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Saturday, March 31, 2012

असम में शरणार्थी सम्मेलन और मतुआ आंदोलन

असम में शरणार्थी सम्मेलन और मतुआ आंदोलन

पलाश विश्वास


गुवाहाटी में बंगाली शरणार्थियों का पहला खुला सम्मेलन पिछले दिनों संपन्न हो गया। आयोजकों ने पहले ही सूचना दे दी थी, पर मेरे​ ​ लिए इधर परिस्थितियां इतनी जटिल हो गयी कि मेरा वहां जाना संभव नहीं हो पाया। खास बात यह हैकि इस सम्मेलन में सत्तादल के ​​कांग्रेसी मंत्री भी शामिल हुए।इन मंत्रियों ने हिंदू बंगाली शरणार्थियों की नागरिकता का मसला हल करने का वादा किया। मालूम हो कि नये नागरिकता कानून में हिंदुओं के लिए कोई अलग रियायत नहीं है। इसके अलावा इस कानून से शरणार्थियों के अलावा देश के अंदर विस्थापित दस्तावेज न रख पाने वालों,​​ आदिवासियों,मुसलमानों, बस्ती वासियों और बंजारा खानाबदोश समूहों के लिए भी नागरिकता का संकट पैदा हो गया है। यह सिर्फ हिंदुओं या बंगाली रणार्थियों की समस्या तो कतई नहीं है, खासकर नागरिकता के लिए बायोमैट्रिक पहचान के लिए अनिवार्य बना दी गयी आधार कार्ड​  ​ योजना के बाद। मालूम हो कि नंदन निलेकणि खुद कहते हैं कि एक सौ बीस करोड़ की आबादी वाले इस देश में महज साठ करोड़ लोगों​ ​ को आधार कार्ड दिया जायेगा। नागरिकता संशोधन कानून और आधार कार्ड योजना को रद्द किये बगैर थोक भावों से नागरिकता बांटने के ​​इस राजनीतिक खेल से हमारे लोग गदगद हैं।​
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​असम में जाने का यह मौका मेरे लिए अहम था। राजनीति की बात छोड़ दें तो साठ और अस्सी दसक के दौरान बंगालियों के खिलाफ भड़के आंदोलनों के सिलसिले में बंगाली शरणार्थियों को असम की मुख्यधारा से जोड़ने की यह एक महत्वपूर्ण घटना थी। साठ के दशक में मेरे पिता महीनों असम के गंगापीड़ित इलकों कामरुप, नौगांव, करीमगंज से लेकर कछाड़ तक शांति और सद्भाव के लिए काम कर रहे थे।उन्होंने बंगाली शरमार्थियों को असम से पलायन  नकरने के लिए मना लिया था। २००३ में मैं त्रिपुरा के कवि शिक्षा मंत्री अनिल सरकार के साथ ब्रह्मपुत्र उत्सव में सामिल होने ​गया था। तब पूर्वोत्तर भारत के बुद्धिजीवियों को हमने बंगाली शरणार्थियों को मुख्यधारा में शामिल कर लेने को कहा था। मुख्यमंत्री तरुण गोगोई से बी बात हुई थी। मालेगांव अभयारण्य के उद्घाटन के लिए अनिल बाबू को जाना था। पर अगुवा पायलट पुलिस टीम की गलती से हम उन्हीं इलाकों में पहुंच गये, जहां साठ के दशक में पहले मेरे पिता ने काम किया , फिर मेरे चिकित्सक चाचा डां. सुधीर विश्वास ने।इतने अरसे बाद वहां लोगों को मेरे पिता और चाचा की याद थी। पीढ़ियां बदल जाने के बावजूद। अनिल बाबू ने गांव गांव सभाएं की। वे उनके पूर्वी बंगाल के ठोड़े हुए जिले कुमिल्ला के निवासी थे ज्यादातर और अनिल बाबू गांव गांव के पुरखों को याद कर रहे थे।भोगाली बिहू का मौसम ​​था वह। अब रंगीला बिहू के मौके से ऐन पहले असम जाना निश्चय ही बहुत अच्छा रहता। अखिल भारतीय भंगाली शरमार्थी समन्वय ​​समिति को इस अभिनव उपलब्धि के लिए बधाई।

असम के मीडिया ने भी सम्मेलन का खूब कवरेज किया। ऐसा बाकी देश में भी होता है। एकमात्र अपवाद बंगाल है, जहां शरणार्थी आंदोलन की खबरें नहीं छपती।​​​अभी कल ही ज्ञानपीठ पुरस्कार विजेता साहित्यकार गिरराज किशोर से इस सिलसिले में लंबी बात हुई। उन्हें यह जानकर ताज्जुब हुआ​ ​ कि बंगीय तथाकथित समाज में नब्वे फीसद जनसमूह किस कदर बहिष्कृत है।

सत्ता के खेल में मतुआ धर्म और आंदोलन की पिछले​ ​ कुछ समय से च्ररचा जरूर हो रही है क्योंकि चुनावों से ऐन पहले ममता बनर्जी ने खुद को मतुआ बता दिया। बंगाल में ब्राह्ममवादी वर्चस्व​ ​ के खिलाफ हिंदू मुसलिम किसान आंदोलन के जरिए मतुआ धर्म की स्थापना हुई थी। जिसके अनुआयी सभी धर्मों की किसान जातियां​ ​ थीं। इसके संस्थापक हरिचांद ठाकुर ने नील विद्रोह का नेतृत्व किया था। मालूम हो कि जल जंगल जमीन के अधिकारों के लिए हुए मुंडा ​​विद्रोह में भी आदिवासी धर्म की बात थी। आंदोलन को धर्म बताना सामान्य जनसमुदायों को जोड़ने की एक ऱणनीति के सिवाय कुछ नहीं​ ​ है।पर आंदोलन को हाशिये पर रखकर महज धर्म की बात करना विरासत को खारिज करना है। बंकिम के विख्यात उपन्यास को जिस​ ​ सन्यासी विद्रोह की पृष्ठभूमि में रचा गया, वह भी वास्तव में एक किसान आंदालन था, जिसमें हिंदू और मुसलमान दोनों शामिल थे। फर इस समूचे आंदोलन को जिसे पश्चिम बंगाल में दमन के बाद पूर्वी बंगाल और बिहार के मुसलमान किसान नेताओं ने करीब सौ साल तक जारी रखा, ​​एक वंदे मातरम के जरिये मुसलमान विरोध का औजार बना दिया गया। मतुआ आंदोलन भारत में अस्पृश्यता मोचन को दिसा देने का कारक बना। हरिचांद ठाकुर अस्पृश्य चंडाल जाति के किसान परिवार में जनमे। उन्होंने किसान आंदोलन और समाज सुधार के जो कार्यक्रम शुरू किये, वे महाराष्ट्र में ज्योतिबा फूले के आंदोलन से पहले की बात है।

धर्मांतरण के बदले ब्राह्माणवाद को खारिज करके मूलनिवासी अस्मिता का आंदोलन था यह, जिसमें शिक्षा के प्रसार और स्वाभिमान के अलावा जमीन पर किसानों के हक और स्त्री के अधिकारों की बातें प्रमुख थीं। हरिचांद ठाकुर के पुत्र गुरुचांद ठाकुर ने प्रसिद्ध चंडाल आंदोलन का नेतृत्व ​​किया, जिसके फलस्वरूप बाबा साहेब के अस्पृश्यता विरोधी आंदोलन से पहले बंगाल में अस्पृस्यतामोचन कानून बन गया और चंडालों को नमोशूद्र कहा जाने लगा। इसी मतुआ धर्म के दो प्रमुख अनुयायी मुकुंद बिहारी मल्लिक और जोगेंद्र नाथ मंडल ने दलित मुसलिम एकता के​ ​ माध्यम से भारत में सबसे पहले न सिर्फ ब्राहमणवादी वर्चस्व को खत्म किया बल्कि जब बाबा साहब डा. अंबेडकर महाराष्ट्र से चुनाव हार गये, तब उन्हें बंगाल से जितवाकर संविधान सभा में भिजवाया। भारत विभाजन से पहले बंगाल की तानों सरकारे मुसलमानों और अछूतों की ​​साझा सरकारें थीं।​
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​य़ह बात इसलिए लिख रहा हूं कि बंगाल के इतने महत्वपूर्ण इतिहास को किसी भी स्तर पर महत्व नहीं दिया जा रहा है। मतुआ ममता​ ​ बनर्जी के मतुआ वोट बैंक के जरिए मुख्यमंत्री बन जाने के बावजूद बंगाल में हरिचांद ठाकुर या नील विद्रोह की दो सौवीं जयंती नहीं ​​मनायी जा रही।मतुआ अनुयायी जरूर हरिचांद ठाकुर की दो सौवीं जयंती मना रहे हैं, जिसमें बाकी बंगाल की कोई हिस्सेदारी नहीं है। ​​बल्कि मीडिया ने ऐसे आयोजनों का कवरेज करने से भी हमेशा की तरह परहेज किया। मजे की बात है कि राजनीतिक वजहों से हरिचांद ​​गुरूचांद ठाकुर के उत्तराधिकारी पिछले छह दशकों से सत्तादलों से जुड़े रहे हैं। प्रमथ रंजन ठाकुर सांसद और मंत्री थे, जिनका इस्तेमाल डा. अंबेडकर और जोगेंद्रनाथ मंडल के खिलाफ होता रहा। अब प्रमथ के बेटे मंजूल कृष्ण ठाकुर के जिम्मे फिर वही भूमिका है। वे ममता सरकार में मंत्री​ ​ है। हद तो यह है कि अब हरिचांद ठाकुर को  मैथिली ब्राह्मण का वंशज और परमब्रह्म विष्णु का अवतार बताया जा रहा है। इतिहास की इस विकृति के खिलाफ बंगाल में कहीं कोई विरोध नहीं है। इतिहास और भूगोल के विघटन में बंगाल अब सबसे आगे है।

हमारी ताईजी की मां, यानी हमारी नानी प्रमथ ठाकुर की बहन थीं। हम बचपन से मतुआ आंदोलन की कहानियां सुनते रहे हैं। देशभर में बचितराये हुए बंगाली शरमार्थियों में अगर कोई पहचान बाकी है तो वह मतुआ धर्म ही है। हरि समाज हर शरणार्थी गांव में जरूर मिल जायेंगे। महाराष्ट्र के चंद्रपुर में मतुआ केंद्र सतुआ संघाधिपति मंजुल ठाकुर के बड़े भाई कपिल कृष्म ठाकुर खुद देखते हैं। कपिल ठाकुर अपनी मां वीणापाणी देवी, जिनका चरण ममता दीदी जब तब छूती रहती हैं, के साथ साठ के दशक में मतुआ महोत्सव में बसंतीपुर, मेरे गांव पधारे थे। पिछले दिनों जब शरणार्थी ​​आंदोलन के सिलसिले में चंद्रपुर और ठाकुर नगर में मैं उनसे मिला, तब उन्होंने इसे याद भी किया। उस वक्त हमारी नानी और ताई दोनों ​​जीवित थीं। आज वे दिवंगत हैं। प्रमथ ठाकुर से पिता पुलिन बाबू के भी लगातार संबंध बने रहे, पर पिता के जोगेंद्र नाथ के अनुयायी होने के कारण उनमें ज्यादा अंतरंगता कभी नहीं थी। कपिल ठाकुर भी जोगेंद्रनाथ और अंबेडकर का नाम सुनकर बिदक जाते हैं। हरिचांद गुरूचांद को ​​ज्योतिबा फूले के आंदोलन से जोड़ने से भी उन्हें परहेज है।

बहरहाल दिल्ली, दिनेशपुर और मलकानगिरि में मतुआ अनुयायियों के बड़े केंद्र हैं। नागरिकता संशोधन कानून की अगुवाई में शरमार्थी आंदोलन की शुरुआत भी ठाकुरबाड़ी से हुई। नागपुर में २००५ में हुए शरणार्थी सम्मेलन में तो मतुआ अनुयायियों ने आंदोलन की बागडोर ठाकुर बाड़ी को सौंपने की मांग कर दी थी। ठाकुरबाड़ी ठाकुर नगर में इस कानून के खिलाफ मतुआ अनुयायियों ने आमरम अनशन भी शुरू किया था, जो न जाने​ ​ क्यों ऱिपब्लिकन नेता रामदास अठावले और उनके साथी सांसद के महाराष्ट्र से ठाकुर बाड़ी पहुंचकर अनशनकारियों को नींबू पानी पिलाने के बाद खत्म हो गया। विधानसभा चुनाव से पहले तो जोरदार नौटंकी हो गयी। नगाड़ों के साथ दिशा दिशा से मतुआ अनुयायी और आम शरणार्थी कोलकाता के मेट्रो चैनल में जमा हुए जहां वामपंथियों के साथ ही कांग्रेस तृणमूल ककांग्रेस के नेता एक मंच पर आ गये। ममता खुद नहीं पहुंची, पर चुनाव​ ​ से पहले नागरिकता संशोधन कानून वापसी पर कोई बात किये बिना तमाम शरणार्थियों को नागरिकता दिलाने का उन्होंने भरोसा दिया। पर चुनाव के बाद अब उन्हें कुछ याद भी नहीं है। यही करिश्मा प्रणव बाबू ने य़ूपी चुनाव के दरम्यान पीलीभीत में भी किया। अब इसकी पुनरावृत्ति असम में देखी जा रही है, जहां शरणार्थियों की भारी तादाद है।

NHRC takes up Assam land-grabbing and destruction of forest case

from W A Laskar included below]

Press statement

For Immediate release

 

30 March 2012

Silchar

 

NHRC takes up Assam land-grabbing and destruction of forest case

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took up the case of land-grabbing, diversion of forest land in Patharia reserve forest pushing around 300 families of forest dwellers into the condition of starvation and homeless. The human rights watchdog of the nation registered case in the matter as case number 99/3/10/2012 on a complaint filed by the Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) after it conducted a fact-finding study of the situation. Along with the NHRC the BHRPC also wrote other authorities including the prime minister, Assam chief minister, union forest and environment minister and others.

 

The (BHRPC) informed the authorities that around 300 families of traditional forest dwellers in and around Patharia forest reserve in Karimganj district of Assam have forcibly been deprived of their sources of livelihood and now living under severe threat of imminent eviction from their dwelling houses by some businessmen allegedly in connivance with the local politician and minister of state for co-operation and border areas development in the government of Assam Mr Siddeque Ahmed. The accused persons grabbed the land measuring approximately 130 hectares (330 acres) reportedly for rubber plantation in a Pecharpar, Satkorgul, Mokkergul, Bhitorgul and other villages where the families of the forest dwellers have been living for generations depending on the forest produces for livelihood. The forest dwellers were asked to leave the areas soon and threatened with murders, rape and jail.

 

The BHRPC found that it was prima facie a case of diversion of forest land for non-forest commercial purpose of rubber plantation as well as a case of criminal trespass and taking illegal possession of land held by both the department of environment and forest in Patharia reserve forest and the villagers of Pecharpar under titles of farag and uninterrupted possession for generations that are good against the whole world violating the community rights of protection of environment and ecological balance and individual right to lead a life with dignity. The Silchar-based rights group contended that the activities are in flagrant violations of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 as interpreted and applied by the Supreme Court of India in orders passed from time to time in T N Godavarman Thirumuilpad Vs Union of India and Others (WP (C) No 202 of 1995). The BHRPC further contended that the people who have been living in and holding the forest land for generations are "other traditional forest dwellers" within the meaning of clause (o) of section 2 of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (known as Forest Rights Act-- FRA) and they are entitled to all the rights enumerated in sub-section (1) of section 3 of the FRA including the right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood. It is also alleged that the criminal activities against the villagers with the alleged support of the minister constitute violations of fundamental rights guaranteed in Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution of India and human rights enshrined in many international human rights instrument to which India is a state party.

 

The BHRPC demanded the authorities to stop immediately felling of trees and destruction of vegetables and other crops grown by the villagers; to take urgent actions to restore immediately possession of the land to the villagers; to provide the villagers with adequate monetary compensation for loss of property and mental agony caused by destruction of forest and vegetables and corps grown by them, dispossession of land and threat of imminent danger to life and limb; to provide adequate security to the victims and witnesses; to conduct promptly a fair and objective inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation particularly into the alleged crimes and involvement of the minister therein; to recognize immediately the rights of the traditional forest dwellers under the FRA, 2006 of the villagers who have been living there for generations; to settle the khas land that are possessed by the villagers uninterruptedly for generations and who are otherwise landless in their names as per government policy; and to take all other actions and measures necessary to ensure full enjoyment of the rights to life with dignity under adequate standard of living by the villagers.

 

For more information please contact

Waliullah Ahmed Laskar

wali.laskar@gmail.com

+91 9401942234

 

URL: http://wp.me/phKmE-ge

 

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Attachment(s) from W A Laskar

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आवा गढ़वाली सीखा

    आवा गढ़वाली सीखा
               LET  US LEARN GARHWALI 
          THROUGH GERMAN AND ENGLISH
 
            DREIUNDZWANZIGSTE LEKTION
                TWENTY THIRD LESSON
                TYA ESON    PATH
                 त्याइसों पाठ 
__________________________________________________
                                               By : Khushal Singh Rawat
_________________________________________________
In German, English, Roman Garhwali  
         अर  गढ़वाली  languages
_________________________________________________
IM KAUFHAUS    -    IN THE STORE  -  DUKAN MAN

Herr und Frau Schulz gehen mit ihren Kindern Einkaufe 
machen. Zuerst gehen sie in ein Einheitspreisgeschaft.

Mr. & Mrs Schulz go shopping with their children. 
First they go to a one- price store.

Mr ar Mrs Schulz mwal leena ku bazaar apda naonyalu 
dagad gain. Paili wu ek bhaaw ki dukan ma gain.

म. अर मि  शुल्ज़ म्वाल लीण कु बज़ार अपड़ा नोंन्यालों दगड़ 
गईं . पैलि वू इख्या  भाव की दुकनि  म गईं. 


Herr Schulz :  { wendet sich an eine Verkauferin } : 
Bitte, wo ist die Abteilung fur Toilettenartikel ? 
Verkauferin : Gehen Sie geradeaus bs in die 
Mitte und dann nach rechts. 

Mrs. Schulz : (addressing a salesgirl) : 
Where is the department for toilet 
articles, please ?
Sales Girl :  Go straight ahead up to the middle, 
and then to the right.

Mrs. Schulz :(yek saman bechani wali nouni tai): 
khushboo ka samaan kanai mild, kripa holi ?
Saman Byachani wali : Seedha beech ma 
jaawa, ar tab dhain taraf khuni.

मिसेज शुल्ज़ : ( समान ब्यचण वली खुणि) : 
खुशबू कु समान कनै मिलद, कृपा होली ?
समान ब्यचण वाली : सीधा बीच म जावा , 
अर तब धैण तरफ खुनी.


Frau S:   Geben Sie mir ein Stuck 
von dieser Seife.           

Verk:  Bitte schon. sonst 
noch etwas ?

Frau S:  Nein, danke. Oh doch, Eine 
Tube Zahnpaste.
Verk: Bitte Schon. Eine Mark die Tube.

Frau S:  Ist sie auch gut ? 

Verk: Es ist die beste Zahnpaste. 
Eine sehr bekannte Marke. 

Frau S. :  Das ist alles fur heute.
Was macht das zusammen ?

Verk : Eine Mark funfzig, bitte.


Mrs S. Give me a piece of this soap.

Sales girl:  There, Anything else ?

Mrs. S : No. thank you. Oh yes. 
A tube of toothpaste.

Sales girl : There.  One mark the tube. 

Mrs. S : Is it good ?

Salesgirl: It is the best toothpaste.
A well known brand. 

Mrs. S : That is all for today. How 
much is that altogether ?

Salesgirl: One mark fifty, please.


M.S.: Mi thai ye sabuna ku ek tukda dyawa.

S.G. : Syoch. Hori kuchh ?


M.S. : Na . Dhanyabad. Are han.. 

Daant mujyan ku pest.

S.G : Syo ch. Em mark ki.


 M.S : Kya ya bhali cha ?


S.G.: Sabse bhali cha.Ek janue pachenu 

kampani ku cha.

M.S.; Aaj kuni itga hi. Katna mark 

huyee sabya lagaa ki ?

S.G.:  Ek mark ar pachas.



मि. शुल्ज  :  मि थै ए साबूण कु 

एक टुकड़ा  दयावा.

स.नौनी  : स्योच . होरी कुछ?


मि. शुल्ज़ : न. धन्यवाद. अरे हाँ . 

दांत मुज्यण कु पेस्ट .

स. नौनी : स्योच . एक मार्क कु.


मि शुल्ज़ : क्या या भलि च.?


स.नौनी : सबसे भलि चा. 

जाणू पैछाणु कंपनी कु च.

मि शुल्ज़ : आज खुणि  इतगा ही . 

कतना मार्क हुई सबी मिल कै की .  

स.नौनी :एक मार्क अर पचास.
_____________________________________
Continue  on next page

Parties against nuclear plant in Haryana

 

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/article3255992.ece 


Parties against nuclear plant in Haryana

RAJESH AHUJA 

Opposition parties in Haryana have once again criticised the move to set up a nuclear power plant at Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district of Haryana and extended support to the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti which has been spearheading the agitation for over 20 months.

State CPI (M) secretary Inderjit Singh told The Hindu that the Congress regime led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda has become "insensitive'' as it is going ahead with the "process of land acquisition despite resistance from farmers and safety concerns expressed by the residents of adjoining villages.''

He asserted that the concerns voiced by the people had "credibility and genuineness'' in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster a year ago.

The State and the Central governments should put the proposal on hold and give serious consideration to the opinions of experts who have openly favoured non-nuclear power as a better option, he said, adding that the CPI(M) would participate in the protest being held in Fatehabad on March 30.

The proposed plant is to come up on 1,313 acres of land spanning Gorakhpur, Kajalheri and Badopal villages in Fatehabad district.

Adopting a strident stand, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) secretary-general and MLA Ajay Singh Chautala warned that the powers that be would not be allowed to set up the proposed nuclear plant and INLD workers were even prepared to "face bullets in this endeavour''.

However, Hisar MP and Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldip Bishnoi while accusing the INLD of merely shedding "crocodile tears in a bid to extract political mileage'' claimed that he and his late father former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal had vociferously opposed the setting up of the nuclear plant.

"My father and I physically participated in the ongoing dharna and raised our voices in the Haryana Assembly and the Lok Sabha even though the INLD, with 30 members in the Vidhan Sabha, never raised the issue,'' he claimed.

Mr. Bishnoi reiterated that the Government should scrap the project and in a lighter mood asked why Mr. Hooda did not shift it to his home constituency of Kiloi to ensure further "development'' of the Rohtak belt.

Former Haryana Finance Minister Sampat Singh and Nalwa MLA, who after a long stint with the Devi Lal clan joined the Congress a couple of years ago, however, gave yet another "perspective'' to the issue.

He recently revealed that "public posturing apart'', several political stalwarts, be it the late Bhajan Lal or the late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, had pleaded with the Centre during their respective tenures as Chief Ministers for setting up of a nuclear plant in the State to meet the "perennial power crisis''.

Mr. Sampat Singh, a former Power Minister, asserted that setting up of the nuclear plant was in the best interests of not only Haryana but even neighbouring states like Punjab and Rajasthan.

MBBS 1st year student bid to end life

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 30.03.12

 

MBBS 1st year student bid to end life - The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/MBBS-1st-year-student-bid-to-end-life/articleshow/12462914.cms

Engineering college hauled up by MTU in fee row - The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Engineering-college-hauled-up-by-MTU-in-fee-row/articleshow/12463243.cms

Thakurs and Dhobis clash over water, 1 dead The Pioneer

http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/lucknow/53498-thakurs-and-dhobis-clash-over-water-1-dead.html

'Made-Snana', Brahmin 'atrocity against Dalits' to be banned: CM - Financial Express

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/madesnana-brahmin-atrocity-against-dalits-to-be-banned-cm/930127/0

Social security scheme for unorganized workers launched - The Times Of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Social-security-scheme-for-unorganized-workers-launched/articleshow/12464119.cms

 

The Times Of India

 

MBBS 1st year student bid to end life

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/MBBS-1st-year-student-bid-to-end-life/articleshow/12462914.cms

 

TNN | Mar 30, 2012, 04.06AM IST

LUCKNOW: A first-year MBBS student at Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) attempted to commit suicide by consuming sleeping pills on Thursday morning, five months after he failed in the physiology paper. The examinationswere held in October and results were announced last November.

 

"He consumed more than 30 sleeping pills which were enough to take his life," said one of the students. The agitated student tried to stall patient care services at the Trauma Centre, however, the services were restored after police intervened. CSMMU spokesperson Dr Abbas Mahdi, said, "He (Neeraj) is stable and undergoing treatment at the medicine department emergency of Trauma Centre."

 

According to Neeraj's friends, the first year final examination were held in September 2011. But as he was not well, he took the supplementary examination in October. When the results were declared in November, he failed to clear the physiology paper and was one of the 18 students who were not promoted to the second year.

 

The 20-year-old went into depression, his friends said, adding that he also started skipping classes. On Thursday, when he didn't turn up for the class, some of his friends went to his hostel room to check. They found him in an unconscious state in his hostel room. Seeing strips of an anti-depressant littered around, the students informed their seniors and rushed him to Trauma Centre of the university. Timely medical intervention saved his life.

 

The incident turned serious as Neeraj belongs to the reserved category student (Scheduled Caste). This revived the issue of alleged caste based discrimination by teachers in the institution. When asked to comment in this regard, CSMMU vice-chancellor Devendra K Gupta said, "Though the real cause is still not known, we presume that he was depressed over his failure. However, as far as the allegation of discrimination is concerned, I am sure that there has been no discrimination of any sort at any level."

 

Neeraj's classmates described him as a bright student. "He cracked the CBSE medical entrance exam and was among top 30 students in his category. Even in the first year examination, he topped in anatomy and secured first division marks in biochemistry. So, it sounds strange that he could not clear physiology paper," his batchmate Irfan said. Another batchmate Mithlesh Kumar said, "Neeraj faired well in high school and intermediate. In both the exams, he secured more than 85% marks. He cracked medical entrance exam in the first attempt," said Mithlesh.

 

More than 18 students failed in physiology in the first year exam this year and those failing for several years have also fallen prey to this subject. "There is something wrong with the system," alleged Subrat Gupta, a final year student.

 

The V-C said, "We should not mix the two issues. The case of students failing for several years is different from the case of Neeraj and those who failed for the first time. About 10-15% students fail in all subjects. Our system is fair and transparent. The copies are bar-coded and the answer-sheets are centrally examined."

 

Did V-C scold Neeraj?

Lucknow: Some batch mates of Neeraj claimed that he was scolded by 'V-C sir' on March 22. "He looked tensed, when he returned after meeting the V-C. In fact, it appeared that he had lost all hopes," recalled a student. Neeraj had reportedly gone to find out the progress of a settlement finalised before SC/ST Commission of India, Delhi on March 13.

 

However, as per claims, the V-C pulled him up 'for daring to spearhead a campaign for wrong people.' He allegedly scolded him to 'stay within limits' and even threatened him of consequence including ruining the career.

 

When asked to comment, V-C Prof DK Gupta said, "Neeraj was very much there before the commission. He subsequently came here (to the V-C office) also and we had a heart to heart discussion. (He had come along with many other students not alone) And they all were happy. But, I think there is a group of students in this university who had been misguiding them."

 

CSMMU spokesperson AA Mahdi also rubbished the claim saying, "This is a baseless allegation. Some wrong persons are trying to take advantage of the situation by planting such stories." He added that the settlement contains eight points of which two are crucial. One of them relates to re-evaluation of answer books in the presence of external observers, while the other is about promoting students to second year.

 

"With regard to the issue of re-evaluation, it has already been clarified that there are no provisions in the university rules that allow a re-check. A high court order bans re-evaluation as well. Still, we have written to the chancellor to take a call on the issue. Lack of rules/provisions is the problem, in case of the demand for promotion to second year. So, we have asked the students to submit a representation to us and we would put the matter before the Medical Council of India. Based on MCI's direction, the future course of action would be decided," said Dr Mahdi.

 

It may be noted that the students want another high court order that promoted a student to the next class to be taken as the base for their promotion as well. The university says that it is not possible to go their way. "The judgment came in an individual case and cannot be replicated," said an official in CSMMU.

 

The Times Of India

 

Engineering college hauled up by MTU in fee row

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/Engineering-college-hauled-up-by-MTU-in-fee-row/articleshow/12463243.cms

 

Aniruddha Ghosal, TNN | Mar 30, 2012, 04.52AM IST

NOIDA: A private college in Greater Noida affiliated to Mahamaya Technical Universityhas come under the scrutiny of both the university and district administration after it allegedly admitted students belonging to the SC/ST quota after taking the complete fees from them. There are special provisions for such students who are exempt from paying the regular fees.

 

District administration officials said DIT College of Engineering made the SC/ST students pay fees usually due from students of the general category. "This amounts to a violation of the Harijan Act and we have filed an FIR against the college in Kasna police station in Greater Noida," said an official.

 

The matter was brought to the notice of the university, to whom the college is affiliated, and officials sent a letter to the erring institution on March 19 demanding an explanation. "The college was told that they had one week to reply and explain the circumstances that prompted them to take the complete fees from the SC/ST students," said an MTU official.

 

The college replied to the university on March 24 claiming that the students had 'voluntarily' paid the fees and they had not been pressured by the college. According to senior MTU officials, the matter is still under investigation with senior university officials describing the explanation as 'weak'.

"We are taking the matter very seriously. Violation of the dalit Act is a serious offence and we will be taking action against the college if the matter is proven to be true," said a senior MTU official.

 

The Pioneer

 

Thakurs and Dhobis clash over water, 1 dead

http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/lucknow/53498-thakurs-and-dhobis-clash-over-water-1-dead.html

 

Thursday, 29 March 2012 21:29

Pioneer News Service | Lucknow

 

In the first incident of caste conflict in the present SP dispensation, beligerent groups of Thakurs and Dhobis came to a head over collecting potable water from a handpump in Etah on Wednesday evening. The incident culminated firing which left a Thakur dead and another with serious injuries.

 

As per reports, Nanhe Singh, Kallu Singh, Budhpal Singh and two others went to a handpump installed by the state government at Nagla Danda village of Jaithara police circle around 7 pm on Wednesday. As they neared the pump, they saw another group 9Mostly of Dhobi caste) pumping out water from the source. As the other group continued to collect water without making way for the socially dominant group, the latter got irritated and started hurling expletives at the former. This led to an altercation and culminated in a free for all.

 

Meanwhile, Bhaiyalal, Nanhe and Dhara Singh of the first group managed to lay their hands on country made pistols and fired at the Thakurs from close range. The firing resulted in serios injuries to Kallu Singh and Budhpal Singh of the other group. As the locals stated converging on the site, the assailants fled the scene. The injured were taken to the district hospital where Kallu Singh was declared dead upon arrival. The condition of Budhpal Singh deteriorated during treatment after which the doctors attending on him referred him to the Agra Medical College.

 

Surprisingly, when village pradhan Mukesh went to the Jaithara police station to enquire about the incident and  well being of the victims, the cops took him into custody claiming that he was the mastermind of the bloody attack. His only fault was that the pradhan happened to be of the same caste as that of the absonding accused. Later a case was registered and the police was trying to trcak own and arrest the three prime accused.

 

Financial Express

 

'Made-Snana', Brahmin 'atrocity against Dalits' to be banned: CM

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/madesnana-brahmin-atrocity-against-dalits-to-be-banned-cm/930127/0

 

Agencies

 

Posted: Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 2005 hrs IST

 

Bangalore: After months of public debate, Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda today announced that 'Made-Snana', a controversial ritual practised in some temples of the State for centuries, would be banned in two months.

 

"The practice of Made-Snana will be stopped within two months," Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said in a suo motu statement in the Legislative Council, where Tontadarya (BJP) raised a question on various temple superstitions being practised in the State.

 

Made-Snana is a ritual where people roll on plantain leaves off which Brahmins have had their meals, to fulfil 'Harake' (an offering made for a wish) and also with the belief that it would help in curing skin diseases.

 

The practice, particularly in Subramanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, has become an issue of intense debate in the state, with sections of the society seeing the ritual as an "atrocity against Dalits", while supporters maintain that people perform it voluntarily with certain beliefs, which can't be questioned.

 

About 100 swamijis heading various mutts in the state had congregated at Freedom Park earlier this week to protest against age-old superstitions, especially Made-Snana, and demanded a ban on them.

 

Informing the House that he has already started a dialogue with people concerned, the Chief Minister said he is in contact with pontiff of Pejawar mutt Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji and others in an attempt to stop the ritual.

 

The Times Of India

 

Social security scheme for unorganized workers launched

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Social-security-scheme-for-unorganized-workers-launched/articleshow/12464119.cms

 

TNN | Mar 30, 2012, 06.55AM IST

PATNA: State government launched the Unorganized Sector Workers and ArtisansSocial Security Scheme at a function organized on Thursday to mark Bihar centenary. CM Nitish Kumar said people, aged between 18 and 65 years and working in unorganized sectors, will be covered under this scheme.

 

He said the dependents of a worker who dies in an accident will be given Rs 1 lakh and Rs 75,000 in case of injury leading to disability. Rs 30,000 will be given in case of natural death. He also announced that the children of those working in 88 types of unorganized sectors will be given a monthly stipend of Rs 1,200 to study in industrial training institutes (ITI) or polytechnics.

 

Earlier, CM said, the state had a policy to provide ex-gratia in case of accidental death of a non-resident Bihari workers in unorganized sectors. But, now, even injured workers would get help. Bihar is the only state which is taking care of its non-resident workers, he said. CM recalled that in 2007 in Punjab, a policy of work permit for non-resident labourers had been introduced which had been opposed by workers from Bihar and UP. Acting on the reports, he spoke to the then Punjab CM Captain Amrendra Singh and sent a team of legislators and officials there. The government withdrew the policy under pressure, he added.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said there were a lot of agencies taking care of the workers in organized sectors but nobody is bothered for the large army of workers in unorganized sectors. Labour resources minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal said the scheme would benefit about 50,000 labourers engaged in construction works, he added.

 

The dignitaries as well as the participants lit candles in the hall for a few moments and chanted the song, 'Le mashal chal pare hai log mere gaon ke' (villagers have started moving with torchlight in their hands). Principal secretary of labour department Vyasji and labour leader R N Thakur also spoke on the occasion.

 


-- 
.Arun Khote
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. 

Hiranadani’s Special Leave Petition Dismissed by the Supreme Court upholding HC judgement.

PRESS RELEASE New Delhi, March 30

Hiranadani's Special Leave Petition Dismissed by the Supreme Court upholding HC judgement.

"How can you build palaces on land allotted for affordable housing" – Justice Dattu

Today the Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice H.L Dattu and Justice Chandramauli Kr. Prasad dismissed the SLPs filed by Niranjan Hiranandani of Hiranandani Gardens against the order passed by the Bombay High Court in a bunch of a Writ Petitions including one filed by Medha Patkar for National Alliance of People's Movement & Others in 2008. While dismissing the Special Leave Petitions, the Court observed that the High Court is fully justified in holding that the development in 'Pawai Area Development Scheme' on 230 acres of land was meant for affordable houses i.e. for constructing tenements of 400 Sq. Ft and 800 Sq Ft. as per the Tripartite Agreement in which the State Government and MMRDA were parties alongwith the original landholders. The Power of Attorney Holder for the original land holders i.e. M/s Hiranandani violated with impunity the very public purpose behind the development scheme, on 230 acres of land which was allotted at a pittance i.e price of Re 1 per hectare (40 paisa per acre).

Today the Supreme Court, while dismissing the Petitions, observed that instead of constructing affordable houses, palatial buildings have been constructed which are meant only for those who possess 'Bentley' and 'Ferrari', when in Mumbai there is not a square inch of land and poor people's hutments are seen on the road. How can the property which is acquired and leased out for a specific public purpose of 'affordable housing' by the authorities can be given to the father, mother and relatives leading to amalgamation, which is a complete eye wash. "What is happening in this Country?", the Court remarked with anguish.

Have you constructed even one tenement as per the conditions in the Tripartite Agreement? Justice Chandramauli Kr Prasad quipped. The Court also observed that the High Court has remarked about collusion of the officials of the State as well as MMRDA with the developer and therefore, at this juncture when the High Court is seized of the matter, they will not interfere with the order passed by the High Court. The Court hearing Adv. Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Subramaniam who vehemently argued in support of Hiranandani's, dismissed the Special Leave Petitions. Shri Shekhar Naphade, Senior Advocate appearing for MMRDA said that his conscience does not allow him to keep quiet and that he would like to state in the Court that the officials of MMRDA were in clear collusion with the developers and that the entire development is in violation of Tripartite agreement. Adv Sanjay Parikh appeared for the Petitioner, Medha Patkar and Adv Ashish Mehta assisted him.

Madhuri Shivkar, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yevale

Contact : 9423965153 / 9818905316



National Alliance of People's Movements

Central Coordination Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014 Phone : 011 - 2437 4535 Mobile : 09818411417


National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, 'A' Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai - 400 014; Mobile : 9892143242 Email : napmindia@gmail.com | napmindia@napm-india.org

Web : www.napm-india.org  Facebook : www.facebook.com/NAPMindia

Read NAPM's News magazine, Movement of India @http://issuu.com/MovementOfIndia

SEX WORKERS DEMAND LEGAL REFORM; RIGHTS AND RESPECT

SEX WORKERS DEMAND LEGAL REFORM; RIGHTS AND RESPECT


On the occasion of International Day of  Sex Workers' Rights in 2011, the National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to adopt a fresh outlook towards prostitution and get rid of laws that criminalise their work.  

Having sex in exchange for money is not an offence but everything around this transaction is criminalized under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 ["ITPA"].

Brothels are illegal, as is sex work in hotels, rooms, lodges, streets and nearly all other premises. In the absence of a designated place, sex workers have to solicit business on the streets or gesturing from other conspicuous sites. But this too is punishable with imprisonment for six months and monetary fine. Describing the absurdity of the law, Bharti Dey of NNSW said – "it's like telling a person that you can drink water but you cannot go to the well"

Further still, having no place to service clients, sex workers have to escort them to unknown locations, where their safety is at risk. Meena C Menon, NNSW member from Surat, narrated how since the closure of their chakla in 2004, several of her peers have been brutally injured, gangraped, even murdered when they were out with clients. "Despite facing the worst excesses, sex workers cannot seek legal relief as the Police are either complicit in or indifferent to this violence" – said Tripti Tandon of the Lawyers Collective, an NGO that advocates reforms in the ITPA.

The illegitimacy attached to sex workers hounds their children as well. 16 year old Tanjula Khatoon, who hails from Sonagachi red light area of Kolkata, said "My mother's earnings out of sex work support my education. She is keen that I pursue higher studies and become a professional. But when I turn 18, I will be liable to arrest as living on earnings of sex work is an offence under the ITPA".

On the one hand, the government is concerned that children of sex workers do not enter their mothers' trade but on the other, they incapacitate the means through which they can come out of prostitution.  

"We shared these and other concerns with MPs. They were understanding and supportive" - said Veena, a transgender sex worker, who represents the Bangalore based Karnataka Sex Workers' Union.

Organized by the Lawyers Collective on 1st March in New Delhi, the interaction between sex workers and law makers saw several prominent MPs including Mani Shanker Iyer, Basudev Acharia and Oscar Fernandes express firm support for empowerment and give thumbs down to laws that create fear among sex workers. Echoing the need for reform, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dinesh Trivedi, told the 200 sex workers in attendance - "Many laws, instead of helping, get in the way of progress and welfare, and such laws, I say, must change."   

Describing their meeting with MPs as "positive and encouraging," Bharti Dey reflected – "everyone agreed that sex workers have the right to live with dignity."  While some Parliamentarians like Prof. Sk. Saidul Haque, felt that respect could be accorded by recognizing sex work as work, others like J.D Seelam were of the opinion that dignity means not living a stigmatized life. "But all MPs unanimously stated that criminalization affronts sex workers' dignity and must be done away with." Politicians also observed that while one may consider sex work immoral, that does not make it illegal.

"In her message, Mumbai M.P Priya Dutt addressed us as women with an unconventional job, who are entitled to security, health and livelihood" – exclaimed Kokila, who travelled all the way from Chennai to talk to law makers about her profession.

This approach is in contrast to the recent observations of the Supreme Court that wanted sex workers to give up their work and take up other vocations. "This is feeble sympathy", remarked Veena. "What we need are practical measures that free us from exploitative elements, which are a creation of criminal law itself. If we can't solicit clients without getting arrested, we will naturally rely on pimps to carry on our trade." 

      "We will pursue the suggestions of MPs to raise debate on this complex yet pressing issue" – said Tripti Tandon.  All is not well with the current law and there is a critical need for change. Sex workers have a long drawn battle ahead. This 3rd March, they have made significant strides towards realizing legal rights.

There are a whopping 6,88,751 "registered" sex workers in the country and it's not mandatory for them to have a health certificate on sexually transmitted diseases. Put together, these two pieces of information -- revealed by the government in an RTI reply -- should send the alarm bells ringing as unprotected paid sex is the main driver of the HIV epidemic in India.
 
The reply by the ministry of health and family welfare also reveals that the southern states have the largest number of sex workers, at least on government records. Andhra Pradesh leads the list with more than one lakh registered female sex workers while Karnataka has 79,000. These two states are followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
 
Govt. of India may kindly see for necessary action.
 
Satbir Singh Bedi

DELHI GOVT MOVES TO RECOVER FROM PRIVATE HOSPITALS UNWARRANTED PROFITS MADE AT THE COST OF THE POOR

DELHI GOVT MOVES TO RECOVER FROM PRIVATE HOSPITALS UNWARRANTED PROFITS MADE AT THE COST OF THE POOR

Delhi Government after Hon'ble Supreme Court upheld Delhi High Court judgment dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist PIL on September 01, 2010 has now moved to recover from 43 identified private hospitals unwarranted profits having been made by these hospitals by denying free-treatment to poor patients during the relevant period in accordance with the land allotment clause.

The Directorate of Health Services, Government of NCT of Delhi by its letter dated 06.03.2012 has sought detailed information from all the 43 identified Private Hospitals in the prescribed Proforma within one month in order to determine the amounts to be recovered from each hospital to be used as corpus for the welfare/treatment of the poorest in the Government Hospitals as per the directions of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court.

The Hon'ble Delhi High Court in Order dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist amongst others held,

 "There is no justification whatsoever on the part of the General, Specialty or Super Specialty hospitals not to comply with the mandate of the condition. Thus, they would be asked to make good of the non-compliance of the condition and they must repay to the authorities and the society at large for the unwarranted profits, at the cost of the poor, made by them for all these years to the extent of the percentage of free-patient treatment (in terms of money) proportionate to the number of patients treated by them during the relevant period and they must pay that money to the authorities who shall create a central corpus/pool which shall be utilized for the welfare, health-care and treatment of the poorer section of society in Government Hospitals.  A Division Bench of this Court in its order dated 07.11.2002 (referred Supra) had passed such a direction. Despite orders of this Court from time to time, the hospitals which were in default persisted with the same and showed complete disobedience to the orders of the Court. The conduct of these hospitals even during the pendency of the writ petition is not worthy of any appreciation. Rather, it would tilt towards denial of relief on equitable grounds. Thus, we direct that a special committee shall be constituted which shall carry out these directions in its best wisdom and which shall ensure that the directions of the Court are neither diluted nor rendered ineffective by such steps."

It is unfortunate that despite High Court and Supreme Court orders, some of the identified private hospitals like Mool Chand Karaiti Ram Trust and Hospital, St. Stephen's Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre are still not at all providing free-treatment to the EWS patients.  The present step of the Government to recover unwarranted profits from all the erring private hospitals would certainly go a long way in implementation of the Court Orders in accordance with which such private hospitals on public lands allotted to them on highly concessional rates are obliged to provide totally free-treatment to EWS patients to the extent of 10% IPD and 25% OPD.

 

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate

Advisor, Social Jurist

M-09811101923

31.03.2012 


War against words

Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 31.03.12

War against words - The Week
http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgibin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?contentId=11313797&programId=1073755753&tabId=13&categoryId=-174121
SC/ST
 Commission member visits Betul - IBN Live
http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/scst-commission-member-visits-betul/981342.html
Funds crunch hits SC/ST schemes - The Times Of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Funds-crunch-hits-SC/ST-schemes/articleshow/12474392.cms
Unstoppable crusader - Deccan Herald
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/238316/unstoppable-crusader.html
Akali sarpanch booked - The Tribune
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/punjab.htm#14
26 villagers acquitted in arson case - The Tribune
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/haryana.htm#9

The Week

War against words
http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgibin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?contentId=11313797&programId=1073755753&tabId=13&categoryId=-174121

Story Dated: Saturday, March 31, 2012 8:53 hrs IST

Sudhir Dhawale was arrested for alleged Naxal links in January 2011. A Dalit activist and freelance journalist, he wrote and published booklets on oppression of Dalits. He was arrested at Wardha railway station while returning from a Dalit literature conference. When he was in jail, his two sons and wife were dependent solely on her salary as a nurse.

The police said Bhimrao Bhoite, an alleged Naxal, had known Dhawale and gifted his computer to him. Dhawale was booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and sections of the Indian Penal Code which deal with sedition and declaration of war against the state. The Mumbai Police raided Dhawale's Byculla house and took away his computer and around 90 books. He has been charged with more cases, making his release on bail difficult.

IBN Live

SC/ST Commission member visits Betul
http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/scst-commission-member-visits-betul/981342.html

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 30,2012

Betul, Mar 30 (PTI) Bherulal Meena, member of National Commission for SC/ST, arrived here today on a two-day visit to probe the incident of murder of tribal woman, who was killed allegedly because she refused to withdraw the complaint against her daughter's rapists. Meena told reporters here that he will talk to the murdered woman's daughter and also the district officials. He said that Commission Chairman Dr Rameshwar Oraon had asked him to visit Betul. The tribal woman, Imarti Bai, was shot dead allegedly because she had refused to withdraw the FIR against the alleged rapists of her daughter. All the accused in the case have been arrested. The state government subsequently transferred Betul SP, B S Chouhan. According to Imarti Bai's daughter, police did not take any action despite complaint of threats to her mother. PTI COR MAS KRK

The Times Of India

Funds crunch hits SC/ST schemes
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Funds-crunch-hits-SC/ST-schemes/articleshow/12474392.cms

TNN | Mar 31, 2012, 01.01AM IST

BHANDARA: People are deprived of benefits under various welfare schemes for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes due to shortage of funds, said Hansa Khobragade, chairperson of social welfare committee of Bhandara Zilla Parishad.

Khobragade claimed that the government has not given funds for schemes to be implemented in Dalit localities for the last two years. Though the district needed Rs 55-60 crore, only Rs 3 crore were given in the last financial year. This is year is also no different as a meagre fund was sanctioned, she said. 262 proposals were sent to the state government but not a single one was approved. A government resolution has stipulated that Rs 20 lakh be given to a Dalit locality with a population of 250. There are many such areas, but the government is ignoring the demand for funds, Khobragade said.

Self-help groups of SC/ST are formed to work as micro entrepreneur. But nationalized banks are reluctant to finance SHGs so that they do not become financially stronger, she claimed. Crores of rupees are spent on publicity material but there is no fund for construction of Gharkul for SC/ST families. The social justice department gives Rs 65,000 to construct Gharkul. There are 10,000 SC/ST persons who have already applied for it, but funds shortage has made them remain on paper only, sources said.

Deccan Herald

Unstoppable crusader
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/238316/unstoppable-crusader.html

Mar 31, 2012 :
She is a social activist with a clean conscience.  M A Siraj meets Jothi Mani who fought for the cause of the Dalits in her village, and despite the odds, won.

This lanky girl with her large expressive eyes carries a quaint charm about herself. Her manner of speaking with determination and resoluteness is further enamouring.

At 37, this woman political activist from Periya Thirumangalam village of Karur district, Tamil Nadu, is wedded to the cause of changing the way politics is practiced and bureaucracy operates in the country.

A public grievances meeting with the district administration in her village changed the course of her life, hurling her into public life. She cried all night, after listening to a Dalit woman describing her painful experience of fetching water from the public well at the edge of the village's uppercaste habitation. Another Dalit woman had died due to snakebite as she was allowed to draw water only after dusk fell.

"I will not rest content until I wipe the tears off their eyes", she had resolved. Since then she has not looked back. After nearly 17 years of activism, Jothi Mani has mellowed down, but refuses to sit quiet.

Politics for her is the "pursuit of truth". Jothi says, "Politics cannot be taught in Political Science departments of colleges but should be gained through working among people. Money of course, plays a big role. But if you are righteous, people help you to realise both public good and personal ambition."

Having finished her degree from GVG College in Udumalpet in Coimbatore, Jothi Mani plunged straight into social activism. Tamil Nadu was witnessing its first panchayath elections in 1995. Jothi says, "I announced my candidature. I belonged to a feudal uppercaste family in the village, but those Dalit women's grievances were my foremost concern."

She only had Rs. 2,000 with her. Her mother had decided not to spare any money for her venture, although she was supportive otherwise. Ideologically, legendary Congress leader Kamaraj's philosophy, his frugal lifestyle and his concern for the poor were her ideals. "But overall, politics for me was to serve the people," she adds.

Jothi was elected with a thumping margin for the panchayath which had 15 villages under it. Seven of them were Dalit dominated and were without water supply, power lines and all-weather roads.

The panchayath headman and non-Dalit members kept postponing the decision to lay pipelines to the Dalit quarters although water would overflow in other quarters of the village. "This went on for four years. I was being tormented by guilt as people were raising fingers against me for failing to deliver on my promise", observes Jothi.

But she and other supportive members took advantage of the absence of the headman at a particular meeting, pushed the tender for pipes and pumps and were helped by district collector Murganandan in laying the pipeline, fixing pumps and constructing a pump house.  That night when the Dalits received tap water in their section of the village, they celebrated the event the whole night.

"Tears welled up in my eyes, as I saw them dancing till dawn. I had crossed the first milestone, though a full four years after my election", Jothi says.

Jothi's next moment of trial came when she took up the case against the village mafia engaged in illegal mining of sand from the bed of the Amravathi river passing through the village. "They had threatened me of dire consequences and even the Dalit women were refusing to support me as they were getting Rs. 100 a day for sand mining from the mafia lords against Rs. 30 as farm hands," says Jothi. She was helped by a village elder, Sadasivan, a true Gandhian and a Congressman, who she says stood by her through thick and thin and was absolutely incorruptible.

Jothi won two consecutive terms for the panchayath but lost the third time when all forces aligned against her. "When I lost, my supporters came to my doorsteps, cried and vowed to make me successful next time', she observes. But she continued her struggle against the mafia and got a stay from the court.

A fact-finding team from the Perarignar Anna University of Technology in Chennai in its report held the mining responsible for environmental damage. This helped her bring a permanent ban on sand mining, from the court. "Our lawyer was being wooed by the other side by huge sums of money, yet he remained steadfast to help our cause. I came to know how politics was being played and how bureaucracy stonewalled people's voices", Jothi says.

By this time Jothi had ascended to the top echelons within the Youth Congress and had been vice president of the body in Tamil Nadu. She says, Anand Patwardhan's films on public causes left a deep imprint on her mind. Amid all this activism, Jothi went on to complete her MA and then secure an M.Phil.

She has also published a novel, a short story collection, an auto-biographical sketch titled My Experiences and a poetry collection. She was adjudged the winner of the Elakkiya Chananai award for the best short story in 1999.

The Tribune

Akali sarpanch booked
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/punjab.htm#14

Tribune News Service
Muktsar, March 30

After Congress MLA Amrinder Singh Warring lodged a protest last night, the police registered a case against an Akali sarpanch and three others for making casteist remarks and threatening a Congress worker.

On a complaint filed by Sukhpal Singh, whose house was demolished yesterday to make way for the construction of a boundary wall at Madhir village, the Kot Bhai police booked village sarpanch Birdevinder Singh, his father Gurdeep Singh, nambardar Baldev Singh and an unidentified person.

The Tribune

26 villagers acquitted in arson case
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120331/haryana.htm#9

Tribune News Service
Assandh (Karnal), March 30

All 26 accused in "Salwan arson" case which rocked the state five years ago were acquitted by a local court here on the ground that charges against them could not be proved.

Mahipal, a Rajput, was murdered in Salwan on February 27, 2007. Members of the Rajput community had allegedly attacked and set ablaze houses of Valmikis while returning from the cremation ground after picking up the ashes on the fourth day .

The police intervened in the matter and some policemen were also injured. As many as 26 persons were arrested in this connection. The assailants had also used objectionable casteist remarks against Valmikis which further provoked them.

The case had been pending in the court of Ravi Sondhi and 70 persons, including the witnesses produced by the prosecution, were examined in the case but the charges were not conclusively proved.

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