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Dalits In News, Dec.27 ,2007

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-29 16:30

Curfew imposed in four Orissa towns Centre, State urged to clear backlog of SC/ST vacancies....




Hindustan Times
Curfew imposed in four Orissa towns http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=757d4ca6-d233-4912-b37e-4a9beb62f442&ParentID=ccfe296a-4f2f-4f06-8875-a7ddf23743da&MatchID1=4625&TeamID1=1&TeamID2=6&MatchType1=1&SeriesID1=1165&MatchID2=4617&eamID3=3&TeamID4=4&MatchType2=1&SeriesID2=1163&PrimaryID=4625&Headline=Curfew+imposed+in+four+Orissa+towns
December 27, 2007 Curfew was imposed in four towns after a youth was killed and six churches and a minister's houses were targeted on Tuesday in largescale communal violence and arson in Orissa's Kandhamal district following an attack on a VHP leader who led an anti-conversion movement.

A youth was killed in mob violence at Barakhamba, a senior police officer said, adding he was yet to be identified. At least six churches, mostly built in thatched houses, were either ransacked or the vacant premises set on fire since on Monday night as tension built up in the area, Revenue Divisional Commissioner Satyabrata Sahu told PTI. Two police outposts and a police vehicle were set on fire, he said.

"Following largescale violence, we have imposed curfew in district headquarters town of Phulbani, Baliguda, Daringibadi and Brahmanigaon to prevent further flare up," Sahu said.

Unconfirmed reports said 12 churches were targetted by vandals since Monday night and additional forces deployed in sensitive pockets of the district where of the total 6.50 lakh population, more than one lakh belonged to Christian community.

The violence, which began at Brahmanigaon village under Daringbadi area on Monday , gradually spread to other parts of the district with miscreants attacking two houses of the state's Steel and Mines minister Padmanabha Behera at Phiringia and Nuapadar villages, 10 km from Orissa.

While three churches were set on fire at Baliguda on Monday night, three others were burnt on Tueaday at different villages under Nuagaon block, official sources said.

Churches at Chakapada, Giringia and Phiringia were also ransacked before being set afire, the sources said. A police station and a police outpost area were set on fire and the official jeep of circle inspectors of Phulbani and Tikabali torched by mobs which attacked offices of some organisations including an orphanage run by Christian missionaries in different parts of the district.

Policemen who went to Daringbadi, Phiringia and Chakapada blocks were not allowed access by the mob which took to streets after 80-year-old VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was allegedly attacked on Monday.

"The situation is tense but we are trying to get control," Director General of Police Gopal Nanda told PTI adding additional armed forces were being sent to the violence-prone areas of the tribal-dominated district.

The DGP said Inspector General of Police (Special Armed Police) Pradip Kapoor was camping at the district headquarters though police movement was restricted due to felling of trees on the road.

Meanwhile, several trains were delayed and vehicular movement hit as bandh supporters blocked railway tracks and highways in Cuttack, Balasore, Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak during the four-hour shutdown.

Activists of VHP and Bajrang Dal blocked traffic in many areas and moved in groups to enforce a four-hour bandh called in protest against the attack on Saraswati. 

As many as 13 persons were taken into custody in connection with the alleged attack, Inspector General of Police (special armed police) Pradeep Kapur said.

Expressing concern over the violence on Christmas day, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony.

While 14 persons, including Laxmanananda Saraswati, were injured on Monday, over 10 others sustained injuries in incidents of violence since this morning as saffron activists targeted Churches, a missionary-run orphanage and an international NGO.

Thousands of people were denied entry into Churches in different parts of the tribal dominated district to offer special prayers and services on the occasion of Christmas as saffron activists held picketing during the bandh called by them in protest against attack on Saraswati.

The VHP-sponsored bandh coincided with a two-day shut-down called by "Kui samaj sammanwaya samiti", a tribal outfit demanding Scheduled Tribe status to Dalit Christians.



Centre, State urged to clear backlog of SC/ST vacancies


Special Correspondent

Tamil Nadu Anti-untouchability Front's plea

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Anti-untouchability Front, affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has urged the Central and State Governments to clear the backlog of vacancies, reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in Government Departments. The front, which met in Tiruchi recently, wanted the State Government to increase the quota reserved for SCs/ STs from the current 19 per cent to 20 per cent in view of the increase in population of the community.

The front regretted that many States, including Tamil Nadu, had failed to utilise the funds allotted by the Central Government for Dalit welfare schemes and had returned unutilised funds to the Centre. To protest the "indifferent attitude" of the States and to demand more allotment for socio-economic development of Dalits and tribal people in the next budget, the front has decided to organise a state-level meet in February in Chennai.

The meet regretted that there had been increasing incidents of violence against Dalits in the State and only 10 per cent of the accused were punished while the rest had gone scot-free. To punish those involved in the cases, the meet urged the Centre and the State to implement the Anti-Untouchability Act more vigorously.

The meet felt that at present the State Government's Scavengers Welfare Board was functioning more as an advisory body. It urged the Government to give it powers and enrol more members to the board.

The front decided to observe April 14, the birth anniversary of Ambedkar, as anti-untouchability day every year.

A state-level conference had been planned in January in Chennai to demand ban on manual scavenging and to modernise scavenging work.

The Pioneer


SC panel accuses HRD Ministry of bias against Dalits


Santanu Banerjee | New Delhi

The National Commission for Schedules Castes has accused the Union HRD Ministry of anti-Dalit bias. Commission chairman Buta Singh dashed off a letter to HRD Minister Arjun Singh alleging that a senior officer belonging to SC was being victimised by officials of the Ministry.

In his letter dated December 11, 2007, Buta Singh told his former Congress colleague that even after filing a complaint with police against present member secretary of Indian Council of Historical Research Dr PK Shukla for victimising ICHR director Dr B Ram, no action had been taken by the Ministry. 

The commission in the letter also pointed out to Arjun Singh that panel considered him having "pro-Dalit" stand both in and out of Parliament. But it is not happening in the HRD Ministry, because of a collusion of anti-Dalit bias in the bureaucracy, the letter said. Buta Singh cited how ICHR officials humiliated Dr Ram by passing derogatory castiest remarks.

"I am shocked at the complaints made against professor S Bhattacharya, whom you (Arjun Singh) appointed the honorary chairman of ICHR,'' the letter said. 

According to Ministry sources, threatened by the fear of controversy, the HRD Ministry has called Dr Ram for an interview on Thursday for the post of member secretary of the ICHR. Sources in the Ministry confirmed that Dr Ram in a letter dated December 24, 2007, told the Ministry that he was not coming as "calling an interview for the post of member secretary is totally in violation of the laid down procedure of the ICHR. Hence the said interview has no locus standi.'' 

Incidentally, this was not the first time that the commission warned the HRD about the problem. The issue involves denying promotion to Dr B Ram to the post of member-secretary on the basis of his seniority. Dr Ram had approached the commission several times and the HRD Ministry had ignored the related directives from the panel.

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