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Monday 4 February 2013

Investigate murder of Dalit youths, activists urge NHRC

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 01.02.13
Investigate murder of Dalit youths, activists urge NHRC- Deccan Herald
Dalit professor beaten up in Dhule - The Hindu
School kids skip mid-day meal cooked by Dalit woman - Express India
Police not filing FIRs on Dalits' complaints in Maharashtra: NHRC - Indian Express
Move to provide 'Kumki' land to farmers opposed - The Hindu
Supreme Court stays arrest of Ashis Nandy for his alleged anti-Dalit remarks - India Today
Provision for women, SC/ ST, local bodies in Bihar budget - The Times Of India
Deccan Herald
Investigate murder of Dalit youths, activists urge NHRC
Mumbai, Jan 31, 2013, DHNS:
Human rights activists on Thursday urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to probe the hacking of three Dalit youths belonging to Mehtar community (manual scavenger) at a remote hamlet in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra in early January.
The NHRC members were in Mumbai briefing about the findings of the atrocities on Dalits in the Vidarbha region when activists apprised them of their findings in the triple murder committed by upper caste people.
Talking to Deccan Herald, advocate Priyadarshi Telang of "Manuski" (a Pune-based organisation fighting for Dalit rights) said the police were dragging their feet in the case and they took into custody five persons only after a furor. "The way murders were carried out indicates that over five persons participated in the killings," she added.
As per the case, in the first week of January, police recovered mutilated bodies of three youths in their twenties from a septic tank and fields in Nevasa taluka of Ahmednagar. The victims: Sandeep Thanwar, Sachin Gharu and Rahul Kandare, according to case papers, had migrated to Kharwandi, Ganeshwadi in Ahmednagar to work as manual scavengers in a local school.
Post-mortem of the bodies revealed that the youths were probably strangulated and their limbs were chopped off before one of them was dumped in a septic tank and other two in a nearby field.

Though the police, after much hesitation and at the insistence of human rights activists, rounded up five persons on grounds that one of the victims– Sachin Gharu–was reportedly having an affair with a girl belonging to an "upper-caste" family, the investigations have not been able to zero-in on the exact motive behind the gruesome killings.
Talking about the meeting with NHRC members, advocate Telang said: " We have demanded that more intensive enquiries and investigations need to be done in the case and for putting up the case in a fast-track court apart from an adequate compensation to the family members of the victims."
Related Story :
The Hindustan Times
Dalit murders a fallout of love affair, say police
BBC News  

Five held for 'honour killings' of Dalit men in Maharashtra

The Hindu


Dalit professor beaten up in Dhule

Staff Reporter
The college authorities will write to the Vice-Chancellor of the NMU, asking him to derecognise the Senate members for instigating violence.
A month after the communal riots in Dhule, VHP, Bajrang Dal activists beat up a Dalit professor there on Wednesday for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. The incident took place inside the premises of the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar College of Social Work. A few weeks ago a number of students submitted a written complaint against Professor Pramod Bhumbe to the principal of the college for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Lord Ram. While the Hindu organisations called for the professor's expulsion, the administration asked him to submit a written explanation. "We followed the enquiry process. We, as management of the college, apologised to the students on [the] professor's behalf. The concerned professor also extended an unconditional apology to the students. We even performed a puja in the village Ram temple and made peace," Prof. R.S. Mahajan, the principal, told The Hindu.
In spite of the apology, a group came to the college looking for the professor. "Around six to seven activists, in spite of our entreaties went in search of Bhumbe, who was sitting in the library. They dragged him out, beat him up and threw him down from the staircase," Prof. Mahajan said. According to him, the group was led by Senate members of the North Maharashtra University (NMU).
Following the incident, a complaint was lodged at the Dhule taluka police station. Ram Somwanshi of the station told The Hindu that six people had been arrested and booked under several sections of IPC and under sections of The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Meanwhile, the college authorities will write to the Vice-Chancellor of the NMU, asking him to derecognise the Senate members for instigating violence.
Express India


School kids skip mid-day meal cooked by Dalit woman

Satish Jha

Ahmedabad Schoolchildren of Valiyampura village in Talod taluka of Sabarkantha district have been skipping mid-day meal for the past few weeks, apparently because it is cooked by a Dalit woman who was appointed as a helper in the school only last month.
The woman alleges that students of other castes have refused to eat the food prepared by her as asked by their parents.
The primary school of Valiyampura village has about 176 students. Of the 1,000-odd people living in the village, most are Patels and Thakores. There are around 20 households of Dalits.
According to Bhavna Jasubhai Vankar (42), students have stopped eating the mid-day meal ever since she joined on December 26, 2012.
"The villagers do not want me to touch the vessels I clean because of my caste. After I took the charge as a helper, the students refused to eat. Today, only those students who are from my caste eat," Vankar said on phone.
When contacted, principal Jayantibhai Patel, who is on leave, said the situation had improved but added that angry villagers had threatened him after Bhavnaben's appointment and declared they would stop sending their children to the school.
"I sent a report on this to the my senior officials. I also told the villagers that Bhavnaben was just a helper appointed by the mamlatdar. But they did not listen and their children refused eating. But now I have come to know that the situation is better," he said.
Sabarkantha collector Shah Meena Husain said the incident was being probed. She said a team of senior officials had visited the school and recorded the statement of Bhavnaben. "We are verifying facts. My officials have told me there is no truth to the allegations. She (Bhavna) had been absent from the school for a few days. At present, the school does not have any problem. We will take action against the guilty if we find any truth in the allegations," she said.
Indian Express
Police not filing FIRs on Dalits' complaints in Maharashtra: NHRC
PTI : Mumbai, Thu Jan 31 2013, 20:47 hrs
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today asked Maharashtra government to ensure that FIRs are registered on receipt of complaints of atrocities against Dalits.
NHRC chairperson Justice (retd) K G Balkrishnan told reporters here that during the three-day visit of the commission and public hearings on complaints of violations of the rights of Scheduled Castes members, it came to light that in most such cases, police do not register the First Information Report (after which the probe starts).
"We have told the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to ensure that FIRs are registered after receiving complaint and then investigate the case," he said, adding that lapses will not be tolerated.
Balkrishnan also said that NGOs told him that State Human Rights Commission Chairperson's post was vacant and then meeting of the State Vigilance Committee had not taken place for a long time.
"The NGOs also told the commission about the subhuman conditions of slum dwellers in Mumbai. We were told that there was massive corruption in the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme and basic amenities are not provided to the slum-dwellers."
Social activist Medha Patkar asked the commission to make an inquiry into the housing rights of Dalits. An NGO pointed out that 'Dispute-Free Village' scheme (under which the villages where no police complaints are received are rewarded) was prejudicial to the interests of the scheduled castes.
About the molestation of women constables during the Azad Maidan violence in Mumbai last year, Justice Balkrishnan said the commission had not received any complaint in this regard.
He also said no complaints were received regarding recent atrocities against Dalits in Satara and Ahmednagar districts.
Justice Balkrishnan also said that the commission had asked the state government to increase the number of courts for speedy trial of cases of atrocities against the scheduled castes.
"We have also emphasised that citizens should not be denied their basic rights if they do not have the Aadhar unique identification number," he said.
The NHRC chairperson also said that the commission was inquiring into the allegations that police targeted Muslims during the recent riots in Dhule in north Maharashtra. "We have taken cognisance of the allegations and inquiry is on," he added.
The Hindu


Move to provide 'Kumki' land to farmers opposed

Special Correspondent
'It should be allotted to Dalits in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada'
The Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (Ambedkar Vaada) has opposed the State government's decision to provide "Kumki" land to farmers in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. "Kumki" land is situated adjacent to the fields of farmers and is used for grazing cattle and growing grass.
Hovappa Master, convener of the district unit of DSS, told presspersons here on Wednesday that the government had announced that it would provide 6,853 hectares of "Kumki" land to 3.09 lakh farmers in the two districts. But a large majority of these farmers possessed huge tracts of land ranging from 50 to 60 acres and they were from some upper castes. The government move would only benefit the "land sharks".
Instead, the government should allot land to the Dalits in these two districts under the "Depressed Classes Manna Bhoomi". This had been a long pending demand of the Dalits. Many Dalits did not own land or houses. They were facing hardships. The British government had conducted a study on the conditions of the depressed classes in the erstwhile South Canara district in Madras Presidency. After witnessing the pathetic condition of these classes, the British government, in 1860, decided to reserve some plots of land in every village for the welfare of the depressed classes. These plots were called "DC manna bhoomi" in Kannada, he said.
The government should allot these plots to the Dalits. Even if the Dalits were provided three to five cents of land, they could build houses. Though a large number of Dalits, agricultural workers, and persons from minority communities had been living on some plots in these districts for decades, the government had not taken any step to give title deeds to them. It was surprising that the Opposition parties were silent on this issue. The DSS would appeal to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to prevent the government from providing "Kumki" land to farmers. The DSS would move court on this issue, he said.
The other demands of the DSS were stern action against those using false caste certificates, declaration of summer vacation in schools to observe Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14, allocation of funds in the budget for the Dalits on the basis of their population and cancellation of the contract system.
India Today
Supreme Court stays arrest of Ashis Nandy for his alleged anti-Dalit remarks
Eminent scholar Ashis Nandy, facing threat of being arrested for making remarks alleged to be anti-Dalit, on Thursday approached the Supreme Court of India for quashing of FIR against him.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear his plea and posted the case for tomorrow.

Seeking an urgent hearing, advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Nandy, pleaded the apex court to intervene in the matter as there is "serious apprehension" of him being arrested.

"The registration of the FIR is itself an abuse of law and there is imminent danger of the same being compounded as the petitioner is being denied of his fundamental rights under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution, because of the clamour for his immediate arrest from important political personalities including Mayawati and Chairman SC and ST Commission P L Punia," the petition, filed through advocate Gaurang Kanth, said.
Nandy, in a panel discussion at Jaipur Literature Festival, had allegedly said that people belonging to OBCs and SCs/STs were more corrupt.
Later, a case was registered against him under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Challenging the proceedings, the 76-year-old political psychologist submitted he is facing a serious threat in the surcharged environment against him.
"Because of the surcharged environment against him and the rabid statements made by important political personalities, his physical safety is itself compromised and there is imminent threat of injury to him," the petition said.
"In fact there was no mala fide intent or purpose on the part of the petitioner to make a comment in order to insult or intimidate with intent to humiliate a member of SC or ST in any place within public view," he said.
"The lodging of the said FIR against the petitioner for the alleged offence committed under SC/ST Act is against the basic principles of the fundamental rights which envisages that free speech is the foundation of a democratic society," the petition said.
The Times Of India


Provision for women, SC/ ST, local bodies in Bihar budget

By Faizan Ahmad, TNN | Jan 31, 2013, 08.08 PM IST
PATNA: Apart from provision of gender budget like previous years, some new dimensions have been added to the state budget 2013 which will be presented in the legislature on February 23. The allocation for the gender budget in different departments will be made. Also allocation will be made for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and all the departments linked to the agriculture roadmap.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who also holds finance portfolio, said the economic survey will be presented on February 19. This year budgetary demands of 17 departments will be presented.
"The new dimensions of the budget will be separate allocation for SC and ST in the plan budget. While the 16% of the total budget will go for SC welfare 1% will be earmarked for the ST," said Modi. He added that separate allocation will also be made for the local bodies including panchayati raj institutions and municipal bodies.
Since the government has given high attention on the agriculture and allied sectors, Modi said separate budgetary allocation will be made to all the departments linked under agriculture roadmap and it will be separately monitored.
Modi said for the first time since Independence, Bihar has spent 60% of the plan size by December end and hopefully the rest of the amount will be spent by the end of the fiscal 2012-13. He was reacting to the reports that many departments have failed to utilize the allocation. "As is practice a good amount is spent by the closure of the financial year as in many case allocations is made available by the end of the fiscal," he said.
Modi has already started pre-budget exercise to seek views of different sections of the society including farmers, professional and economists.

.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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