[WSF-Discuss] PMARC : Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 10.05.14

Arun Khote arun.khote at gmail.com
Sat May 10 05:01:46 CDT 2014

*Dalits Media Watch*

*News Updates 10.05.14*

*Dalit lynched in Hisar village Another injured seriously; relatives demand
arrest of accused-** The Tribune*


*INLD leader held on rape charge -** The Tribune*


*The Rat Eaters of Musahar: The Outcasts of India-** IBT*


*Dalit leaders to hold protest rally on May 15-** The Times Of India*


*NCDHR condemns "calculated" expulsion of three marginalised EFLU students-**
Two Circle*


* 'Cop negligence in sarpanch murder'-** The Asian Age*


*Dalits pour out woes before Deputy Commissioner-** Deccan Herald *




*Note: Please find attachment for HINDI DMW ( PDF)*

*The Tribune*

*Dalit lynched in Hisar village **Another injured seriously; relatives
demand arrest of accused*


Hisar, May 9

In a shocking incident, a Dalit man was lynched and another injured
seriously when a group of villagers thrashed them for hours, mistaking them
for poachers, in Kalwas village of the district yesterday.

Rajbir (40) and his cousin Ram Avtar (26) of Gangwa village went on a
motorcycle to the fields in Kalwas village yesterday afternoon to made
enquiries about rates and availability of fodder for cattle.

They were waylaid by four youths, who termed them as poachers. They alleged
that the two men were poaching tailed lizard (uromastyx), deer and rabbits.
The Bishnoi community does not allow poaching.

The infuriated youths tied the hands of the two men and started beating
them up with sticks and iron rods. Rajbir died on the spot and Ram Avtar
was admitted to the Civil Hospital with serious injuries.

Ram Avtar today said they kept explaining the reason for their visit, but
it fell on deaf ears. He said more persons joined the youths and they
thrashed the two men for over three hours.

Relatives of the victims and Dalit organisations protested against the
incident and demanded immediate arrest of the accused. This delayed the
postmortem for four hours. They met the Deputy Commissioner in this regard.

Superintendent of Police Sibhash Kaviraj said no animal was recovered from
the victims when the police reached the spot. He said the police would
arrest the accused soon.

The police registered a case of murder. Three of the assailants, belonging
to the Bishnoi community, were identified as Vinod Kumar, Anil Kumar and
Amar Singh.

*The Tribune*

*INLD leader held on rape charge*


Rohtak, May 9

A local INLD leader has been arrested on the charge of raping a backward
class woman luring her with a job.

Davinder Saini (30), who contested the municipal elections from ward 13
here last year, took the victim to a factory on Hisar Road on the pretext
of getting her a job and allegedly raped her on Wednesday evening. He later
abandoned her after threatening her of dire consequences in case she
revealed the matter.

The woman, however, reported the matter to the police. Another youth who
acted as the link between the woman and Saini is still at large.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested two persons for allegedly killing their
friend, Narender Kumar(30) hailing from Bhali Anandpur village in the
district, over a monetary dispute.

Deepak and Mohan allegedly strangled Narender tand burnt his body after
sprinkling petrol on it at Kot village in Jhajjar district.

Narender's family members got a missing complaint lodged on February 24.

While the local police were looking for the accused, the Rajasthan police
arrested them in Sikar district in connection with a kidnapping case.

During interrogation, they confessed their involvement in Narender's murder
following which the Rajasthan police informed the Rohtak police.


*The Rat Eaters of Musahar: The Outcasts of India*


The Musahar community is a Hindu caste who lives on the margin of society
due to India's harsh cast system.

It is considered the lowest of the Dalit groups, the untouchables, which
are the most segregated communities in India. They are discriminated for
their skin colour, religion, and traditions.

The Musahars, whose name translates in English as "rat eaters", live in Uttar
Pradesh <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uttar_Pradesh>,
Bihar<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bihar> and
north Madhya Pradesh <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhya_Pradesh>. They
speak Bhojpuri <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhojpuri>, a dialect deriving
from Hindi <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindi>.

According to Hindu mythology, the whole Musahar community was punished by
Parmashwar (the Hindu god of creation) when one of the Mushara member dug
holes into a horse's belly.

Parmashwar, who had given the horse to the man as a gift, was terribly
offended and therefore punished the whole community by making them rat

"Earlier our meals were dependant on the availability of rats and grains
that we would procure from the rat holes," Malhu Sada, 74, a member of the
community, told Al Jazeera.

"However, things are changing for some families as their children have gone
to different states to work. We now catch rats mostly during the harvesting

The Musahars are mainly landless agricultural labourers who are
continuously subjected to discriminations.

"All the neighbouring villages have electricity with all the basic
amenities, but we still live in such inhuman conditions. There aren't any
schools and the nearest school is 2km away," Kusum Lal, 72, said.

The Indian government runs some schemes in order to help the community cope
with their condition of extreme poverty.

Marginalisation and prejudices, however, are still some of the biggest
treats to Musahars' living condition betterments.

Discrimination based on caste results to a lower attendance of Musahar
children at school.According to a Human Rights Watch
teachers often address poorer students using derogatory terms, such as

"This report finds that discrimination takes various forms, including
teachers asking Dalit children to sit separately, making insulting remarks
about Muslim and tribal students, and village authorities not responding
when girls are kept from the classroom, " HRW said.

"Teachers and other students often address these children using derogatory
terms for their caste, community, tribe, or religion.

"In some schools, children from vulnerable communities are not ever
considered for leadership roles such as class monitor because of their
caste or community. Many are expected to perform unpleasant jobs such as
cleaning toilets."

According to Sajjad Hassan, who works for the Centre for Equity Studies,
India's impressive arsenal of anti-poverty programmes has bypassed Musahars.

Solutions to end this community's misery, however, do exist.

Collectivisation and community-led actions might be some of the answers,
according to NGO Action Aid.

"ActionAid has proposed a process of collectivisation and community-led
action under the PACS programme, through which immediate poverty needs can
be addressed and human security systems established," the NGO said.

"ActionAid would work not only with Musahars themselves but strive to forge
links and solidarity with other castes in the villages and plans for a
social reintegration of Musahars into the village community."

*The Times Of India*

*Dalit leaders to hold protest rally on May 15*


AURANGABAD: The Dalit Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti, a joint action
committee comprising leaders of various political parties, on Friday said
they would hold a rally on May 15 to protest against the recent incidents
of crimes on dalits.

The rally will start from Kranti Chowk at noon and pass through important
places before culminating in front of the office of Aurangabad divisional

The committee will hand over a memorandum of demands to the divisional

Recently, a 17-year-old dalit boy was allegedly murdered and hanged from a
tree over his love affair with a minor girl from an upper caste at Kharda
village in Jamkhed taluka of Ahmednagar. Moreover, several cases of crime
against dalits in Jalna and Kannad have also been reported.

Besides organising the rally, the committee is also planning to observe a
'protest week' if the government fails to accept its demands. Milind
Dhabhade, member of the joint action committee, said they would resort to
road blocking, 'rail roko' and 'jail bharo' agitation throughout the
district. "More than 25,000 workers belonging to different political
parties, who follow Dr Ambedkar's philosophy, have joined hands for the
agitation," he said.

Dhabhade said the committee is demanding resignation of state home minister
R R Patil. "He is responsible for such incidences. The police have been
inactive under his leadership resulting in increase in crime against people
belonging to backward sections. Patil has lost the moral right to occupy
the seat and should immediately step down," he said.

The committee also wants the state government to fix responsibilities of
crimes against dalits. "Senior police officials and inspectors should he
held responsible for such cases. Besides, the government should provide
protection to dalit people, especially those living in sensitive areas," he

Gautam Kharat, another member of the committee, said that Union agriculture
minister NCP supremo Sharad Pawar should intervene and ask the home
minister to step down. "It is strange to see that senior political leaders
like Pawar are keeping themselves away at a time when crimes against dalits
are on the rise in the state," he said.

*Two Circle*
NCDHR condemns "calculated" expulsion of three marginalised EFLU students


The three targeted students, Mohan Dharavath, Satheesh Nainala, and Subhash
Kumar, were rusticated by the university administration without any probe.
While Dharavath is an Adivasi, Nainala and Kumar belong to the OBC

"It is shocking that no inquiry was conducted before the university issued
orders. The students were not even given a chance to give their version.
The decision to rusticate the three students for two years without any
probe is extremely undemocratic and unethical," said Paul Divakar, Dalit
activist and general secretary, NCDHR.

Dharavath is the president of the Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minority Students'
Union, Nainala is the general secretary of the Telangana Students'
Association, EFLU, and Kumar is a senior member of the Democratic Students
Front (DSF). When NCDHR spoke to the rusticated students, they said they
were not even present when the incident occurred.

"I was hospitalised in Chennai and returned only a week after the vandalism
while Satheesh was at the police station filing a case against the
university administration for curtailing our right to education at the time
of the incident," said Dharavath. According to Nainala, there were around
400 students present. "The glass door broke when there was a scuffle
between the administration and the students. Nobody knows how the glass
door broke."

The students said that the agitation was carried out by the Students'
Council and they were only expressing solidarity. "We have been targeted
for speaking against discrimination, corruption and authoritarianism of the
university administration," they said.

Dharavath, who did his diploma and MA from the university, said that even
at the time of his admission in PhD in 2009, the university didn't even
have seats reserved for SC/ST and OBC candidates. He had to the take the
university to court to ensure that there were reserved seats for SC/ST and
OBC candidates. "Ever since then the university has filed many cases
against me and I have to appear in court almost every month," says

Unfortunately, EFLU has a history of caste-based discrimination, exclusion
and violence. On 16 November 2011, R Jayamurugan, a Dalit student pursuing
BA second year in German was harassed by professors and a complaint was
filed with the National Human Rights Commission. Another Dalit student Kush
Kumar attempted suicide at the university. On 2 March 2013, PhD scholar
Mudasir Kamran from Kashmir committed suicide. The discrimination ranges
from deliberately failing Dalit and Bahujan students in certain subjects to
verbal abuse and to rustication to physical violence to denying them basic
rights on the campus.

The recent round of expulsions happened because they had taken up the
suicide case of Kamran, who was unnecessarily harassed by the
administration and even handed over to the police. "We even started
exposing the university vice chancellor of other financial scams she is
involved in and that really irked her," said Nainala.

Following the suspension orders, protests broke out at the university
campus. Student groups supporting the agitation said that the suspensions
were an act of revenge and the decision was illegal.

As per orders, the students will not be able to step inside the campus
until December 31, 2015. Such a move will be devastating as Dharavath and
Nainala are close to completing their PhD courses and due to submit their
thesis this year, while Kumar is pursuing MA in Spanish. The drastic step
is bound to put the students and their families in great distress as the
students are the first in their families to pursue higher education. The
students have not even told their parents about the expulsion because they
fear that the news will leave them shattered. Dharavath's father is an
agricultural labourer from Warangal while Nainala's father is a coal mine
worker from Adilabad.

"Such targeted and deliberate discrimination is not unique against a wide
pattern of caste-based bias that exists in our society. Therefore, we
demand immediate withdrawal of the rustication order," added Asha Kotwal,
general secretary, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch.

*The Asian Age*
'Cop negligence in sarpanch murder'


Chairperson of the SC-ST Commission, C.L. Thool, has found police
negligence in the murder case of the Dalit sarpanch Manoj Kasab at Nanegaon
in the Jalna district. He is now going to serve notices to the guilty
police officers under Section 4 of the Scheduled Caste and Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities Act) for negligence.

Kasab, the Dalit sarpanch of Nanegaon, was assaulted on April 3, 2014 by
some of the villagers, and after battling for his life for around a month,
he succumbed to his injuries. The attack was one of the examples of
increasing incidents of Dalit atrocity post general elections.

Taking cognisance of the spurt of such cases, Mr Thool, along with water
conservation minister Dr Nitin Raut, is visiting the villages and family
members of deceased people to take stock of the situation and review the
measures taken by the local administration. After visiting three-four
villages last week, both of them on Friday visited Nanegaon and two other
villages and were surprised to know that the police was playing a partial
role in all the cases.

Mr Thool said that the FIR had not been registered even after the sarpanch
was attacked viciously by the accused. "I was told that the FIR was lodged
after one month of the incident. Police officers were not ready to lodge
the complaints of the victims' family, which is a serious cause of
concern," said Mr Thool.

*Deccan Herald *
Dalits pour out woes before Deputy Commissioner


Mangalore, May 10, 2014, DHNS:

*Complaints and grievances poured in at the district administration's
meeting with the Dalit leaders that is held after five months, at the
deputy commissioner's office on Thursday. *

Dalit leaders raised a whole lot of issues ranging from title deed
problems, to eviction of poor Dalits, from lack of development in
Naxal-affected areas to scholarship distribution to scheduled caste and
tribe students, at the meeting.

Dalit Hakkugala Horata Samiti Convener Shekhar Laila alleged that the funds
sanctioned for providing basic amenities to Naxal-affected areas were not
utilised for the said purpose.

Pointing at one such instance, he said that the money was used for
constructing a road stretching for about 1.5 km that leads to a Jain
'Basadi' in Savanal in Belthangady taluk, while only 150 metres of road
leading to Malekudiya hamlet in the same village was asphalted.

"Where are the crores of rupees released by the government going?" he asked.

He also demanded to construct a road to the Malekudiya hamlet in Banjarmale
near Neriya, where Malekudiyas are forced to pass through a private

Dalit Sangharsh Samiti leader S P Anand cautioned about the pathetic
condition of the quarters provided by the Mangalore City Corporation to its
civic workers, at Mahakalipadpu.

With monsoon only a month away, there is fear of these houses getting
collapsed due to wind and rain. Lives of 36 families residing in these
quarters are at risk, he said demanding the city corporation to make an
alternative arrangement to them till the new quarters are built.

Anand urged the administration to allot a cremation ground for SCs and STs
at Niddodi. "After continuous demand, the department sanctioned two acre
land on the top of the hill, which is inconvenient for cremation," he said.

A few Dalit community members raised objection over the use of 'Harijana'
and 'Girijana' words, despite the ban on public usage of these words.

"Those words attached to the names of the Dalits, should be removed from
the RTC and other government records," a Dalit leader said. In reply,
Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim ordered the authorities concerned to remove
Harijana, Girijana and Holeya words from the government records all at

The deputy commissioner also directed all the tahsildars to convene
grievance meetings in the respective taluks within a week.

When asked about the employment provided to scheduled caste and tribe youth
under tourism employment programme, the social welfare officer said that 30
taxis have been sanctioned to SC youth and 16 have been sanctioned to the
ST youth.

*The Pioneer*


*Saturday, 10 May 2014 | MANAS JENA | in

*Odisha has forest area of 58.136 sqkm which is about 37 per cent of the
total geographical area of the State. Forest has been a source of
livelihood of people living in forest area, forest fringe villages,
specially for minor forest produce (MFP)/ Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP)
collectors, and people engaged in primary processing, binding, storing and
other forest based works. These people depend on forest for almost more
than half a year for income and employment. A large majority of them are
poor Adivasis and women.*

Kendu leaf (KL), one of the important MFPs, has engaged about eight lakh
pluckers in 7,482 collection centers covering 23 districts of the State.
Odisha has lots of potentialities to improve the forest resources and
forest based activities for generation of income and employment for the
forest dwellers. Forest sub sector alone contributes more than 10 per cent
of the agriculture sector to SGDP. The revenue collection from forest
products by the Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) was about Rs
500 crore in 2011-2012.

Kendhu leaves along generate about 80 per cent of the total revenue. The
forest department activities include timber, kendu leaf, bamboo, and MFP
trade, apart from plantation and forest safety.Forest produces have been in
demand in both domestic as well as in international markets. The Kendu
leaves are exported to Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Asian and
African countries. There are 9,500 licenced herbal industries in the
country with increasing demand for herbal medicines. WHO says about 80 per
cent of population in South Asia depend on plant based medicine for health.
India is a major exporter of lac in international market. There are a
number of forest based industries such as paper mills in the State that are
run with NTFP like bamboo and there has been growing interest for capital
investment in NTFP sector.

The recent trend shows the State is facing challenges due huge
deforestation as a result of mining, industry and other projects in forest
areas. The Forest Department sources say 390 projects are approved under
Forest Conservation Act, 1980 till 2012 which diverted 40,101 hectares (ha)
of forest land and another 424 projects are in the pipeline for approval.
On the other side, there has been huge displacements and increasing poverty
among forest dependent communities due to loss of livelihood. There is a
need to develop forest integrating the income and employment demand of
forest based communities where NTFP can be tapped as a potential source. It
has been experienced that a large majority of forest based communities are
illiterate and not yet tapped the resources like NTFP because of historical
injustice meted out to them in denying rights and ownership over forest
clubbed with exploitation of unscrupulous traders in the locality in the
absence of a strong State protective mechanism. The anti-people forest
policy and colonial legacy in forest administration with feudal mindset of
forest officials further marginalized people in post independent era.

The Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy 2006 of the State Government has
not identified NTFP collectors as one of the affected category for
compensation in case of displacement, but it is recognised in recent Right
to Fair Compensation and Transparency in land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
and Resettlement Act 2013 where there is a need for amendment in State R &
R policy. The provision of compensatory afforestation and generation of new
forest in abundant mining areas and waste land are really not compensating
the forest dwellers livelihood.

The continued rights-based people's movement in forest areas along with
impact of Left extremism has paved the way for rights consciousness among
forest dependent communities and forced the Government to recognize
people's rights over forest. This has been challenged further by market
forces looking for capital investment in forest sector. The State has to
ensure judicious use of forest resources and the livelihood of people
depends on forest while allowing market forces in forestry sector.

Article 39 of the constitution of India says the citizen, men and women,
equally have the right to an adequate means of livelihood. The center has
brought a number of rights-based legislations for Adivasis in recent times
which are not followed by the State.

MFP ownership has been a major controversy between the forest department
and forest dwellers in scheduled areas after the enforcement of The
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled areas) Act 1996 (PESA)
and STs and the other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest
Rights) Act 2006(FRA). The forest areas are also fifth scheduled areas of
the State which is 44 per cent of the total geographical area and about 60
per cent of the population belongs to Adivasi communities and 20 per cent
are Dalits.

As part of reparation against historical injustice done to Adivasis through
enforcement of FRA Act in true spirit, the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs
has a plan for supporting marketing of 12 MFPs in States having fifth
schedule area through minimum support price and development of value chain
for MFP as a measure of social safety for MFP collectors with TRIFED as
nodal agency. There is a plan to develop the local markets with storage
facility, drinking water, shade and platforms to help the collectors sell
their NTFP. In a letter by Ministry addressed to the State Chief
Secretaries, the States have been requested to play a facilitating role in
transferring unhindered absolute right over NTFP to STs and other
traditional forest dwellers and getting them remunerative price for the
NTFP collected and processed by them. The letter says that forest right
holders or their cooperatives should be allowed with full freedom to sell
such NTFP to any one or to undertake individual or collective processing,
value addition and marketing for livelihood within and outside forest area
by using locally appropriate transport. The Ministry has planned to go for
multipurpose centre for training, primary processing, value addition,
storage, and ware housing, cold storage relating to NTFP.

The forest dwellers in Odisha need protection from local market forces. The
legal provisions relating to NTFP are contradictory and mostly depriving
the locals of their rights to access natural resources for livelihood.The
State Government has nationalized MFP like KL in 1973, bamboo in 1993, Sal
seed in 1983, Mahua in 1991 contradicting the rights of the forest
dwellers. There is no NTFP policy at national or State level.

NTFP is addressed in several policy, laws and Government orders. The Odisha
Government has two agencies for NTFP procurement such as OFDC and TDCC
which are functioning mechanically without concern for livelihood of forest
dwellers.The forest based industries in the State have been generating very
marginal employment. The KL grants are distributed in all over the State
while the workers engaged in plucking and other related activities are not
getting their due share. The owners are made workers and their basic human
rights are denied to them. The KL pluckers are facing health problems like
malaria and other occupational health hazards like snake and poisonous
insects bite.

Odisha has 9 per cent of the country's total bamboo cover and tremendous
potentialities to generate income for the forest dwellers.

The Government has assigned bamboo forest to paper industries that have
been appointed contractors and sub agents when the locals are prevented to
collect bamboo for their livelihood and household consumption as even today
thousands of families depend on bamboo craft for their livelihood. In
Odisha the movements of forest dwellers have raised this issue of MFP and
are struggling hard for the implementation of PESA and FRA. A number of
civil society organizations have demonstrated exemplary work relating to
NTFP involving the locals in districts like Rayagada, Balangir and
Kalahandi taking the issues of broomsticks and promoting sal leaf
collection and Kusum/lac cultivation. International agencies support Odisha
forest sector development project without integrating concern for forest
dwellers. The 12th five year plan document and sub-group on NTFP has
recommended for a holistic development of NTFP sector through conservation,
development and management. But this can be possible with active
involvement of local forest dwellers by recognizing their rights as owners
and by creating infrastructural support and training to make them inclusive
in the process of development with forest resources. The Government should
implement PESA and FRA in true spirit and fall in line with the guidelines
of the Centre.

*(The writer is a rights activist, who can be reached at ojaabbsr at gmail.com
<ojaabbsr at gmail.com>) *

*News Monitor by Girish Pant*

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