English News Updates 01.02.16
Dalit students from Bihar threaten suicide over non-payment of scholarship money – Catch news
At Trichy rally, dalit Christians seek scheduled caste status – The times of India
Rohith was a dalit, says SC|ST panel chief – The times of India
Reservations demand in AP leads to burning of trains – Catch news
Dalit intellectuals march for ‘debrahminisation’ of universities – Nyoooz
Dalit Sena state chief appointed – Nyoooz
Dalit IAS officer drops plan to take ‘jal samadhi’ in MP – The Echoof of india
Dalit students from Bihar threaten suicide over non-payment of scholarship money
More than 12 Dalit students at the Raajdhani Engineering College in Bhubaneswar have threatened to commit suicide if the SC/ST welfare department of the Bihar government does not pay their scholarship money, reports The Telegraph.
The students, all from East Champaran in Bihar, had been asked to leave the college over non-payment of fees. The fees are supposed to be paid by the Bihar SC/ST welfare department.
They have now written to the East Champaran district administration threatening suicide if the scholarship money if not forthcoming. In their petition, they said that they had been admitted under the Dalit Scholarship Scheme of the state government, but were asked to leave the hostel in the first week of January.
“We have also written to the Bihar chief minister and chief secretary to release the funds,” said GS Mishra, director of Raajdhani Engineering College, while denying that the college had asked the students to leave. “We have been providing them with studies and boarding facilities since July 2014 without receiving any funds from the Bihar government. Some of them had been to Bihar recently demanding release of the funds
The times of india
At Trichy rally, dalit Christians seek scheduled caste status
Trichy: With Assembly elections round the corner, dalit Christians have reiterated their demand for bringing them under the scheduled caste category. Terming the delay an injustice to them, the National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC) gathered in Trichy on Sunday to discuss a plan to hold a rally in New Delhi in March this year.
The NCDC organised the meeting of dalit Christians from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in Trichy to register their frustration over the failure of the state and central governments in considering their demand. This will be a precursor to their nationwide rally in the national capital onMarch 10.
The main agenda of the meeting was to press the central government to implement the recommendation of the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission of 2007. It was formed after the then central government accepted the demand of the council in 2005. The NCDC claimed that the commission had said dalit Christians shall be considered or should be considered as SC.
NCDC national advisor ED Charles blamed both the congress and the BJP for not implementing the recommendation. “Neither the congress government when it was in power nor the present BJP government has taken any initiative toward this and has put the commission report on the shelf,” he said.
The council said no Act had been framed to uphold the rights of converted dalit Christians, while converted Buddhists and Sikhs were enjoying their rights. “It is evident that the principle of unity in diversity and minority rights on religious and linguistic are followed only for namesake in our country,” said Charles.
The Times of India
Rohith was a dalit, says SC|ST panel chief
LUCKNOW: SCST commission chairman PL Punia here on Sunday said that Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula who committed suicide last month, was a dalit.
Refuting claims of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Punia said: “He was a member of the Scheduled Caste. Some people are only trying to water down the issue. Rohith and his siblings were brought up by a single mother, so how can any law determine his caste by that of his father who had left the family years ago?” The SCST panel chief visited University of Hyderabad a day after Rohith committed suicide said: “I met the university officials and his friends including those who were suspended from the hostel along with Rohith and I believe he was a dalit.”
He also claimed that Rohith’s mother was a dalit and so are his other siblings and they have certificates to establish their claims. “How can he belong to a different caste then,” Punia, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP , said.
Targeting those who have criticized Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for joining the hunger strike with those protesting against Rohith’s death outside the university campus in Hyderabad, Punia said: “I am thankful to Rahulji for standing up so strongly for the cause of dalits.” Punia also claimed that he had asked the University authorities to ensure action on the FIR lodged against those responsible for Rohith’s death in which University VC and Union labour minister Bandaru Dattetreya had been named as accused.
A retired IAS officer of UP cadre, Punia also came down heavily on Union HRD minister Smriti Irani for claiming that the probe against Rohith was conducted by university professors who were dalit. “It has been proved beyond doubt that she had lied,” he said.
“Even if, for a moment, we believe that Rohith was from the OBC, should he have been forced to commit suicide, the way he was?” he added.
Rohith’s father Manikumar Vemula had claimed that his son hailed from the backward Vaddera community .
“My son was not a Scheduled Caste. We hail from the Vaddera community of backward classes,” he said wondering how his estranged wife Radhika was claiming SC status.
Reservations demand in AP leads to burning of trains
Members of the Kapu community in Tuni, Andhra Pradesh, on Sunday set a train, a police station and several police stations on fire while demanding reservations under the Backward Class (BC) category, reports The Indian Express. The community, which comprises 23.4 per cent of the state’s coastal population, was classified as BC till 1960, but declassified after that, and have been agitating for reservations ever since.Sunday’s demonstration blocked the Chennai-Kolkata National Highway and the railway tracks at Tuni station. When the Ratnachal Express arrived, the protesters attacked it and set fire to four coaches that destroyed the entire train. The community said it would agitate indefinitely unless the government released a Government Order by Monday evening.
Dalit intellectuals march for ‘debrahminisation’ of universities
Summary: The marchers were demanding ‘debrahminisation’ (democratization) of universities in the country. The banner carried this text: Bahujan Intellectuals’ March For Debrahminisation (Democratization) Of Universities. IndiaTomorrow.net,New Delhi, Jan 31: Scores of Dalit intellectuals, academicians and social activists took out a candlelight march here in memory of Rohith Vemula on 30 Jan – the birthday of the Dalit PhD scholar of Hyderabad University who committed suicide last Sunday. They were carrying a banner with photos of Rohith and Bhimrao Ambedkar of equal size. The protestors assembled near Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar’s statue in the premises of Maharashtra Sadan and marched towards India Gate.
IndiaTomorrow.net, New Delhi, Jan 31: Scores of Dalit intellectuals, academicians and social activists took out a candlelight march here in memory of Rohith Vemula on 30 Jan – the birthday of the Dalit PhD scholar of Hyderabad University who committed suicide last Sunday. The marchers were demanding ‘debrahminisation’ (democratization) of universities in the country. The protestors assembled near Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar’s statue in the premises of Maharashtra Sadan and marched towards India Gate. They were carrying a banner with photos of Rohith and Bhimrao Ambedkar of equal size.
The banner carried this text: Bahujan Intellectuals’ March For Debrahminisation (Democratization) Of Universities. Several professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University addressed the gathering. Dr Satya Prakash Gautam, Adv and Solicitor also spoke on the occasion. The organizers had invited representatives of other religious communities including Muslims also. Arshad Shaikh, Media In-charge of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Bazlul Basit Chaudhary from its Public Relations Department also attended the event and expressed their solidarity with the protestors. http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/dalit-intellectuals-march-for-debrahminisation-of-universities.
Dalit Sena state chief appointed
Summary: I have been appointed the president of the Punjab unit by Ram Vilas Paswan, the chief patron of Dalit Sena. Tribune News ServiceBathinda, January 31Gurtej Singh Jodhpuri of Jodhpur Romana village of Bathinda has been appointed as president of the Punjab unit of Dalit Sena, a body meant for protection of Dalits and their rights. In a press conference, Gurtej Singh said, “Atrocities on Dalits across the state and the country will not be tolerated at any cost. We will fight for the rights of the Dalits, who are being suppressed and oppressed in the country.”
Bathinda, January 31 Gurtej Singh Jodhpuri of Jodhpur Romana village of Bathinda has been appointed as president of the Punjab unit of Dalit Sena, a body meant for protection of Dalits and their rights. In a press conference, Gurtej Singh said, “Atrocities on Dalits across the state and the country will not be tolerated at any cost. I have been appointed the president of the Punjab unit by Ram Vilas Paswan, the chief patron of Dalit Sena.
We will fight for the rights of the Dalits, who are being suppressed and oppressed in the country.
The echo of india
Dalit IAS officer drops plan to take ‘jal samadhi’ in MP
Dalit IAS officer Shashi Karnawat, who is under suspension in a graft case, today dropped her plan to end her life by taking ‘jal samadhi’ (drowning) in river Narmada in Khandwa district on February 2. Speaking on behalf of Karnawat, another Dalit IAS officer Ramesh Thete said state Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya was in continuous touch with him after Karnawat sat on ‘maun vrat’ (observe silence) from January 29 and had decided to take ‘jal samadhi’, pressing for her demand of reinstating her and higher wages during the suspension period. Notably, the Madhya Pradesh cabinet will for the first time meet in a boat in Narmada river at Khandwa on February 2.
The state government has softened its stand on the two demands of Karnawat, one, on reinstating her, second, on offering her 75 per cent of wages during the suspension instead of 50 per cent which she is currently getting, Thete told PTI today. She has decided not to go for ‘jal samadhi’ as the government was positive in its response to her demands, Thete said. Time has come to reinstate Karnawat as the MP High Court has admitted a petition challenging her conviction, he said. Karnawat, was sentenced to five years jail by Mandla district court in 2013 in a corruption case and is under suspension since then. The state government had recently given its nod to prosecute Thete in an alleged case of illegal disposal of land in Ujjain during his tenure as additional commissioner around two years back, lodged against him with the Lokayukta (state anti-corruption watchdog). Thete and Karnawat have opened a front against MP government for over a fortnight now alleging that it was prompt in taking action against Dalit officers while ignoring similar cases of misconduct involving officers from upper castes. Thete had also taken part in a dharna (sit-in) organised by Dalit Adivasi Forum (DAF) on January 11 here to protest against the alleged discrimination against Dalit and tribal bureaucrats. On the sideline of the DAF protest, Mohan Patil, a national office-bearer of Republican Party of India, had told reporters that complaints were pending against 18 upper caste.(PTI)
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET
Rohith and other Dalits: Carl Sagan to sewage cleaning – Big news network
Barred from hundreds of temples in U’khand, Dalits to meet Prez – The Times of India
LIVE: Rahul Gandhi fasts with agitating students at Hyd university, BJP calls it ‘cheap politics’ – The Indian express
Big news network
Rohith and other Dalits: Carl Sagan to sewage cleaning
Rohith Vemula, a PhD student, focused on the interstellar spaces and Carl Sagan. In a different location, a sewage cleaner looks for live cockroaches in the sewer, which ironically give him a sense of security: he can now clean the sewer without fearing death from foul gases. One day he miscalculated. He died. One is a real life character, the other from a masterpiece film, Court. But they are two sides of the same reality.
Rohith had a life of the mind, and he wrote sensitive prose, reminding us of the reflective student in our university days, exactly the one we chose to share our secrets with.
At this point, the Dalit in him becomes irrelevant. He could well have been one of us. That is why his suicide touches us more than the self immolation of a teen aged girl in Telangana: her parents did not have the money to build a toilet. She was ashamed.
Reams and reams have been written on Rohith’s predicament and there is yet no end to the things in the heart. One reason for the endless outpouring maybe our incapacity to access an educated, 28-year old Dalit’s mind. We are groping.
Sisyphus, the giant, has been asked to push a boulder up the mountain. From the peak, the boulder comes rolling down and Sisyphus has to resume his labour – push the boulder up again.
In the 60s, every University coffee house existentialist contemplated Sisyphus, as the ultimate metaphor for life’s futility. It was a fad. But for a Dalit tailor’s son, life’s meaninglessness must seem very real because now an educated mind has been placed on his shoulders. This, as the establishment’s walls grow higher each day even as universities churn out more and more Dalits, some quite as exceptional as Rohith. The Rohiths of this world have no network, no ties of school or blood to enable them to clamber onto a higher rung. The sewage cleaner has no aim other than a mechanical desire to keep sewers clean. Rohith has been cursed with aspiration. They represent two tragedies.
Visit a five star hotel and statuesque men and women, impeccably clad, populate the main lobbies, arrival desks, restaurants. In sharp contrast are the keepers of the toilets: these are smaller men and women of weaker bone structure, more frugally dressed. These are Dalits, (I believe Valmikis are preferred) hired on contract from private agencies. The picture is similar in shopping malls, hospitals, airports, restaurants.
Placing Dalits on the rolls of these establishments would be risky: men and women employed to clean toilets and keep the establishments tidy would begin to look for upward mobility outside areas of sanitation.
This would upset the unstated caste balance in the job market.
Caste hierarchies are thus regularized in collusion with the state. How would the state expect hundreds of thousands of Rohiths to cope with this confusing reality.
Some years ago, there was a minor agitation in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences against three upper caste candidates (two Brahmins) who inveigled themselves into the sanitation department. Marxist leaders intervened to call off the agitation. They thought the trend should be encouraged. Brahmins joining as sanitation labour was a revolutionary social advance.
The reality was different. The upper caste men never touched the broom or actually worked as sanitation labour. Soon enough, they were promoted as supervisors and accommodated in departments far removed from sanitation. Entry as sanitation labour was a ruse.
The prime minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan may be trapped in a paradox. Dalits can’t be made supervisory officers; officers will not pick up the broom.
A look at some of New Delhi’s garbage dumps revealed a startling new reality. The new safai mazdoors at these dumps are not the traditional sanitary workers; many of them are Muslims. Sachar Committee report on the socio economic condition of Indian Muslims may be in urgent need of revision. All of this is not unrelated to the condition of a sensitive Dalit like Rohith.
Nothing in recent years has encapsulated the Dalit predicament better than “Court”, the film I mentioned at the outset.
Narayan Kamble, a folk poet extremely popular among Dalits, is arrested on a ridiculous charge – that his poetry may have been responsible for the suicide of a sewage cleaner, who died by drowning in the sewage.
The police has been used by the system to silence a poet whose hold on the Dalits may be exploited by the political opposition. The voluntary act of suicide denies the sewage cleaner any sympathy for dying in his line of duty. His death is a political act.
The prosecution lawyer argues against the poet being given bail. The Sessions Judge obliges. There is absolutely no connect between those administering justice and those in need of it. In the latter category is Rohith too.
The Times Of India
Barred from hundreds of temples in U’khand, Dalits to meet Prez
DEHRADUN: About one lakh Dailts, spread across the Jaunsar Bawar region of Uttarakhand and still being denied entry to over 300 temples in the belt, now plan to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and petition him on their plight.
Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay has now come to their aid and plans to take a delegation of Dalits from the area to meet Mukherjee.
The roughly 1,000 square km of the Jaunsar Bawar region, on the outskirts of Dehradun, has 400 villages and there are about 365 temples in the hilly swathe. Dalits are not allowed entry in 339 of them.
The issue that has been simmering for long had cropped up in October when a group of Dalits led by their leader Daulat Kunwar were denied entry in the renowned Kukarshi Maharaj temple at Gabela village. After a string of protests, the district authorities ensured that Kunwar and his team offered prayers at the temple in the presence of a police team.
The second incident came to light when a resident of Mallawala village, Tikam Singh, along with his wife Kavita and father-in-law Daultu Ram, went to Gabela village to offer prayers at a temple on November 18. But the trio was thrashed and police had to intervene. Later, three persons accused of the assault were arrested.
Taking up the matter, Vijay, a BJP MP, met Kunwar and arranged a meeting with Jitendra Singh, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, and sought his support to escalate the issue. “Social harmony has increased in many areas but Jaunsar Bawar continues to discriminate against Dalits. Also, the concept of bonded labour is yet to be eliminated,” Vijay told TOI on Friday.
According to Vijay, who had raised the issue in the last session of Parliament, plans are afoot to take the delegation of Dalit members to meet the President. “It is not as simple an issue as it appears. People raising such matters have to face a strong opposition from a section of local residents,” added the Rajya Sabha member.
Kunwar, who has been heading the campaign in the region for a decade, claimed that he feared going to Jaunsar Bawar region due to the “possibility of being made a target” by those opposing the move. He added, “Leave alone the temple, Dalits are not even allowed to enter most villages. Dalits have their own accommodation outside the village areas and the place where they live is called ‘majra’.”
There are 250 majras in the area, Kunwar said, adding, “Out of the 365 temples, we are allowed entry in some temples like those at Hanol, Lakhamandal and Lakhwad. We are waiting for justice for centuries. If we raise our voice, we are thrashed and humiliated.”
Avdhash Kaushal, who heads an NGO and is a Padma Shri recipient, said Jaunsar Bawar was declared a tribal area in 1955, but the benefits went to people from the higher castes. “The suppression of Dalits has continued. Bonded labour exists and Dalits are being denied entry into temples, which is completely unacceptable. However, the problem is that no one is willing to hear their voice,” he said.
The Indian express
LIVE: Rahul Gandhi fasts with agitating students at Hyd university, BJP calls it ‘cheap politics’
Vice President Rahul Gandhi today sat on fast along with the protesting students at the Hyderabad Central University. The students have been agitating after Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD student at the university, committed suicide by hanging himself in his room. Rohith and five other students were suspended by the university in connection with an alleged attack on an ABVP leader.
On January 18, Gandhi had made his first visit to the university, a day after Rohith committed suicide. That day, he had promised complete support to their agitation.
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