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Dalits In News,Jan. 24, 2008

by udaya — last modified 2008-01-28 15:05

Dalit protest turns violent in Rohtak ,Safai karamchari attempts immolation ....

Times Of India


Dalit protest turns violent in Rohtak


24 Jan 2008, 0116 hrs IST ,TNN


ROHTAK: An agitation by Dalit groups demanding quota within quota turned violent in Rohtak on Wednesday as protesters torched five vehicles and fought pitched battles with the police even as they were lathicharged. Scores were injured in the face-off, and 40 people were detained for rioting.

The Dalit Mahapanchayat, which has launched an agitation demanding restoration of A and B categories among scheduled castes for reservations in government jobs and admissions to educational institutes, said it would carry on the protests.

In 1994, the Bhajan Lal government had issued a notification bifurcating the 42 Scheduled Castes into two categories -- A and B -- to give them benefits of reservation. While A comprises 36 castes, B has six. The 20% quota earmarked for Dalits is currently divided equally between the two categories.


The Tribune

Safai karamchari attempts immolation

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, January 23

Daily-wage safai karamchari with the civic body Sikandar attempted self- immolation at Patel Chowk here after allegedly facing harassment by certain police personnel and employees of the Pathankot Municipal Council.

Sikandar, a resident of Ghandi mohalla, holding a can full of kerosene and match box reached the chowk and climbed on Patel's statue at 3 pm. He poured the kerosene on his body and made futile attempts for igniting the match stick.

Traffic policemen, Baljit Singh and Madan Lal, reportedly noticed Sikandar's suspicious activities and overpowered him before he could set himself afire.

Sikandar alleged that the Pathankot Municipal Council had been underpaying him for long. The safai karamcharis on daily wages had being demanding Rs 2,850 as stipend. Moreover, a sanitary officer of the civic body had misbehaved with him and his fellows by using 'casteist words' which irked him.

He alleged the police had registered a case against him following certain pressure. He also alleged the SHO of division no 1 had been warning him of dire consequences.

The Pathankot civic body chief Sravan Kumar, said the man had been deployed by a contractor and not by the municipality. It was the contractor who had been paying him salary. Harpreet Singh, SP, said the police had caught the suspect and a case registered against him. The police has also started investigations on other aspects of the case, he added.

Express India

Five members of a Dalit family commit suicide


Bhubaneswar , January 24: Apparently distressed over frequent quarrels in the family due to acute poverty, a Dalit woman alongwith her four daughters committed suicide by drinking pesticide in Orissa's Cuttack district, police said on Thursday.

The 45-year-old woman and her daughters in the age group 4-20 committed suicide on Wednesday night at Patasundarpur village in the district. The members of the family would often quarrel due to acute poverty, Govindpur police station officer-in-charge B K Nanda said.

Woman's husband Kailash Chandra Sethy allegedly had a fight with her on Wednesday night at their residence, 40 km from Bhubaneswar.

 The Hindu


Centre gets time to decide on quota for Dalit Christians



J. Venkatesan

It is looking into report on Misra panel recommendations

15% quota for SCs should not be disturbed: National Commission

1950 Presidential Order violative of Article 14: petitioners

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the Centre eight weeks to take a decision on providing quota for Dalit Christians on a par with the Scheduled Castes.

The Justice Rangnath Misra Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities had recommended reservation for Dalit Christians.

Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanian told a three-judge Bench that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), which had been asked to look into the Misra Commission recommendations, submitted its report and the government was looking into it. The Bench, comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal, accepted his plea for time and adjourned the hearing.

Constitutional validity

The court is examining the constitutional validity of Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 by which the SCs are deprived of reservation on their conversion to Christianity.

'Share should not be disturbed'

The NCSC made it clear that reservation should be extended to Dalit Christians but the share of 15 per cent for the SCs should not be disturbed. It said the element of reservation for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims should be determined by the government keeping in view their population. However, as per the Supreme Court direction, the overall reservation of 50 per cent had to be maintained.

Mr. Subramaniam handed over to the Bench the extract of the NCSC's views deliberated on at a meeting held on December 18, 2007. The meeting considered the views of the Misra Commission and the Prime Minister's High Level Committee — Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India, on the specification of SC converts to Christianity and Islam as SCs. It concluded that though Dalit Christians/Muslims could be given a quota, the existing 15 per cent reservation for the SCs should not be disturbed.

The Bench is hearing petitions filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation and others challenging the 1950 Presidential Order. The petitioners said the 1950 order, as it stood today, violated the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. For, the SCs converting into Christianity were deprived of the benefit given to people from the same community in other religions. There could not be any distinction between SC converts to Sikhism and Buddhism and SC converts to Christianity, the petitioners said.

The Pioneer


NCSC refuses Dalit Christians quota in employment, education


 Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Providing reservation for Dalit Christians may not come easy for the Government with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) refusing to accommodate them within the prevailing 15 per cent SC quota in employment and education.

The Commission headed by Buta Singh has conveyed in a report submitted to the Centre that though it supported the initiative of providing reservation to Dalit Christians, the same ought to be done without disturbing the existing quota available to the Scheduled Castes.

The Government had sought the Commission's view on the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission report on Status of Religious and Linguistic Minority submitted in May 2007 that advocated for quota for Dalit Christians.

It had also forwarded Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee Report on Status of Muslims to the NCSC since both had recommended amendment in The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 to include affirmative action even for other religious minorities.

At present, the 1950 order permits recognition of Scheduled Castes among Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

The issue is currently under challenge before the Supreme Court. On Wednesday the Centre informed the court that the NCSC report has been received. 

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramanium sought eight weeks time to file its response based on the view taken by the NCSC. The Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan posted the matter to April next.

The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, seeking amendment in the 1950 order to recognise Scheduled castes among other religions besides Hindus.

Backward groups among Christians, generally referred to as Dalit Christians, and low caste Muslims, who are discriminated on account of their social educational and economic backwardness have also represented in court to claim their share in reservation. Senior advocates Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for the petitioners, accused the Centre of dilly-dallying on the issue since the matter is pending before the court for the past three years.

Chief Justice Balakrishnan, however, refused to accept this contention stating, "The Government took a decision in 1950 and after 55 years, they (SCs) are coming to us." Subramanium assured that the Government will study the report and file its response within the stipulated period.

Jethmalani too, on a previous occasion accused the Government of employing delaying tactics. He pointed out a Bill being introduced by the Congress Party in 1996 seeking extension of reservation benefits to Christians. According to him, the Centre's decision to refer the matter to the NCSC was to delay the process of implementation. "Such matters are to take minimum possible time. But the trouble is it is mixed up with politics all the time" he said, while appearing for SC Christians.

The court has been firm on the demand to seek all the statistics and examine it in detail. The court had taken a stand that the issue whether there are Scheduled Castes among Christians is to be first investigated. "The Christians must say they have caste system in their religion," the Bench had said on the previous occasion.


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