Monday, July 6, 2015

Dalit farmer ‘murdered’, relatives block road. Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 06.07.15

Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 06.07.15

Dalit farmer 'murdered', relatives block road - The Indian Express

Kandivali: Minor 'sodomised', accused arrested - The Indian Express

Landlessness is higher among Dalits but more adivasis are 'deprived'- The Indian Express


As politicians squabble over Chennai Metro, caste atrocities continue unabated in Tamil Nadu- The News Minute

Aadhar camp for transgenders - The Hindu


Discrimination against Dalit women in Ahmedabad - Two Circle

An epic terrain - The Hindu



Please Watch:

Discrimination by Caste : Dalit Reality - Poverty, Health & Nutrition


Note : Please find attachment for DMW Hindi (PDF)


The Indian Express

Dalit farmer 'murdered', relatives block road


Rawat recently sold the land to someone else, leading to fresh tensions.


By: Express News Service | Lucknow | Published on:July 6, 2015 12:00 am


An elderly Dalit farmer was murdered on Sunday morning by three persons at Chinhat area of Lucknow. Following the incident, family members of the deceased and villagers blocked Lucknow-Faizabad Road.


Ramlal Rawat (65), a resident of Shahpur village, left his home early for his fields. His wife Rammo alleged that four brothers — Ranjit Yadav, Vijay Yadav, Raju Yadav, Sanjay Yadav — and Vijay's son Ajay killed her husband. She added that they chased her husband with a sharp-edge farming tool and later killed him.


Gomti Nagar Circle Officer (CO) Satya Sen Yadav said: "Rawat's family was involved in a dispute over a land, which according to accused Yadav brothers was bought by their father but registered in Rawat's name. The reason could be that as the land belonged to a Dalit, it could not be bought by a non-Dalit."


 "Rawat recently sold the land to someone else, leading to fresh tensions. He was found dead with injuries on his neck," the CO added.


Following the murder, Rawat's family and villagers blocked Faizabad Road, demanding action against the accused. They also protested against the police officers who reportedly declined to take them along for the post-mortem examination. "The family members were pacified and the road was later opened to traffic. No accused persons have been arrested," said the CO.


The Indian Express

Kandivali: Minor 'sodomised', accused arrested


The minor is recuperating in a hospital following the alleged sexual assault.


Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Published on:July 6, 2015 1:19 am


A twelve-year-old boy was allegedly sodomsied in Kandivali (West) on Thursdayevening by a 19-year-old man living in the same locality.


The minor is recuperating in a hospital following the alleged sexual assault, to which no motive has so far been attributed.


According to the police, the crime took place after 6 pm on Thursday evening when the accused allegedly called the victim to his home. The accused was known to the victim as he lives a few houses away from his own.


"A few friends of the accused were inside the house when the victim entered. The accused told his friends to leave and forced himself onto the victim as soon as they left," an officer from Kandivali police station said.


The accused allegedly threatened the victim with dire consequences if he told anyone what had happened. "The accused went to sleep after the victim left. The boy, however, did not immediately go home and roamed around the locality until8.30 pm," the officer said.


Once home, the boy did not initially confide in his mother, the police said. She noticed that her son was unusually quiet and looked tired. "But when she asked him what the matter was, he said nothing. It was only at 10.30 pm, when he experienced pain in the lower back and buttocks that he told his mother what had happened," the officer said.

The police said that the mother rushed to the home of the accused and confronted him. "The accused casually admitted that he had sodomised the boy and went back to sleep. The boy's mother then went to the police chowky located in Laljipada locality and told police officers about the sexual assault. The boy and mother were escorted to Kandivali police station and their complaint was recorded, while officers went to the home of the accused and nabbed him. He was asleep when we went to his house," the officer said.


Both the victim and the accused were sent to Shatabdi Hospital, where a medical examination concluded that the accused had sexually assaulted the victim, the police said.


The accused, who neither studies nor works, has been remanded to police custody until July 10. "We have charged him with unnatural sexual intercourse and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code and under the Protection of Children form Sexual Offences Act," said Mukund Pawar, senior inspector, Kandivali police station.


The Indian Express

Landlessness is higher among Dalits but more adivasis are 'deprived'



The SECC has identified 14 parameters of exclusion. Fulfilling even one of them would result in a household being treated as non-deprived.


Written by Harish Damodaran | New Delhi | Published on:July 6, 2015 4:22 am


Adivasis or Scheduled Tribes are the most deprived among rural households in India, despite their suffering much lower levels of landlessness and dependence on manual casual labour compared to the Dalits or Scheduled Castes.


According to the results of the Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011, nearly 79 per cent of rural adivasi households are considered "deprived". This is higher than the 61 per cent for all rural households, the 55 per cent for non-SC/STs, and the 73 per cent for Dalits.


The higher incidence of deprivation is notwithstanding the fact that just over half the ST households are dependent on manual casual labour as a source of income, as against well above two-thirds for Dalits. Also, 38 per cent of Adivasi families — twice the proportion for SCs — are engaged in cultivation, which is indicative of their owning land. Around 45 per cent of SC households are both landless and derive a major part of income from manual casual labour. This proportion, too, is below 30 per cent for adivasis.


How do higher landlessness and manual casual labour dependence among Dalit families square up with their lower deprivation incidence, as per the SECC data? It has to do with the way the deprivation numbers have been arrived at.


The SECC has identified 14 parameters of exclusion. Fulfilling even one of them would result in a household being treated as non-deprived. The parameters include households paying income or professional tax; having any member who is a government employee or earning more than Rs 10,000 per month; owning a 2/3/4 wheeler, refrigerator or landline phone; staying in a pucca house with three rooms; and farming over 2.5 acres of irrigated land. The results show more rural Dalit households (91 lakh or 27.4 per cent) than adivasis (42 lakh or 21.4 per cent) fulfilling at least one of the 14 parameters that disqualify them from the deprivation category. There are more motorised vehicle, refrigerator or pucca house owners among SCs than STs (see table).


One reason for the ability for even landless manual labour-dependent families to be able to own consumer durables may be wages. These have risen even after adjusting for inflation over the last decade, thanks to non-farm employment generation from high economic growth and also welfare programmes like MGNREGA.


The News Minute

As politicians squabble over Chennai Metro, caste atrocities continue unabated in Tamil Nadu


Tamil NaduSameera Ahmed| Saturday, July 4, 2015 - 11:07


All it took was a debatable "slap" by DMK treasurer MK Stalin on the Chennai Metro to evoke a sharp reaction from AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The reaction from the CM – she said Stalin's behaviour was "unbecoming of an MLA" – came soon after the video showing Stalin tapping a fellow commuter became the talk of the town. And so it began.


Within hours, the leaders of long-time enemies, the DMK and AIADMK, lost no time in descending into a tug-of-war over who could claim more credit for the newest jewel in Tamil Nadu's crown – the swanky Chennai Metro – for which official work began nine years ago. The two sides exchanged barbs with Jayalalithaa blaming Karunanidhi for signing pricy MoUs.


In sharp comparison, it has been over a week since the beheaded body of 21 year-old Dalit engineer, Gokulraj was found on the railway tracks at Thottipalayam in Namakkal district.


The death was initially passed off as a suicide because of a note found in his pocket. But further investigation revealed that he was murdered after being found talking to a female friend belonging to an upper caste community. They were found chatting at the Sri Arthanareeshwarar Temple in Tiruchengode on Tuesday morning. Video footage shows the gang taking the Dalit youth away from the temple after he spoke to the girl.


Initially registered as suspicious death, the police registered a murder case only after the autopsy was conducted. Six people have been arrested, with a look-out for the main suspect in the murder.


But this appears to be part of a pattern. The death of Gokulraj is but one incident in a string of caste-related murders. Exactly two years ago on July 4 , a Dalit youth Ilavarasan's body was found . Though officially reported as a case of suicide, his death came after continued caste violence. After he eloped and married Divya, a girl of the Vanniyar caste, riots ensued against the Dalit community in which over 260 homes were burnt or damaged. 


According to Evidence, a Madurai-based human rights organisation, there have been 60 instances of honour killings in the last three years. 


The Hindu

Aadhar camp for transgenders






A two-day Aadhar enrolment camp exclusively for transgenders living in Madurai district was inaugurated by Collector L. Subramanian here on Saturday.


The special enrolment drive, which is touted to be the first of its kind in the State, was organised by the Social Welfare Development Society, a non-governmental organisation working for the welfare of transgenders in the district. Noori Ammal, president of the Transgenders Welfare Association, Madurai, said that it was a major step towards being included and accepted in society.


"While there are 2,580 transgenders in the district, only 1,480 are registered with various associations here and very few among them have enrolled for the Aadhar card," she said. Members of the Social Welfare Development Society said that the camp was organised to encourage transgenders from all over the district to procure the Aadhar card with ease.


"With Madurai as the start, we hope to take this special camp to more districts and empower transgenders with a proof of identity. Many of them remain without any valid document as they have left their homes in dispute or have been disowned by families," said T.G. Bhavani, president of the organisation.


Two Circle

Discrimination against Dalit women in Ahmedabad


Submitted by on 5 July 2015 - 6:26pm


(Editor's Note: This is Case Study which is part of a new annual report titled 'State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2015' prepared by Minority Rights Group International's.)


By Rajiv Shah,


In Ahmedabad, located in the heart of Gujarat state, Dalits have been an important but often invisible presence for generations, working as scavengers and waste-clearers within the strict confines of India's caste system. Concentrated on the periphery of the city, frequently segregated from other communities, many had also migrated to the city in search of work in emerging industries such as Ahmedabad's textile mills.


Nevertheless, though strong caste and communal barriers remained in place, Dalit settlements existed alongside upper-caste and Muslim neighbourhoods in the city centre and the nearby industrial townships. However, over the last few decades a number of violent incidents, including anti-Dalit riots in 1981 and communal violence in 2002, have reinforced divisions. This case study, drawing on interviews conducted in December 2014 with a number of activists and community members based in the city, highlights some of the key challenges facing Dalit women today.


According to Madhuben Koradiya, a Dalit women's rights activist with the Ahmedebadbased NGO Navsarjan Trust who was interviewed for this case study, the closure of many of the city's mills in the 1980s and early 1990s also precipitated a crisis for Dalit women. In previous years Dalit women had been making some small gains, with some even managing to secure low-level government employment, but this tentative progress halted with the collapse of the textile industry: '[It] led to large-scale joblessness among men, following which Dalit women were forced to do any job they could lay their hands on, even as construction workers, in order to help the family. A huge oversupply of labour in the job market meant less wages….


Women have nowhere to go, except to work as daily wagers or home-based workers.' As a result, their livelihood options deteriorated: 'Things have further worsened over the last 10 to 15 years. Dalit women are doing such jobs which I could not even imagine when I was young. They are ready to work as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical companies, which use them to experiment with the reaction to medicines of the human body. They are ready to become surrogate mothers for money.' Following the outbreak of communal violence across Gujarat in 2002, the situation for Dalit women worsened.


Though Muslims were exposed to the worst of the violence, the 'next biggest casualty' were Dalits: 'Out of more than 1,000 killed, more than 100 were Dalits. The young Dalits were misguided by the saffron brigade [right-wing Hindu extremists]. Now no one takes care of the families of many of the Dalits who were arrested for the riots or those who died. The condition of women is particularly in bad shape. Many women have been pushed into such illegal activities like brewing country liquor and prostitution, and there is little anyone is doing.' The challenges Dalit women face, though overlapping with general issues of urban poverty and gender discrimination, are in many ways distinct from the issues that face the female population as a whole.


Ahmedabad has a number of active women's organizations, but while these often have a large Dalit constituency among their members, their focus generally is not on specific incidents of discrimination. While a trade union may periodically train its members on issues of sexual violence and harassment, for example, it usually avoids taking up human rights issues related to atrocities against Dalit women. Solidarity was also undermined following the 2002 communal violence. Preeti Vaghela, another activist based with the Navsarjan Trust, described how prior to the riots Dalit and Muslim families lived side by side in some parts of the city. However, in the aftermath, the interaction between women from different communities came to an abrupt halt: '[Until 2002] women interacted with each other.

However, following the riots, Dalits have fled many of these areas, and got scattered to different places. The social fabric which women had built around themselves, even among Dalits, has broken apart.' Ramilaben Babubhai Parmar, a researcher who was involved with Navsarjan Trust in a survey of the city's sanitary workers, reports that among Valmiki – probably the most marginalized of all the Dalit sub-castes – most women work as sanitary workers, whether it is for the municipality or housing societies.


'In housing societies, they are paid to work as sweepers. They sometimes are also allowed to work as sweepers inside individual houses and clean up individual toilets. However, they are generally not employed as housemaids to clean up utensils or cook food. The latter work is mostly done by women from other backward classes, who do not have the stigma of being "impure". There are Valmiki women who work in private offices. But they mostly work as sweepers.' Their husbands, too, will also typically work in this dangerous occupation and as a result many end up having to head their households alone: 'The situation is such that there is a higher incidence of widows among the gutter workers. Our survey said about 20 to 25 per cent of young Valmiki women were widows, and I don't think that the situation has changed much even now. Malnutrition is widely prevalent. Most girls are married very young, even before attaining adulthood.'


In the segregated areas where Valmiki are located, however, sanitary facilities are almost non-existent: 'A large number of Valmiki localities are devoid of any toilet facilities. There is a pay-and-use toilet in several localities, like Bootbhavani and Chandranagar areas, where they live, yet it is in poor shape, or often locked, and never cleaned up because of lack of water, and women are forced to go out in the open, often sitting next to the railway station nearby, to defecate.' One consequence of the systematic humiliation experienced by the community is that Valmiki women also face regular abuse from men of their own caste: 'Within Valmiki families, their condition has worsened. Our impression is that cases of their suicide have gone up drastically, and so have cases of violence by men. I come across such at least three to four cases of this kind every month. Working in insanitary conditions, dejected and depressed following day-long work, men drink a lot of illicit country-made liquor, which wasn't generally the case earlier. This tells heavily on women.'


In one slum area in western Ahmedabad, situated within an affluent locality, around 70 Valmiki families live in huts with no access to water, sanitation, electricity or any form of government support. None yet have the luxury of a concrete house, in part because their homes have been destroyed by local authorities as illegal several times already. All face the constant threat of eviction. The settlement is surrounded by expensive flats, whose owners employ some of the women as sweepers. Research interviews with a number of Valmiki women living in this area highlighted the continued discrimination they faced in their employment.


While claiming they were not subjected to 'untouchability', as was the case in the past, all of them admitted that at best they were working as sweepers in individual households, with none employed as regular housemaids to clean up utensils or cook. As one of the women interviewed put it: 'Frankly I don't feel untouchability as our ancestors did, but I do not do any other work inside the houses except sweeping and cleaning the apartments. I am allowed into the kitchen also, but I do not cook food or clean utensils. In fact, nobody has asked me to do these jobs, which others do.'


Another Valmiki woman, when asked why she did not refuse to work as a manual scavenger as it was prohibited by law, smiled and said, 'Do you want us to lose our job? If we do not do the work, we will be replaced by others.' This seemed to be the case even when they had been lucky enough to access some secondary education. Based on the accounts of the women interviewed, it appeared that even those Valmiki women who had managed some study were still condemned to the same manual labour their ancestors had been forced to perform. Though these issues are not usually as pronounced among non-Valmiki Dalit women, discrimination in Ahmedabad is still widespread even among the less stigmatized Dalit groups, as Koradiya describes: 'It is rarely visible, but one can feel it does prevail in the dominant caste behaviour.


In an interaction, Dalit teachers complained to us that while they would sit together to take an afternoon meal, nonDalit women as a rule would not like to share food with them, nor would the non-Dalit women ever offer them water. The feeling of distance was always visible.' Sexual harassment, too, remains a serious challenge for women in Indian cities in general, but is especially acute for Dalit women, who are vulnerable due to their secondary status. For example, Leena Patel, a Dalit journalist and social worker interviewed for this research, highlighted the experiences of Dalit women working in the city's diamond polishing industry.


The 'hypocrisy', as Patel describes it, is that 'untouchability is their motto, but the dominant caste owner doesn't have any problem touching Dalit women'. She heard similar stories from Dalit women recruited to work as cleaners at wedding parties, who felt helpless in the face of harassment. 'In fact, a few of the women considered sexual overtures as a normal behaviour of the contractors who offered them work. They said, if they protested against men touching them, they would not be given the job the next time.'


The Hindu

An epic terrain





Koogai captures the original's spoken rhythm and the poetic descriptions of the landscape.


"The owl's call, once heard/Foretells a death. Twice heard,/A dire fate. Three throaty moans …/Seven times it calls to restore to you/The things you have lost./Eight times it hoots, and quite suddenly/You die./A call repeated nine times or ten/Is by far the best. But by then/You are already dead"


This song in more ways than one captures the cadence of Koogai, both in terms of content and style. Koogai came out in 2005, a decade after Dharman's first novel Thoorvai (1996) created a stir in the Tamil literary circles for its experimentation in form and its grounded realities. Urulaikudi, Dharman's village, is his perennial resource. His traditional performing arts background and working class connections make him unique in many ways. His literary mentor and maternal uncle Poomani is the foremost writer to open new frontiers of content, language and discourse in Tamil literature.


Koogai is almost an ethnographic document of the lives of the lower-caste people in Chitthiraikudi village and their near exodus to the slums of Kovilpatti. The novel abounds in instances of oppression meted out to the Dalits by the dominant middle caste groups — false cases, forced sexual assaults, insults and thrashings. The Owl on the other hand saves children, foretells future, guards the devotees and in many ways organises the marginal sections of the society. The Owl and the State, signified by the police, occupy the epic terrain of the novel.


The narrative is not linear. The plot is made complex by the interweaving of songs, stories, dreams, nightmares and fantasies and lores of various deities. Aandaalamma, who was born female but did not become a woman biologically, turned into a fountain in the dryland. The details of trees and birds are no less a document of the ecosphere under discussion. The many proverbs and sayings bear the wisdom of the common man.


The hierarchy of caste in all its ramifications is ever-present in the novel. Peichi, who lives in Subramania-puram surrounded by Dalits, is Kaali Thevar's wife. Her daughter Maari is happily married to a Thevar boy. Krishna Paraiyar has converted to Christianity and is named Peduru. The protagonist, Seeni, who belongs to Pallar community, mocks at that name punning on the Tamil word 'peththuru' (cull out) thus: "Sounds like someone's knees being pulled off … or eyes being gouged. I'll have to remember it like that". The Christian priest is supposed to have mixed the seed of karuvelamin the dung, thereby disturbing the land's ecological balance. (Called 'seemai karuvelam', it is a menace brought into the region's landscape. To directly blame the Christian priest is to undermine the impact of the colonial power.) The Arunthathiyars remain on the fringe, chattering away in Telugu, ill-treated by the dominant forces, including the Pallars.


While Dharman has managed to address the inter-Dalit castes' lack of solidarity and the 'graded inequality' among them, there is a definite positive slant towards the Pallars. This seems to be an impasse in Dalit writing in many languages, and definitely in Tamil.


The three introductions offer varied perspectives to the text. A. R. Venkatachalapathy lays out the literary map of Karisal Ilakkiyam in Tamil. He traces the two trends of modernist literature in Tamil and the new influences of magical realism. While giving a summative view of the influences of modernist writings and the heated debates over 'arts for art's sake' and 'art for people's sake', he dismisses the literary influence of the left movements. The example he gives to prove that is the fact that IPTA did not have an active role in Tamil Nadu. Unlike this, street songs/plays and stage songs to collect funds for Bengal famine relief and anti-hoarding and corruption during World War II abound in the Janasakthiissues of the 1940s. (My forthcoming article in the Jadavpur Journal of Comaparative Literatureexplores this aspect). Poets like Jeevanandham to Bharathidasan and Tamiloli and the Left-based magazines like Samaran, Santhi, Saraswathi and Manithan prepared the grounds till the 1960s for literature that was the by-product of mostly monolingual Tamil writers. In fact Sundara Ramasami began with Santhi and disowned his avowed left ideology later. Ki. Rajanarayanan was primarily a Communist worker. Raghunathan and Jayakanthan contributed their bit to the documentation of lives of the toiling people. It is pertinent to approach Dharman's novel from this perspective as well.


The translator Vasantha Surya has captured the spoken rhythm, rhetoric of perfomative poetry or ritual, the conversational register and the poetic descriptions of the landscape. It is to Mini Krishnan's credit that one owes the rich tapestry of multiple strands of Tamil literature being made available to wider audience via English. Koogai is a rich addition to that long list.


Koogai (The Owl); Cho Dharman, trs. Vasantha Surya, OUP, Rs.650





.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")

Pl visit On :

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.

No comments: