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Dalits In News, Jan. 20,2008

by udaya — last modified 2008-01-22 13:32

Dalits to stage dharna for patta certificates....

 The Hindu


Dalits to stage dharna for patta certificates http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/21/stories/2008012158290400.htm


Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: The Dalit Welfare Association will stage a dharna near Indira Park on January 23 demanding issue of patta certificates to those tilling the land in Survey No. 240/1 in Mamadipally village of Saroornagar Mandal in Ranga Reddy district.

Recently several families were dispossessed from the land by the Revenue authoritieshe said and added that some of them were even arrested on the charge of land grabbing, said N. Balaraj, general secretary of the Association.

He told press persons here on Sunday that for the last 50 years Dalit families were doing farming on the 53-acre land and paying taxes regularly.

Even their names were mentioned in the revenue records.

But of late they were not being allowed to cultivate the lands.

Notified area

A representation was given to the Ranga Reddy Collector and the latter informed that it was a notified area and the land could not be assigned to them, Mr. Balaraj said.

Mr. Balaraj urged the government to issue pattas to all those tilling the land under the fourth phase of land distribution programme.



Upper caste landlords threaten Dalit village headwoman http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=64522

Patna, Jan 20: A Dalit village headwoman in Bihar has been told by upper caste landlords to pay extortion money to continue in office or be killed.

The woman has moved every authority - from the local police station to the district administration and to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar - but her plea for help has fallen on deaf ears.

Gangtia Devi hails from a village near Bakhtiarpur, Nitish Kumar's hometown. Her troubles began 20 months ago when she was elected chief of the Rupas-Mahari panchayat near Bakhtiarpur in Patna district.

Initially, the family was overjoyed. But she soon realised that the powerful upper caste landowners in her village were not ready to accept her as village council head in a state known for its steep gender and caste polarisation.

"In the beginning, I was hopeful that everything would work out. But I was wrong. It is not easy for them to accept me as a 'mukhiya' (head) as I belong to the poorest of the poor," Gangtia Devi said.

After her election, Gangtia Devi was regularly abused, humiliated, harassed and threatened for not paying extortion money to the powerful village landlords.

"Soon after I became the village council head, some villagers belonging to the powerful landed upper-caste started abusing and harassing me. They questioned how a 'chamain' (a woman belonging to chamar caste, traditionally the cobblers) could become a 'mukhiya' and sit in a chair in their presence," she said.

Landless and illiterate Gangtia Devi was threatened regularly. Her husband, who works as a labourer, is afraid to leave home for work after the landlords threatened to set his hut on fire.

"No action was taken against the upper caste men, nor was any security provided to me," she said.

Last year, another Dalit village head of Methwaliya panchayat in Chapra district was prevented from hoisting the national flag on Republic Day.

In 2006, 50 percent seats in the panchayat elections were reserved for women by the Nitish Kumar government.


The Hindu


Grant SC/ST quotas in judiciary: Buta


Phagwara (PTI): National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman Buta Singh on Sunday demanded SC/ST quotas in the judiciary and said the issue of dilution of its powers would be raised in Parliament to prevent judges from "meddling" with its functioning.

"First, the Commission was not constituted on time and when it was done seven months back, the Delhi High Court ruled that its powers area recommendatory," he told reporters here.

He said the five-member panel was a constitutional body and demanded an amendment in Parliament to bring it under 9th Schedule "so that the judiciary cannot meddle with its powers and functioning".

He said the matter of dilution would be taken up in Parliament and demanded SC/ST quotas right from the level of sessions judge to chief justice besides reservation in educational institutions, private sector and other areas not covered so far.

Commenting on the turban row, Singh said he would try to meet French President Nicholas Sarkozy during his visit to India on Republic Day and raise the issue.

"The rights of Sikhs and minorities in France should be respected," he said on the banning of the Sikh religious headgear by that country.

New Indpress


CPM draft espouses cause of tribals, Dalits


Monday January 21 2008 08:51 IST

B Sreejan

T'PURAM: Concerned over the eroding mass base from the working class sections of society, the CPM has reiterated its commitment to the cause of Dalits and tribals.

The draft political resoultion accepted by the party Central Committee and released in New Delhi on Sunday vociferously defends the cause of Dalits, tribals and minorities.

The party announces that it will champion the cause of the Dalits, tribals, women, minorities and oppressed sections for social justice.

It has been listed as one of the future tasks of CPM. The promise is part of the CPM strategy to win back lost support among the underprivileged.

A major highlight of the resolution is that it speaks in detail about the tribal issue. "The CPM will take the lead in stepping up struggles in defence of tribal people, their rights to land, access to forest land and protection of their cultural identity,'' says the resolution.

It also vows to work for the implementation of Tribal Forest Act. But the CPM doesn't support tribals in their fight for existence in the states where the party is in power. Recently in Kerala, CPM cadres were in the forefront to take on the tribals who had tried to claim forest land in Aralam and Chinnakkal. In Chinnakkanal, the local unit of the CPM had driven away the tribal encroachers from the government land, in a bid to save the interests of the real estate mafia.

Similarly in Chengara in Pathanamthitta district, the CPM has taken a stand against the Dalits, who are on a struggle for existence by claiming little plots of land of their own. Such struggles are going on in different parts of the state but the party doesn't support any of these.

But the latest political resolution will put the party in such a fix that it had to revise its strategy on all these issues.

The CPM cautions about the growing presence of BSP in North India. Apart from the victory in UP, BSP has a formidable presence in states like MP and New Delhi, says the resolution. The BSP has successfully made inroads into the CPM bastions in different parts of states like Kerala and the CPM has detected it as a potential threat.

A recent rally attended by UP Chief Minister Mayawati in Thiruvananthapuram was attended by 50,000 people. The policy also underlines party's ideological difference with Maoists and Naxals.

"Maoists cannot be treated in any manner as a Left force as they actually harm the movement," said the resolution. The Maoists are causing headache to the CPM in Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, where the party is in power.  

The Nandigram issue was actually made complex by Maoists.


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