Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 29.09.12
Illegal cracker units exploit Deepavali sales - The Hindu
Protesters demand to scrap murder charges against accused in Thangadh killing - The Times Of India
SC, ST students' enrolment for higher studies low: Survey- Deccan Herald
Survivors, not victims - The Hindustan Times
Horrors of history - The Pioneer
Illegal cracker units exploit Deepavali sales
40 per cent of the labour force in match industry is Dalit
The blast and subsequent death of three innocent lives in a cracker unit blast brings many issues to the fore.
The challenges before the district administration are abundant as many illegal units mushroom with an economic desire to exploit the upcoming Deepavali season.
Vijayakarisalkulam village is notorious for its illegal fireworks manufacturing unit and has been one among the 30 villages, including Thayilpatti, Vijayarangapuram, Konachipuram, Kovilankulam, Meenakshipuram, Ramalingapuram, Kottur Salvarpatti and Vembakottai, where many unlicensed units function.
The owners who are at present absconding belong to a dominant intermediate caste group and all the dead, K. Kumar (45), J. Bhagyaraj (26) and K. Kaliraj (26) hailing from Vallampatti village in the district was identified as Dalits (Adi Dravidar).
The Hindu in its September 12, 2012 edition in a report titled 'Dalits are victims of bonded labour' stated that almost 40 per cent of the labour force in match and fireworks industry is Dalit and found that in the September 5, fire accident that among the 38 people killed, 24 (63 per cent) were Dalits.
Unavailability of alternative means of livelihood and poverty has been the major reasons among the Dalits to enter and be part of such a hazardous industry where safety to their lives is conspicuously missing, said an office bearer of Puthiya Tamilagam.
It was a modern form of bonded labour where they are lured into jobs in cracker and match industries by brokers who pay them an advance before recruitment.
Later, they not only have to repay the advance but also become clients of usury which has entered the industry.
Studies reveal that illegal units manufacture as much as half the quantum of fireworks produced by the licensed factories and in most of these villages, the illegal units function within the domestic spaces.
Already in 2005, the district administration and police went on a major crackdown warning people on illegal units.
Despite warnings, these illegal units mushroom as it becomes easier for them to start a small unit within their houses. As there is no need to pay licence fee, payment of excise duty and sales tax many try to venture into these illegal units.
The Times Of India
Protesters demand to scrap murder charges against accused in Thangadh killing
Vijaysinh Parmar, TNN | Sep 29, 2012, 02.11PM IST
RAJKOT: Large number of people in Limbdi town in Surendranagar district carried out a protest rally on Saturday in support of suspended sub inspector K P Jadeja of Thangadh police station in Surendranagar district and demanded that the murder charges against K P Jadeja should be scraped. K P Jadeja is among four police officials who were booked for murder of three Dalit youths in Thangadh town of Surendranagar district.
Three Dalit youths were killed and one was seriously injured in police firing in Thangad h on 22 and 23 September. The three Dalit youths who were killed in police firing are Pankaj Sumra (16), Mehul Rathod (17), Prakash Parmar (26). The injured person Chanabhai Vaniya, 25, is under critical condition in civil hospital in Rajkot.
On Wednesday evening, police took action against the accused police officials and filed complaints against K P Jadeja, (Police-Sub Inspector), Bharatsinh Solanki (Police-sub inspector), Yogesh Gadhvi (head constable) and Nathubha Andubha under various sections of Indian penal code including 302, 120B, 147, 148, 149 and sections of Prevention of atrocities against Scheduled castes and Schedule Tribes Act.
After the incident, Dalits across the state have carried out various protest rallies demanding immediate actions against the accused police officials.
On Saturday, protesters, mostly Kshatriya community members have supported K P Jadeja and submitted memorandum to Mamalatdar urging to scrap murder charges against him. Jadeja belongs to Kshatriya community. State CID (CRIME) is investigation this case. However, police is yet arrest accused in this case.
SC, ST students' enrolment for higher studies low: Survey
NEW DELHI, September 28, 2012, DHNS:
It's a matter of concern; I'm disappointed, says Sibal
The poor enrolment percentage of SC and ST students in universities and colleges has been brought to the fore by a nationwide survey conducted by a government-appointed task force for the academic year 2010-11.
According to the provisional results of the survey conducted for the first time in the country, the enrolment of SC students in higher educational institutions stood at 10.2 per cent of the total while the percentage of ST students came at just 4.4. The data includes enrolment of students in higher educational courses conducted in distance mode.
"The low participation of Scheduled Tribe students in higher education is a matter of concern. I am a little disappointed," Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said after releasing the provisional report here on Friday.
The percentage of enrolment of students belonging to other backward classes (OBC) in 2010-11 was pegged at 27.1. "This is reflective of the fact that 27 per cent OBC quota was filled in the country," Sibal said.
The survey recorded a significant rise in the overall gross enrollment ratio in the higher education. The GER in higher education was 15.0 in 2009-10 while it was found to be 18.8 in 2010-11, an increase by nearly 26 per cent.
Women enrolment up
It also indicated an increase in the enrollment of women in the higher education institutions in 2010-11 by nearly 30 per cent. The gross enrollment ratio of women in 2010-11 was pegged at 16.5 while it was 12.7 in 2009-10.
"The official database provided as a result of the survey will prove to be of immense importance for the development of this sector. These estimates will be revised in view of the fact that the data flow is still continuing," the minister said.
In the past, it was difficult for the policy makers to specify a growth chart for institutional progress in higher learning due to absence of detailed statistical information. "The survey which is available online would make things easier for both the stakeholders as well as decision makers," he added.
The survey results are based on the details provided by 448 universities, 8123 colleges and 4076 stand alone institutions till July 31, 2012.
"A final report will be released later after compilation of data received from various higher educational institutions," a HRD ministry official said.
The survey, which began in August last year, will be conducted every year to replace the existing manual system of data collection in higher education, he added.
The Hindustan Times
Survivors, not victims
Namita Bhandare, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 29, 2012
This we know: On September 9, a 16-year-old Dalit schoolgirl in Dabra village, Hisar was kidnapped, raped and photographed allegedly by a group of upper caste Jat boys. This we know: The girl complains to her father. The photographs are circulated in the village. The father tries to lodge a complaint, fails, and kills himself nine days after his daughter was raped.
This we know: It takes media outrage, street processions and the threat of job suspensions by the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes before the Haryana police arrest nine of the 12 accused (one is the nephew of the INLD district chief and three are said to have links to the Congress). But even before interrogation can begin, comes news of a copycat rape: another Dalit woman, also gangraped, also filmed, also in Haryana, only this time in Jind district.
The silence in Hisar has an echo in Jind. At the time of writing, the National Commission for Women is yet to rouse itself. Leave alone a visit to Hisar, it has not even bothered with a statement laced with the mandatory clichés of outrage, shock etc.
But more than predictable statements, perhaps the time has come to change the rhetoric of rape. Rape, like murder, is a terrible, heinous crime. But that is just what it is, a crime. Take away the attendant accessories of 'honour', 'humiliation' and 'fate worse than death' and you take away the sting; the motivation behind the continuing rape of vulnerable women.
When Dalit women are targeted for rape by upper caste men, the message is clear: Terrorise an entire community. When the rape of a woman is tied in with a man's honour (because she is his property), then the motive is not sexual desire — in rape it almost never is — but a desire to subdue those who you believe are beneath you. "There is a lot of tension in villages where Dalits are moving ahead in terms of education and employment," says Asha Kowtal of the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch. "You have to see the rape of this girl in the context of caste tensions in the state."
In a culture where a woman's honour is tied to notions of her sexual 'purity', rape as a weapon will continue to be used to punish her or her brothers, her father, her husband, her community. It is this culture that leads to women agreeing to marrying their rapists or committing suicide after being cast out by their families. It is this culture that led the father of the 16-year-old in Hisar to kill himself. It is this culture that leads young men with a sense of entitlement to believe they can rape and they can photograph but they will not be caught because the women they rape will be too 'ashamed' to complain.
These are attitudes that find resonance in the police. A sting operation by Tehelka earlier this year interviewed one officer who said no self-respecting woman would report a rape out of a sense of shame. Those who did were extortionists, he said.
The media's subtext in reporting sexual assault is not above reproach. Even the most well-intentioned reports swing between voyeurism and syrupy sentimentality. There is an inordinate focus on urban rapes, while those in the hinterland get a cursory paragraph — if at all. Guidelines that rape survivors should not be named subscribe to the notion of stigma. A woman raped is a woman shamed, hence her identity must be protected. Photographs of course are out of the question. But accompanying visuals of helpless women huddled in fear perpetuate the stereotype of how we as a society believe survivors of rape should behave. Even the nomenclature is misplaced: a person who is raped is not a victim. She is a survivor.
Women who have been raped want justice more than sympathy. They want their rapists to be shamed, not have to bear the burden of stigma on themselves. They want rape to be treated as it is: an awful crime. A crime minus the added sting of honour.
Saturday, 29 September 2012 01:33
Indian-American filmmaker Jayan K Cherian talks to Divya Kaushik about his first feature, Papilio Buddha, which was banned by the CBFC for depicting extreme violence
After making experimental documentaries and narrative shorts like Shape of the Shapeless, which won the Silver Jury prize at the San Francisco Shorts festival, Jayan K Cherian decided to make a feature film on the lives of displaced Dalits in the Western Ghats.
But the Indian American filmmaker, was faced with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) banning its public screening.
They also, "insisted on editing parts," he felt were essential to the film.
The director recently screened the film here, describing it as "a work of art and reality that should be made public."
The CBFC banned Papilio Buddha because it portrayed extreme violence against women. Certain characters use expletives.
"The film has been received in a very colonial fashion. We call ourselves a democracy but are unable to deal with what that entails. The government in its way, is affecting my dreams and imagination as a filmmaker.
"I tell stories. And its the reality of Dalits I have presented on screen. Everything is in a fiction format, so I don't understand the problem," he complained.
Cherian added that he tried his best to avoid scenes of extreme violence.
"I interviewed people who had been through the Dalit Human Rights Movement. They shared many shocking facts. One victim who saw this film, said it doesn't show a tenth of the torture that people faced. Poor folk endured gang rape and violence of unimaginable degree," stated Jayan, whose films always dealt with identity issues.
He said the movie is "an extension of past works."
It is the story of a group of displaced Dalits and their struggle against local powers and government, through the eyes of Shankaran, an educated youngster.
He is indifferent to the resistance movement run by his father Karian, a one time communist who now feels betrayed by it.
The film brings in focus, a small example of the epic land struggles, fought in various regions of the state and across India.
It is concerned with the oppression of indigenous people by powerful political and social establishments.
It also maps the environmental degradation and abuse of pristine mountain habitat by outside forces.
The group converts to Buddhism to escape caste oppression.
"I spent my high school and college in Kerala. As a student, I noted stories on dalits. Those observations were helpful when I started writing the script for this film. But I had to interview many families in Kerala to know the history.
"In the film I tried to reframe the historical references," explained Jayan.
His films have been screened at various international festivals. But owing to this latest controversy, the Malayali director's film s not in the list of nine Malayalam movies to be screened at the International Film Festival of Kerala, which will take place this December.
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.