Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 24.07.12
Centre to fund education of SC/ST students- Express India
Wall of discrimination demolished - The Hindu
Dalits, caste Hindus sink differences over worship at Neeramani temple - The Hindu
Minister alleges discrimination against dalits- Deccan Herald
Akhilesh renames UP districts named after dalits by Mayawati- The Times Of India
Centre to fund education of SC/ST students
Kolkata With an eye on the Lok Sabha polls 2014, the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has decided to fund the educational expenses of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe students between Class V and X in the country, thereby relieving each state government of a burden of Rs 200 crore annually.
At present, the post-matriculation educational expenses are borne by the Centre while the state government funds the pre-matriculation educational costs. Children of families whose annual income is Rs 36,000 or less are provided financial assistance for education.
The Union Ministry has written to all the states to submit a proposal stating the funds allocated under each of the heads along with the number of beneficiaries. Some of the heads under which educational assistance is provided to the students include hostel fee, maintenance fee, tuition fee, book grant and the much-publicised merit-based scholarships. The merit- based scholarships are offered to girls of Class V to XII and to boys of Class IX to XII. The scholarship ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 150 per month for Class V to X, and Rs 400 per month is given for Class IX to XII.
The government pays Rs 20 to Rs 275 annually under book grant for students of Class V to X, respectively. As maintenance fee, students are given Rs 40 per month.
According to the figures collected from the Tribal Affairs department in West Bengal, nearly five lakh SC and ST students study in Class V to X.
Senior officials of the state backward classes welfare (BCW) department said the move comes as a piece of good news at a time when the state exchequer is in a very poor shape.
Moreover, the state government can also use the money to fund various other developmental schemes for these children, they added.
As per Census 2001, the SC population in West Bengal is 184.53 lakh, which constitute 23.02 per cent of the total state population.
Similarly, the number of ST population is 44.07 lakh, which is 5.5 per cent of the total state population. Though there has been no census of the OBC, their population in the state is estimated to be 3.19 crore, which is about 39 per cent of the total population of the state.
Upendra Nath Biswas, minister in-charge of BCW, said the state was preparing the proposal that will be submitted this month.
Wall of discrimination demolished
Dalits and cadres of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) demolished a 60-foot-long brick wall under construction, alleging that it was intended to separate a Dalit colony from a caste Hindu area at Sanyasikundu here on Monday.
The Dalits claimed that the wall was being built to prevent them from using the pathway leading to their colony where 50 families were living for generations.
R.A. Murugan, a DYFI activist, told The Hindu that the Dalits had submitted a petition to the Salem Tahsildar asking him to stop the construction of the wall.
"But there has been no response."
When the plot owner R. Ponnusamy started constructing the wall on Monday, obstructing the pathway, despite the Dalits' protests, they sought the help of the DYFI.
Mr. Ponnusamy, however, claimed that the wall was being built on his land while the Dalits claimed it was 'poramboke' land.
Police and Revenue officials convened a meeting with the representatives of both groups to sort out the issue.
Dalits, caste Hindus sink differences over worship at Neeramani temple
The age-old vexatious issue of denying Dalits entry to the Sri Maha Muthu Mariamman temple at Neeramani in Vriddhachalam block has been amicably resolved by the district administration.
Following the resolution, the Dalits, along with the caste Hindus – mostly Vanniyars and Udayars – sank their differences and jointly went to worship at the temple on Aadi Velli (July 20).
During the peace committee meeting on July 18 chaired by Vriddhachalam Revenue Divisional Officer I. Anandakumar, it was agreed to have a common entry point for all castes to the temple. As far as encroachment of temple property was concerned the villagers agreed to follow court direction.
It was resolved to form a five-member panel, comprising two Dalits, two members of other communities and one common person (to be elected unanimously) to work towards communal harmony and take steps to remove irritants that might disrupt peace.
District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo told The Hindu that it was more of a counselling session than peace committee meeting.
The villagers were informed of the stringent provisions of the Act relating to untouchability.
Officials stressed that in the modern era there could not be any discrimination, overt or covert, in a welfare State.
The over 200-year-old temple, which is now under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department, celebrates the temple festival once in three or five years. Since the temple caters for eight surrounding hamlets, the festival is celebrated over eight days, providing chance to each hamlet for performing puja.
On June 15 it was the turn of the Dalits, but the temple priest was hesitant to perform the rituals.
Even fire-walking and temple car procession were curtailed; while the fire was extinguished, the car procession was stopped midway.
As an explosive situation emerged, the administration deputed a large contingent of police to Neeramani for maintaining peace.
According to R. Babu of the Social Awareness Society for Youths, and M. Nizamudeen of the Consumer Federation Tamil Nadu, the organisations that took up the issue, till now, the Dalits could view the deity only through a gap provided on the temple wall. They could perform anga pradakshanam (rolling on the floor) only outside the temple compound.
With the issue amicably resolved, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi gaven up its plans for 'road roko' on July 20.
Minister alleges discrimination against dalits
Bangalore, Jul 23, 2012, DHNS :
Social Welfare Minister A Narayanaswamy, on Monday, alleged that dalits are being discriminated against by officials, including the deputy commissioner, in Ramanagar district.
He has sought the intervention of the State government.
A hostel for dalit students was to be built at Ramanagar in Kanakapura taluk. Some 58 acres of land was transferred by the Minor Irrigation department to the Social Welfare department for the project.
When E Krishnappa asked about the delay in executing the project, Narayanaswamy claimed that as the land is located next to the town municipal office, the officials have not changed the land title in favour of the Social Welfare department.
"The deputy commissioner has the right to initiate the process of changing the title. Despite repeated requests, nothing has been done. This is nothing but discrimination. I do not hesitate to tell the truth. I want the government to take action," Narayanaswamy said.
He also alleged that some legislators had discriminated against the touchables and untouchables while utilising funds meant for SCs and STs within their constituencies.
The minister's words triggered an uproar in the House. Members of the Opposition parties demanded that the government take immediate action over the matter. "The minister himself has expressed helplessness in initiating action," they said.
"This is unbecoming of officials in the district." V Somanna, the leader of the ruling party in the Council, promised that the government will take appropriate action by July 25.
The department will instal biometric machines in hostels to store information on the movement of students in and out of the building, he said. He also revealed that 210 dalit student hostels in the State are being upgraded.
The Times Of India
Akhilesh renames UP districts named after dalits by Mayawati
LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to rename eight districts whose names were changed during former chief minister Mayawati's tenure. At a meeting chaired by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, the state cabinet said Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar and Ramabai Nagar will revert to their original names, Amethi and Kanpur Dehat. The decision, the government said, was taken following requests from residents and people's representatives who said they were facing difficulties in identifying their districts both within and outside the state.
Restoring the original names of existing districts, in Monday's cabinet, the government also approved new names for the districts that were created during the BSP regime. Bheem Nagar, Prabudh Nagar and Pancheel Nagar, three districts that were created in September 2011, the cabinet said, would now be renamed as Sambhal, Shamli and Hapur, respectively. In a similar vein, while Kanshiram Nagar will now be Kasganj, Mahamaya Nagar and J P Nagar have also been restored to their original names -- Hathras and Amroha, respectively.
This is the third time the Samajwadi Party government has revoked BSP decisions. Earlier, the SP government also scrapped social welfare schemes named after Dalit icons, revoked quota system in promotions and renamed public utility services and environment awards that were constituted in the name of BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
Reacting sharply to the state government's decision, former CM Mayawati said "the act of naming districts after Dalit icons was meant to inspire people and usher the state towards social change". Down, but hardly out, the BSP supremo also warned the SP that it would have to pay, eventually, for resorting to "cheap popularity'' tactics.
In a landmark decision, the state cabinet also decided to allot up to 250 sq meters of free land to all persons displaced by floods in the state. Saying that land would be allotted on priority basis -- to persons of Scheduled Castes and tribes, other backward castes, farmers and rural craftspeople from the general category but living below the poverty line -- the government also added that the possession of land would be revoked if beneficiaries failed to construct houses on the land, or maintain it in keeping with the state government's directions.
In itself, restoring names by which different places have been known for a long time might seem like a good idea. However, in this particular case it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the move is driven more by a desire to undo all the previous regime did than by any considerations of public convenience. In general, the practice of repeatedly changing names of cities, districts, streets and so on is best avoided. Not only does it trigger a chain reaction of constant renaming, as in this case, it is a nuisance to the public at large which is suddenly confronted with a name it cannot associate with.
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.