Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 09.06.12
Sonia panel sends reminder - The Telegraph
Call for quota in post of panchayat vice-president - The Hindu
Absconding former MLA arrested in UP - News24
'Exiled' Dalit youth seeks police protection - The Tribune
SC, ST students yet to get increased scholarships - The Pioneer
Sonia panel sends reminder
New Delhi, June 8: The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council has sent a reminder to the government to do something more substantive for Dalits, just when the Prime Minister and the Planning Commission seemed determined to give a push to infrastructure and a new phase of reforms.
The NAC, which in the UPA's second term has placed on the Centre's table several social-sector initiatives — from a national programme for the shelterless to amending he RTI rules and powering its own version of the National Food Security bill — has asked the plan panel to change the "architecture" for implementing its Scheduled Castes sub-plan in the 12th Plan.
The council sent a slew of recommendations to the plan panel on May 28 that was prepared by a sub-committee which had NAC members Harsh Mander and Farah Naqvi.
The NAC asked to set up a permanent cabinet committee, chaired by the Prime Minister and mandated specifically to review and monitor the "effective" implementation of the sub-plan for Dalits. "Experience has shown that existing guidelines of the commission which have been communicated to both the central ministries and the states, have not yielded the desired results.... The consultations (in the NAC) clearly brought out the imperative need for issue of a fresh set of guidelines," the NAC said.
The council suggested that the commission should broad-base the composition of its present central tripartite committee that oversees the sub-plan's working and involve the minister of social justice and empowerment and the chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
The sub-plan was born out of a policy that envisaged setting aside a proportion of the total plan outlays of the states. It wanted the amount to approximately correspond to the Dalit population in each state.
The objective was to speed up the development of Dalits by reducing the poverty and unemployment levels among them. The policy also sought to create productive assets and income-generating opportunities for them, enhance their access to education and health services and improve their quality of life by providing basics such as housing.
The NAC urged the Centre and the Planning Commission to give the highest priority in the 12th Plan period for setting up two residential schools — one for boys, another for girls — in each rural block and the same number in urban areas for every one lakh population.
It recommended pre-matriculation and post-matriculation scholarships should be given to all Dalit students, other than those excluded according to properly defined criteria.
The council emphasised that the scholarship amount should be enough to help students access not just government, but also private schools.
Education apart, the council drew the government's attention to aspects generally not associated with the development of Dalits, such as access to irrigated land, promoting self-employment schemes and encouraging entrepreneurship. "The field should be properly levelled so that Dalits can compete with the others in every sector. So the government should think beyond reservations in jobs and education," a council member said.
It demanded that the funds under the sub-plan should not be allowed to lapse or get diverted to other schemes and their spending should be socially audited.
Call for quota in post of panchayat vice-president
The fresh allegation of social discrimination against the Dalit president of Kottakatchiyendal village in Virudhunagar district has led to a demand that the post of vice-presidents also be reserved.
The demand has been revived also in the backdrop of marginalised sections being prevented from enjoying power at the grassroots level in the three reserved village panchayats of Pappapati, Keeripatti and Nattamangalam in Madurai district.
On August 26, 2006, the then government decided not to de-reserve Pappapatti, Keeripatti and Nattamangalam in Madurai district and Kottakatchiyendal in Virudhunagar district after exempting them from "rotation policy" to facilitate the Dalits to contest and serve full terms.
Referring to Kottakatchiyendal village panchayat president V. Karuppan's claim that he was forced to sit on the floor during meetings by caste Hindu members, including the vice-president, social activists say this has underscored the need to reserve the vice-president posts to "eliminate caste and gender discrimination."
A recent Madras High Court judgment has also endorsed the demand by asking the Tamil Nadu Government to "consider" the request for reserving the vice-president posts of village panchayats to avoid any caste discrimination and to ensure smooth functioning of the grass root level democratic institution.
"The Kottakatchiyendal practice of discrimination is nauseatingly repeated," says M. P. Velusamy, president of Federation of Dalit Panchayat Presidents, Tamil Nadu.
The president of Manamai village panchayat in Kanchepuram district says Dalit presidents in many village panchayats are facing the caste-based discrimination, mainly from their vice presidents, a majority of whom are caste Hindus. Women village presidents and Dalit women presidents also face similar problems, he says.
Talking to The Hindu, G. Palanithurai, Dean and Coordinator of Rajiv Gandhi Chair for Panchayati Raj Studies, Department of Political Science and Development Administration,
Gandhigram Rural Deemed University, says that barring vice-presidents of Gram Panchayats and vice-chairpersons of Block and District Panchayats, reservation is in vogue for other posts.
"But 3,000 Dalit presidents and 4,200 women and Dalit women presidents have been facing challenges from their caste Hindu vice presidents, who have emerged as the biggest threat to democracy," he adds.
The Panchayat Raj expert further points out while reserving seats for Dalits, women and Dalit women in village panchayats, the post of vice-president also should be reserved along with the president's post. "Once the president post is reserved, vice-president post also should be reserved," he insists.
Many village presidents claim the present government has reserved posts for women and Dalits for two consecutive terms of 10 years.
"No other State has taken such a socially significant decision that strengthens the grassroots democracy," says a Dalit president in Madurai district.
Various fora have approached the State Government with this specific request for reservation of the vice-president's post, stating that this would eliminate caste based discrimination.
Absconding former MLA arrested in UP
Absconding former MLA arrested Bahraich: A former MLA, convicted by a sessions court for assaulting a dalit police personnel 17 years ago has been arrested, police said today. Dilip Verma, who had been a Samajwadi Party MLA from Bahraich's Mahsi constituency thrice, was arrested last evening and would be produced in the court today, SP V K Dixit said. In 1995, Verma along with his aide Kuldeep Verma assaulted Shiv Sahai at Digiha crossing in Dargarh area after which a case was lodged, he said. In May 2010, the Bahraich SC/ST court of Special Judge Anand Kumar Upadhyay sentenced both to five-year rigorous imprisonment. They then moved applications in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, which was rejected after which the sessions court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against them in April this year. Dilip and Kuldeep were named the Congress candidates from Nanpara and Ikauna seats respectively in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, but their tickets were canceled as they failed to get relief from the High Court. PTI
'Exiled' Dalit youth seeks police protection
Raman Mohan, Tribune News Service
Hisar, June 8
A Dalit youth of Putthi Samain village, who had alleged that the village panchayat had "exiled" him from the village for 11 years and also imposed a fine of Rs 21,000 on him because he had an affair with a girl belonging to a backward caste of his village, today sought police protection saying he is being threatened by the accused.
The youth, Manoj Kumar, said the police was still investigating his complaint and had not made any arrests. The accused had been threatening him for the past few days. Although the village panchayat had denied that it had taken any such action, the police had registered a case against 15 persons under various Sections of the IPC and the SC & ST Act. The investigation of the case had been entrusted to Hansi DSP Wazir Singh.
The youth said the girl was studying at a coaching centre with him in Meham and they fell in love. However, when the girl's parents came to know of their affair they married off the girl on June 2.
Later, he alleged, the village panchayat scolded him, blackened his face and "exiled" him. The sarpanch and the panches, however, denied the allegation and stated that he could stay in the village with his family. They said the boy had been disowned by his father.
Saturday, 09 June 2012 00:00 . PNS | DEHRADUN
Though last year the State Government had increased the scholarship amount for the students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes studying in Degree Colleges, they are yet to receive increased scholarship from the department of Social Welfare. In this regard, the students of DBS (PG) College recently submitted a memorandum to the principal.
Anshul Chawla, ex-president of DAV (PG) College students union said that students belonging to SC/ST studying in BA, BSc, MA and MSc were receiving Rs 185 per month as scholarship and while those belonging to other backward castes were receiving Rs 120 from the department of Social Welfare before 2011 in the State.
In the year 2011, the state government had increased the scholarship amount from Rs 185 to Rs 300 for SC/ST students studying for bachelor degree and Rs 530 for post graduation degree and from Rs 120 to Rs 210 for OBC students.
This year, these students had received their scholarship for the year 2010 which was not same as declared by the state government in the last year.
Chawla said that he had protested in DBS (PG) College and outside the department of Social Welfare along with college students and submitted a memorandum demanding increased scholarship amount should be given to the beneficiaries declared by the state government in the year 2011.
"The union has decided to intensify its agitation unless demands are met," he warned.
Meanwhile, DBS (PG) College Principal OP Kulshreshtha said that some college students had complaint regarding scholarship amount received for the year 2010 from the department of social welfare. According to students, they should be given increased amount of scholarship for the year 2010 which was declared by the State Government in the year 2011 as they have received the amount in the year 2012.
He further said that their concerns have been communicated to the department of social welfare. The officials concerned assured that remaining amount will be transferred to the students' account after receiving from the State Government.
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.