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Dalits In News, Dec.6

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-07 13:13

Dalits stage protest in Chandigarh,Elders demand quota for dalits in private sector ,NRI recruits Dalits for US jobs

Dalits stage protest in Chandigarh
Chandigarh, (PTI): Scheduled-castes from across the State on Thursday staged a demonstration here protesting against the alleged failure of the government in preventing bonded labour and implementation of SCs atrocities act.
The dalits owing allegiance to a Punjab-based NGO, Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan, staged a protest march in the city and later submitted a memorandum to Punjab Governor Gen (Retd), S F Rodrigues.
The NGO claimed there were around five lakh bonded labours in the agrarian sector. "Lot many atrocities are committed upon us," said Jai Singh, head of the NGO.
He criticised the government's failure in filling up of backlog vacancies for SCs in public sectors.
"Since long, we are working to get released various bonded labours from different places of Punjab. So far the number of such labours stood at around 9,000," said Swami Agnivesh, a social worker.
Elders demand quota for dalits in private sector
Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI: The Left parties on Wednesday made a strong plea in the Rajya Sabha for a legislation to provide job reservation for dalits in the private sector.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Brinda Karat (CPI-M) said thousands of dalits were in the capital to press the demands against discrimination and for reservation in private sector jobs.
Asserting that politics was strengthening the caste system, she said the country could not be modern till the caste system was abolished. She sought a nodal agency to look at the demand for reservation for dalits in the private sector.
Associating himself with the demand, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja sought a legislation for enforcing job quota in the private sector. Thousands of dalits were sitting on a dharna in the capital to press their demand which should be urgently addressed by the United Progressive Alliance government, he said.
However, the time allowed to Mr Raja to make his point was objected to by members of the National Democratic Alliance, J.C. Panda (BJD), Rudra Narayan Pany and Ajay Maroo (both BJP) who sought the same "indulgence" from the Chairman Hamid Ansari. Mr Panda raised the matter of five Chief Ministers not getting appointment with the Prime Minister to discuss the proposed National Minerals Policy. Mr Pany raised the issue of the National Confederation of Public Sector Undertaking employees who are also on strike.
The Times Of India
NRI recruits Dalits for US jobs
6 Dec 2007, 0149 hrs IST  , TNN 
NEW DELHI: During his childhood days in rural Karnataka, Michael Thevar often trudged barefoot deep into the forest to collect firewood. He would sell the timber to pay school fees and support his family. Now a successful NRI, he employs young Dalits and tribals to work as professional social workers, counsellors and therapists for his flourishing US-based healthcare staffing agency. 
Thanks to him, Dalits such as Dinesh Dalvi, who often studied for his master's degree in a graveyard next to his Mumbai slum — "That was the only peaceful place I could find," he says — get to work as a behavioural therapist abroad earning about $3,000 a month. Thevar's company, Temp Solutions Inc, based in Philadelphia, already has 13 Dalit workers on its rolls. He has selected another 35 SC or ST candidates with postgraduate degrees in social work to join him by October-November next year. 
"Indian society doesn't provide equal prospects. I wanted to give an opportunity to those from the lowest strata of society. That's my mission," says Thevar, an OBC who himself lived in a slum when working for his bachelor's degree in social work from Mumbai's Nirmala Niketan college.
Thevar arrived in the US in 1992 as an international exchange scholar with merely $18 in his pocket. He began as an alcohol and drug counsellor and went on to become a director of admissions at a Pennsylvania hospital. In 2000, he started Temp Solutions Inc, which has become a rapidly growing healthcare staffing agency in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His wife Sushama, a Dalit, is also a healthcare professional and co-owner of the company.

The Times Of India
'I recruit poorest of the poor from SC/ST community'
6 Dec 2007, 0057 hrs IST  , Avijit Ghosh  , TNN 
NEW DELHI: Michael Thevar who heads the Temp Solutions Inc, based in Philadelphia has made it a policy to hire Dalit workers. 
Those employed with Thevar have proved to be exemplary professionals. Vinesh Jeyaraj, a 30-year-old Dalit from Mumbai, has been working with him as a behavioural therapist in the area of mental health and substance abuse for a year now. "Initially there was a problem in understanding the accent, the language and culture. But once I got into the flow, I was able to relate, reflect and focus," says Jeyaraj, whose father works as a watchman and mother as a cook. 
Thevar recruits candidates by advertising in small community-based newspapers, by spreading the word through internet social networking groups and through SC/ST college forums and campus interviews. "I try to identify the poorest of the poor from SC/ST communities who live in slums and in remote areas. I have rejected a lot of candidates whose parents are IAS officers or who came from the higher class of backward communities," says Thevar, whose landless labourer parents had migrated from Tamil Nadu. 
Vivek Katara, a 22-year-old tribal from MP's Jhabua district, came to know of Thevar's initiative through an online social network group for the marginalized. He faced discrimination during his college days in Chennai. "One was made to realize indirectly that being a tribal, one is less than equal, hence undeserving. We are identified as Dalits or tribals. We are never looked at as good students," says Katara, who was selected this summer for the job. 
So was Josephine Daisy, a 31-year-old from Pondicherry. Daisy feels that there's a subtle discrimination against the SCs/STs even at work places. "We do any work as competently as anybody. But we don't get jobs because we don't have the right contacts. And when we get jobs, we are kept away from the higher positions," she says.
Dalit intellectual Chandrabhan Prasad feels that Thevar has come up with a very sensible and smart strategy: employ and then train ordinary Dalits who have basic qualifications in Masters of Social Work, irrespective of their academic grades and put them on the job in US hospitals. "They are usually employed as therapists. Within months, all therapists have to do similar work, and any one can go up in his profession/rank depending on their abilities," he says. 
Dinesh Dalvi, recruited by Thevar for Temp Solutions, has been working with multilingual and multicultural target groups especially Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian and Asians. "I get an opportunity to understand and learn social problems of the US and how governmental and other private sectors work together for the betterment of the people," he says. Those selected by Thevar feel that India's desire to become a superpower could remain an illusion if a huge part of the population is deliberately kept away by corporate houses. They say that providing reservation for SCs/STs in the private sector is crucial to their progress. "These social groups have been suppressed for ages creating a huge gap between them and the more privileged sections. Without reservation, the gap can never be filled," says Katara.


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