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Dalits In News, Dec.3

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-04 13:57

Dalit woman shot dead, JNU rallies behind Dalit student, Regional parties act as 'safety valves' in coalitions.

Sahara Samay
Dalit woman shot dead

Posted at Saturday, 01 December 2007 22:12 IST
Muzaffarnagar, Dec 1: In a ghastly act of killing, a dalit woman was shot dead and her two children seriously injured by some unidentified assailants here today possibly over a land dispute.
Bhoti (50) died and her daughter Sangiti and son Ankit were seriously injured when some men fired at the family after forcibly entering their home.
Police said the dalit family and one Vedpal had a feud over a plot of land.
Vedpal and his men allegedly attacked the family, killing one and injuring two others, they said.
No arrest has been made till now and the all the accused were absconding, they added.
JNU rallies behind Dalit student
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: Rallying behind Dalit student Amritashva Kamal, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union on Saturday demanded that the Delhi High Court order directing the institution to offer him a seat and pay him Rs.25,000 as costs of the proceedings be implemented with immediate effect.
While JNUSU president Sandeep Singh issued a press statement on the issue, School of Social Sciences convenor Divya Cherian addressed a press conference where Amritashva and his lawyer were also present.
HC rebukes JNU
This past week the High Court had rebuked JNU for not following the principles of natural justice and arbitrarily debarring Amritashva from seeking admission.
The Court further instructed the University to admit him in the next academic sessions for an M. Phil degree.
"The JNU campus had been declared out of bounds for Amritashva and he was denied admission because he had gone to the defence of his brother when the latter was harassed and attacked on casteist lines by some people. Though action was taken against the perpetrators who were found guilty by an enquiry committee, he too was penalised as a 'balancing act' despite the fact that he was not indicted by the enquiry," the JNUSU president added.
Biased board
At the press conference, Divya demanded a reconstitution of the "biased" JNU Proctorial Board.
"The JNU Students' Union believes that the judgment has placed serious questions on the integrity and neutrality of the Proctor's Office. The fact that such an unfair treatment was given to a Dalit student without any documentary or material evidence has created serious doubts in the minds of the student community," she charged.
Divya claimed that the Equal Opportunity Office that was set up at JNU a few years ago needs to be given more teeth. "The Office was set up to register cases of caste discrimination and also sensitise students about it. We want the office to be strengthened, democratised and have punitive powers. There should be students' representation in the Office," she demanded.
SFI welcomes court order
The JNU unit of the Students' Federation of India has welcomed the Delhi High Court's decision upbraiding the JNU administration for denying admission to a Dalit student in the M. Phil programme at JNU's School of International Studies.
"The SFI congratulates Amritashva for his victory in his struggle against the gross injustice that was done to him. We demand that the JNU administration comply with the court order in letter and in spirit. The SFI had protested against this biased decision at that time as well," said SFI-JNU unit president Roshan Kishore.
Regional parties act as 'safety valves' in coalitions
Ashok Dasgupta
Deshmukh for consensus on policies to reassure investors
NEW DELHI: In the present era of coalitions, regional parties are here to stay on the strength of their local agendas although at the national level they will have to function within a common agenda to ensure the country's economic growth. Even within the limited mandate of coalition regimes, the regional parties act as "safety valves," said representatives of various political parties at the India Economic Summit 2007 here on Sunday.
The three-day summit is jointly organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Setting the tone for the opening session, "Will regional politics reshape the Indian economy," Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh said India was going through a coalition era, with regional parties becoming vehicles for national parties to reach out to people. "Regional parties represent the aspirations of the regions, grow on regional issues and are vehicles for national parties to reach out to people."
Coalition governments, Mr. Deshmukh felt, have to work within certain parameters and a synergy must be found to address local and national issues.
To a query whether coalition regimes would weaken the country's external position in the long run, he said that when it came to national interest these parties forgot their political differences and joined hands.
Congress spokesperson and Member of Parliament Abhishek Manu Singhvi said India's experience with coalition governments had exploded many myths associated with such regimes. Pointing out that coalition governments were genuinely an articulation of regional aspirations, he said: "A country as diverse as India cannot be governed without the existence of regional parties that act as safety valves."
Although the existence of coalition regimes meant that the government had to backtrack on certain issues of importance, at other times, it stood its ground despite opposition from partners. "Good economic growth is indeed possible in the era of coalitions. The country has been on a growth trajectory during multi-party rule."
Outlining the history of growth of regional politics since Independence, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said the existence of regional parties had led to a decentralised political domain. Indians, he said, were not pessimistic and they always made every effort for better governance and better alternatives.
As to what could ensure the success of coalition regimes, he said: "The coalition must confine itself to the limited mandate and not go beyond — if it tries to go beyond the mandate, there will be problems."
On inequality in society, Mr. Raja said: "Indian society is a caste and class-based society, where Dalits and tribals have been marginalised." The government, therefore, targeted "inclusive growth" in the 11th Plan to bring the poor and marginalised into the social and economic mainstream.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley pointed out that most regional parties were controlled by regional heads and increasingly by their families at the cost of development. Most of them were yet to overcome their local mindset and attain a national ideology.
Attributing the growing clout of regional parties to the declining strength of national parties, Mr. Jaitley was not quite sure whether regional parties had the "quality and capability" to govern at the national level.
As regional parties were usually caste-based, he felt that their pre-dominant agenda was to consolidate the caste base and national parties aligned themselves with these parties to create a win-win situation.


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