[WSF-Discuss] PMARC : Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 19.05.14
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Mon May 19 07:22:36 CDT 2014
*Dalits Media Watch*
*News Updates 19.05.14*
*Five Sentenced to Life for Killing Labourer in Group Clash-** The New
*260 million 'untouchables' seek EU help-** New Europe*
*Dalit man set ablaze over land dispute in Gondia-** The Hindu*
*Students Urged to Fight for Dalit Rights-** The New Indian Express*
*The New Indian Express*
*Five Sentenced to Life for Killing Labourer in Group Clash*
MUZAFFARNAGAR: A local court has sentenced five people to life imprisonment
for killing a Dalit labourer in a group clash in 2007.
The Additional District Sessions judge Dinesh Chand, yesterday convicted
the accused identified as Ajab Singh, his three sons -Arvind, Ravi Kumar,
Lokender and a relative Sunil, for killing the labourer in a group clash.
The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 27000 on each of the accused.
According to prosecution, Dalit labourer?Ramesh was beaten to death and six
injured when a group of Jatt community attacked on brick kiln
labourers?over a minor dispute at Nala village under Kandhla police station
in Shamli district on March 5, 2007.
*260 million 'untouchables' seek EU help*
As India, the world's largest democracy heads to the polls, New Europe
spoke with Henri Tiphange and Asha Kowtal, two leading activists for the
Dalit, the untouchables.
The country is undergoing a period of uncertainty after a series of vicious
rapes and murders have made many question what sort of country it is for
women, especially those from lower castes.
"The situation of the Dalits has been extremely difficult and challenging
and it has been this way for centuries," says Kowtal.
"It's being deprived of human rights, access to justice and severe
atrocities and crimes against Dalits, especially the women, who have been
systematically been targeted for rape, and not just rape as sexual
violence, as a tool of revenge to silence people and crush an assertive
community. Four Dalit women are raped every day. It's brutal and
deep-rooted and there are multiple barriers to justice, from the police
station to the courts," she adds.
The four rapes a day figure is from official stactistics, the real figure
is likely to be much higher. In addition, the brutal violence and the
seeming ability for these crimes to be committed in even very public places
is deeply shocking.
With 130 million Dalit women in the world the scale of the problem becomes
apparent as the number of women affected is roughly twice the population of
The scenario is one of human rights defenders being under threat says
Tiphange, alarmed that "any form of protest, even peaceful protest has
legal cases brought afterwards."
"The womens' protests have been met with a total of 2,800 cases against
people," he adds.
He also says that protesters are criminalised. "In addition, an image is
created that these struggles are foreign funded." He adds that restrictions
are increasingly being placed on civil society organisations, and he says
some have been virtually closed because of outside funding being prohibited.
In addition, some from the west are uneasy about making a stand on
something they may dislike, but is culturally different. "I feel this is an
image that has been painted about caste being a cultural situation, but I
disagree," says Kowtal, adding, "The way the Indian system stratified is
clearly about controlling power, politically, economically."
Condemning the "silence" over rights in India, Kowtal says that if you are
involved in human rights you can not stay silent, "inside or outside the
country, every nation and individual has to take a stance about this issue."
"The allegation, usually by the Indian state, that these are Western
colonial actors, who are raising the question of caste discrimination are
doing it to maintain the silence that Asha is talking about, " adds
"The increasing silence is showing that India is winning over those states
that believe in human rights," he adds.
It is the "breaking of the silence" that the activists want from the EU,
"Unless you break the silence at the political level and demonstrate that
you have the courage to speak out, even to India, and if you fail to do
this, to India you're also failing South Asia and that's a problem.
Collectively, South Asia is in a really difficult situation," says Tiphange.
"Having the political will to speak is the most important," he says.
"It's not rocket science," says Kowtal. "We're asking simply for the
implementation of the law. It's not enough for it to exist on paper. We
want our constitutional rights," she adds, "Give them to us, protect us."
She concludes, "The perpetrators of sexual violence are roaming around
free. Give us our rights, give us our freedom."
*Dalit man set ablaze over land dispute in Gondia*
He was attacked for leading efforts to build a Buddha Viharaon land
allotted by panchayat.
A 48-year-old Dalit man has been set ablaze by six persons over a land
dispute at Kawalewada village in Gondia district of Maharashtra. "The
victim, Sanjay Khobragade, has suffered 94 per cent burns and is in a bad
condition," Dr Vishal Eleke at the General Medical College here, where he
is being treated, said on Sunday.
"They poured petrol on me and set me ablaze," Mr. Khobragade told *The
Hindu*in the hospital about the attack that took place in the early hours
of Saturday. "It was done because of '*jatiwad' *[casteism]. Don't we
[Dalits] even deserve a piece of land for our religious places."
One of the accused is a woman, the sarpanch of the village.
"We have registered a case under the Atrocity Act [Scheduled Castes and
Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act] and Sections 310 and 307 of the
Indian Penal Code ... Prima facie, it is a case of a caste atrocity,"
District Collector Amit Saini said.*Return of land sought* Mr. Khobragade's
wife, Devakabai, said: "There was a dispute between my husband and some
people belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from our village over
a piece of land where a Buddha Vihara was to be built. In 2012, the village
panchayat gave some land to the Dalits to build the Vihara, but in January
this year, it asked us to return the land."
"They [OBCs] were pressuring us [Dalits] to return the land saying that
they want to build a 'Bhaktanivas' [a Hindu dharmashala]. We even returned
10 feet of land, but they have been threatening us since January," she said.
In January, the land dispute was referred to the police who mediated
between the Dalits and the OBCs, but Mr. Khobragade continued to receive
threats since he was at the forefront of efforts to build the Vihara.
"They threatened us 15 days ago and asked my father to forgo the land. A
week ago, they told us that May 16 will be yours and May 17 will be ours,"
his son Pradip said.
*The New Indian Express*
*Students Urged to Fight for Dalit Rights*
CHENNAI: Prominent Dalit activist and Supreme Court advocate Franklin
Caesar Thomas condemned fundamentalists and caste Hindus for still
following the ancient and outdated caste system, which does not respect
equality among all.
He especially spoke for the rights of Dalit Christians and Muslims whose SC
status has been revoked due to their religious affinity.
"Because of the obnoxious reservation and the caste system practised, the
richest Dalit Hindus get SC status, while the poorest Dalit Christians and
Muslims are not entitled to any benefits that SCs receive," he said.
Speaking at a three-day workshop conducted by the Dalit Students'
Federation, Thomas explained the several legal and constitutional aspects
relating to Dalits who chose to convert to another religion.
According to the 1950 Constitution order (Scheduled Caste) 19, 'No person
who professes a religion different from the Hindu, the Sikh or the Buddhist
religion shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste.'
Thomas said that the benefits of reservation were necessary to economically
empower the Dalit minorities rather than continuing to facilitate the
advancement of those who have already reached heights, taking advantage of
the SC reservations.
He expressed the hope that the Constitution order would be amended by the
new government to include the Dalit Muslims and Christians and urged them
to fight for their rights in a legal way.
"I strongly believe in the legal system, although it is controlled by the
Brahminic hegemony," he added.
Maduravoyal MLA Bheem Rao of the CPM encouraged the students to focus on
education and economic empowerment.
"Involve yourself with progressive thinkers and groups. The courage to
bring about a change in ideology and opinions is a necessity," he said.
*News Monitor by Girish Pant*
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