Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 31.08.15
Two Weeks After Clash, Dalits Still Live in Fear - The New Indian Express
Abolish caste-based quota, says RSS ideologue - The Hindu
Muzaffarnagar: two years later, still a tinderbox - The Hindu
The Times Of India
Brother-sister duo from Kota crack AIPMT -
'Seri', 'kuppam' have become derogatory words over the years - The Hindu
The Times Of India
Anjaneya hopes internal reservation for SCs will being provided soon - The Hindu
The Times Of India
The New Indian Express
Two Weeks After Clash, Dalits Still Live in Fear
VILLUPURAM: Fifteen days after the clash between Vanniyars and Dalits in Seshasamudram village, the district police officials on Sunday claimed that the situation in the village is completely under control, even as Dalit and Vanniyars say they continue to live in fear.
According to a senior policeman, as soon as the police were informed about the clash on August 15, around 120 police personnel, headed by the Villupuram SP, rushed to the village, which has been in the papers for the last few years over the caste dispute. By the morning of August 16, as many as 500 policemen were deployed and the situation was brought under control, the senior police official. However, Dalits have asked the district administration to construct a separate ration shop, school and other basic amenities for them as Vanniyars were denying them access to the facilities.
It may be recalled that Rathika (30), a Dalit woman from Seshasamudram village, had said everybody in the village got along well with one another until a politician poisoned their minds and turned erstwhile friends into enemies to achieve his personal political gain.
According to her, the Dalits built a Muthumariamman temple and consecrated it with the Vanniyars in 2009.
Earlier, both the communities performed special pujas during the Aadi month and distributed porridge to the devotees.
However, in 2012, when Subramani, the DMDK cadre from the Vanniyar community, had the Dalits build a car for the Muthumariamman temple and conduct a procession, to which he contributed `1 lakh on the eve of the panchayat poll.
He won with a huge margin as both communities supported him. Subramani, who prodded the Dalits to build the car and take the procession, then said they couldn't do so as the Vanniyars were opposed to the Dalits carrying the procession on the common road.
It may be noted here that on January 7, 2014, Express carried a report about 300 Hindu Dalits of the Seshasamudram Colony embraced Buddhism as they were tired of being discriminated against by caste Hindus for the past two years.
The Dalits had petitioned the then Collector V Sampath, who had requested them to withdraw the decision on the conversion.
They said after the intervention of the DMDK village president, communal discrimination started in the village. This made the villagers file 40 petitions from 2012 to 2015.Based on their petitions, the district administration had arranged 15 rounds of peace talks on the car procession.
Abolish caste-based quota, says RSS ideologue
Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue M.G. Vaidya has argued that caste-based reservation given to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and educational institutions should be done away with as caste is "no more relevant."
Speaking to The Hindu in the context of the Patel community's agitation for reservation in Gujarat, Mr. Vaidya said, "There is no need for caste-based reservation now, because no caste has remained backward. At the most, continue it [reservation] for the SCs and STs, but only for 10 years. Abolish it [caste-based reservation] completely after that."
The senior RSS leader also trashed the claims of the Patel community in Gujarat and other "dominant communities" in other parts of the county for reservation.
"All the trade in Gujarat is controlled by the Patels. Do they really need reservation? In Maharashtra, Marathas are demanding reservation, whereas most of the Chief Ministers of the State have been Marathas. Jats and Gurjars are also pitching for reservation in other States. Are they really backwards? Even the governments entertain such demands to nourish vote banks," he claimed.
Favouring the change of criteria for reservation from caste to economic status, Mr. Vaidya said that caste-based reservation has "strengthened" caste divisions rather than eradicating them.
"Concessions have become rights now. Does the son of a Chief Minister or a Collector need reservation," asked the former spokesperson of the RSS.
Reservation based on economic criteria would benefit the poor and needy among Muslims, Christians, Marathas, Brahmins and other communities, he said.
Mr. Vaidya, however, agreed with Hardik Patel's contention that either reservation should be given to everyone or it should be abolished altogether.
"He [Hardik] is right in this regard. People are backward these days not because of caste but because of economic conditions. If the criteria of reservation is changed from caste to economic status, then there won't be permanent reservation. Caste-based reservation is making people remember their caste. How can you eradicate it [caste], if you are making them remember it since their birth?" asked Mr. Vaidya, whose son Manmohan Vaidya is the current chief spokesperson of the RSS.
The RSS ideologue also contended that atrocities against Dalits, at least in Maharashtra, did not take place because of caste hatred but because of land dispute and other reasons.
"What is the relevance of caste? I am a Brahmin but do I practise Purohit Yoga? Does my son do it? Only politicians need caste and have kept it relevant for vote bank politics. It is dangerous for the nation as it divides communities," said Mr. Vaidya, while expressing concern over the current political situation in the country.
Muzaffarnagar: two years later, still a tinderbox
Many believe the communal incidents in the region were
strategically timed ahead of the panchayat polls
"This man was killing cows near the mandi. He's a cow murderer. Listen to what we have to say! If anyone else is caught slaughtering cows, this is what we will do to them."
This provocative line suddenly popped up on WhatsApp in the last week of June, accompanied by a video clip of Bajrang Dal activists in Shamli assaulting the "cow murderer". As it went viral on the social media, communal tension in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar — the districts devastated by deadly riots exactly two years ago in August 2013 — rose, interrupting the fragile peace.
This was just the beginning.
Communal clashes began to be reported from different parts of western Uttar Pradesh, even from towns that had been peaceful in the recent past like Saharanpur, or those outside this region such as Faizabad. Starting mid-June, around 20-odd small and big incidents have been reported, coinciding with the start of Ramzaan and later, Kanwad.
The spurt in communal incidents that broke the relative calm of the region, many here believe, were strategically timed ahead of the panchayat polls, scheduled for later this year. Just as the clashes of August 2013 led to the emptying of villages, and communal polarisation followed by a clean sweep by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general elections here last year.
This time, the BJP and the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) are expending their energy on these local polls, hoping its results will set the stage for the Assembly polls slated for early 2017.
The riots here began in the last week of August 2013, after the murders of Shahnawaz and Sachin and Gaurav, residents of Kaval and Malakpur villages, triggered off a series of hate speeches by Jat and Muslim leaders to their respective communities.
Earlier this year, when two boys on motorcycles, one a Dalit and the other a Muslim, crashed into each other in Deoband, hundreds of people came on to the roads, pelting stones and opening fire. In another incident in Meerut, when a local farmer parked his trolley on farmland belonging to someone of another community, the incident swiftly turned communal. In both cases, the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the police had to be called in.
Local BJP activists told The Hindu this was "inevitable".
Even though the police took prompt action and arrested the Muslims reported to have started the fight in Deoband, Dalit youth continue to highlight alleged instances of the State government's pro-Muslim bias. Topping the list of instances is how a senior SP State Minister got police officers transferred to "save" Muslim rioters during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. "Riots would have been controlled had the officers not been shifted by Azam Khan [a senior SP leader]," said Vivek, a Valmiki youth in Deoband.
It is the internalising of such grievances that makes the BJP confident that wherever Dalits constitute less then 40 per cent in Muslim-dominated towns and villages, they will vote for the BJP. "If polarisation takes place, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will not get Dalit votes. No Valmiki or Dalit is a Dalit now. All of them have become Hindus," a BJP leader told The Hindu in Shamli.
Such has been the lasting impact of the Muzaffarnagar riots that for a majority of the Hindus here, the SP Government is "anti-Hindu".
In the first week of July, Satbir, a youth from the OBC community of Kashyaps, sitting outside a mosque in Meerapur Assembly constituency's Bhumma village, was killed by two people from the same village.
As the alleged killers were Muslim, Satbir's family expressed its lack of confidence in the local station house officer (SHO). The SHO was called back to police headquarters and the Muslims in the village, outnumbered by the Hindus, were forced to take shelter in the mosque.
As the situation grew increasingly tense, local BJP MP, 2013 riot-accused and now a Central Minister Sanjeev Baliyan, arrived, accompanied by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)'s Sadhvi Pragya. So inflammatory were the Sadhvi's remarks that even the State BJP chief distanced himself from her statement.
The BJP, says Shahid Manzoor, Labour Minister in the SP government, wants to neutralise the anger and disillusionment of the local Hindu farmers, largely Jats, against the Centre. "In May, everyone in U.P. was criticising the Modi government for remaining silent on the sad plight of farmers and sugarcane growers. Now the BJP wants to counter that. The easiest way is to communalise the environment."
So tense is the situation now that even a small fight can spark off violence.
The alleged attack on riot victims in Kutba village on Saturday and violent attack on a prominent Muslim cleric by Bajrang Dal workers on Friday worked to enflame the already polarised communal tempers of the region.
The Times Of India
Brother-sister duo from Kota crack AIPMT
A 19-year-old girl and her teenaged brother, whose father was a farmer, have cracked the All India Pre-Medical Test. The AIPMT re-examination was conducted on July 25 and the results were declared on August 17.
While Alka secured an all India rank of 432, her 18-year-old brother Pradeep stood third in the Scheduled Caste category in the test. Their father, 45-year-old Kalulal Meena, was earlier a farmer but now paralysed and bed-ridden for the last 15 years.
"Despite being in bed, my father has been a constant inspiration and has helped overcome any sort of negativity," Pradeep said. "This Rakhi is super special for both of us as we are celebrating the festival in our native village with other family members," the brother-sister duo, natives of Kothunwan village here, said.
The sarpanch of the village Navneet Nandwana said both of them would be honoured soon. "Our uncle, Hansraj, took the financial responsibility of our education and got us admitted in a renowned coaching institute in Kota for preparing for AIPMT exam," Pradeep added.
"I performed very poor in my initial regular tests of the institute but my father encouraged me to focus on improvement at whatever level it may," said Alka. The director of the coaching institute Naveen Maheshwari, where the siblings took coaching, said in view of their poor financial conditions, the institute has decided to award Rs 1,500 each as scholarship to them every month throughout the four years of their MBBS course.
Pradeep is now eligible to seek admission to any higher medical college in the country as he has also cracked AIIMS exam this year with 52 all India rank in ST category but he said he would prefer doing his MBBS from Kota medical college as he can take care of his father here.
'Seri', 'kuppam' have become derogatory words over the years
Writer and former VCK MLA Ravikumar said that the functional meaning of these words had become insulting to Dalits.
Former IAS officer P. Sivakami's petition in the Madras High Court seeking the removal from government records of terms such as colony, seri and kuppam, which are used to identify Scheduled Caste habitations, has brought into focus the change that these words have undergone over the years in their functional meaning.
"Seri is a place where various sections of people lived together (sernthu vaazhvathaal seri)," said Tamil scholar R.P. Sethu Pillai in his book, Tamilagam Oorum Perum.
Padseri is a place where Pallars lived and Paraiseri is the habitat of the Paraiyar community. The settlement of Aayar(shepherds) was known as Aaiseri, according to the author. Sethu Pillai, however, agreed that in modern times Seri has become a derogatory term and is used to identify areas where only Dalits resided.
Folklorist A.K. Perumal said one could find the word seri in ancient Tamil literary works, including Kaliththogai, Silappathikaram and even the 'Porulathikaram' of Tholkappiam.
"It is Silapathikaram that calls a Brahmin settlement as 'Paarpanaseri'. But the meanings of hundreds of Tamil words have become corrupt and got distorted with time, place and other considerations," he said.
He said once the words 'kuppai' and 'maadu' meant 'wealth'. "Today, they are used to refer to garbage and cattle. In ancient times, kaamam would mean love. Today, it has a negative meaning," he said.
Similary 'kuppam' in Tamil literature used to refer to Neithal villages — fishing hamlets. Kaatukuppam, Nochikuppam, Ayodhyakuppam and Karungudikuppam are some of the well-known kuppams, but today they are used in a derogatory manner. And Paakkam is used as suffix to settlements adjacent to fishermen's hamlets. Pattinappakam, Nugambakkam, Kodambakkam, Kelambakkam and Eenjambakkam are the paakams of Chennai.
Writer and former VCK MLA Ravikumar said while the etymological meaning of these words remained unchanged, their functional meaning had become insulting to Dalits.
"When these words are used to reiterate caste identity, they should be dispensed with. That was why the AIADMK government led by M.G. Ramachandran issued an order for removing all prefixes and suffixes with casteist connotations," Mr Ravikumar said.
The Times Of India
Anjaneya hopes internal reservation for SCs will being provided soon
H. Anjaneya, Minister for Social Welfare, was hopeful that the internal reservation for Scheduled Castes, as recommended by the Justice A.J. Sadashiva Commission, would be provided soon.
Responding to questions by presspersons here on Sunday, Mr. Anjaneya, while recalling his struggle seeking reservation commensurate to population, said that he had discussed in detail with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah about implementing the commission report and that one had to wait for some time for the government to take a decision in this regard.
Regarding reports of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) forging an alliance to take control of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika, Mr. Anjaneya said that while he was not aware of any such developments, it was left to the Chief Minister and the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee to decide on the matter.
He said that the Rs. 204-crore special package of development in Ballari district, announced by him during the recent by-election to Ballari (rural) Assembly constituency, was ready and approvals had also been given. Steps would be taken to set in motion the developments work before December this year.
The Minister, while expressing grief over the killing of writer M.M. Kalaburagi, wanted the perpetrators to be punished.
Mr. Anjaneya was here to participate in a function organised by Madiga Employees Association.
The Times Of India
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET