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Dalits In News, Dec.7

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-12 16:58

Gaya: Terror forces Dalits to abandon village, Dalits agitate for land in Kerala, Photo finish for Dalit girl's wedding,...

December 07, 2007
Gaya: Terror forces Dalits to abandon village
Bimlendu Chaitanya
Friday, December 7, 2007 (Gaya)
A village in Bihar's Gaya district has been lying abandoned. Its Dalit inhabitants who fled two years ago return during day time to work in their fields, only to return to safety before dusk.

The silent abandoned Indira Awaas Yojana houses are a testimony to the rein of terror in the Dalit part of Santnagar village in Bihar's Gaya district.
Repeated robberies and murders by organised gangs operating in the area, just off the Grand Trunk Road made the Dalit villagers flee two years ago. Just one of the 40 families has dared to stay behind.
''We stay here out of compulsion. We are terrified; still we live here in fear,'' said Sudama, a resident of Santnagar village.
The exodus began after the murder of an elderly woman, Jugiya Devi. This was the last straw for the Dalits who fled to the neighbouring villages of Bajaura and Baiju-Bigha.

Yet, these villagers return every morning to Santnagar village to till their land but make sure they return home before dusk.
'We fled out of fear due to the murder. We come to work during daytime and go back in the evening and again return in the morning,'' said Ramchandra Paswan of Santnagar village.

Residents like Ramkishan Bhagat complains that police don't ward and watch so they left the place. But the local administration promises to ensure that the villagers can return.

Jitendra Srivastava, DM of Gaya said, ''We have instructed the SDO and DSP to go, sit and talk to the people there. We will convince them to return.''
Nitish Kumar's mantra of good governance and curbing crime seems to have passed this village by. His talk of uplifting the Dalits will sound hollow till his government can provide the Dalits confidence to return to Santnagar village.
Dalits agitate for land in Kerala
Thursday, December 6, 2007 (Chengara)
Nearly 20,000 Dalits and Adivasis of Kerala are agitating for land in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
Neither the Left Front government, nor mainstream political parties of the state are concerned about their plight. But the Dalits and Adivasis are determined to make their voice heard as they urged the Government to take lessons from Nandigram.
The agitation is led by Sadhujana Vimochana Samyuktha Vedi an umbrella organization of dalits and adivasis.
About 5000 Dalit and Adivasi families have occupied these rubber plantations belonging to Harrison Malayalam Plantations Private Ltd.
The agitators have pitched tents with plastic sheets and their slogan is clear, 'give us land or bullets'.
''We want land. At least we should have a piece of land to bury our dead. So we don't have any option we will fight to the finish for land,'' said Gomathy, an agitator.
At present nearly 20,000 people are braving rain, chikungunya, hunger and public apathy. Their food stocks are drying up and many are sick.
''The police harass us. Its difficult to take sick people to hospitals from this place. Even if someone develops fever or any other ailment we have to wait for hours before we get medical aid in the nearest hospital. We are facing a lot of problems,'' said another agitator Vijayan.
Attempts by political parties to take over the agitation have been stoutly resisted, which explains their indifference towards this issue.
''We haven't got any justice from the Government yet. They are not even recognising our agitation. They are even terming our agitation as pointless. We don't want any mercy of the Government we want Justice,'' said Saraswathy, Secretary, Action Council.
Even though the first Communist government in Kerala brought land reforms way back in 1957, there are still lakhs of landless people in the state.
These Dalits and Adivasis are determined to continue their agitation for land. By ignoring their genuine demands the Kerala government is only allowing the situation to take an ugly turn.
Clearly, the government will have to address their grievances on priority to prevent a Nandigram like situation developing in the state.
The Times Of India
Photo finish for Dalit girl's wedding
6 Dec 2007, 0250 hrs IST  , Parvesh Sharma  , TNN
DHANDOLI KALA (SANGRUR): It was a freeze-frame moment for Visakha Singh, a Dalit, when he solemnized the marriage of his daughter in front of martyr Bhagat Singh's photo here on Tuesday. 
This step followed the alleged refusal of a local gurdwara management committee to give them the holy bir of Shri Guru Granth Sahib (a copy of the Sikhs' sacred book) on the ground that the family had once gone to Dera Sacha Sauda.
Kiranpal Kaur was scheduled to tie the knot with Babbu Singh, a hair dresser of Kakuwal village, on December 4.
DNA India
'Will Brahmins share temple wealth with us?'
Kancha Ilaiah
Thursday, December 06, 2007  03:54 IST
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BSP has defended the inclusion of Brahmins in keeping with its larger vision of Sarva Samaj
MUMBAI: The Dalit movement today has diversified and assumed a political character. The proof of this lies in the emergence of an RPI, a DMK or a BSP. It is in this context that Mayawati has emerged as the new Dalit political icon.
There are two factors which catapulted Mayawati to an iconic status. First, she doesn't subscribe to the average Hindu woman's appearance. Maya, unlike her counterparts — a Sushma Swaraj or a Brinda Karat — is never seen in a sari or with a bindi. She sports short-hair, an image that Dalit women have come to love and admire. In short, she has come to symbolise the modern Ambedkarite woman.
Second, in a country where Dalits are not allowed to sit on chairs, Mayawati rules like a queen with Brahmins sitting by her feet every time she addresses a rally. In this sense, Mayawati has emerged the leader of Dalits and also of upper-castes to some extent. Though BSP members have defended the inclusion of Brahmins in keeping with their larger ideology of Sarva Samaj, the BSP-Bahujan coalition has been forged for vote-bank politics. Maya is vulnerable at this point as power does corrupt and that is why it is necessary for the media and her critics to watch her steps. A lot depends on her performance in the next five years and if the Brahmins want to be a part of this, there are certain issues that need to be addressed.
At one point, when Brahmins ruled this country as CMs and PMs, the Dalits were mere voters. Today, when there is the rise of the Dalit power in politics Brahmins want a share in it. If this is the case, an arrangement needs to be arrived at. Are Brahmins ready to give up their religious control, will Dalits be allowed to officiate in temples, will they share the Hindu gods with Dalit-Bahujans and are they ready to share the wealth generated from various temples (towards which Dalits also contribute) among the weaker sections?
Once these issues are addressed, Hinduism transforms from a spiritual fascism to a spiritual democratic religion. Brahmins will then earn the right to share the political platform.
As told to Lakshmy Ramanathan. Dr Kancha Ilaiah is the author of Why I am not a Hindu and the founder of the first Dalitbahujan journal, Nalupu. He teaches at the Osmania University, Hyderabad.
IBN Live
Mumbai: 10 lakh Dalits gather for Ambedkar's anniv
Prachi Jatania / CNN-IBN
Mumbai: Free lunch, medical camps and even television for some evening entertainment — on December 6, all roads lead to the Chaityabhoomi. A few metres away from the colourful gathering is Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's shrine, a place of worship for the lakhs of Dalits who converge in Mumbai every year.
Ashok, an Ambedkar follower says, "We come here to seek Babasaheb's blessings on this day."
In the last few days, over 5 lakh Ambedkar followers have gathered at Dadar's Shivaji Park and the numbers will soar as Dalits from across the state converge here to pay homage to their leader on his 51st death anniversary.
And for first-timers like Sulekha Jagtap from Yavatmal in Maharashtra, this gathering is a time to assert their identity.
"Ambedkar did a lot for us, so we come here to pay homage to him," says Sulekha.
Authorities have made arrangements on a massive scale for the lakhs of followers who have gathered here.
With CCTVs and a highly visible police presence, for authorities, providing facilities for this large congregation is an exercise in management and logistics, a challenge they are gearing up for.
Mumbai's mayor, Shubha Raul says, "This year, we have arranged fire brigades, mobile toilets and drinking water for all the people who come to the shrine to pay their respects."
For the average Mumbaikar, December 6 could mean traffic diversions, but for ardent Ambedkar supporters, it's their chance to take the annual pilgrimage route that leads up to the Chaityabhoomi. 
DNA India
PSUs offer helping hand to the needy
DNA Correspondent
Friday, December 07, 2007  03:14 IST  Digg it
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MUMBAI: Various public sector undertakings like HPCL, ONGC, BPCL Mumbai Refinery and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) came forward to help the people who had come to pay homage to Dr  Babasaheb Ambedkar on his 51st death anniversary from different parts of the country on Mahaparinivaran Din at Shivaji Park. These companies put up kiosks and distributed free food, drinking water, medicines and other items.
Said V Sejwal, vice president, All India HPCL SC-ST Welfare Association, "We are providing breakfast, tea, lunch and dinner to any number of people who come." The company, which claims to be doing this for last 25 years, is spending around Rs5 lakh on this exercise this year.
BPCL Mumbai Refinery which claims to be around for the social service for the longest period - 40 years - distributed food, medicines along with spectacles for free


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