Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 01.11.11
3 awarded life term for Mirchpur killings - Chandigarh Tribune
Court questions legality of special law to protect SC/ST -IBN Live
Caste bias on the rise in Andhra Pradesh colleges - Deccan Chronicle
HC notice to govt over quota in teachers' recruitment - The Times Of India
Sakkarakottai gets its first Dalit woman VP - IBN Live
How dalits have actually fared in Uttar Pradesh - Business Standard
Small units, SCs/STs to get preference in government purchases - NDTV
3 awarded life term for Mirchpur killings
l 5 sentenced up to 5 yrs
l 7 let off on one-year probation
l One still absconding
R Sedhuraman, Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, October 31
A Delhi court, which had convicted 15 persons for attacking Dalits in Mirchpur village in Haryana's Hisar district on April 21, 2010, today sentenced three of them to life term and five persons to imprisonment for varying periods up to five years. Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau let off the remaining seven convicts on probation for one year.
In a brief order, the ASJ also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 each on the eight persons who would undergo imprisonment and Rs 10,000 each on the probationer convicts.
Tara Chand, a 70-year-old Dalit, and his physically challenged daughter had been killed in the violence by a mob that set ablaze the houses of the Balmiki community.
The life convicts are Kulwinder, son of Ramvir, Ramphal s/o of Prithvi, and Rajinder s/o Pali. They had been convicted under Section 304 relating to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Though the maximum sentence under this section is 10 years of imprisonment, they were awarded life term as the crime also fell under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Those sentenced up to five years of jail are Baljeet (s/o Inder), Karamvir (s/o Tarachand), Karampal (s/o Satbir), Dharamvir (s/o Maichand) and Bhobal (s/o Tekram).
The court convicted 15 persons and acquitted 82 in the case on September 24 this year. The Supreme Court had transferred the case from Hisar to Delhi on December 8 last for ensuring a fair trial free from any pressure from any quarter.
Station House Officer (SHO) Vinod Kajal was among those acquitted. In all, there were 98 accused, but the trial did not cover one person as he is still absconding.
Advocate Arun Rathee, who had argued for the convicts, said all his clients would file an appeal in the Delhi High Court, challenging the trial court verdict.
THE CASE FILES
Tara Chand, a 70-year-old Dalit, and his physically challenged daughter had been killed in the violence by a mob that set ablaze the houses of the Balmiki community in Mirchpur village in Haryana's Hisar district on April 21 last. The incident took place after a dispute between Jat and Dalit communities of the village. The court convicted 15 persons and acquitted 82 on September 24.
THE CRIME FELL UNDER SC/ST ACT
Those getting life term had been convicted under Section 304 relating to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Though the maximum sentence under this section is 10 years of imprisonment, they were awarded life term as the crime also fell under the SC/ST Act, 1989.
Court questions legality of special law to protect SC/ST
PTI | 09:10 PM,Oct 31,2011
New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) A Delhi court today questioned the legal validity of a special law enacted to protect Dalit and tribal communities saying it discriminates among offenders on the basis of caste. Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau questioned the legality of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and sought a re-look into it while sentencing 15 people, convicted on September 24 for their alleged involvement in the April, 2010, killings of a 70-year-old dalit and his physically challenged teenaged daughter. "The SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989 is one such legislation whose provisions create a distinction on the ground of caste in matters of imposition of sentence in case of certain offences, thereby creating an anomalous situation," said ASJ Lau. She added ".....where on the one hand, it (the Act) provides a stringent punishment for imprisonment for life in case the victim of atrocity is member of SC/ ST and the violator is not a member of SC/ST but would let go a violator who is a member of the SC/ST (irrespective of whether the victim is a member of the SC/ ST or not)". (more) PTI SKV ABA RAX
Caste bias on the rise in Andhra Pradesh colleges
November 1, 2011 By L. Venkat Ram Reddy
Caste discrimination in colleges across the state, specifically in professional colleges, is on the rise.
This is more so in the case of students availing of the fee reimbursement scheme.
With the delay in government releasing the funds for colleges, the managements are forcing students to pay the amount. Students from SC, ST and BC categories, who are not in a position to pay, are facing discrimination. Some managements are allegedly even making casteist remarks and insulting students who fail to pay fees.
The government had directed all the colleges to maintain separate complaint registers to enable students to lodge such complaints.
It had also warned the colleges of severe action if they resort to such practices. However, the government has failed to initiate any steps to check the errant managements. As a result, the associations have approached the University Grants Commission.
The government was forced to act recently after the UGC intervened in the issue.
UGC joint secretary Dr K.C. Pathak has issued a circular to all the universities to curb caste discrimination in university colleges and affiliated colleges.
In a circular, Dr Pathak stated that, "Several instances have come to the notice of the UGC on caste discrimination in higher education institutes. It has been emphasised that they should desist from any act of discrimination against students on grounds of their social origin. The university/institute/college should develop a page on their website for lodging such complaints of caste discrimination and also place a complaint register in the registrar/ principal office for the purpose."
The government has circulated the UGC orders to all the universities and directed them to ensure its implementation.
Thanks to the fee reimbursement scheme, the enrolment of students in professional colleges and other higher education institutes has increased manifold. While five years ago there were only about five lakh students from the BC/SC/ST categories pursuing education in professional colleges, the number today stands at 25 lakh.
Majority of these students are pursuing professional courses like B.Tech, MBA, MCA, MBBS etc.
The Times Of India
HC notice to govt over quota in teachers' recruitment
TNN | Nov 1, 2011, 02.46AM IST
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday issued a notice to the state government on a petition that challenges the quota benefit allowed to candidates from the SC, ST and OBC categories in the ongoing recruitment of teachers (grade-II).
The petition moved by the Samta Andolan Samiti and 38 candidates from the non-reserved category that the state government was granting the quota benefit without any legal or constitutional basis.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice N K Jain-I has sought replies on the petition from the chief secretary, principal secretary (personnel), Rajasthan Public Services Commission's secretary and other government officials concerned by November 17.
The government advertised 8,946 posts of teachers (grade-II) between 2008 and 2010. Of these, 4,473 posts were reserved for the SC/ST/OBC candidates.
As per the petition, the state government issued a notification on September 19, 1951 to ensure representation of the SC/ST/OBC in public employment. But the reservation in the state services, subordinate services and Class-IV services was limited to 12.5% and 15%, which was later changed for "political considerations". Through another notification issued on October 3, 1973, an amendment was introduced in all the service rules to provide reservation for SC/ST/OBC people in recruitments as well as promotions.
An executive order passed on February 10, 1975, increased the quota to 16% for the SC and 12% for the ST, while yet another notification issued on September 28, 1993, the state government granted 21% quota to the OBC.
The petitioners have argued that before issuing all these notifications and executive orders, the Rajasthan government did not carry out the constitutionally required exercise of finding out if the ST/ST/OBC people were still backward and were inadequately represented in the state services. "These orders were issued in a sweeping manner, applicable to all service rules without contextually considering their effect on administrative efficiency in administration in each case," the Samiti's counsel Shobhit Tiwari told court.
The petitioners have quoted the Supreme Court's judgments, observations and guidelines passed on the reservation issue while deciding the Indira Sawhney, M Nagraj and other cases to oppose the successive governments' decisions to continue the constitutional provision of quota benefit, without fulfilling the legal conditions.
Sakkarakottai gets its first Dalit woman VP
RAMANATHAPURAM: A Dalit woman has made it to the vice-president post in Sakkarakottai panchayat in the district, thanks to the magnanimity of the panchayat president Noor Mohamed, who recommended her name instead of his own daughter, who was originally chosen for the post.
The local body election has brought a major change in the district, with the AIADMK making a clean sweep in the poll that was conducted on October 17 and 19.
The Sakkarakottai panchayat comprises 15 wards, with a population of more than 10,000.
Fifteen ward members were elected from the villages, while Noor Mohamed was elected as president of the panchayat. The 15 members, including four Dalits, were to select the vice-president. Meharaj Banu, the daughter of Noor Mohamed, was also elected from ward 14. However, Noor Mohamed recommended the name Ponnuthai of Gandhi Nagar-Vani, of the Arunthathiyar community, who was elected from Ward 15.
Following this, Ponnuthai was elected unopposed as vice-president of the panchayat. She was backed by the other 14 ward members, including caste Hindus.
It is said, MGR Nagar, Mela Sothu Oorani, Gandhi Nagar and Mullai Nagar are devoid of basic facilities for many years now and the new members and president now have a major task before them.
Ponnuthai (35), a spinster, had already served as councillor in the panchayat. She alleged that she could not carry out any remarkable work due to a local dispute in the panchayat office.
Sivaraman, the ward 9 member, felt that Ponnuthai would work hard to promote the panchayat.
It may be recalled that the result for the Sakkarakottai panchayat president election was declared late in the night due to some problem in counting of postal votes.
Ponnuthai said that she was eager to carry out various development works in the panchayat, including street lights, water connection and road facilities.
Noor Mohamed told Express that AIADMK party general secretary and CM J Jayalalithaa treats all section of people equally.
How dalits have actually fared in Uttar Pradesh
A giant statue in a Lucknow square made 12-year-old Rashi curious. Whose statue is this, she asked her father. Although a BSP worker, Jhanki Ram couldn't go beyond the name, Jyotiba Phule. But not wanting to show his ignorance, he added, "He was a Mahatma who did a lot for the dalit community".
Both had come from Etawah to take part in Kanshiram Parinirvan functions this month. For them, the tour of dalit memorials raised by Mayawati was empowering. "It shows that we also have a history," said Ram, especially impressed by the massive memorial of dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar.
The memorials, built at a cost of more than Rs 3,000 crore, are described as places of dalit pilgrimage by the BSP, UP chief minister Mayawati's party. Dalit aspirations and assertions have increased manifold during her regime. They now have a 'history' to be proud of and icons to follow. It's reflected not only in the statues of Ambedkar installed in almost all villages with a dalit population but also in the increase in dalit outfits such as Valmiki Samaj, Pasi Mahasangh and Charmkar Parishad.
Vital parameters, too, have changed for the better in UP. The recent Human Development Index report reveals that its Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) grew by 76% in the last five years, almost at par with Gujarat. The planning ministry revealed that UP was among five states which had higher growth rates than their 11th Plan (2007-12 ) targets. Its GDP grew to 7.28% as against a target of 6.10%. It was also awarded "best performing state in agriculture" by the UPA this year.
But all this wasn't achieved in a jiffy. Political observer Sudhir Panwar said the condition of dalits started changing only from the '50s with land reforms, followed by loan waivers for schedule castes by Indira Gandhi in the '70s, abolishing of bonded labour and development of urban centres. This opened new avenues for landless dalits who were dependent primarily on farm labour. Reservation in government jobs added a much-needed impetus to dalit empowerment.
Mayawati, in a way, has taken forward this movement. In the last five years, she has pumped over Rs one lakh crore into various schemes, particularly for dalits and the marginalized. These include development of Ambedkar villages, giving more than two lakh free houses for the urban poor, Rs 400 monthly pension for those deprived of the benefits of BPL, and scholarships and free bicycles for girls in class XI and XII.
In addition, there's 23% quota for SCs and 27% for OBCs in industrial units under a public-private-partnership, 23% quota for dalits and tribals in government contracts, land for those living in slums for at least five years and filling up more than a lakh vacancies reserved for dalits and backward communities.
Economic growth has also been spurred by heavy investment in real estate in the National Capital Region, in expressways, in the power sector and in small and medium enterprises.
Small units, SCs/STs to get preference in government purchases
NDTV Correspondent, November 1, 2011, (Mumbai)
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the public procurement policy, which state-run departments and PSUs will aim to give preferences to micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs), including those belonging to SCs/STs.
Within this limit, four per cent of the orders should be placed to the SC/ST entrepreneurs and 16 per cent for others.
Public procurement of goods and services on behalf of a government agency, accounts for 20% in developing countries like India. The Centre was procuring materials worth Rs. 11 lakh crore; however there was no proper policy on procurement.
According to the new policy guidelines, all ministries and public sector units will have to mandatorily acquire minimum 20% of products from MSMEs.
Presently, the government agencies procure 4-5% annually from MSMEs and 4% of the total 20% is reserved for SC/ST categories.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni described the decision as "path-breaking". It was also in line with the "Congress manifesto", she said.
Elaborating, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Minister Virbhadra Singh said with announcement of the new policy, PSUs are expected to buy goods worth Rs. 35,000 crore from the MSEs, of which a business of Rs. 7,000 crore would go to the SCs/STs.
India's MSME sector plays a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the country. There are 28.5 million MSMEs in India that employ about 60 million people, contribute about 8% to its GDP, 45% to its industrial output and 40% to its exports.
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
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.