Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 19.06.15
Inspector suspended for framing dalit men4 in murder case - The Times Of India
Two booked for raping Dalit girl - The Tribune
Dalits take possession of common land in Balad Kalan - The Times Of India
Row Over Expulsion of Woman Entrepreneur - The New Indian Express
Rise in successful students from reserved categories - The Asian Age
Fifty years after court struck down law to ban social boycotts, Maharashtra may get a second chance- Scroll.In
'Quota no shield for failed students' - The Times Of India
Ambedkar Corporation to help young dalit advocates in state - Nyoooz
Note: Please find attachment for DMW Hindi (PDF)
The Times Of India
Inspector suspended for framing dalit men4 in murder case
Padmini Sivarajah,TNN | Jun 19, 2015, 04.55 AM IST
MADURAI: An inspector of police in Tuticorin district who had falsely and vengefully implicated four dalits in a double murder case two years ago has been suspended. Tirunelveli DIG S Murugan on Thursday signed the order suspending T Selvam, who last served as inspector in Nazareth.
Selvam has been on medical leave for more than a month, ever since a departmental inquiry conducted by Tiruchendur DSP V Gopal concluded that he had acted with "mala fide" intention. The inquiry report said Selvam acted with "preplanned ulterior motive, misused his position and cooked up a false case against four innocent people."
The case relates to the murder of a real estate businessman, Anthony Pandian, and his driver Shyamaraj at Thattaparai in Tuticorin district in October 2013. Selvam, who was Pudukottai inspector then, investigated the case as he was holding additional charge of Thattaparai station also. Linking the murders to a real estate dispute, Selvam arrested M Yesudasan, his brothers-in-law Sudalaimuthu and Varadarajan and the latter's father-in-law Paramasivam within hours of the crime.
In July 2014, based on a petition filed by the four accused, court ordered reinvestigation into the case. Another inspector, Felix Suresh Peter, who conducted the probed, arrested the 12 real accused in April this year. During the investigation, it came to light that Selvam had allegedly forged complainant Ayyadurai's - Anthony Pandian's son - statement to fix Yesudasan and his relatives in the case. He also allegedly forged VAO Prem Sudhakar's signature to prepare a fake confession statement. These revelations have been recorded in Gopal's report as well. The four dalits were acquitted by a Tuticorin court on May 27 this year. Selvam allegedly nursed a grudge against them for resenting his mediation in a land dispute.
Yesudasan told TOI that a mere suspension and departmental action against Selvam would not suffice. "A criminal case should be registered against Selvam and it should be investigated by CB-CID," said Yesudasan, who has lost a well-paid job because of his arrest.
Apparently, Selvam nursed a grudge against Yesudasan and his family members as they resisted his intervention to settle a dispute between Yesudasan's mother-in-law B Pitchammal and the deceased, Pandian. Selvam and Pandian were business partners, said Yesudasan.
As he felt law was catching up with him, Selvam even filed a petition against Tuticorin SP Ashwin Kotnis in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court a few days ago, with a view to putting the SP on the back foot and evading departmental action.
Two booked for raping Dalit girl
Tribune News Service , Amritsar, June 18
A Dalit girl working as domestic help was allegedly raped by two youths after forcibly taking her to a tubewell room, located in agricultural fields.
The accused were identified as, Gurjant Singh and Karam Singh, both residents of Bhangwa village. Following the complaint lodged by the victim, the Jandiala police in the Amritsar rural police district, registered a case under Sections 376, 354, 506, 120-B of the IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of SC/ST Act.
The victim in her statement alleged that she had gone to pay obeisance at a local Gurdwara when the two accused forcibly took her took her to tubewell room located in agricultural fields situated in Bamma village. The victim said she used to work at the residence of Gurjant Singh, who used to molest her often. However, she had not reported this earlier as the accused had threatened her of dire consequences. She alleged that the accused took turns to rape her. The incident occurred on June 14. She said the accused after committing the crime left her outside her village next morning.
The police authorities said investigations were under progress. No arrests have been made so far as the accused were on the run, added the police.
The medical examination of the girl was conducted and her statements would be recorded before the magistrate, said the police.
The Times Of India
Dalits take possession of common land in Balad Kalan
Amaninder Pal Sharma,TNN | Jun 19, 2015, 02.22 AM IST
SANGRUR: Tension mounted again in Balad Kalan village of Sangrur district on Thursday when around 450 of its Dalit residents took possession of 128 acres of village common land and announced to start tilling it by Friday noon.
Over 130 dalit families of Balad Kalan, who had begun arranging logistics to till the land, took possession after officials of department of rural development and Panchayati Raj failed to organize even a single bidding for land for kharif season.
Only Dalits can bid for the chunk of village common land, which is leased out to tillers every year through auction by Panchayati Raj department. Dalits want that village common land should be leased out to them at the rate of Rs 4,700 per bigha for the coming year. However, officials don't want to not to lower rates below Rs 5,300 per bigha at which the land was auctioned last year.
"This land is not meant to earn profit for Panchayati Raj department but for sustenance of poor Dalits. Department is citing rule that they can't auction land at the rates lower than last year. But Punjab's Panchayati Raj minister had given statement that such lands would be leased to Dalits at rates 10% lower than last year. Therefore, we are ready to pay Rs 4,700 per bigha", said Dalit leader Rampal Singh, who is also president of Zameen Prapati Sangharsh Committee, Balad Kalan.
He said that the department didn't organize even a single bidding for the land. "We are waiting for them to lease out land to us on our terms. Otherwise, we would start tilling this land from Friday noon. We are hopeful that department would concede to our demand," added Rampal. A similar agitation was started by Dalits of Balad Kalan in May-June last year. Over a dozen Dalits were also sent to jail after a violent clash with the police. The issue was even raised in the Parliament by a Congress MP from Punjab. Ultimately, the government had agreed to lease out the land to Dalits in November as per their terms.
The New Indian Express
Row Over Expulsion of Woman Entrepreneur
By Express News Service
Published: 19th June 2015 06:00 AM
KOCHI: At a time when the state government is firing on all cylinders to promote entrepreneurship among youth, a woman from Koothattukulam, here presented the flip side of the same. Soumya Devi, who herself claims as the lone woman and SC/ST entrepreneur in the rural IT park at Thirumarady panchayat, alleges that she was ousted from the park without citing any reasons.
"I have been running a business establishment named 'Be Positive' from the IT park. On June 6, all of a sudden, the CEO of the park Ranjini Bright asked me to vacate the park immediately and even confiscated my bag containing laptop and business documents.
More than that she used casteist remarks and shouted at me. I still don't know why I had to face such a humiliation," said Soumya Devi in a press meet, here on Thursday.
When asked whether she had taken up the issue with the management of the IT park, Soumya said that though she had informed the authorities concerned about her plight through an e-mail, they are yet to respond. "Instead of that they informed me that they had decided to terminate my company from the IT park," she said.
According to her, a complaint against the CEO was filed at the Koothattukulam Police Station and another one was filed with the SC/ST Welfare Department.
"I just had a vague idea that in the name of arrears in remitting rent they plotted a plan against me and succeeded in ousting me," she said.
Meanwhile, Welfare Party of India representatives who accompanied Soumya said that they were planning to conduct a protest against this and added that other outfits will also join them
CEO Refutes Allegations
"I belong to the same caste. Then, how could she claim that I hurled casteist remarks against her?" This was Ranjini Bright's response when Express sought her response on the issue.
According to her, Soumya's allegations were baseless and added that she was trying to create a scene out of nothing.
"The park is being run with the revenue generated from various companies as rent. In the case of Soumya, she had accumulated rent arrears for the past six years. As directed by the management I called her to my cabin, which she didn't follow. Then I e-mailed her, citing the direction of the management to clear the arrears as soon as possible. To this she replied rudely and openly challenged the management. The present action might be due to this," said Ranjini Bright.
The Asian Age
Rise in successful students from reserved categories
Jun 19, 2015 |
The results of the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Advanced conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) that were announced on June 17 have seen an increase in the number of successful students from the reserved category. Of the 26,456 students who qualified after appearing for both paper 1 and 2, nearly 10,000 students belonging to the Other Backward Caste (OBC), Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories qualified for admission to the 18 IITs and the school of mines at Dhanbad.
According to statistics released by IIT-B, of the 26,456 students who qualified, 15,683 are from the open category, followed by 6,455 from the OBC (non-creamy layer), 2,571 from SC and 1,747 from the ST category. Experts say that this has by far been the best performance by students belonging to reserved categories and throw light on the improving academic standards among the students from such communities.
"There is an increased awareness among students belonging to the various reserved categories regarding the importance of education. In addition to this, the various initiatives taken up by different agencies for their upliftment has also contributed to the improved performance by the students," said Sanjay Wairal, president of the SC/ST/OBC Student and Teacher Association.
Commenting on the statistics, Mr Wairal said that while the students from reserved categories (75,240) who appeared for the JEE Advanced outnumbered the open category students (48,501), the pass percentage needs further improvement.
"Though 10,773 students from the three categories were successful this year, which is an improvement over the 7,735 who passed last year, the ratio of passing students needs to improve as the number of students appearing from the three categories are 50 per cent more than the open category students," he added.
In all, there are 10,006 seats among the 18 IITs and Indian School of Mines at Dhanbad. IIT-Bombay still enjoys pride of place among the toppers as 151 students from the top 500 have opted for the institute. In all, 6,838 students of the 26,456 who qualified have opted for IIT-B. IIT-Madras is the next most preferred choice with 4,928 students opting for it. Also, five of the top 10 qualifiers have opted for it.
Fifty years after court struck down law to ban social boycotts, Maharashtra may get a second chance
The state government is due to table a bill against social boycotts by caste panchayats in the monsoon session of the Assembly.
Aarefa Johari · Yesterday · 05:30 pm
In a state where self-appointed caste panchayats routinely ostracise people for transgressing social norms, the government is finally taking a step forward. This monsoon session, the Maharashtra government is due to table a draft bill to prevent social boycotts in the state assembly.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced in March that the Prevention of Social Boycott and Protection from Jaat Panchayat Bill would be ready in three months, but the state's social justice department is yet to finish working on it. Meanwhile, activists rooting for a stringent law against various formof social boycott are unclear about the scope of the bill: if a new law is enacted, will it penalise just intra-caste ostracism or boycotts across caste lines? Will the bill focus on caste alone, or encompass excommunication cases in all religious groups?
Sixty six years ago, when present-day Maharashtra and Gujarat were known as the Bombay province, the state had passed the Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act, 1949. The focus of that law was to protect the civil, social and religious rights of those excommunicated by their own communities. The law, however, was short-lived. In 1962, after a prolonged legal battle, the Supreme Court declared the Act unconstitutional.
Now, more than 50 years later, Maharashtra has a second chance to deal with the practice of social boycotting with the new bill.
The first Act, and its fall
The Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act was enacted in 1949 largely because of redressal sought by boycotted members of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a close-knit sect of Shia Islam. The Act prohibited the expulsion of any person from his or her religious creed, caste or sub-caste and held any such excommunication to be invalid. Under the law, no community could deprive a person of their right to property, to worship in religious places, to perform funeral rites or other rituals.
In 1951, however, the leader of the Dawoodi Bohras, Syedna Taher Saifuddin, challenged the Prevention of Excommunication Act in the Bombay High Court. The Syedna's contention was that the Act infringed upon his constitutional freedom of religion by curtailing his right, as the religious head, to discipline the community by casting out "errant" members.
When the High Court upheld the Act, the Syedna appealed in the Supreme Court and in 1962, a five-judge bench finally gave a divided verdict. A minority among the judges wanted the Act to be upheld, but the majority judgement regarded excommunication as a legitimate practice of a community that had to be protected under Article 26 of the Constitution, which grants individuals the freedom to manage religious affairs. The apex court concluded that the Prevention of Excommunication Act was unconstitutional.
"Technically, the matter isn't over, because reformist Bohras [who had been excommunicated] filed a review petition that is still pending in the Supreme Court," said Irfan Engineer, a human rights activist and reformist Bohra whose father, Asghar Ali Engineer, was boycotted by the Dawoodi Bohras in the 1970s.
Time for a new law
All these years later, Engineer believes a new law against social boycott would be a welcome step. "If there is a law, people would fear the repercussions of ostracising others," he said. "In the absence of a law, communities get emboldened to propagate boycotts, as we see with the Bohras or caste panchayats."
The call for a new legislation against social boycotting came in 2013, when the Bombay High Court was hearing a petition by two ostracised members of the Koli community from Raigad. The court ordered the state government to draft a legislation in order to deter the social boycotts imposed by caste panchayats on individuals who transgress caste norms. The court had also insisted that police stations across Maharashtra should treat cases of social boycott by caste panchayats as criminal offences, under sections on conspiracy, intimidation, extortion or promoting enmity between different groups.
Since then, the state has seen several instances of individuals and families being boycotted for various reasons, most often for marrying within the same gotra (clan) or outside the prescribed boundaries of caste. But different kinds of cases keep popping up. Last year, for instance, a mountaineer from a Raigad village, who had climbed the Everest in 2012, was boycotted by villagers because his wife, an advocate, wore jeans and did not sport a mangalsutra or bindi. The couple were isolated, excluded from temple functions and not even allowed to use water from the village tap.
In April, 13 Dalit families from Osmanabad district were boycotted by upper caste villagers after a statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar was desecrated and the Dalits filed a police complaint. The Dalits have been denied public water, access to grazing fields for cattle and even groceries in shops. Even though the boycott has been called off, the 13 families continue to live in fear.
Different shades of boycotts
These different cases have raised questions about the scope of the new bill being drafted against social boycott.
"There are at least three different kinds of boycotts," said Hamid Dabholkar, member of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti and son of slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. One kind is when a self-appointed panchayat of one's own caste group calls for a boycott of an individual or family; another is when a village, across caste lines, chooses to shun someone living among them; a third kind is when one caste group targets another, as in the case of the Dalit families in Osmanabad.
In April, when the Maharashtra government had started drafting the new bill, Dabholkar's Samiti submitted its own draft for the state to consider. "We included the first two kinds of social boycott within the purview of our draft, because there are already laws in place to deal with inter-caste discrimination," said Dabholkar. "For now, it is important to crackdown on caste panchayats, which work as completely unconstitutional parallel justice systems. But in the long run, there is ample scope to expand a law against social boycott."
Mumbai-based lawyer Mihir Desai also points out that the draft bill could make a distinction between "excommunication" – removing an individual from one's religious group – and social boycott. The latter, he says, is a vague term that could imply depriving someone of their basic civil rights or simply refusing social interaction with them.
"What we need is a broad anti-discrimination law that governs both public and private life," said Desai.
The Times Of India
'Quota no shield for failed students'
TNN | Jun 19, 2015, 01.51 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Thursday refused to grant relief to a second-year undergraduate student at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University whose admission was cancelled after he failed to clear his previous four semesters.
The HC further said, "Since the appellant was found ineligible after the second academic break, his admission stood automatically cancelled. Therefore, there is no question of any further chance only on the grounds of him being an SC/ST," a division bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and VP Vaish said.
Rejecting the plea of Gourav Joshiya, who was pursuing Bachelor of Technology from Amity School of Engineering and Technology, the bench upheld the single judge order refusing another chance to the student for clearing the exams and said the opportunity would have been given to him if he had been able to satisfy the necessary eligibility criteria.
"To attain an egalitarian society, we have to urgently remove socio-economic inequalities. Therefore, in order to promote weaker sections of the society, an educational institution must provide all forms of additional assistance to bring them at par with general category students. The appeal of the appellant may have been allowed on this ground alone, if he would have been able to satisfy necessary eligibility criteria for continuance of his admission with the respondents," the bench said.
Gourav had challenged a single judge order of May 25, denying him a chance to reappear in the examinations to get admitted to the third year. In his appeal, Gourav claimed he had sent a mercy application to the university's committee in October 2014, but through a notification on November 7, 2014, it was rejected and his admission was also cancelled.
He had contended that the judge had misconceived that he had to appear in 10 papers, whereas he had to appear only in five. The university, however, told the court that during the academic year 2012-13 and 2013-14, Gourav had reappeared in the failed papers of first year and second year but could not clear them and hence failed to secure the minimum credits for promotion to third year.
Ambedkar Corporation to help young dalit advocates in state
MANGALURU: Now young advocates from SC/ST communities may avail benefits to set up office from Dr B R Ambedkar Development Corporation. Corporation chairperson Mallajamma told reporters on Thursday that those dalit youths, who complete law degree, may avail low interest loans through the corporation. "The state government has reserved Rs 3 crore to implement a scheme for advocates from dalit communities.
They may submit applications before June 30 and avail the benefits. Allocation of amount will be based on the number of applications we receive," she said. On issue related to non-repayment of loans under the corporation, Mallajamma said that the state government has already waived off loans to the tune of Rs 2.
01 crore that were distributed among SC members from May 2013. "There are instances of misuse of benefits extended through the corporation. We are facing the problem of staff shortage with all the 160 sanctioned posts remaining vacant,"...
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Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.