Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 11.11.11
Dalits enter temple after two decades - The Hindu
Sexual harassment case: Dalits protest Prof's transfer - The Times Of India
Dalits enter temple after two decades
The Dalits of Uthapuram village near here, where the 'untouchability' wall was demolished in 2008, on Thursday entered a temple under the control of the upper caste Hindus, with police protection.
Though scores of upper caste Hindus received the 11 Dalit persons outside the temple with folded hands, the scene was marred by the loud wails of women from the nearby streets, who were opposed to the entry of Dalits to their temple.
The Dalits, led by their leaders K. Ponnaiah and Sankaralingam, offered prayers at the Sri Muthalamman, Sri Mariamman temple around 4 p.m. They offered a garland, coconuts and fruits to the presiding deity. The priest performed 'puja' and 'deeparathana,' even as Madurai (Rural) Superintendent of Police Asra Garg, along with a huge posse of policemen, waited outside the temple.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), instrumental in demolishing the wall that divided the Dalits from the upper caste Hindus, hailed the temple entry as a "historic" event.
"We are entering the temple premises for the first time after 1989," said Mr. Ponnaiah. The Dalits used to offer prayers at the Pipal tree on the temple premises during the festival of the Karuppasamy temple (belonging to the Dalits).
The devotees, who perform the role of Lord Karuppasamy, Vairavan and Agni, used to go around the Pipal tree as a ritual. "Our belief is that the ritual will keep the evils out of our village. But it was stopped after people threw stones at us during the festival in 1989," he said. Since then, there were clashes between the two groups, followed by the construction of the wall.
After the CPI(M) and the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) took up the issue, the district administration demolished the wall. However, tension prevailed in the village and a permanent police picket was posted.
Meanwhile, Vishwa Hindu Parishad district president Chinmaya Somasundaram and his long-time friend and former Aavin general manager K. Athimoolam, who had relatives on both sides, began fresh negotiations between the Dalits and the upper caste Hindus. "After nearly two months of talks, we were able to bring peace. This [the temple entry] has been the demand of the Dalits for nearly seven decades," Mr. Somasundaram said. The temple 'Kumbabhishekam' would be performed soon, and the upper caste people would invite the Dalits for it. They also planned to hold a common feast during the occasion, Mr. Somasundaram said.
Appreciating the caste Hindus for allowing the Dalits into the temple, TNUEF State president P. Sampath said Uthapuram was no longer a symbol of untouchability. "It has become the symbol of eradication of untouchability." This would give an impetus to the Dalits of the State who are being denied the right to worship.
The Times Of India
Sexual harassment case: Dalits protest Prof's transfer
TNN | Nov 11, 2011, 11.54AM IST
MYSORE: The sudden transfer of zoology professor Shivabasavaiah to Kuvempu University is snowballing into a major controversy with Dalit students protesting against it on Thursday.
They staged a protest, asking the government to cancel the transfer and post him back to theUniversity of Mysore.
The Dalit Vidyarthi Ookuta, a forum of Dalit students, held a procession inside Manasagangotri, the PG campus, after classes were boycotted. Taking exception to the transfer, they said it is premature since the case is pending in the court and the departmental probe in on. Transfer Shivabasavaiah now amounts to harassing the professor, they said.
They asked M Saritha, the research scholar who charged Shivabasavaiah of sexually harassing her, to be relived from the project work, saying she has violated the varsity's code of conduct by speaking against it.
Meanwhile, Shivabasavaiah has not reported to duty at the Kuvempu University on Thursday.
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.