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Dalits In News,Dec 1

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-01 17:27

Dignity demanded for scavengers, March ban irks Dalit body, 40 injured in lathicharge during temple festival in Tamil Nadu, JNU censured for turning away student Lawyers told to educate people on SC, ST Atrocities Act 'Aaja Nachle' lyrics derogatory to Dalits: U.P.

Dignity demanded for scavengers
By Sunil Raman   BBC News, Delhi
Activists in India have begun a two-day conference in Delhi to discuss ways of ending the practice of collecting human waste by hand by 2010.
They say that some 1.3 million people are employed to remove human waste from non-flush toilets, a practice, known as 'manual scavenging'.
The conference has coincided with a protest by the workers and aid agencies helping them near parliament in Delhi.
They want the implementation of a 1993 law that bans the practice.
'Dignified life'
Around 1.3 million people, mostly members of the predominantly low-caste Dalit community, are involved in clearing human waste in areas where there is no modern sewage system.
They are shunned by the rest of the society and are forced to work for low wages.
Mostly women, they are paid around 10-20 rupees (25-50 cents) every month from every household. In addition they receive a piece of bread.
The protest in Delhi was staged by around 100 activists, human waste cleaners and NGOs representing them.
Under banners demanding "a dignified life according to the constitution", activists talked about the need for state governments to be more active in implementing the law.
Bezwada Wilson, head of the national campaign to end the practise of human scavenging by 2010, said that state governments had failed to take steps under the law to identify such people and help them get alternate jobs.
He said caste prejudice came in the way of millions of poor people finding different work.
Pinky, 18, used to clean human waste from the age of 11 years in the town of Sikar in the state of Rajasthan.
Social activists managed to extricate Pinky and her parents from working as human scavengers.
But she complained that there was nothing else for them to do.
"My mother is without work, my father works in a local hospital. We are five children and it is difficult to survive," she said.
The problem faced by activists involved in freeing people from the practice was highlighted by Sohanlal, an activist from Sikar.
"Around 30 women we identified have refused to stop cleaning human waste because they want assured jobs from us. But the government is not helping us. Proposals sent to the local administration have been ignored," he said.
Under the law state governments have to ensure the building of modern sewage systems, but most states have lagged behind.
NGOs allege that a Supreme Court order for them regularly to monitor the problem is not being followed.


The Times Of India
March ban irks Dalit body
 1 Dec 2007, 0418 hrs IST  , TNN
MANSA: Walking to ensure protection of fundamental rights is not easy, even if it against the long banned practice of bonded labour. Even after 60 years of independence, Dalits are facing wrath of landlords and authorities who seem least bothered to ensure minimum wages. 
Dalit Dastan Virodhi Andolan (DDVA), a social action group involved in eradication of bonded labour system and atrocities on Dalits, launched a yatra to create awareness about their rights. Before starting the march on November 22 from Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, DDVA informed district officials.
The yatra was to reach Mansa area on Friday night, but a day prior to this, Mansa DC dashed off a letter banning the entry of the yatra into Kahangarh, Khudal and Kishangarh villages, citing apprehensions of disturbance in law and order problem. 
DDVA activists termed this step as violation of their fundamental rights. DDVA office-bearer Parbhjot Kaur told The Times of India deputy commissioners and SSPs of the districts through which the yatra was to pass were informed in advance to provide security and avoid any misadventure, like the one DDVA faced during its previous yatra in September. 
A clash had taken place at village Ghorenab in Sangrur and police had arrested some Dalits. Parbhjot said though they did not want to disturb peace, they would not tolerate violation of their rights and would go to these villages on December 2 as planned. 
Mansa DC Surjit Singh Dhillon confirmed that the yatra was disallowed from entering these villages as the administration did not want to see a repeat of bloody clashes between two groups.
The Times Of India
40 injured in lathicharge during temple
festival in Tamil Nadu
1 Dec 2007, 0143 hrs IST  , PTI
THENI (TAMIL NADU): Forty people, including 12 women and a child, were injured when police lathicharged to avert a clash between Dalits and caste Hindus over the firing of crackers during a temple festival near here, on Friday.
Tension built up when Dalits, carrying a 'chaparam' (palanquin) of the local temple, started firing crackers indiscriminately as they reached the area where caste Hindus were living at Devathanapatti, police said.
Even as the police were warning them to be cautious, one of the crackers fell on a policeman, injuring him mildly and damaging his cap and shirt.
The participants, allegedly in an inebriated condition, disregarded another warning by the police and fired crackers even more indiscriminately as people belonging to other communities also gathered there, police said. 
Sensing trouble, police lathicharged the crowd to disperse both the groups. While a child suffered a fracture in the arm, 39 others sustained minor injuries. They were sent to the local hospital for treatment. 
Police said the organisers of the festival had been taken into custody. 
Meanwhile, those carrying the palanquin left it in the middle of the road and demanded an apology from police for the lathicharge.
Top officials reached the spot and were negotiating with the locals, Police said.
Hindustan Times
JNU censured for turning away student
The Delhi High Court has passed strictures against the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Universiry (JNU) for denying admission to a dalit student to the M Phil course. The court also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the university for its "insensitivity and callousness".
Amritashva Kamal, a former student, had gone to the Chandrabagha Hostel in the campus to save his brother Saurabh Kamal, a first year BA Spanish student, who was being subjected to caste abuse and violence allegedly by a group led by one M K Chauhan in July 2006. A mob then gathered and allegedly beat up  the brothers in the hostel premises.
The enquiry committee set up following the incident recommended no action against Amritvarsha and found him to be a victim of caste abuse and physical violence led by M.K. Chauhan. But strangely, the university in May last year debarred him from admission to any of its programmes and courses.
The university justified the action saying despite not being a student of the university, he sneaked inside the campus and took the law into his own hands "He went to the hostel with his younger brother to settle matters on his own instead of informing the authorities The university would not like to admit a student who picks up fight and create law and order situation that could turn out to be very ugly", the JNU said.
In his petition before the High Court, Amritashva contended that JNU's order was against all cannons of fair play as the enquiry had fully established that his brother had been unfairly harassed and he had only gone to rescue him.
Finding merit in his arguments, Justice Ravindra Bhatt said "sadly the stark reality of caste prejudice has been highlighted in this case. The JNU, consistent with its mandate of promoting modern education and secular values, unfortunately displayed rank insensitivity. There is no more justice where the victim and the oppressor are treated alike, as where the lion and lamb are afforded the same treatment. That JNU has done so, betrays its callousness, to say the least."
Imposing a fine of Rs 25,000 on the university, Justice Bhat asked it to him Amritshva to the M Phil course of his choice for the forthcoming session.
New Indpress
GPs apathetic to SC/ST schemes warned
Friday November 30 2007 06:42 IST
Express News Service
BELGAUM: Taking a serious note of the apathy of some Gram Panchayats (GP) in executing schemes meant for SC/ST, Deputy Commissioner ME Shivalingmurthy, has warned that he may be compelled to take action against them.
Some GPs have not utilised funds released for the schemes, it was noted. They were advised to make haste and use the funds for the welfare of the targetted segment.
Speaking at the meeting organised to review the progress of the works of the district-level committee to control atrocities on SC/ST community, the officer instructed ZP officials to conduct inquiry in this regard and ensure utilisation of the sum for which it is meant.
A total of Rs 4.23 lakh has been released as compensation to the SC/STs in 24 cases between the month of May and September 2007. As many as 50 of the 78 atrocity cases are pending in courts.
The meeting discussed about providing burial ground and water supply to SC/STs. Police were also instructed to register atrocity cases promptly.
Committee members Kallappa Kamble, Gangaram Doddamani, GY Baramannavar, Yallappa Kolekar, Ashokkumar Asode and officials of concerned departments were  present.
Lawyers told to educate people on SC, ST Atrocities Act   
Anantapur, November 30: District and Sessions Judge K. Gaddenna on Thursday inaugurated a special court in the district courts complex here for speedy disposal of cases registered under the SC, ST Atrocities Prevention Act, 1989.
Speaking on the occasion, he said 330 cases pertaining to atrocities on SCs and STs were pending in the district. The new court would also ease the burden on the first additional sessions court, which had been hearing the cases so far. The special court was one of the five such courts set up in the State, as per the directions of the High Court.
The special court would be chaired by special sessions judge N. Raghava Rao he said and asked all courts, bar associations, lawyers, and those related with the cases in the district to cooperate with the new court for the speedy disposal of pending cases and justice.
He also asked the advocates to create awareness among people on the SC, ST Atrocities Prevention Act. The new court had been functioning from November but it was inaugurated formally on today with separate building and staff for full-fledged functioning.
DIG's plea
Deputy Inspector-General of Police of Anantapur Range N. Jayarami Reddy asked the police officers and the lawyers to cooperate with the special court for speedy disposal of cases.
Calling for steps to plug loopholes in the Act, he said only five per cent of the accused in such cases were being punished by law.
'Aaja Nachle' lyrics derogatory to Dalits: U.P.
Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday banned Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit's comeback film 'Aaja Nachle' alleging the lyrics of a song in the movie were derogatory to Dalits.
Highly placed government sources said here that Chief Minister Mayawati had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that the film be banned all over the country.
The screening of the film was stopped here after the ban was imposed.
The Chief Minister's Principal Secretary, Shailesh Krishna, on being asked, said the film had been banned because there was an objectionable reference to a caste in its title song. "The reference to the caste is not only objectionable and humiliating but also unconstitutional and therefore the screening of the film has been banned in Uttar Pradesh," he said.
Protest in New Delhi
In New Delhi, activists of a Dalit outfit Indian Justice Party on Friday staged a demonstration against the movie alleging that the lyrics of a song hurt the Dalits. Party president Udit Raj threatened to move the court against the screening of the movie.
The protest was staged by the party at PVR Plaza cinema hall in Connaught Place this afternoon. — PTI


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