offers which poured in from countries like USA and gone to work there, Prof Pugalendhi would have become a billionaire by this time, says his friend Vincent Raj Kathir who heads Evidence, an organisation tracking atrocities against Dalits.
 
Annamalai, a patient hailing from one of the nearby villages described Dr Pugalendhi as a doctor with a big heart. "I have never seen a doctor who is as kind to the patients as him. But upper caste doctors can never stand his popularity," said Annamalai.
 
Dr Pugalendhi is not the only Dalit who faces this form of discrimination. There are other medical and government officials in Tamil Nadu who face humiliation because of their caste.
 
The Times Of India
 
'People must have space to express anger against injustice'
 
May 16, 2012, 12.00AM IST
Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan 's latest movie, Jai Bhim Comrade, portraying events around a police firing on dalit protesters in 1997, won a National Award and a prize of Rs 51,000 from the Maharashtra government - which Patwardhan's donated to the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a cultural troupe inspired by B R Ambedkar and Karl Marx, expressing the oppression of dalits through poetry and song. Patwardhan features this group, some members of which have gone underground recently. Speaking with Jyoti Punwani , Patwardhan explained his view of the KKM, why its work is important - and why Shankar's 1949 cartoon depicting B R Ambedkar didn't raise protests back then:
 
How did you decide to feature the KKM in your documentary?
I first saw an electric performance by the KKM in 2007 at the 10th anniversary of the police firing at Mumbai's Ramabai Nagar. I had begun to film Jai Bhim Comrade in 1997 when 10 dalits were killed in this firing and Vilas Ghogre, a singer-poet i knew, hung himself in protest. This shocked me into documenting atrocities against dalits and recording their songs of protest.
 
The KKM is made up largely of young dalit boys and girls - but their music spoke of centuries of oppression and resistance. Over the next few years, i followed them intermittently with my camera, at performances, at their homes, with their families. I saw them as the new generation of shahirs or singer-poets who'd taken over the mantle from Annabhau Sathe, Amar Shaikh, Vamandada Kardak and Vilas Ghogre. To my surprise, they did not just sing overtly political songs but fought superstition and even wrote love songs, valorizing gender equality and inter-caste marriage.
 
Why are you donating the prize money you've received to the KKM?
The money was given for a film that highlights the KKM amongst others. Ironically, it was given by a state that's trying to muzzle these sons and daughters of India. People must be given the democratic space to express anger against injustice - the best way to preserve the freedom we all believe in is to speak out even when it is unpopular and to identify the root causes of dissenta¦ 

The power of KKM's music is undeniable and the fact that atrocities against dalits continue makes an uncompromising KKM suspect in the eyes of those who protect the status quo. Yet, the KKM i knew spoke of changing the world not with weapons but through song and drum.
 
Speaking of protest and dissent, what do you make of the NCERT Ambedkar cartoon row? The cartoon didn't raise protests when it was drawn in 1949 - why now?
The cartoon in its day did not rouse controversy because the nation was young and hopeful. Ambedkar was drafting the Constitution. He was the law minister. Later, a disillusioned Ambedkar resigned when Nehru stonewalled his Hindu Code Bill in deference to orthodox Hindus. Betrayed by his secular friends, Ambedkar, with lakhs of followers, walked out of Hinduism and embraced Buddhism.
 
Today, repeated betrayals have frayed the sensitivities of dalits, but the iconic persona of Ambedkar is etched in their hearts forever. Deification, desecration and empty, symbo-lic gestures by the state are now a repeating cycle - these take the place of any real attempt to annihilate caste.
 
The Pioneer
 
 
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 23:36
PNS | Bhubaneswar
In a bid to enhance the transition of SC and ST girls from Class VIII to classes IX and X, the State Government will start a new programme of Conditional Cash Transfer scheme with support from the Department of International Development (DFID), UK.
 
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would meet International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell during his forthcoming UK visit to finalise the scheme, said a State Government official here. The DFID has taken Odisha as a focus State in India, said the official.
 
Chief Minister Patnaik, who is leading a high-level delegation to the United Kingdom from May 22 to 30, is likely to meet the top brass of the DFID on May 25.
 
The DFID is likely to extend a funding support of 25 million pound as cash incentive for disadvantaged SC and ST girls entering Class VIII and completing Class X. The programme would cover all the 30 districts of the State during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.
 
After that, from 2016-17 onwards, the State Government is to support these disadvantaged girls from its own coffer, which would entail an expenditure of `70 crore per annum, said sources. Each girl would be receiving `2,000 per year with the funds being transferred to their banks or post office accounts on a monthly basis.
 
To start with, a pilot programme would begin in Rayagada district during 2012-13, which would benefit at least 3,000 disadvantaged girls, said the official. The Department of ST & SC Development would implement the programme, he informed.
 
In the meantime, the district authorities have made the inventory and mapping of all the High Schools and hostel facilities and enrolment of the girls in Class VIII. Availability of banking service and postal facilities are being mapped so that the money would directly land in their accounts. Access of mobile phones is also being worked out so that they could receive SMSs about their money, said the sources.
 
The new programme aims at enhancement of the attendance rates of SC and ST girls in Classes IX and X. The payment would be conditional on a 75-per cent of attendance. That is why it is called Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, said the officer.
 
The programme aims to increase the graduation rates of these disadvantaged girls from Junior Secondary to Higher Secondary, that is from Classes X to XI, said the officer.
 
Zee News
 
CM asked to take over SC/ST portfolio
 
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012,
Thiruvananthapuram: Three scheduled castes and Tribes outfits have urged the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to take over the SC/ST welfare portfolio to ensure proper utilisation of funds meant for these sections.
 

The present SC/ST minister P K Jayalakshmi had failed to utilise funds worth Rs 20 crore allotted to the scheduled classes, Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha leader C K Janu, SC/ST development council chairman K K Narayanan and Land Reforms Committee convenor M Geethanandan said in a statement here.
 
The minister, however, squandered Rs 2 crore allotted for the tribal festival 'Gothrayanam' held at Mananthavady recently, they alleged.
 
No rehabilitation scheme for scheduled classes was taken up this year though the budget had set apart Rs 20 crore for the purpose. There were 85,000 landless tribals in the state, the statement said. PTI
 
Zee News
 
Atrocity cases: Guj promises NHRC on conviction
 
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 21:28
Ahmedabad: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairperson K G Balakrishnan on Tuesday said that Gujarat government had assured it that state vigilance committee's meetings to review implementation of the laws for the protection of rights of SC/STs would be held regularly. 

The state also assured the high-powered delegation that it would look into the low conviction rate in Atrocity Act cases.
 
As per the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Monitoring and Vigilance Committee should meet twice a year.
 
The committee recently met after a gap of around two years.
 
Balakrishnan, who spoke to the media after an open hearing session, said that as to the low conviction rate in crimes against backward classes, "Mr B C Patel (member of NHRC) has stressed with them (Gujarat government) upon the reasons... Lack of proper police investigation or lack of action from police."
 
NHRC also asked the Gujarat government to formulate a contingency plan for the benefits of victims of social boycott.
 

"We were told by officials that a contingency plan is in place, and we shall see to it that plan for the benefits of victims of social boycott is properly implemented," Justice Patel said.
 
The commission was reportedly informed by an NGO during the open hearing session that people in 77 villages had migrated due to atrocities or social boycotts by other casts.
PTI
 

-- 
.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.