[WSF-Discuss] PMARC :Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 28.05.14

Arun Khote arun.khote at gmail.com
Wed May 28 09:13:47 CDT 2014

*Dalits Media Watch*

*News Updates 28.05.14*

*Caste Hindu Trio Held for Dalit's Murder - **The New Indian Express*


*Dalit minor rape case* - *Hindustan Times*


*India's Dalit women empowered by collective farming* - *WNN*


*The New Indian Express*

*Caste Hindu Trio Held for Dalit's Murder*


VELLORE: The Tiruvalam police arrested three men on Monday for murdering a
Dalit. The police have launched a manhunt for one more person in connection
with the case.

Baskar (25) of Salavanpettai in Vellore, Madhiazhagan (27) and Sivaraman
(alias) Kalai (20) of Sembrayanallur village were arrested on charges of
murdering F Richard (25) of Sivanandam Nagar in Tiruvalam on Saturday night.

 "We are on the lookout for Sarath of Sembrayanallur in the murder case,"
said Inspector M Sathiya, the investigation officer.

The trio brutally killed Richard on Saturday night when he was returning
home after attending the funeral of  his relative in Sembrayanallur. The
murder came to light on Sunday morning after the locals spotted the body of
Richard with multiple injuries inside the Government Kodugapuli Thoppu near

Filing a case in this regard, the police nabbed Baskar, Madhiazhagan and
Sivaraman for inquiry. On interrogation, the trio confessed to the murder.
They also disclosed that Sarath was their partner in crime.

Baskar and his friends had harboured enmity against Richard following a
quarrel with the latter and their friends during a temple festival two
weeks ago. In the melee, Baskar and his friends assaulted Richard and his
friends. To settle the score, Richard and his friends went to
Madhiazhagan's house the next day and manhandled him, said the police.

On Saturday night, the three found Richard walking back home alone in an
inebriated condition. Taking advantage of this situation, the trio took him
to an isolated place and murdered him.

The three were produced before the court and later remanded in the Vellore
Central Prison for Men.

2-day Custody

The Judicial Magistrate Court - I in Vellore on Tuesday granted two days
custody of three persons in connection with the murder case of an auto
driver, who was hacked to death on May 20 near Ariyur on the outskirts of

Police officials investigating the murder of Manivannan (36) of
Nambirajapuram submitted a petition in Judicial Magistrate Court - I
seeking the custody of Rajkumar (alias) MLA Raja (30) of Ariyur, Vasanth
Kumar and Settu (alias) Gokila Krishnan (23) of Vellore, for interrogation.

They surrendered before the Judicial Magistrate Court - II in
Tiruvannamalai on Wednesday after murdering Manivannan due to enmity.

Magistrate A Mummorthy granted custody of the trio for two days and
directed the police to produce them before the court on Thursday evening.
After obtaining the custody, the police have taken them for interrogation.

*Hindustan Times*
  Dalit minor rape case


The district police seem to be trying everything to quell snowballing of
protests by parents and farmers demanding arrest of the third accused in
the alleged rape of minor Dalit girl in Gandhar village of Muktsar district.

Perhaps, it's the reason that despite the parents and farmers detained from
outside the residence of Paramraj Singh Umaranangal, inspector general of
police (IGP), Bathinda Zone, police are not willing to reveal the location,
where they have been kept.

As many as 11 protesters, including Bhola Singh, father of the victim, and
10 other women, including mother Charanjit Kaur, were picked by police
while they were protesting outside the IGP residence.

Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Gurjit Singh Ramana said a meeting of
protesters was fixed with Yurinder Singh Hayer, deputy inspector general
(DIG) of police, Bathinda range, in this connection.

When contacted Hayer said none of the protesters came to meet him and
claimed that they might have gone to the office of senior superintendent of
police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.

However, Bhullar too denied to have met the protesters, stating that the
matter did not fall in his jurisdiction so there was no relevance in him
meeting the protesters.

He claimed that the protesters were detained at the Vardhman police post.
However, Gurmail Singh, in charge of the Vardhman police post, denied the

A police official on condition of anonymity said the detained protesters
were taken to the Vardhman police post, but the police administration did
not want to reveal it.

Meanwhile, 10 protesters, who were arrested on Monday, have been sent in
judicial custody till June 2.

General secretary of the
Punjab<http://www.hindustantimes.com/elections2014/punjab>Khet Mazdoor
Union Lachhman Singh Sewewala, meanwhile, declared that the
activists of his organisation and BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) would stage a protest
outside the mini secretariat building on daily-basis and would court arrest.

Notably, the parents and the farmers are demanding arrest of the third
accused, Gurlal Singh.

The protesters alleged that despite the accused being declared a proclaimed
offender by the court, he was roaming free in the village and the Muktsar
police were not arresting him.

The girl was allegedly raped by three persons of upper caste on January 24.
Two of accused Manpreet Singh and Baljeet Singh have already been arrested.

  India's Dalit women empowered by collective farming


"For nearly five years, all I could afford was rice and a thin red gram
[pigeon pea] soup because I didn't have the money to buy fresh vegetables,
which have become very costly," she says.

Begary is a Dalit, also known as the "untouchable" caste in the social
hierarchy, who lives in Malchalma, a village in southern India. Without
land of her own, Begary previously earned less than 655 rupees ($12) a
month as a farm laborer.

But earlier this year, Begary joined a collective farm along with four
other Dalit women in her community. Life has changed considerably since
they joined this government initiative, she says.

Today, Begary and her fellow farmers grow 22 crops on the 3-acre farm,
including corn, okra, gourd and an array of beans.

"Today, I cooked rice, pappu [lentil] and string bean curry," she says. "I
plucked the beans right from my own farm."

The government has invited thousands of Dalit women to take up collective
farming to empower themselves economically. The women say the program also
elevates their social status within their communities. Caste-baste
discrimination is illegal in India but continues against Dalits. The
program's success in changing this in one state is prompting plans to
expand it nationwide.

In India, 70 percent of Dalit people are landless, according to ActionAid,
an international development organization that works to eliminate poverty.

The percentage is even higher in Andhra Pradesh state, where 86 percent of
Dalit people do not own any land, says Mary Madiga, founder and president
of Telengana Mahila Samakhya, an all-Dalit women's organization in
Hyderabad, the state capital, that fights for Dalit women's political and
social rights.

"Dalits are considered inferior to people born in higher castes," she says.
"So, they do not want the Dalits to have equal rights because it would put
them in equal position in the society."

But the list of landless Dalit women overcoming poverty and finding
economic independence through collective farming is incredibly long, says
D.V. Rayudu, director of Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture, the
government program that provides this collective farming opportunity.

Rayudu says the total number of women turning to collective farming exceeds
1 million. The majority of them are from marginalized communities in Andhra
Pradesh, currently the only state where the initiative is offered.

He says the program started in 2004 to help eliminate poverty. But it has
also succeeded in providing better nutrition to women while helping them to
find dignity and economic independence.

"We especially targeted Dalit and tribal families because most of them live
below the poverty line," Rayudu says. "So, we started to set up all-women's
self-help groups in villages. In each village, the SHG identifies the
poorest of the families and selects the women members for collective

The government buys 3 to 5 acres of land for each collective farm and hands
control of it to a group of five to 10 women,

Rayudu says. The women are free to use the produce they grow to sell or to
consume. Once they generate enough income, they pay the government back for
the land.

The program also provides the women with training in organic and multicrop
farming. The government and local self-help groups offer microloans to the
women to buy materials such as seeds.

"The idea is to help them overcome poverty, grow their own food at a low
cost and get better nutrition," Rayudu says.

For Dalit women like Begary, the biggest benefit of the program has been a
dramatic change in social and economic status.

At the personal level, they have shifted from being homemakers and
dependent on their husbands to being the main providers for their families,
she says. In the community, they are no longer seen as poor untouchables
who work on others' farms, but as farmers with their own land.

"Though earlier we did everything that we do now - tilling, seeding,
weeding and cropping - we were invisible earlier," says Anjamma, 36, a
Dalit farmer who does not use a surname. "We begged for work. We also got
less than the standard wages. But now, we are noticed."

Susheela Yadaiah of Kambalapalli, a village in southern India, is a Dalit
woman who runs an organic pesticide shop.

The Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture program trained Yadaiah to
make the pesticide, which collective farmers buy from her.

She says that owning a business has improved her economic standing as well
as has brought her more respect in her community.

"Do you notice how our house is at the back of the village?" she asks.
"That is because the best spots in villages are always taken by the people
of the higher castes."

But since she started selling the pesticide, Yadaiah says government
officials and people of higher castes have visited her home.

"We are no longer ignored," she says. "I even have bought a color TV, which
you could only see in higher-caste people's homes."

Nagamma Shekhapura, 42, a Dalit woman in Raipalle village in southern
India, joined a 5-acre collective farm in 2011.

"My parents were landless farm laborers," she says. "As a child, I worked
with them all day long, weeding, plucking and washing vegetables for
selling in the market."

Shekhapura never went to school.

"Education was only for the rich and the higher-caste people," she says.
"As poor Dalits, we had neither any money nor the time to think of schools."

So, like her parents, she became a farm laborer, earning 550 rupees ($10) a

But since joining the collective, her monthly earning has increased to
nearly 5,500 rupees ($100). This helps her to pay for the education of her
son, who has just become the first boy in their community to go to college.
Ramesh is studying to be an agricultural scientist.

"This is like a dream come true," she says.  These women's stories defy the
norm of discrimination against Dalits.

"Legally, it is a crime to treat the Dalits as unequal or deny them their
rights," Madiga says. "But in practice, it continues."

India has a constitutional ban on caste-based discrimination and
harassment. But data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau, a
government institution, shows that every state in India continues to report
crimes committed against Dalits by those belonging to higher castes.

In Andhra Pradesh, 11 percent of police cases were registered as crimes
committed against Dalits. These include beating, rape, molestation and

Madiga says that when Dalits protest this treatment, those in the upper
castes physically torture or harass them until they fall silent.

"When a woman has no land and no money and is dependent on others for a
livelihood, she can't question or argue any of the rules," Madiga says.
"So, she accepts everything - denial of work or full wages - as her fate."

Madiga says that economic independence gives the Dalit women a voice and
the courage to stand up against what is wrong. This leads to greater
liberty and dignity.

Rayudu says that the program has spread to more than 8,000 villages across
the state of Andhra Pradesh. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has
also expressed interest in introducing it in other parts of India.

The government has also begun to package and market the produce grown by
the women of the collective farms under the brand name "Krushi," which
means "farming" in Hindi, Rayudu says.

The growth of the program means continued positive changes for the women

For the first time this year, Begary was able to prepare for Diwali, the
Hindu festival of lights that celebrates the victory of good over evil.

"Earlier, I had to go find work even on the day of a festival," she says.

But this year, Begary celebrated the festival in November at home with her
children. She was also able to buy them new clothes and sweets for the
special occasion, she says with a broad smile.

News Monitored By Girish Pant

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