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Thursday 9 February 2012

Upper caste men brand Dalit sarpanch's daughter-in-law "witch"

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 08.02.12
Opinion poll: SP is likely to emerge as single-largest party in UP - The Times Of India
Upper caste men brand Dalit sarpanch's daughter-in-law "witch" - The Hindu
Relief amount doubles up after amendment to SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules - The Hindu
Provide land to all landless people: samiti - The Hindu
SC, BC backlog being cleared speedily: CM - The Tribune
State worried over rise in crimes against SC, ST - The Times of India
Department heads asked to explain use of funds for SC/ST students - The Times Of India
The Times Of India
Opinion poll: SP is likely to emerge as single-largest party in UP
TNN Feb 4, 2012, 05.36AM IST
 (An opinion poll conducted for a TV channel points to the Samajwadi Party (SP) emerging as the single largest with a projected 135 seats in Uttar Pradesh.)
NEW DELHI: An opinion poll conducted for a TV channel points to the Samajwadi Party (SP) emerging as the single largest with a projected 135 seats in Uttar Pradesh, while Congress makes impressive gains winning 99 seats along with partner Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is likely to lose power, being reduced to 101 seats, while BJP finishes a poor fourth with 61 seats.
The Hindu
Upper caste men brand Dalit sarpanch's daughter-in-law "witch"
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
When Norti Bai, sarpanch of Harmara in Rajasthan, refused to give in to the demands of upper caste men in her village, her daughter-in-law Ram Peari was branded a "witch." The villagers called for Peari's "social boycott" and excommunication.
In Alwar district in the State, Sunita Bairwa of Bahedakhah was assaulted because the upper castes were unhappy about a Dalit being elevated to sarpanch.
These and similar testimonies were shared at a day-long public hearing on caste bias and atrocities faced by Dalit elected representatives, held here on Tuesday. Organised by the All-India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, the event highlighted the stories of discrimination and violence against Dalit women elected representatives from in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
"It took us days to get the police to file a complaint. I was victimised because we are from the lower caste and my mother-in-law was doing some good work for the village. The upper caste men could not tolerate it, they wanted her to toe their line and when she refused to, they accused me of being a witch and of performing black magic on another woman," said Ram Peari.
Most elected representatives facing harassment complained that the police and the administration were also not supporting them. "As chairperson of the district council of Aurangabad, I am not even kept informed of the day-to-day functioning. When I raise important issues, I am told that because of my caste, I will not even be heard," complained Ranju Devi from Bihar.
In her village, she alleged, her husband was beaten up by upper caste men who objected to her candidature.
No change in status
Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission, who addressed the hearing, said the status of the Dalit women representative was same as it was years ago. The Centre and State governments would have to work collectively for the empowerment of Dalit women and there was need for a multisectoral approach to development and proper implementation of policies, she said.
Following the testimonies, a jury put forth certain recommendations. They called for establishing a special office in each district to act as a support mechanism for Dalit, Adivasi and women panchayat presidents. The office should provide advice, training and information as well as monitor the performance of duties and interventions by others such as panchayat members and government officials.
The special office should mediate and resolve problems encountered by panchayat representatives.
In another recommendation, the jury said the State Election Commissions should set up a fund to provide basic financial support towards election cost to Dalits, Adivasis and women in general falling within a stipulated low household income bracket.
It called for setting up an autonomous statutory directorate for all reserved panchayats at the State level, headed by a Dalit, Adivasi woman IAS officer, and assistant directorates at the district level, headed by a Dalit/Adivasi woman officer below the rank of IAS, to function under the directorate. These two institutions should fall under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Assembly through the Governor. They should monitor and review the pre and post-election performance of the reserved panchayats, and submit annual reports to the Assembly.
The jury called for mandating the National and State Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Women's Commissions with sufficient powers, funds and staff to specifically inquire into political obstruction or violence committed against Dalit women and men, Adivasis and other women elected representatives.
A resolution to strengthen the legal framework such as the SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989, and enforcement agencies particularly those focussing on Dalit women was passed.
The Hindu
Relief amount doubles up after amendment to SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules
Staff Reporter
The Central Government has formulated rules to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995. The new rules become effective since publication in the Official Gazette on December 23, 2011, which shall henceforth be called the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes [Prevention of Atrocities (Amendment)] Rules 2011.
After the enactment of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules were framed on March 31, 1995. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in a notification, has stated that in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 23 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 (33 of 1989), the Central Government makes the following rules to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules,1995. The rules, the notification says, shall be called the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities (Amendment) Rules 2011. The SC/ST (POA) Rules, 1995 will be referred to as principal rules.
Among the amendments made, the relief amount in the case of atrocities against SC/ST has been increased. The relief amount has been increased in the case of murder of an earning member from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.5 lakh; for murder of a non-earning member from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2.5 lakh; for sexual exploitation/outraging the modesty of an SC/ST woman from Rs.50, 000 to Rs.1, 20,000.
For listed offences under Section 3(1) (i) to Section 3 (1) (x), the relief amount has been enhanced to Rs.60, 000 from Rs.25,000 and for offences relating to right to franchise from Rs.25, 000 to Rs.50, 000. For the offence of fouling of water, denial of customary right of passage and giving false evidence the compensation has been increased from Rs.1,20,000 to Rs.2,50,000. The amendment also says that words "Director/Deputy Director, National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes" shall be substituted with "Representatives of the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes."
Welcoming this move by the Central Government, the Madurai based non governmental organisation Evidence said that the State Government should immediately implement the notified changes in the Rules.
The Hindu
Provide land to all landless people: samiti
Staff Reporter
Special Arrangment Saji M.Kapeekkad, Dalit ideologue, addressing a public meeting organised by Adivasi-Dalit Munnetta Samiti in Pathanamthitta on Tuesday.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) government should come out with a progressive policy to provide land for farming and construction of houses to all landless and homeless people in the State, Dalit ideologue Saji M. Kapeekkad has said.
Addressing a public meeting organised by the Adivassi-Dalit Munnetta Samiti here on Tuesday, Mr. Kapeekkad said the allotment of land for farming to all landless people would bring economic development. The government should desist from 'tethering those belonging to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe categories to three-cent colonies.' Samiti president Sreeraman Koyyon said 2.55 lakh acres of government land had been in the illegal possession of various private parties such as Harrisons Malayalam Ltd., Tata Estate, and Believers Church.
The government should show the political will to take over such land and distribute it among the landless people. Thousands of landless people in the Dalit and upper caste sections of society were being denied their fundamental right to have a dwelling place as a huge chunk of land was in the illegal possession of corporate houses, he said.
The samiti would launch a State-wide agitation to press its demands. Samiti general secretary C.H. Gopalan and office-bearers C.K. Arjunan, Kanchiyaal Peethambaran, Bijoy David, Ammini Narayanan, Santhamma Kallarackal, and Hari Naranganam spoke.
The Tribune
SC, BC backlog being cleared speedily: CM
Tribune News Service
Karnal, February 7
The Haryana Government is making serious efforts to ensure that there was no backlog of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes in government jobs and the pace of filling the reserved category posts was faster as compared to other states, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said.
Speaking on the 635th birth anniversary of Guru Ravidass, Hooda claimed that the backlog of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes was being cleared by expediting the process of filling of vacant posts.
Utilising the occasion to pat the government on the Food Security Act, the Chief Minister said it was the fulfilment of Guru Ravidass' dream who always said through his verses that his dream was for the creation of a society where everyone got food.
Describing the Congress and poor people as "synonyms", Hooda said whenever the Congress remained out of power, maximum atrocities were committed against the poor people.
Without naming any party, he said some parties came to power in UP by making a false propaganda to ensure the welfare of the poor but had no policies for the welfare of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Classes in the state.
Referring to the benefits being given to the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Classes in Haryana, Hooda said Haryana was not only the first state in the country but also in the world, where scholarships were given to students belonging to these classes from Class I.
Listing the schemes and programmes being implemented for the welfare of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Backward Classes, the Chief Minister said the budget allocation for the welfare of these sections had been increased from Rs 79 crore in 2005 to Rs 357.42 crore in 2011-12.
The government is providing scholarships to the tune of Rs 500 crore per year to 16.70 lakh students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and 100 sq metre plots were being allotted to the SCs.
The Times of India
State worried over rise in crimes against SC, ST
Swati Sengupta, TNN | Feb 8, 2012, 03.07AM IST
KOLKATA: The issue of atrocities against scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) was discussed at a meeting at Writers' Buildings on Tuesday. The discussion was triggered by the rise in number of complaints on atrocities against SC) and ST in recent times in the state.
You could read that it can be considered as something alarming because Bengal, unlike Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, is not known to be a state where caste is any major issue- unlike states like Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. Or it could really be what the government claims it to be: that awareness among the SC and STs has increased and therefore more and more SC and STs are going to police stations to lodge complaints under the Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act.
Whatever may be the reason behind this trend, the state government is soon going to get a clear picture, a top official said on Tuesday.
The issue was raised and discussed at length at a meeting of the state-level vigilance and monitoring committee at Writers' Buildings on Tuesday, and it was evident from the data provided by CID that the number had indeed increased rather sharply. The crime figures are not "incidentally" that of SC and STs - it is not that those at the receiving end of the crimes like rape, murder, arson, grievous hurt - were incidentally SC or STs. But all these crimes took place because of "caste-related issues" that the crimes took place, and that is what makes it a matter of concern.
"The complaints lodged explain that there may have been harrassment because of a caste of a particular person and then that led to a serious crime," the official explained.
The Centre has now asked the state government to increase the compensation for the crimes - which is shared equally by them - from Rs 50,000 (the maximum for rape) to Rs 2.5 lakh. Half of the amount is to be paid initially, and the rest after conviction.
After a discussion on Tuesday at a meeting chaired by finance minister Amit Mitra, the government had decided to place it before the chief minister immediately.
At the moment, 42 cases are pending with the police for investigation, and 31 of these are of SCs and the remaining are that of STs.
The Pioneer
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 00:06
Bottom of Form
National Schedule Castes Commission director Dibakar Basa said here on Tuesday that the State Government appeared to be serious on the alleged Pipili gang-rape issue and had taken steps to unearth the facts.
Basa, who was here on a three-day visit to the State in connection with the Pipili incident to conduct a study, met Principal Secretary, Home UN Behra, before leaving for the victim's village in Pipili. After the meeting, Basa said he would go to Cuttack on Wednesday to discuss with the Crime Branch officials investigating the case and would also visit the SCB Medical College hospital to see the victim and discuss with the treating doctors. Basa said he would submit a detailed report to the Chairman, NSC Commission soon.
He said during his interaction, the Home Secretary had apprised him of the steps taken by the police and the State Government in the wake of the allegation of gang-rape of the Dalit girl.
The Times Of India
Department heads asked to explain use of funds for SC/ST students
TNN | Feb 7, 2012, 10.50PM IST
SURAT: Veer Narmad South Gujarat University (VNSGU) has asked for explanation from different departments about the use of funds meant for schedule cast and schedule tribe students.
The funds were released by the varsity to different departments for research work by the described category students but preliminary examination by the administration has found that the money were not utilised for said purpose.
The varsity accounts department found during routine examination of accounts that the funds meant for petty expenses of research work carried out by SC/ST students were spent on some other purposes. Following the findings, the VNSGU vice chancellor Dakshesh Thakar issued notices to the department heads to provide details.
"We have issued the notices to the departments and based upon their reply the decision for future course of action will be taken. We are still to confirm if there was any misappropriation. If required a committee would be formed to further probe the issue," said Thakar.
The VNSGU authorities are shocked following the revelation as the money was allotted for students of under privileged class. "Misuse of funds meant for specific class cannot be tolerated and the beneficiary departments will have to come clean in the issue," said Thakar.
.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. 

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