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Monday 23 April 2012

Special courts for SC/ST cases

Dalits Media Warch
News Updates 21.04.12
Special courts for SC/ST cases - IBN Live
Vellappalli calls for unity of SC-ST communities - IBN Live
Pipili rape: Odisha initiates action against docs - Zee News
Between The Lines
Children of god? - The Daily Star
A Cowed-Down Nation - Out Look
IBN Live


Special courts for SC/ST cases

PUDUCHERRY: The government proposes to set up Exclusive Special courts by amending the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities ) Act, 1989, said Welfare Minister P Rajavelu on Friday.
Presenting a report on effective implementation of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, in New Delhi, he said that steps would be taken for effective functioning and strengthening of the SC/ST protection cell and creation of a Special Police Station. A provision will be made in the rules to extend compensation to the family of the victim in case of his/her's demise.
In order to avoid delay and to expedite the action, complaints under the SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989, shall be entertained in all police stations without directing the complainant to make a complaint at a PCR Cell.
IBN Live


Vellappalli calls for unity of SC-ST communities

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and backward communities in the state should unite and become a communal force to earn social justice, said SNDP general secretary Vellappalli Natesan.
Speaking after inaugurating the Pulaya Sangamam organised by the Kerala Pulaya Maha Sabha (KPMS) here on Friday, Vellappalli said that the backward communities were facing cruel discrimination in the state.
"The backward communities would hold a meeting on April 30 to devise strategies to ensure social justice to them," he said.
Though land reforms paved way to large changes in the state, the backward communities could earn little from the reform. "A second land reform should be organised in the state for the benefit of backward communities," he said.
The SC/ST and backward communities should get equal participation in land and wealth.
These communities were left out when various administrative reforms happened in the country.
While the minority communities benefited a lot from Sachar and Paloli committees, the backward communities failed to get any such help".
Nair-Ezhava Unity a Closed Chapter
The Nair-Ezhava unity is a closed chapter, Vellappalli said. The NSS leadership gave a serious thought on unity only when the row over the fifth ministership to the IUML erupted. At present, the NSS is representing Hindus in the state on various fronts. "A change has to come and all Hindus, from Nambudiris to tribals, should unite," he said.
"Democracy has long died in the state and what rules now is religion," Vellappalli observed.
KPMS state president T V Babu presided over the function. Mayor K Chandrika, Kodiyeri Baklakrishnan, CPI assistant secretary Prakash Babu, MLAs B Satyan, Mons Joseph, A T George and Jameela Prakasham spoke.
Zee News


Pipili rape: Odisha initiates action against docs

Last Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 23:10
Bhubaneswar: Acting upon the recommendation of National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC), Odisha government on Thursday initiated proceedings against three doctors for alleged dereliction of duty while treating the 19-year-old alleged rape victim of Pipili in Puri district. 

"While two doctors were working at the government hospital in Pipili, one doctor belonged to the Capital Hospital here where the alleged rape victim was shifted in unconscious state," an official said. 

Proceedings have been initiated under rule 15 (procedure for imposing major penalties) read with rule 17 of Orissa Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1962, he said.
Besides not subjecting the victim to medical examination though she was found nude in unconscious state, the three doctors were also accused of injecting anti-venum on the patient while there had been no symptom of snake bite.
"Govenment has been examining the recommendations of the NCSC in Pipili case. The government has already initiated action against the doctors," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters on his return from New Delhi.
NCSC chairman PL Punia in his recommendation sent to the Chief Minister noted that doctors did not send the victim for medical examination for rape on the day of the crime.
"It was all the more necessary in this case keeping in view the circumstances and facts of the case. The victim was found laying naked in paddy field unconscious. Normally, in all such cases the victim is sent for medical examination as a matter of routine," Punia said in his recommendation.
"It seems that the doctors deliberately tried not to create evidence against the influential accused and tried to destroy the evidence. The doctors failed to discharge their legal duties. The concerned doctors should be named as co-accused in this case and their medical degrees forfeited by Medical Council of India," the NCSC said in its report.
The State Commission for Women (SCW) had also found doctors responsible for the miseries of the dalit girl who had been admitted at the ICU of the SCB medical college hospital in Cuttack since January this year.
The girl was allegedly raped on November 29, 2011 and the State Crime Branch of Police had arrested four accused persons for their alleged involvement in the matter.
Local MLA Pradip Moharathy, who had been accused of harbouring the criminals, had resigned from the council of ministers in the wake of the allegation.
The Daily Star
Between The Lines
Children of god?
Kuldip Nayar
When an Australian editor posed a question to the Indian press on why it never had a dalit, the untouchable, at a top position in journalism, I felt embarrassed. I considered it an omission which should have been rectified long ago and felt confident that it would happen before long.
But after noticing that no attention was paid a few days ago to the 121st anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a Gandhi for the dalits, I have come to believe that the discrimination against the dalits is a prejudice which would take many decades to wear off. They are at the lowest rung of the Hindu society which develops a bias against them at an early age and has no shame in perpetuating it.
The only thing to remind Dr. Ambedkar was a full-page advertisement sponsored by the central government in leading newspapers. There was also a small function around his portrait in the central hall of parliament which is out of bounds for an ordinary citizen. I did not see television channels showing any programme on Dr. Ambedkar, nor did I find any edit or article in any newspaper to recall his services.
Dr. Ambedkar is the framer of India's constitution and we owe the parliamentary system to him. This is enshrined in the constitution. I recall how boldly he stood in parliament to have a provision against untouchability, the bane of Hindu society, and how he expressed hope that the prejudice would disappear. Yet the upper caste has proved him wrong.
Reservations given to the Scheduled Castes, namely the dalits, are laid down in the constitution. But this was despite his opposition. He was against reservations which he compared with crutches by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and other Congress leaders prevailed upon him to accept the provision for 10 years.
Little did Dr. Ambedkar realise at that time that political parties on the one hand and the vested interests among dalits, particularly the creamy layer, on the other would go on prolonging reservations for electoral advantage. So demanding is this consideration that reservations are given extensions decade after decade without a debate in parliament.
The Hindu society should be grateful to Dr. Ambedkar that he and his followers embraced Buddhism. He had threatened to convert to Islam along with his dalit followers to escape discrimination. Mahatma Gandhi beseeched him and even threatened to go on fast unto death. Dr. Ambedkar bowed before the wishes of Gandhi but refused to return to the fold of Hinduism.
Even conversion has not helped the dalits. They are more or less treated in Islam, Christianity or Sikhism in the same way as in the Hindus society. The dalits carry the tag of discrimination and helplessness wherever they go, although the three religions claim equality for the followers. Therefore, the dalits have not escaped the rigours of caste system even outside Hinduism. The Sachar committee has pointed out the inhuman treatment meted out to them even when they have embraced Islam.

Gandhiji christened the dalit as Harijan, Son of god. But it reflected a patronizing attitude which the dailit scornfully rejected. Why the dalits, who constitute some 17% of India's population, have continued to stay in the Hindu society despite all the insults heaped on them is beyond me. They have never revolted nor have they taken any step to harm the Hindu society which still does not give them even a modicum of individuality.

A few years ago some dalits, led by Kanshi Ram, constituted a political party of their own, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). It has won them political recognition but not social status. Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, despite corruption and her authoritarian trait, has given dalits the feeling that they can go to the police station and register complaints. They are offered even chairs as is the case with members of other communities. Home Minister P. Chidambaram's advice to dalits to join major parties to enjoy power does not mean much. They followed the Congress faithfully for 45 years. but their lot has remained the same as it was.
Even now the dalits carry night soil on their head. The government proposes to prohibit the practice which was contemplated 50 years ago. The home ministry issued instructions even at that time. Apparently, very little has happened since because the government is enacting a law to stop the practice. The dalits would do well if they were to refuse to carry night soil on their head. Yet they are economically so poor that they cannot afford to risk the livelihood.
At the same time, crimes against the dalits have not lessened. There is a proposal to give arms to them in what are called "atrocity prone areas." Obviously, the government has failed to protect the dalits and their property. Unfortunately, the police force is also on the side of the landlords and other vested interests who treat the dalits as their subject like the maharaja used to do.
Official figures reveal that there is a huge backlog of cases relating to the atrocities committed against the dalits. Had the centre been serious about preventing atrocities against them it would have taken measures like special courts, fast track prosecution and steps to dispose of cases quickly. Strangely, the Patna High Court has acquitted all the 23 persons accused of perpetrating the massacre of 21 dalits at Bathani Tola in Bhojpur.
It should have been clear by now that no law or no government action can do away with the evil of untouchability. You cannot succeed if the mindset does not change. What the children have grown up with in the name of tradition or religion is prejudiced and cannot be effaced until the society is forced to give up bias which has got entrenched.
The country needs a social revolution. Alas, I do not find any meaningful movement to bring it about. Take, for example, the belief that girls are a burden. How many of them are killed either in womb or after birth is not possible to count. That it happens mostly in north India, particularly Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP is no solace.
A sustained effort to change the mindset and remove the clogs of superstition can make a dent into this widely prevailing evil. But no political party is interested in doing so. Nor are the activists because they are aiming at economic changes. Social problems are begging for attention.
The writer is an eminent Indian Journali
Out Look
A Cowed-Down Nation
Why kill over a people's dietary preference for beef?
"The university and all teaching systems that appear simply to disseminate knowledge are made to maintain a certain social class in power, and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class.... The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them."
—Michel Foucault, debate with Noam Chomsky, 1971
It looks like Foucault's "real political task" is what the organisers of the recent beef-eating festival at Osmania University set out to do: they fought the "food fascism" that kept beef out of the menu, reminded the secular state that a university hostel mess was not Sankara math, and criticised the imposition of caste-Hindu dietary diktats on Dalits from within the confines of a seemingly neutral educational institution. When they rapped "Beef is the secret of my energy" with all the soul of an outlaw anthem, it sounded like the secret heartbeat of an anti-caste cultural revolution.
But the stone-pelting, vehicle-torching ABVP hooliganism and the OU vice-chancellor S. Satyanarayana's statement that beef would not be served in hostels unmasked a pattern of political violence. Tucking into beef biriyani behind the smokescreen of the teargas firing at OU, one could imagine the rage of a caste-Hindu mob that lynched five Dalits in Jhajjar, Haryana, in 2002 for skinning a dead cow. A week earlier, Hindu extremists had triggered communal disturbances in Hyderabad's Old City area by hurling beef in the Hanuman temple at Kurmaguda. Both these incidents highlight the ideological framework of Hindutva mobilisation using a certain female quadruped political player who is capable of igniting riots, whose dead flesh could cause a city to disintegrate into communal violence.
Instead of acknowledging the beef-fest as an act of Dalit assertion, right-wing commentators said it was a ploy to dent the Telangana struggle. They propped up pork to silence other minorities and cast this as a Hindu-Muslim stand-off when it was actually about untouchability. Dr Ambedkar had theorised that broken men (and women) rebelling against caste became untouchables because they were Buddhists and beef-eaters. Beef, being a Dalit food, was kept away from caste-Hindus and stigmatised. To enforce the strict regimentation of caste codes, beef-eating was prohibited for Hindus. And not just in the Manusmriti.
Because India is a Hindu state at heart despite all apparitions to the contrary, Article 48 of the Constitution requires the State to take steps to prohibit the slaughter of cows. Anti-cow slaughter laws in most states promise prison terms. In implementing Hindutva, nobody outdoes Narendra Modi. He sparked off the state-aided slaughter of Muslims a decade ago, but now tries to balance his karma by conducting dental and cataract surgeries for cows. Note: Hinduism only asks of a ruler to protect cows from slaughter. While Muslim victims of the Gujarat riots still languish in relief camps, Modi gloats that no cow has to travel more than three kilometres to reach a health camp. In this animal farm, Her Holiness Mother Cow is a first-class citizen with health insurance and a pension plan. Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians, being beef-eating minorities, cannot press for similar privileges.
She hasn't always been treated with motherly respect, though: D.N. Jha's bookThe Myth of the Holy Cow documented the problematic (and under-appreciated) history of Brahmin/Hindu beef-eating in ancient India, before the taboos evolved, while Manish Jha's film Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women depicted the sexual abuse of a cow by sex-starved men. Perhaps that's why when the BJP was in power, the National Cow Commission (2002) suggested forming a Central Cattle Protection Rapid Task Police Force and wanted amendments to pota to enable detention of those smuggling cows.
There is no point getting offended if someone enjoys beef in all its juicy glory. Since nobody is being force-fed, tolerance means digesting the idea that just as cows are meant to be milked, cows are also meant to be meat. There cannot be a shred of doubt that in a racist nation which advertises vaginal skin-lightening creams, the large, naive eyes and flawless complexion make the cow an attractive mother. Men take pride in being mummy's boys, but it is high time Hindutva organisations and secular, state-run universities stop being swayed by bovine sex appeal, step out of their Oedipus complex and remind themselves that cows, at least the fertile ones, are only mothers of calves. Why kill for a cow, when you aren't born of one?

.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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