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Friday 12 October 2012

Bihar: Dalit woman burnt alive for demanding her due

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 09.10.12
Bihar: Dalit woman burnt alive for demanding her due - The Hindustan Times
SC/ST jobs: Chambers asked to have targets - Business Standard
Dalits live in fear of cops in Gandhi's Gujarat - DNA
The Hindustan Times
Bihar: Dalit woman burnt alive for demanding her due
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Gaya, October 08, 2012
A demand for the money allotted to her under Indira Vikas Yojana cost a mahadalit woman her life in Bihar's Gaya district. The former block pramukh, who had siphoned off the funds, allegedly sprinkled kerosene on Putukwa Devi and set her on fire. Putukwa Devi died in hospital on Sunday.
The 35-year-old woman was a member of the poorest of dalits. The category was created by chief minister Nitish Kumar to provide them with special benefits.
An FIR has been lodged and accused Subedar Yadav is on the run. Indira Awas Yojana is a Centrally-sponsored housing scheme for the poor.
"In 2008, the money had been sanctioned in Putukwa Devi's name for the construction of her house, but Yadav had kept it," said Pitamber Roy, station house officer, Mohanpur.
She had been repeatedly demanding for the return of the money, said Roy. On Saturday, he barged into her house in an inebriated state along with a few other men.
"The woman's husband Barhan Manjhi works in Bhutan and neighbours allege that she had illicit relations with the ex-pramukh. But that day, heated exchanges followed when she objected to the entry of his associates," the SHO said.
Then Yadav, who was already peeved over her demands for money, sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire.
"Then they left, but Putukwa Devi, despite her condition, followed Yadav to his home. He took her to the hospital where she died a day later," said Rajesh Kumar, deputy superintendent of police, Sherghati.
Business Standard
SC/ST jobs: Chambers asked to have targets
Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 09, 2012, 11:05
Wanting "visible impact" of the affirmative action for employment of SCs and STs in private sector, the Prime Minister's Office today asked the industry chambers to set time-bound targets and directed the Commerce Ministry to build a database for clarity on figures.
The PMO reviewed progress on the issue at a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee and attended by representatives of chambers FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM besides various ministries.
"In the meeting, progress was reviewed on affirmative action for SCs/STs. It was noted that some progress had been made in adopting the Voluntary Code of Conduct and running skill development and vocation education programs to improve the employability of weaker sections," a PMO statement said.
The meeting decided that "there is scope to ramp up these initiatives and scale up the activities and coverage for there to be a visible impact and recognition of ongoing efforts".
While referring to the actions taken by the three chambers, it was noted that "a lot of effort is being made but it is still sporadic and scattered".
It was suggested that each industry chamber could work out a five-year vision voluntarily which could guide the annual action plans, the statement said, adding, "This would give an idea of the long term path and where they aim to be."
The meeting felt that "a lot of work has been done in the area of affirmative action but not captured well", it said.
"A database also needs to be built up and shared with the Government. It was decided that Secretary (DIPP) would set up a system to collect quarterly data from the three chambers and build a database on Affirmative Action for SCs/STs," the statement said. (MORE)
Dalits live in fear of cops in Gandhi's Gujarat
Published: Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012, 16:36 IST
By Roxy Gagdekar | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
The police firing on dalits at Than town in Surendranagar district was the latest in a series of police atrocities committed on Scheduled Caste people in Gujarat. Most acts of police brutality towards dalits go unreported but even the five cases — including the Than incident — that were officially recorded in the last three months paint a sad picture of caste prejudice in the state.
In one incident which took place in Rajkot, the police lathicharged a rally of dalits and beat a girl so savagely that she had to be hospitalized for treatment of spinal injuries. Sadly, she is still in hospital. The Gujarat high court had, suo motu, issued notices to the police department in this connection.
In another case, a dalit youth was paraded naked in Ved village of Lunawada taluka in Panchmahals district. A Lunawada court took congnizance of the incident in favour of dalits.
In yet another incident that took place in Banaskantha district, the body of a youth who had died while in custody at the Pathawada police station, was kept in police custody for three days.
Police indifference to dalit suffering has driven many Scheduled Caste people to suicide. Recently, in Kelia Vasna village of Dholka taluka in Ahmedabad district, a dalit youth committed suicide in front of the Dholka police station after the police refused to register a complaint against his business partner.
His relatives say that the suicide note of the deceased youth was submitted to the police but it has gone missing.
FIRs and murder cases have been registered against policemen in two of the five cases mentioned above but this is unlikely to end the plight of dalits who, particularly in rural areas, live in constant fear of police violence.
Talking to DNA, Manjula Pradeep executive director of Navsarjan, an NGO which fights for dalit rights, said that those who are supposed to enforce the law themselves seem biased against the Scheduled Castes.
"It seems the police decide as per their whim whom to protect and whom to ignore," Pradeep said. She cited the incidents of Rajkot and Thangadh as instances where the police had used brute force against unarmed, innocent people.
Retired director general of police RB Sreekumar said that prejudice against dalits is common in the state's police force.
"The law has many provisions to ensure dalits their rights. However, they continue to face problems mainly due to the ineffective implementation of the law," Sreekumar said.
However, additional director general of police, SC-ST cell, Gujarat, Pramod Kumar, is not ready to accept this fact. He said that the SC/ST Cell of the Gujarat police takes cognizance of atrocities committed on dalits and investigates the incidents thoroughly.

Than, Surendranagar
Three dalits, including two underage boys, were killed in police firing at Than town in Surendranagar district. A murder and conspiracy case was registered against four police officials only after dalits took to the streets at several places to protest against the incident.


Police lathicharged a dalit rally against the murder of Gunwant Makwana, an SC leader. In the lathicharge, policemen beat up a young girl so savagely that she suffered spinal injuries. The girl is still in hospital. Gujarat HC had suo motu issued notices to police in the case.

Ved, Lunawada
Arvind Makwana, a Dalit youth, was paraded in his knickers in Ved village when he agitated against a retired police inspector belonging to an upper caste. Lunawada court has taken cognizance of the incident in favor of the Scheduled Caste people.
Pathawada, B'kantha
Arvind Chauhan, 27, a dalit youth, died in police custody at Pathawada police station in Banaskantha district. His body was kept in police custody for three days. Following an agitation, a murder case was registered against 4 cops, including PSI of Pathawada police station.
Kelia Vasna, Dholka
Dashrath Solanki, a dalit, committed suicide in front of the Dholka police station as the cops had refused to register a complaint against his business partner, Bhikhabhai Patel. Solanki's relatives claim suicide note of the deceased was given to cops but is now missing.

.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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