Dalits Watch Updates 26.08.10

Dalits Media watch

News Updates 26.08.10

Rape, torture by landlords forces Karnataka villagers to flee – The Times Of India


Alleged casteist remarks by minister spark row in Orissa – IBN Live


Communal tension prevailed in Punjab village over holding Akahnd Path near Samadhs – Punjab News Line


Former J&K Minister Resigns as Chairman of SC/ST Cell – Out Look India


Kandhamal victims still face intimidation: People’s tribunal – Zee News


The Times Of India

Rape, torture by landlords forces Karnataka villagers to flee


Senthalir S, TNN, Aug 26, 2010, 03.42am IST

BUDIHALLI (KARNATAKA): It’s the untold tale of a village in the grip of the feudal system, and a quiet revolt brewing. Budihalli village of Karnataka’s Chitradurga district is a glaring example of caste discrimination and bondage, with a yawning gap between communities.

Here, landlords hold sway. They allegedly rape and torture women of lower castes while the men work as bonded labourers, paying off debts accumulated over generations.

Breaking the stranglehold, 25 families of Madiga (scheduled caste) community left the village to look for self-respect and a new life. They reached Venkateshwaranagar in Chellakere taluk, 30 km from Budihalli, and set up tent.

The exodus took place a fortnight ago. Women, men, children and the elderly took their possessions and began walking until they reached a settlement abandoned by nomads. For now, they are living in thatched huts.

For them, this migration is symbolic: a breaking away from sexual harassment, rape and torture by the Gollas and Nayaks. The penniless families had no money to even buy bus tickets to their destination.

Sitting cramped in the huts — two families in each — they recounted the horrors of their life in Budihalli. "We didn’t know where to go. We left our village without taking our belongings. We don’t have jobs or money to send our children to school. We are struggling for two meals a day. The government has not helped us in any way. We have lost hope, and have no place to go," cries Kollamma T, a Madiga woman.

Savithramma (name changed), fighting back her tears, said, "Every day, drunk landlords would barge into our houses. They harassed and raped us. All these years, we were scared to talk because of social stigma."

"They abused us. Our men went to work in the fields of the landlords as bonded labourers to repay the loans taken by our grandparents. We were unable to bear the harassment, and wanted to work independently. So we began to sell firewood and cultivate government land," she said. When the Madigas began earning independently, the Golla and Nayak landlords socially boycotted them.

H N Shivamurthy, state organizing convener of the Human Rights Forum for Dalit Liberation in Karnataka, said, "The families of the dalit community had protested several times. One woman, Palakka Durgappa, lost her life while protesting. She sat in the rain for three days, protesting. But it hasn’t helped them."

IBN Live

Alleged casteist remarks by minister spark row in Orissa



Bhubaneswar, Aug 25 (PTI) Alleged "objectionable and casteist" remark made by Orissa Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout triggered a row today with Congress as well as Scheduled Caste and Dalit leaders demanding his immediate resignation.Chairman of State Congress Scheduled Caste (SC) cell, Ripunath Seth told reporters here that Rout should resign forthwith for making derogatory remarks about Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, local MLA Bishnu Das and Additional District Magistrate Upendranath Mallick.Rout, a senior leader of the ruling BJD, was accused of making objectionable remarks at a public meeting in Kujang in Jagatsinghpur district last week about these three and referring to them as "Harijans." "If Rout fails to step down, he should be dismissed as he has used derogatory remarks about leaders and a government official by making casteist remarks despite holding a constitutional post as Minister," Seth said.When contacted, Rout said he has already expressed regrets for his remarks. "What else can I do now. I am sorry for the remarks made by me inadvertently," he said.A case has also been registered against the minister in Kujang police station under provisions of SC and ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act and investigation launched into the matter, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) G D Pradhani said adding three separate complaints had been lodged against Rout in this regard.Orissa State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Youth and Students’ Council has also demanded dismissal of Rout for his remarks, while Dalits staged a dharna in Jagatsinghpur seeking his resignation.

Punjab News Line

Communal tension prevailed in Punjab village over holding Akahnd Path near Samadhs


Sameer Kaura

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

PHAGWARA: Tension prevailed in a nearby Village Bhabhiana, after alleged objection raised by some villagers including Nihangs on the organizing an Akhandh Path of Shri Sukhmani Sahib near few “Samadhs” close to Dera of Sant Nirmal Dass on Sunday.

The dalits opposed the objections raised by Sikhs. The dalits with the active assistance of Ambedekar Sena Punjab headed by Surinder Dhandey blocked vehicular road traffic on Phagwara—Hoshiarpur road for more than two hours near Rawalpindi Police Station on Wednesday.

Blockade was lifted only after the assurances of justice given by the civil and police administration to the protesters.

When contacted Phagwara SDM Amarjeet Paul and SP Kamaljeet Singh Dhillon told here this evening, that police has registered a case under section 295A/511/506 IPC against three Village Bhabhiana residents Buta Singh, Balbir Singh, Rana and their half dozen unidentified accompliances on the charges of hurting religious sentiments.

SHO City Amrik Singh Chahal and SHO Sadar Ravinder singh told tonight that a Dalit villager Rajinder Ghera organized a path of Shri Sukhmani Sahib to commemorate the death anniversary of his mother, but few villagers attempted to stop the installation of Guru Granth Sahib near Samadhs”, but the organizers remained adamant to continue the path.

It was learnt that they also informed local civil and police administration, but nothing could be initiated even after third day of the incident and hundreds of dalits activists forced to block road traffic. Long Queues of vehicles were seen on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road during panicky atmosphere while later the traffic was diverted by some villages. No arrest was made till filing the reports.

Out Look India

Former J&K Minister Resigns as Chairman of SC/ST Cell


A senior leader of Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling National Conference (NC) today resigned as Chairman of Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes Cell of the party in the wake of alleged involvement of his son in a case of impersonation at MBBS entrance test here on Saturday.

The resignation of Ram Paul, a former minister, came in the wake of his name finding a mention in Acharya Shri Chander College of Medical Science (ASCOMS) entrance examination impersonation case which has been referred by the state government to CBI for inquiry, a NC spokesman said here today.

In his resignation letter, Ram Paul has claimed he was innocent and will cooperate with CBI probe.

He said that keeping in view the high moral standards laid down by National Conference and its leadership, he is resigning from the party post.

A party spokesman said Ram Paul’s resignation has been accepted.

Seven persons, including two girls, were arrested from examination hall of the medical entrance test on the charge of impersonating for seven local boys and girls, including Paul’s son Lovesh Bharat and J&K Roads and Buildings Minister G M Saroori’s daughter Huma.

Cases have been registered against the daughter and son of Saroori and Ram Paul along with other beneficiaries under sections 419 and 420 Ranbir Panel Code (RPC)

Zee News

Kandhamal victims still face intimidation: People’s tribunal


Updated on Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 20:31

New Delhi: A ‘people’s tribunal’ today said the victims of 2008 Kandhamal communal violence in Orissa continue to be intimidated, "systematically" denied protection and access to justice, recommending that state government must protect those affected and the witnesses of the cases.

A 12-member jury of the public tribunal on Kandhamal violence, headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, recommended setting up of a special investigation team to re-examine the registered FIRs and examine the registration of fresh FIRs, noting that cases of sexual assault remained "grossly" unreported due to "fear and intimidation".

"What happened in Kandhamal was a national shame, a complete defacement of humanity. Most of victims are dalits and tribals. Survivors continue to be intimidated and systematically denied protection and access to justice. They can not return to their villages unless they re-convert," Justice Shah said at a press conference here.

The tribunal recorded testimony of 43 victims, survivors and their representatives and heard fact-finding reports prepared by various voluntary organisations and experts.

"From the testimonies heard and the detailed reports received, the jury is convinced that the carnage in Kandhamal was an act of communalism mainly directed against the Christian community," Justice Shah said.

"It is clear to us that there was deliberate strategy of targeting of the community, fed by groups of Hindutva ideology such as RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and active members of BJP."

The jury is convinced that communal violence in Kandhamal was the consequence of a "subversion of constitutional governance in which state agents were complicit," he said.

The jury observed that delay in obtaining forensic evidence, failure in obtaining corroborative evidence and the "rampant" intimidation to victim, survivors and witnesses have led to many acquittals in the cases of Kandhamal violence.

Claiming "grave dereliction" on the part of police and administrative officials, the tribunal recommended a probe into such matters. It favoured appointment of a special public prosecutor "who enjoy confidence of affected community." "State must provide protection to victims and witnesses, during and after the trial process, according to guidelines provided in recent judgement of Delhi High Court," it said.

The tribunal said state government should recognise the rights of those displaced in the violence and create all "possible enabling conditions" to facilitate their return.

"Designate the affected areas as communally sensitive, appoint officers with professional integrity…develop appropriate response mechanism to halt the brewing of hate mobilisation and religious and caste-based discriminative activities," it added.

The tribunal felt that the compensation given to victims were "extremely arbitrary and inadequate," and recommended that both Centre and state adopt "at the very minimum" the Gujarat compensation package to enhance the amount.

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