THE HIMALAYAN TALK: INDIAN GOVERNMENT FOOD SECURITY PROGRAM RISKIER

http://youtu.be/NrcmNEjaN8c The government of India has announced food security program ahead of elections in 2014. We discussed the issue with Palash Biswas in Kolkata today. http://youtu.be/NrcmNEjaN8c Ahead of Elections, India's Cabinet Approves Food Security Program ______________________________________________________ By JIM YARDLEY http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/indias-cabinet-passes-food-security-law/

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICAL OF BAMCEF LEADERSHIP

[Palash Biswas, one of the BAMCEF leaders and editors for Indian Express spoke to us from Kolkata today and criticized BAMCEF leadership in New Delhi, which according to him, is messing up with Nepalese indigenous peoples also. He also flayed MP Jay Narayan Prasad Nishad, who recently offered a Puja in his New Delhi home for Narendra Modi's victory in 2014.]

THE HIMALAYAN DISASTER: TRANSNATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT MECHANISM A MUST

We talked with Palash Biswas, an editor for Indian Express in Kolkata today also. He urged that there must a transnational disaster management mechanism to avert such scale disaster in the Himalayas. http://youtu.be/7IzWUpRECJM

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS LASHES OUT KATHMANDU INT'L 'MULVASI' CONFERENCE

अहिले भर्खर कोलकता भारतमा हामीले पलाश विश्वाससंग काठमाडौँमा आज भै रहेको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मूलवासी सम्मेलनको बारेमा कुराकानी गर्यौ । उहाले भन्नु भयो सो सम्मेलन 'नेपालको आदिवासी जनजातिहरुको आन्दोलनलाई कम्जोर बनाउने षडयन्त्र हो।' http://youtu.be/j8GXlmSBbbk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS LASHES OUT KATHMANDU INT'L 'MULVASI' CONFERENCE

अहिले भर्खर कोलकता भारतमा हामीले पलाश विश्वाससंग काठमाडौँमा आज भै रहेको अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मूलवासी सम्मेलनको बारेमा कुराकानी गर्यौ । उहाले भन्नु भयो सो सम्मेलन 'नेपालको आदिवासी जनजातिहरुको आन्दोलनलाई कम्जोर बनाउने षडयन्त्र हो।' http://youtu.be/j8GXlmSBbbk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS BLASTS INDIANS THAT CLAIM BUDDHA WAS BORN IN INDIA

THE HIMALAYAN VOICE: PALASH BISWAS DISCUSSES RAM MANDIR

Published on 10 Apr 2013 Palash Biswas spoke to us from Kolkota and shared his views on Visho Hindu Parashid's programme from tomorrow ( April 11, 2013) to build Ram Mandir in disputed Ayodhya. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77cZuBunAGk

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALSH BISWAS FLAYS SOUTH ASIAN GOVERNM

Palash Biswas, lashed out those 1% people in the government in New Delhi for failure of delivery and creating hosts of problems everywhere in South Asia. http://youtu.be/lD2_V7CB2Is

Palash Biswas on BAMCEF UNIFICATION!

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS ON NEPALI SENTIMENT, GORKHALAND, KUMAON AND GARHWAL ETC.and BAMCEF UNIFICATION! Published on Mar 19, 2013 The Himalayan Voice Cambridge, Massachusetts United States of America

BAMCEF UNIFICATION CONFERENCE 7

Published on 10 Mar 2013 ALL INDIA BAMCEF UNIFICATION CONFERENCE HELD AT Dr.B. R. AMBEDKAR BHAVAN,DADAR,MUMBAI ON 2ND AND 3RD MARCH 2013. Mr.PALASH BISWAS (JOURNALIST -KOLKATA) DELIVERING HER SPEECH. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLL-n6MrcoM http://youtu.be/oLL-n6MrcoM

Imminent Massive earthquake in the Himalayas

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICIZES GOVT FOR WORLD`S BIGGEST BLACK OUT

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS CRITICIZES GOVT FOR WORLD`S BIGGEST BLACK OUT

THE HIMALAYAN TALK: PALASH BISWAS TALKS AGAINST CASTEIST HEGEMONY IN SOUTH ASIA

Palash Biswas on Citizenship Amendment Act

Mr. PALASH BISWAS DELIVERING SPEECH AT BAMCEF PROGRAM AT NAGPUR ON 17 & 18 SEPTEMBER 2003 Sub:- CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2003 http://youtu.be/zGDfsLzxTXo

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Two rape victims shot dead in UP, one was to appear in court 2 days later. Dalits Media watch - News Updates 14.09.15


Two rape victims shot dead in UP, one was to appear in court 2 days later - Zee News

http://zeenews.india.com/news/uttar-pradesh/two-rape-victims-shot-dead-in-up-one-was-to-appear-in-court-2-days-later_1795699.html

Nagaur reeling under caste politics, clashes, unrest - The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Nagaur-reeling-under-caste-politics-clashes-unrest/articleshow/48952075.cms

SC/ST Case Hinges on Abuse in Public View: HC - The New Indian Express

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/SCST-Case-Hinges-on-Abuse-in-Public-View-HC/2015/09/14/article3026888.ece

99,000 UP Class XII girls with merit to get Rs 30,000 each - The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/99000-UP-Class-XII-girls-with-merit-to-get-Rs-30000each/articleshow/48948703.cms

 'Withdraw petition against promotion for SC/STs' - The Hindu

HTTP://WWW.THEHINDU.COM/NEWS/CITIES/CHENNAI/WITHDRAW-PETITION-AGAINST-PROMOTION-FOR-SCSTS/ARTICLE7650050.ECE

Jeremy Corbyn — a sympathiser of Dalits and critic of communalism - The Hindu

HTTP://WWW.THEHINDU.COM/NEWS/INTERNATIONAL/JEREMY-CORBYN-A-SYMPATHISER-OF-DALITS-AND-CRITIC-OF-COMMUNALISM/ARTICLE7646087.ECE

Practicing Untouchability Is A Crime, 'Not A Social Evil' - Counter Current

http://www.countercurrents.org/samar130915.htm

 

Please Watch:

Dr. Indu Choudhary: Caste Atrocity in Banaras "Hindu" University

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48uHHwQiT6I&feature=share

 

Note: Please find attachment for DMW Hindi (PDF)

 

Zee News

 

Two rape victims shot dead in UP, one was to appear in court 2 days later

http://zeenews.india.com/news/uttar-pradesh/two-rape-victims-shot-dead-in-up-one-was-to-appear-in-court-2-days-later_1795699.html

 

Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2015 - 09:28

 

Mau/Sitapur: Two rape victims were shot dead on Sunday in separate incidents in Uttar Pradesh with one of them being fatally attacked just two days before she had to appear in a court as a witness in the case.

 

The twin attacks on rape victims were condemned by opposition Congress which slammed the SP government for the "increasing lawlessness" in the state.

 

Police said that an 18-year-old rape victim was shot dead allegedly by bike-borne youths in Baijapur village in Dakshintola area in Mau district, two days before she had to appear in a court as witness in the case.

 

The incident occurred when the girl along with her brother was going to visit a doctor, and died of bullet injuries on the spot, they said.

 

The girl was allegedly raped on June 6, 2011 by one B K Singh, Manager of a college, police said, adding the case was going on in the local court, where she had to appear as witness after two days.

 

The victim's family members have alleged that she was killed upon the directions of the rape accused, they said.

Additional Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Singh said the guilty will not be spared.

 

In the second incident, a 23-year-old woman was shot dead allegedly by a rape accused against whom she had lodged a complaint last year in Mahmudpur village in Sitapur, police said.

 

The incident took place when the woman was going with her husband on bicycle and the accused, Pradeep, shot her dead, police said.

 

Pradeep had come out of the jail about two months back and was pressurising the woman to withdraw the rape case she had lodged against him, they said.

 

The body has been sent for post-mortem, police said.

 

Efforts are on to nab the accused, they added.

 

"My sister was raped and the case was going on. After holi, he (accused) got bail and started threatening us during her wedding.

 

"My mother reported it to police after which the accused threatened to shoot her. Pradeep shot at my sister at her in-laws' place," said the brother of the 18-year-old victim in the Mau incident.

 

The girl, who belonged to Mehmoodpur village, was married in Pritampur village and both these villages come under the same police station, a police official said.

 

"The victim's husband had come to take his wife. When they came out far away from the village, a person belonging to the village shot at the woman. According to investigation so far, a rape case was registered against the culprit and that appears to be the cause of enmity," the official said.

 

Reacting to the incident, senior Congress leader and MLA from Lucknow Cantt constituency, Rita Bahuguna Joshi said that all women in the nation are shocked.

 

"Until now, there were rapes and cases were being subverted and inquiries were not done properly but now we find that the girls are being shot dead. We have always been arguing that there should be a fast track court and good judgement, but we find that the police doesn't really investigate the case properly," she said.

 

By the time the case goes to court, the girl's family already comes under a lot of pressure. In UP, the lawlessness is upto such an extent that now these murders are happening so blatantly, she further said.

PTI 

 

The Times Of India

 

Nagaur reeling under caste politics, clashes, unrest

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Nagaur-reeling-under-caste-politics-clashes-unrest/articleshow/48952075.cms

 

TNN | Sep 14, 2015, 09.58 AM IST

AJMER: For the last six months, Nagaur has remained a sensitive region of the state with incidents like fleeing of notorious criminal to Dangawas bloodshed, swelling incidents of caste unrest in this district. With this, other incidents like a carcass of cows being found at Kumhari village followed by another incident where an attack on a businessman was reported in Nagaur, added to the reasons.


Centrally located district of Rajasthan, such incidents have left Nagaur reeling under the pressure of caste politics. "The Dangawas bloodshed incident in which people were killed added to the unrest within the Dalit community of this region, widening the gap between the Dalit and the Jat community for a long time," said a local source. He added that post the incident, fear among people can still be sensed in the nearby villages as people do not want to talk about that incident.


Just after the Dangawas incident in May this year, the carcass of cows found outside the Kumhari village in the end of May, created tension in Khimsar and nearby villages. The communal tension was controlled well by the state government and police but the incident created enough gap between some communities.


Another incident resulting in further unrest was a call for a bandh. "Just around the same, an attack on a businessman Kamal Gangwal in Naguar was reported leading to various organizations taking to the roads and demanding a bandh. This again affected the peace of the district," added source.


The recent fleeing of criminal Anandpal Singh from judicial custody worsened the situation as panic and tension gripped the district with different groups of Jat community demanding immediate arrest of Anandpal. Following the incident, MLA Hanuman Beniwal accused the government of negligence and expressed fear of another bloodshed at Nagaur.


Nagaur, otherewise, till now was believed to be a peaceful and a cultured district of Rajasthan, where Jats enjoyed a majority followed by Rajputs and other castes. While Dalits also have a majority, they have not got a prominent status yet. "With a number of cases reported of atrocity on Dalits in Nagaur, the community continues to be a downtrodden one," said Ramesh Bansal, coordinator of Center for Dalit Rights.


Congress and Jat leaders have played an important role in the politics of this area with BJP too now showing interest. While earlier, there were fewer incidents of clashes reported between Jats and Rajputs, but the incident of Didwana firing in 2006 created rifts amongst some groups. "The major reason that can be attributed to it is the fact that Rajputs are coming up with political power in this area, and With dozens of villages being led by Rajputs in Nagaur, power clash between them and other communities is natural," said a source.


Meanwhile, on the development front, Nagaur awaits industrialization, and importantly, a good drinking water supply system, as major parts of this district are facing water and fluoride affected water problems. "The major economical contribution of Nagaur is minerals and farming with cattle grazing. Still, it remains far behind as compared to other cities of Rajasthan," added a source.

 

The New Indian Express

 

SC/ST Case Hinges on Abuse in Public View: HC

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/SCST-Case-Hinges-on-Abuse-in-Public-View-HC/2015/09/14/article3026888.ece

 

By R Rajashekar Rao Published: 14th September 2015 04:02 AM Last Updated: 14th September 2015 04:06 AM

 

The Hyderabad High Court has made it clear that continuation of investigation against the accused will amount to abuse of process of law if the offence against him under Section 3 (1) (x) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is not made out as per law.

 

The offence alleged against the accused is the one under Section 3 (1) (x) of the Act which reads that (1) whoever, not being a member of SC or ST and intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of SC or ST in any place within public view, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine.

 

Justice U Durga Prasad Rao gave the above ruling while quashing the proceedings registered against the accused at Thorrur police station in Warangal district as the complaint allegations show that the offence took place in the house of the accused but not mentioned about the 'public view' i.e presence of public and witnessing the incident.

 

As for facts of the case, the police registered FIR based on a report given by one Jatoth Gutta belonging to a Scheduled Tribe. The allegations are that in respect of lands acquired by his grandfather, the names of the complainant and his two brothers were not recorded in the revenue records and so, in order to request the accused who is the VRO of their village, to enter their names in the Pahanies, the complainant and his brother J Mallaiah went to the house of the accused (VRO) and requested him to enter their names in the Pahanies.

 

The accused allegedly replied that he could not do that work and they had to put up an application to MRO but the complainant and his brother importuned him. On that, it was alleged, the accused grew wild and abused them in the name of caste. Then they lodged a complaint against the accused VRO and the police registered an FIR. Aggrieved with this, the petitioner/accused filed the quash petition before the High Court.

 

Denying the FIR allegations, the counsel for petitioner/accused said that even if the entire allegations were uncontroverted, they did not constitute any offence inasmuch as they would reveal that the accused had explained to them that he was not competent to enter the names of the complainant and his brothers in the Pahanies and they had to put up an application to MRO for consideration. In spite of it, they annoyed with repeated requests and in such a scenario even if he shouted at them, it could not be said that he had any criminal intention to abuse them by caste to demean them. Section 3 (1) (x) of the SC, ST Act would not attract as there was no intentional insult, he argued.

 

The counsel urged the court to quash the proceedings, saying that even if the allegations were accepted to be true, still charge under the above section are not maintainable in view of the fact that the alleged offence took place at the house of the accused. He contended that unless the offence had taken place within public view, the accused could not be held guilty.

 

On the other hand, the counsel appearing for the complainant sought dismissal of the petition, alleging that the accused had intentionally insulted the complainant by his caste. If really the accused was annoyed by the repeated requests of the complainant then he could have shouted at him in a different manner and there was no need of abusing him by his caste. Though the offence occurred in a private place, still it was within the 'public view' and therefore, the offence was maintainable against the accused. The court had to take the FIR allegations to be true in deciding the quash petition, he argued.

 

After hearing the case and perusing the material on record, justice Durga Prasad Rao observed that to attract the offence, the requisite ingredients are that the offender is not a member of SC or ST; he intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a SC or ST; and in any place within public view.

 

The judge said it was clear that irrespective of the place of offence being a 'public place' or 'private place', it must be within 'public view'. Relying upon decisions taken in the cases of D Santosh Reddy and V Sudhakar, in which the proceedings were held not maintainable against the accused, the judge allowed the VRO's criminal petition.

 

The Times Of India

 

99,000 UP Class XII girls with merit to get Rs 30,000 each

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/99000-UP-Class-XII-girls-with-merit-to-get-Rs-30000each/articleshow/48948703.cms

 

Ishita Bhatia,TNN | Sep 13, 2015, 10.59 PM IST

 

MEERUT: Girl students in Uttar Pradesh have a reason to cheer. As many as 99,000 meritorious girls from the state who cleared Class XII in 2015 will get Rs 30,000 each from the Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana of the UP government. An amount of Rs 300 crore has been sanctioned for the scheme and district magis

 

trates (DMs) have been told to make a list of eligible students. The amount will be given to the girls irrespective of the board they passed their Class XII from and will include students from ICSE, CBSE and UP Board.


"All the district magistrates are instructed to make a list of the meritorious girls from their district and send it to the Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad authorities in Lucknow. Thereafter, a fixed number of girls from each district will be selected on the basis of merit and will be given the amount," read the government order released by chief secretary Alok Ranjan.


The order dated June 18 was made public on Sunday. The Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana scheme was launched by UP CM Akhilesh Yadav in 2012-13, wherein initially the government distributed Rs 30,000, but the amount dipped to Rs 20,000 the next year. Initially, this scheme was for all the girls who cleared their intermediate under UP Board. But later on, the government decided to shrink its reach and give the one-time grant of Rs 30,000 only to meritorious girls from all the boards. The fresh order is reason to cheer for all those girls who passed Class XII this year as eligible ones will now get the amount.


Only girls whose family income is less than Rs 35,000 per year can apply for this scheme. It should be noted that a fixed number of beneficiaries have been decided from each district of the state and the authorities at Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad will shortlist the names of the girls once they get the list from the respective DMs.


"20% of the total girls will be from minority community, while 21% will be from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The total of Rs 300 crore that has been allocated will be distributed such that 75% of the total will go to girls from UP Board and the remaining will be distributed between CBSE (75% of the remaining) and ICSE (25% of the remaining)," read the order by Ranjan. Moreover, the DMs concerned will be responsible for ensuring the funds are properly distributed to deserving students and utilized for their future, the order adds.

 

The Hindu

 

'Withdraw petition against promotion for SC/STs'

HTTP://WWW.THEHINDU.COM/NEWS/CITIES/CHENNAI/WITHDRAW-PETITION-AGAINST-PROMOTION-FOR-SCSTS/ARTICLE7650050.ECE

 

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

 

DMK leader M. Karunanidhi on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to withdraw the review petition filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court seeking to dispense with the reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions in higher grade level officers in public sector banks. 

 

"It will go against Mr.Modi's declaration that the next decade is of Dalits," Mr Karunanidhi said in a statement.

 

He said the petition was not only against the Constitution, but would severely affect job opportunities and promotions.

 

Mr. Karunanidhi also welcomed actor Rajinikanth's speech at a meeting that it would not augur well for the country if Courts were not functioning properly.

 

The Hindu

 

Jeremy Corbyn — a sympathiser of Dalits and critic of communalism

HTTP://WWW.THEHINDU.COM/NEWS/INTERNATIONAL/JEREMY-CORBYN-A-SYMPATHISER-OF-DALITS-AND-CRITIC-OF-COMMUNALISM/ARTICLE7646087.ECE

 

PARVATHI MENON

Although he did not touch on foreign policy in any detail during his campaign, Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected leader of the Labour Party, has in his long career in politics been associated with international movements for peace, against war and nuclear militarisation, and for human rights.

 

As one of the conveners of Stop the War campaign, he opposed the West's war against Iraq, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and in more recent times, has been a strong voice in urging for greater participation by the British government in offering asylum for refugees who are entering Europe in thousands.

 

Some of these issues have taken Mr. Corbyn to India. He attended the World Social Forum gathering in Mumbai in January 2004. In his engaging account for the Morning Star on the conference from Mumbai, Mr. Corbyn writes among other things about those who joined the WSF march. 'The Dalit peoples who have suffered untold discrimination despite the Indian constitution's claim to protect them march in huge numbers, and many union groups from miners to forestry workers march against re-structuring and privatisation. The surviving victims of the killings and mayhem in Gujarat tell what it is like to be the victims of the hordes goaded on by right wing xenophobic politicians."

 

A wave of social democratic movements is surging across the developed world, and its vision for equality, education and the environment is challenging established politics, says FEROZE VARUN GANDHI.

 

Tired of being fed the same bland diet in different forms, voters in the U.K., unlike in India, are demanding clearer choices, and there is a clamour for more ideological politics, says HASAN SUROOR

 

As chair of the trustees of the U.K.-based Dalit Solidarity Network, he has spoken in the British Parliament on Dalit oppression, and in January 2012 compared Dalit oppression to apartheid. "Apartheid in South Africa was wrong, and Dalit discrimination is equally wrong anywhere in the world."

 

Gujarat riots


In 2003, the new Labour leader was one among 34 MPs who signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) on the Gujarat riots of 2002. The motion condemned the "authorities in Gujarat [who] are leading the efforts to dismantle a secular India which has consistently ensured that devotees of the world's eight major religions and others can live in relative harmony." It also asked the British government to work within the U.N. and the Commonwealth "to prevent further deterioration in relations between the varied communities of present day India." Earlier this year, he was a signatory on two EDMs, the first on human rights violations in Kashmir, and the second on human rights violations in India.

 

Counter Current

 

Practicing Untouchability Is A Crime, 'Not A Social Evil'

http://www.countercurrents.org/samar130915.htm

 

By Samar

13 September, 2015,  Countercurrents.org

 

The practice of untouchability being a criminal offence did not deter 'upper caste' villagers in Sigaranahalli in Holenarsipur Taluk of Karnataka from mercilessly driving out four Dalit women who dared to enter a local Hindu temple. It did not deter them from fining the women with 10,000 rupees (about $150 USD) for a crime they, not the women, had just committed.

 

The incident has come a full 75 years after the Dalits launched their first major struggle against the curse of untouchability that these 'upper castes' had inflicted on them for millennia under the leadership of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Despite being certain about the mere symbolic importance of the act and its expected outcome, Ambedkar led 15,000 Dalits and marched towards the historic Kala Ram Temple at Panchavati in Nashik on 2 March 1930. And, as he had anticipated, he was denied entry by the then priest of the Temple, Ramdasbuwa Pujari because of his being, in the Pujari's words, an untouchable.

 

Ambedkar had no doubts that the Hindus never considered Dalits as human beings, forget about being equal ones. He knew that colonials, otherwise on a civilizing mission, chose to turn a blind eye to the practice of untouchability, holding it as an internal and religious matter of the natives, and therefore best left alone. That morning Ambedkar had achieved what he had set out to. He later commented on the incident:

 

Your problems will not be solved by temple entry. Politics, economics, education, religion- all are part of the problem. Today's satyagraha is a challenge to the Hindu mind. Are the Hindus ready to consider us men or not; we will discover this today… We know that the god in the temple is of stone. Darsan and puja will not solve our problems. But we will start out, and try to make a change in the minds of the Hindus.

 

Ambedkar made his point. But then he, together with 15000 other Dalits that day, was in fact an 'untouchable' both in religious and legal terms. After all, despite all their pretension of being on a 'civilization mission', the British had never taken the issue of caste seriously. In fact, they could not as it would have upset the 'upper castes', their main collaborators among the natives, they desperately needed for ruling India. This reflected in their persistence denial of pushing forward for social reforms and keeping their interventions limited largely to the overtly 'barbaric' practices like sati and child marriage which they illegalized.

 

They codified and institutionalized many other regressive tenets of the then Indian society and caste was most notable of them. Even a cursory glance at the history of sanitation workers in India exposes their role in forcing a section of the Dalit community in their 'hereditary' profession of cleaning toilets which hardly existed before their advent to power. On meeting protests over the same, they took drastic actions to curb the newly invented sweepers' right to refuse to do manual scavenging work and made this a cognizable offence through acts like the United Provinces Municipalities Act II of 1916. As in their 'we-are-out-of-this' reaction to many of social and religious evils plaguing the society, the British hardly took any stand on temple entry as well.

 

They did this despite significant decisions by many others like Sree Padmanbhadasa Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the Maharajah of Travancore, who had thrown temples open for everyone through a Temple Entry Proclamation on 12 November 1936.

 

Being born in independent India whose constitution was drafted by Ambedkar himself, the women of Sigaranahalli have never carried the stigma of being 'untouchable'. Abolition of untouchability and criminalising its practice in any form was one of the very first things that the Constitution of India had done through Article 17. This abolition was soon followed by the Untouchability Offences Act, 1955, outlawing the enforcement of disabilities "on the ground of untouchability'. Denial of temple entry, along with denial of access to other public spaces, like water sources, public conveyances, hospitals, and so on were specifically listed in the disabilities that untouchability had inflicted and that needed to be set right.

 

However, the Act did not change much for the Dalits because of a stranglehold of 'upper castes' on society and justice institutions, including police. Atrocities continued on the ground and vested interests deeply entrenched in the judicial system stalled victims' attempts to seek redress as much as they could. Because of its failure to put an end to the practice, the Act was amended by Untouchability (offences) Amendment Bill, 1972, which later got enacted as Protection of Civil Rights (Amendment) Act, 1976. The new and much more stringent Act made untouchability offences non-compoundable and enhanced both the fines and imprisonment, while also providing for sentencing offenders with both. The real strength of the Act, however, lay both in criminalising direct or indirect preaching or justification for untouchability on any grounds whatsoever and introducing collective fines for its practice. Practice of untouchability is a social crime after all, and must be tackled accordingly. With little change in the structure of both the society and the justice system, the Act was poorly implemented once again.

 

However, the partially successful democratic experiment in India was bringing a silent change in the Indian countryside and people were no longer ready to accept centuries of exploitation and atrocities committed by the 'upper castes'. The change led to the emergence of movements for social justice, through the mobilisation of the Dalits and other backward classes (the legal term for the so called backward castes that were not untouchable but shared many other disadvantages like landlessness) in various permutation and combinations.. The sustained demand from this mobilisation succeeded in forcing the State to bring an even more stringent Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

 

This Act too failed to make much of a difference on the ground barring the notable exception of Uttar Pradesh, a bastion of caste based atrocities, where, for a short while, it worked. The momentary success during a coalition government led by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a party that champions Dalits' cause, had exposed both the reasons behind the failures of the Acts and the way ahead for implementing them to end caste based atrocities.

The then government had mobilised political will to implement the Act in the letter and spirit, and ordered all police stations in the state to act swiftly on the cases or be prepared to face disciplinary action, a first, perhaps, in the history of the country. Thousands and thousands of people had then been arrested for committing something that was a routine practice for them till then. Caste might still have been a 'social evil', committing atrocities was not; it was now a crime as it must have always been. The Act had succeeded in creating deterrence and given voice to those who did not have one for millennia. Political equations, unfortunately, led to the collapse of the BSP led government soon thereafter. The political will to implement the Act at the cost of upsetting deeply entrenched vested interests was gone too.

 

Yet, the lessons learnt from that experiment are all there. The first of them is that what the 'upper castes' did with the Sigaranahalli women is a crime, not a social evil as made out, even if unconsciously, by both the civil society and the media. Take, for example, how media groups brought the issue to the notice of N.R. Purushottam, District Social Welfare Officer, and not the police mandated with fighting crime. The District Social Wefare Officer, on his part, had a standard bureaucratic reply, conceding that restricting the entry of Dalits into a temple or a community hall amounts to violation of laws. He remained largely noncommittal in follow up though and told The Hindu newspaper that he would "get details from the people concerned and take appropriate action."

 

The second lesson is even more important. No amount of activism would bring justice to the victims of caste-based atrocities unless they get judicial redress. No amount of activism would bring caste-based atrocities to an end until the perpetrators are brought to justice too. This is where the Indian civil society, including those championing the Dalit cause, has often fallen short of what it needs to do. Atrocities on Dalits don't merely comprise extreme cases of brutalities. One does need to fight tooth and nail against 'upper castes' cutting Dalits to pieces in thresher machines (as it happened in Bihar recently) or against the parading naked of Dalit women naked (as in Madhya Pradesh and various places recently). Without an equally fierce struggle against everyday instances of caste-based atrocities, which also has a focus on judicial redress, not much would change. It is in this context that the silence of the civil society in this regard, is not promising.

 

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

 

 

 

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

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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.
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