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Dalits In News, Dec.22

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-24 17:12

Police fire in the air to disperse crowd,Torn posters cause tension...

Police fire in the air to disperse crowd
Nawada (PTI): Police fired six rounds in the air to disperse a stone-throwing crowd which surrounded a police station in Bihar's Nawada district on Saturday to protest the arrest of a leader of a local outfit formed to fight corruption.
Nearly 100 supporters of 'Bhrashtachar Mukti Morcha' laid a siege at Sirdala police station and hurled stones at it to protest the arrest of the leader Shambhu Prasad in connection with a case of assaulting a dalit woman, prompting the police to fire in the air to scare them away, official sources said.
Prasad, booked for assaulting a dalit member of the zila parishad recently, was arrested this morning. 
There was no report of injury on either side and the situation was 'fully under control',   the sources said.
Later, the protestors blocked the road at the main market for some time.
Times Of India
Torn posters cause tension
22 Dec 2007, 0153 hrs IST  , TNN 
JALANDHAR: Tension prevailed in the Gakhal village on the outskirts of the city after Dalits-turned-Christians residing there alleged that the people of the upper caste Jatt community had tore the display boards meant for Christmas celebrations. 
The president of the Sanjha Prayaas Christian Valmiki Welfare Society of the village, Rizor Messiah, said that some miscreants from the Jatt community of the village had destroyed the boards that had Christmas wishes displayed on them. Agitated Christians and members of the Dalit community staged a protest on Kapurthala road. He said while they were agitating, two boys of the Jatt community came and said they had destroyed boards and would do it again if they felt the need for it. 
Protesters caught hold of them and took them to police. Messiah further said upper class villagers had always taken Dalits and Christians for granted and created hurdles whenever there was a function of any of the two communities. 
A retired sub-inspector of police, Salim Messiah said, "This is not a new thing for the community and we have been at loggerheads with people of upper castes ever since Independence." 
"We demand justice from the administration. Earlier also these people tore off our boards pertaining to the Pragat Utsav of Maharishi Valmiki," added Salim. Meanwhile, the two youths of the village, detained by police, said they had not torn the display boards, however, they added it might be the work of the other group.
Economic Times
Maya's social engineering faces test
22 Dec, 2007, 1015 hrs IST, PTI
LUCKNOW: 'Social engineering' by Chief Minister Mayawati remains perhaps the biggest political event of 2007 in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP experiment in the assembly polls saw Brahmin and Dalits coming together to ensure majority for BSP.
The 'social engineering' formula would also be put to test at the forthcoming Lok Sabha by-election in Ballia, where BSP has fielded a Brahmin candidate. 
Uttar Pradesh got a majority government after a gap of 15 years. The last time the state had a majority government was in 1991 when the BJP had stormed to power on the Ram wave. 
For the first time in the state's history, a drive was launched for registration of FIRs pertaining to cases during the past three years. The government formed special cells in the police stations across the state for registration of FIRs by those whose cases were not registered during the previous Samajwadi Party regime. 
Over 10,000 FIRs have been filed in different police stations in the state, mostly against SP leaders. The party suspects that its leaders and workers could be targeted by the ruling BSP. "We will resist any attempt to frame party leaders and workers," said state SP secretary S R S Yadav. 
Soon after its installation, the BSP government ordered an inquiry into the allegations of large-scale irregularities in the recruitment of police/PAC constables during the previous regime.

The government cancelled recruitment of over 18,000 police and PAC constables and also suspended 25 senior IPS officers, though their suspensions were later revoked.
Daily Poneer
Remembering Bela

Chandrabhan Prasad
During 1995-97, trying to establish myself as a writer, I was virtually homeless in Delhi. My batchmates and friends, who had known me during my stint in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 1987-91 thought I was foolish for not having taken a university or a college job. Post-Mandal, at the prime of my career, I had opted to be part of Dalit Siksha Andolan in Uttar Pradesh. 
Disappointed -- as few powerful politicians and a couple of Dalit bureaucrats had split the movement I returned to Delhi to try my hand at writing.
With some funding from the Delhi Policy Group, I wrote my first book, Dalit Data Bank-I. After completing the book in 1996, I had nowhere to go. I stayed in JNU hostel for two years.
Seeing my plight, one Uddalok Bhattacharya took me to his rented house -- a one-room servant quarter, without a kitchen, on the outskirts of JNU. I stayed there for a year.

After this stopgap arrangement, by 1998 I again had nowhere to go. The only option was to either join a university as a lecturer, or return to my village. I didn't want to do either and was determined to grow as a writer. I needed to stay another year in Delhi.
My friend Rohan D' Souza, now a faculty at JNU, spoke to Bela Malik and found a place for me. I had met Bela in JNU through Rohan. She was at that time doing her PhD. She was one of the first at the Centre for Historical Studies to work on environmental history.
Daughter of an Army officer, she was essentially an intellectual. Instinctively affectionate, overwhelmingly compassionate, tall, and near-white, Bela would immediately attract friends. She was also very popular. She taught for a while at St Stephens College.
When she came to know of my plight she immediately invited me to stay with her in her two bedroom apartment in east Delhi. She was at that time living with Thomas Mathew, popularly known as Tommie whom she married later. When I moved in, she was working for Oxford University Press as commissioning editor for history and environment.
For me, her house was a paradise. As a student, I rode a Bajaj Chetak in JNU, and sported the best shoes and shirts available in Delhi. For the first time, I had unlimited access to a phone in Bela-Tommie's house.
I learnt how to use a computer and how to surf the Internet. Her house was full of books and I had plenty of time to read them. I had the luxury of reading five newspapers she subscribed to.
Bela-Tommie had studied in English medium schools, and I got the rare opportunity to learn English and even table etiquette from them.
In less than week, I had taken over the running of the house. I decided what we would eat for lunch or dinner. I didn't have to worry about money. Whenever I needed to go out, she would let me dip into her purse. All this without conditions and expectations. 
She quickly got into Dalit mode, and encouraged me to write. Through her I met the elite of Delhi. When I began to write Dalit Diary in 1999, she was a great help in editing my copy in the initial months.
When I moved out of her house, she gifted me with half-a-dozen mattresses, a couple of pillows, and kitchenware. I am sure I was just one the many people to whom she helped in her lifetime.
On December 17 Bela passed away quietly. In September 2006 she collapsed and the doctors said she was in coma; but Tommie dedicatedly and single-mindedly nursed her.

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