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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fwd: [PMARC] Dalits Media Watch - News updates 23.12.10

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From: Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC <>
Date: Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 10:22 PM
Subject: [PMARC] Dalits Media Watch - News updates 23.12.10
To: Dalits Media Watch <>

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 23.12.10

Weapons found at rundown SC hostel - Indian Express

Man gets life imprisonment for killing dalit woman - MSN News

Failing the Dalits again - Express Buzz

Court's Notice to Haryana Govt in Mirchpur Case - Out Look

Indian Express

Weapons found at rundown SC hostel

Shyam Balasubramanian

Express News Service

First Published : 23 Dec 2010 03:09:57 AM IST

CHENNAI: State Adi Dravidar Welfare Minister A Tamilarasi was in for a rude shock on Wednesday when she stepped into Room 24 of the MC Raja SC/ST Hostel, which used to be occupied by VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan during his student days.

"I can't believe it. What are these weapons doing in a hostel for undergraduate students?" said the minister, pointing to the pile of knives, cudgels (uruttu kattai), tubelights and logs with iron nails at their ends. She requested Express not to publish pictures of the weapons.

The hostel, like other SC/ST hostels in the city, has been overrun by antisocial elements, whom the minister had come to purge from the hostel.

"There is now way we can provide the students with good facilities if these outsiders hog their resources," the minister told Express.

"And they are using these weapons to bully their way around here." Students at the hostel told Tamilarasi that Room 24 was not the only one with weapons in it.

The weapons were just a symptom of the level of violence at these hostels. Students there speak of gangs of these unauthorised occupants bashing them, going even to the extent of knifing them, for questioning their actions.

They alleged that police complaints and cases over these incidents have been disappeared through shady deals.

Tamilarasi promised them of a cleanup and said the unauthorised occupants would be purged.

The students and authorities also appealed to the minister to fill up staff vacancies and increase security.

MSN News

Man gets life imprisonment for killing dalit woman

Azamgarh, Dec 21 (PTI) A man accused in the murder of a dalit woman was today awarded life imprisonment by a local court here. Fast Track Court Judge Satya Prakash Tripathi today pronounced the judgement and awarded life sentence and penalty of Rs 5,000 to Swaminath Yadav alias Mitthan under section 304 IPC (culpable homicide). Mitthan allegedly killed a dalit lady Guraichi devi on January 25, 2007.

Express Buzz

Failing the Dalits again

Amulya Ganguli

First Published : 22 Dec 2010 11:32:00 PM IST

Mayawati and Andimuthu Raja have done great disservice to their community. Their success in their chosen profession of politics gave them an ideal opportunity to act as role models for the Dalits, especially when the community hasn't had too many inspirational figures after B R Ambedkar's death. Jagjivan Ram was the only other major figure among them in the 1960s and '70s. But he could not attain Ambedkar's stature because he was overshadowed by towering contemporaries in his party, the Congress.

Besides, he may have marginally damaged his own prospects by telling Lord Wavell, the Viceroy, that the departure of the British would put "Scheduled Castes at the mercy of the majority communities (and) that they would miss British protection and British justice and would have preferred that we (the British) should remain for another 10 years or so". Nor did he burnish his own reputation by failing to file income-tax returns for a decade because of "forgetfulness". In the end, he achieved his highest designation of being one of the two deputy prime ministers not as a natural course, but at a time of political turmoil following the Congress' defeat in 1977 for the first time at the centre.

While Ambedkar's sons failed in their political ventures, Jagjivan Ram's daughter, Meira Kumar, has risen to be the Lok Sabha speaker. But for all the accolades she has earned for the firm and yet courteous manner in which she presides over the House, she is not exactly a shining star in the political firmament although she has been mentioned as a possible chief ministerial candidate for Bihar.

In contrast, Mayawati has been the most upwardly mobile among present-day politicians if Nitish Kumar is left out for the moment.It was her remarkable success in the 2007 UP elections which made several commentators place her on par with Barack Obama and even favour her ascent to the prime minister's position. She also demonstrated her political nimbleness — and a streak of opportunism — by dumping the BSP's earlier provocative slogan of tilak, tarazu aur talwar, inko maro jootey char (beat the Brahmins, Banias and Rajputs with shoes) before the elections. Instead, she chose the placatory chant: hathi nahin Ganesh hai, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh hai to claim that the BSP's poll symbol of the elephant represented the Hindi deity Ganesh and the triumvirate in the Hindu pantheon. This appeal cutting across caste lines paid handsome dividends.

But the BSP's single-party majority turned out to be a blight rather than a blessing. Mayawati's decline can be said to have started from that period. First, she began to suffer from the delusion that the prime minister's position was within her grasp, a fanciful idea which was boosted when Prakash Karat began to court her as a leader of the amorphous Third Front after the Left withdrew support from the Manmohan Singh government. The notion gained such currency that her supporters in UP began preparations to travel to Delhi as the date of the parliamentary debate on the nuclear deal drew near since it was supposed to lead to the government's fall. The same possibility has recently been mentioned for Nitish Kumar also, but he has been realistic enough to declare that he will focus only on Bihar for the present.

Secondly, even as Mayawati's prime ministerial ambition was blasted, her penchant for building statues of herself and of other Dalit icons made her an object of ridicule by all except her ardent followers. That was when she started to let down the Dalits — and the state. As Nitish Kumar has shown, a leader's stature is enhanced not by the number of statues he or she erects, but by the number of schools that is set up and the number of anti-socials who are jailed. Instead, Mayawati spent so much on the statues that the state government had no money for the victims of a stampede in a temple which claimed 60 lives. That was the event which turned the earlier ridicule she faced to shame. But no one has brought greater shame to Dalits than the former telecom minister Raja.

If Mayawati could have made a name for herself and ensured electoral success in the foreseeable future by diverting the crores spent on statues to schools, hospitals, roads, power and drinking water, Raja could have used his position as a Union minister to consolidate and advance India's telecommunications revolution. Instead, his name has become linked for all time to come with the country's biggest scam, whose quantum — `1.76 lakh crores — boggles the mind.

Mayawati's mentor, Kanshi Ram, believed that the social emancipation of the Dalits would follow the attainment of political clout. He did not live to enjoy the kind of power which his disciple as well as Raja attained. But in an extraordinary display of short-sightedness, these two saw power as a means to self-publicity and self-aggrandisement rather than as an opportunity to serve the people. Mayawati and Raja are not the only ones, of course, to make this mistake. Before them, Lalu Yadav was guilty of the same error. He also believed, rightly, that much of the social divisions would go, at least in public, once the OBCs acquired power. But just as he did not realise that power entails responsibility, as Nitish Kumar has done, Mayawati, too, saw power as an end-in-itself and not something which has to be used to improve the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps leaders like her believe that the centuries of deprivation have inured the Dalits to a life of destitution and that all that they expect now is a measure of self-respect and nothing else.

There may also be a latent fear that since development benefits all, a rise in living standards, along with education, will begin the process of eroding social divisions, leaving leaders like her who depend on such barriers without an electoral plank. That even after coining her new slogan of hathi nahin Ganesh hai, Mayawati was not averse to playing the caste card was evident from her charge that Rahul Gandhi washed himself with a "special soap" after spending time with the Dalits.

The Mandal report providing employment quotas to the OBCs in addition to the existing reservations for the Dalits and Adivasis paved the way for the parties of these communities to become important political players in the last two decades.

But notwithstanding their new prominence, none of the parties has produced any leader who shows any potential to acquire lasting fame for a notable achievement in the political field, except for Nitish Kumar although his has been a recent development. Political empowerment can increase the numbers of those belonging to the creamy layer, but it is not a sufficient condition to improve the calibre of politicians .

Out Look

Court's Notice to Haryana Govt in Mirchpur Case

A Delhi court today issued a notice to Haryana government to appoint a special public prosecutor to represent the state in the trial relating to mayhem against Dalits allegedly by upper caste Hindus in Hissar district in April this year.

The case relating to the killing of a 70-year-old Dalit man and his physically-challenged daughter allegedly by 102 persons was transferred to a special court here designated under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by an order of the apex court on December nine.

The court passed its order after Special Additional Public Prosecutor P K Verma, who has been duly notified by Delhi government, submitted that he had no instructions from Haryana government to represent it in the case.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau directed that the copy of the order of the Supreme Court be placed before the Chief Secretary, Haryana government, so that a special public prosecutor was duly notified to represent the state before the court on January 4, the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, the court also directed Superintendent, Central Jail, Hissar, to produce Sunil Kumar, one of the accused in the case, before the Selection Board Bhiwani for his physical measurement on December 28 allowing his plea as he had applied for the post of constable in Armed police there.

The Supreme Court had earlier transferred the case to the special designated court in Delhi to ensure a free and fair trial.

The Court had also said that the Special court in Rohini, Delhi, would be free to re-examine the witnesses already examined by the Additional Sessions Judge, Hissar.

The apex court passed the order after examining the affidavits filed by two court-appointed advocates who had submitted that the witnesses were under constant threat and fear due to the hostile atmosphere created by the accused and their families.

On April 21, the 70-year-old Dalit man and his 18-year-old physically challenged daughter were burnt alive in the violence against the community, forcing about 150 families to flee Mirchpur village in Hissar and take shelter at the Valmiki Temple in Delhi.

Out of the total 102 people facing trial in the case, one Ved Pal is on bail and one person in juvenile.

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.

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