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Thursday 10 January 2013

Yatra against manual scavenging reaches Mumbai

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 08.01.13
Yatra against manual scavenging reaches Mumbai - The Hindu
'You are a Mahadalit. Where did you get Rs. 1 lakh cheque from?' - The Hindustan Times
Main accused in Faridkot minor rape case arrested - Zee News
Udupi: Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti Holds Protest Rally Condemning Various Rituals - Daijiworld
Pejawar seer adopting double standards: Activist - Deccan Herald
The Hindu
Yatra against manual scavenging reaches Mumbai
Staff Reporter
The National Maila Mukti Yatra, undertaken by Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan (RGA), reached Mumbai on Monday after travelling through 10 States, giving a nationwide call for total eradication of manual scavenging practice from India.
The Yatra began from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh has covered several States such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It will culminate on January 31 in New Delhi.
"We planned this yatra to expose government's false claims of eradication of manual scavenging. It is still prevalent in our country and nearly 14 lakh people, all Dalits, are involved in it. A country which claims to be on the path of prosperity and is manufacturing missiles for war, should be ashamed of this practice of manual scavenging," said Ashif Sheikh, one of the organisers of yatra, at the press conference held in Mumbai. He said that, it is not the problem of a particular community but the practice of manual scavenging is shameful for entire country.
He blamed the politicians for not addressing the issue seriously, since the affected class does not form a big vote bank. "We went to Soniaji's constituency and even in Sushmaji's too. In spite of being their constituencies, nothing has been changed. The manual scavenging is still prevalent. Uttar Pradesh had a Dalit chief minister for five years, but she could not stop manual scavenging," he said.
Even Maharashtra faces the similar problem. According to the 2011 census, there are 2,14,475 dry latrines exist in the State. "Those dry latrines are cleaned by Dalits," said Mr. Sheikh. He added that, in Gujarat where Mahatma Gandhi initiated 'Bhangi Mukti Andolan' in 1901, the practice is still on and in spite of development of the State, it hasn't stopped. The yatra will enter Gujarat on Tuesday.
A number of Dalit and Muslim women, who have left the work of manual scavenging work were present have accompanied the yatra.
"What we were doing for generation, made us untouchable. There was no honour and respect. I made it sure that no one from my family get in to this disgusting work. We work as a labourer in fields or on construction site and earn money. But we will never go back to scavenging," said Chhoti Bai of Rajsthan.
For Lali Bai of Madhya Pradesh, breaking away from the 'business of generation' was a biggest challenge. "My husband asked me to leave our home after I decided not to do the work. I was living separately for three years, until I came back. Later, people from upper caste tried to harm my honour by calling me names. I was threatened with social boycott and my house was even torched," she said. "But I told them, I will never ever take up this profession. Do what you want to do," she said.
The Hindustan Times
'You are a Mahadalit. Where did you get Rs. 1 lakh cheque from?'
Prasun K Mishra, Hindustan Times, Ramgarh, Kaimur, Bihar, January 08, 2013
The reward of Rs. 1 lakh by Hindustan Times in recognition of his outstanding community service has brought more misery than joy to Banwasi alias Banarasi Musahar. A change of fortune still awaits the 58-year-old brick kiln labourer, who overcame all odds in his Akrohi Mahadalit Basti,
about 40 km from Kaimur district headquarters town of Bhabua, opened a school near his thatched roof house and changed the destiny of scores of members of his Musahar community.
Banwasi was on cloud nine when he was handed over the cheque for Rs. 1 lakh by Buxar MP Jagadanand Singh at Ramgarh in the presence of HT deputy executive editor Rajesh Kumar Mahapatra, HT (Patna) senior resident editor Mammen Matthew, Kaimur district magistrate Jai Singh and superintendent of police Uma Shankar Sudhanshu, on October 17 last year.
His happiness was, however, shortlived.
Banwasi's trouble started the moment he went to the Ramgarh branch of Bank of India to deposit the cheque. The bank manager allegedly not only refused to accept the cheque, but also passed casteist remarks against Banwasi.
"Tum apane ko Mahadalit kahte ho, garibi rekha se niche batakar zero balance par khata khulwate ho. Ek lakh ka cheque kahan se aa gaya (You call yourself Mahadalit. You have opened a zero balance account claiming to be the member of a below poverty line family. From where did you manage a cheque of Rs. 1 lakh)?" the manager is reported to have asked Banwasi.
After visiting the bank almost everyday since October 18, Banwasi managed to get the cheque deposited on December 12, but only after a local photo journalist, Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal, intervened.
The branch manager, however, said the amount would be credited to Banwasi's account only after he submitted details of his Permanent Account Number (PAN).
Finding no other way, Banwasi applied for a PAN card, which he received on January 7, 2013. But when he reached the bank with the newly acquired identity proof, he was in for another shock.
Despite showing the pay-in slip for the cheque, the bank branch manager asked him to produce a photocopy of the cheque he had deposited on December 12.

The photo journalist again came to Banwasi's rescue. When Jaiswal enquired about the status of the cheque from the manager, he was told that it had been sent to the service branch of the bank in Mumbai and a clearance from there was awaited.
The manager, however, refused to consult the Mumbai service centre branch.
When asked for a complaint book and telephone numbers of senior bank officers, the branch manager said he had none.
Lead bank manager (LDM) M S Tuly told HT that a complaint book and a board displaying the names, addresses and phone numbers of senior officers were a must at every branch of banks governed by RBI rules.
Zee News
Main accused in Faridkot minor rape case arrested
Last Updated: Monday, January 07, 2013, 13:24
Faridkot: The main accused in the case of abduction and rape of a 15-year-old Dalit girl has been arrested, police said Monday.
Sources said that the accused, Jagmeet Singh, who was on Sunday discharged from hospital where he was admitted after allegedly consuming poison, is now in police custody.

The minor was last Thursday allegedly abducted by three persons from Matta village and raped by one of them in the Jaito area of the district.
Later, on the basis of a complaint filed by the girl, a student of class X, a case was registered against the trio identified as Jagmeet, Jagseer Singh and Sukhchain Singh.
Jagmeet, the main accused, however, could not be taken into custody since he was admitted in a serious condition at the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College for reportedly having consumed poison.

Although police arrested Jagseer on January 5, the third accused, Sukhchain, is still absconding. PTI
Udupi: Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti Holds
 Protest Rally Condemning Various Rituals
Daijijiworld Media Network - Udupi (SM)
Udupi, Jan 8: Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samiti organized a massive protest rally from Town Hall to the service bus stop against the practice of 'Made Snana', caste discrimination and 'Ede Snana' rituals on Monday January 7.
Neela K (writer and Dalit Sangharsha Samiti leader) from Gulbarga inaugurated the sabha. "Our voice should be more than our flags", she said.
 "The temples are always built by Dalits, a sculpture is created from a stone by a Dalit, it is kept clean by Dalits but once the deity is brought inside the Garbagudi, the Brahmins pour ghee, sandal paste and Kumkum on the idol after which the Dalits are not allowed inside which is not acceptable", she said. She also questioned the system.
She alleged that Pejawar Swamiji of harbouring 'double standards' in dealing with sacred orthodox rituals and said that he should come out of it.
"Pejawar Swamiji is misleading the public. If he wants to prove himself, let him stop visiting the Dalit colonies and make arrangements to invite the Dalits for dining with the priesthood class. Let him preach equality through practice and not by just drama", she urged.
She accused that the lower caste people were being exploited in the name of devotion. "Dalits also worship god. The lower section people are used by the higher class for their gains," she added.
She demanded the Math heads to stop the practice of 'Made Snana' and 'Pankthi Bedha' before the government bans it.
She also condemned the statement made by RSS leader Mohan Bhaghvath who said that rape and crime against women happens not in 'Bharath' but in 'India'. He should be aware that the crimes against women are more in villages than in cities, she added.
Sundar Master in his introductory speech said that Maths and a few others have been promoting superstitious practices in the society. "Equality is just in words. The recent lathi charge against CPI(M) workers was inhuman. It should be always below the knee, instead they were brutally beaten", he said.
Deccan Herald
Pejawar seer adopting double standards: Activist
Udupi, Jan 7, 2013, DHNS:
Dalit associations hold huge protest rally against Made Snana, lathi charge
An activist from Gulbarga has accused the Pejawar seer of following double standards on orthodox ritual and urged him to spell out his clear stand.
Neela was speaking on Monday after inaugurating a rally organised by the dalit associations to protest against the practice of rituals like 'Made Snana' and 'Pankthi Bedha' in Krishna mutt and also against lathi charge incident.
Taking strong exception to the Pejawar seer defending the lathicharge against protesters a few days ago, she said Vishveshatheertha Swamiji was misleading the public. He should stop attending meetings in dalit colonies and him invite dalits to dine with priest. Let him practice what he preaches, she added.
Appealing to the civil society to boycott these evil practices, she said dalits will continue to protest till practices like Made Snana and Pankthi Beda are stopped.
Quoting 'Vachanas', the activist urged mutts, temple authorities, seers and higher caste people to treat lower class people with dignity.
She said the mutts should show the way by boycotting such practices instead of waiting for the government to ban them.
She also took a dig at policemen for throwing lathis at protesters.
Calling upon people to respect women, she criticised RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat's recent statements on rape and crime against women. She said the crimes against women are increasing number in the so-called 'Bharat' and not in 'India'.
Dalit leader Jayan Malpe contested the Pejawar seer's claim of being impartial to dalits. The rally was taken from Town Hall to Service bus stop.
.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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