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Friday, December 31, 2010

Fwd: [PMARC] Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 30.12.10

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From: Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC <>
Date: Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 1:08 PM
Subject: [PMARC] Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 30.12.10
To: Dalits Media Watch <>

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 30.12.10

Dalits denied pattas, driven out: Study - Express Buzz

National Action Forum for Social Justice organises seminar - The Pioneer

SC/ST Commission Visits Deceased Dalit Sisters' Home - Out Look India

Discrimination at the Puri Temple - South Asia Mail

Left in the cold - Front Line

Express Buzz

Dalits denied pattas, driven out: Study

Express News Service

First Published : 30 Dec 2010 04:04:27 AM IST

CHENNAI: A study conducted by the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) has revealed that families belonging to Scheduled Castes in Chennai have been struggling for the past several decades to get pattas for their lands.

The report on the field study done in 31 localities in Chennai between September and October was released on Wednesday by TNUEF president P Sampath and general secretary K Samuelraj. Denial of patta was a primary problem faced by them, the report stated. Their demand for pattas has not yielded results despite struggling for the past half-a-century. They have been fighting for pattas in many areas, including Kumarasami Rajapuram and M S Nagar in Egmore, Korukkupet, Sikkanderpalayam, Perambur, Mettupalayam, Kolathur SRP Colony and Dharmapuram.

Under the guise of removing encroachments, the oppressed people were being driven out of their traditional residential areas. Also, the benefits of urbanisation have not reached them. There were no adequate toilet facilities forcing them to defecate in the open, the report stated. The facilities in the hostels meant for Scheduled Caste students too were appalling.

Dalits were being driven out of places where they had traditionally lived. They were being forced to live in tenements of just 120 sq ft size in new residential areas in Sholinganullur and Semmancherry, the report pointed out.

The Pioneer

National Action Forum for Social Justice organises seminar

December 30, 2010 9:11:48 AM


To discuss on problems faced by people belonging to SC/ST and OBCs', National Action Forum for Social Justice organised a seminar in Dehradun on Wednesday. National Scheduled Caste Commission Chairman PL Puniya was the chief guest on the occasion.

While addressing the gathering, Puniya said that after the 61 years of implementation of the Constitution, the exploitation of Dalits is still continuing in various parts of country. Untouchables still exist in various states of the country including Uttar Pradesh, Harayana, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Punjab, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and others. Mid-day Meal cooked by the Dalits (Bhojan Mata) is being boycotted at various places, which can be read in newspapers and TV news channels. The execution of Central and State Government sponsored schemes including rations, scholarships, pensions, reservations; food for works and others for SC/ST is very poor in various states.

The purpose of the seminar is to create awareness among the people about their rights and how to get it. In addition to that State Government should ensure that welfare schemes are being reached to the beneficiaries. "The people belonging to SC/ST should be given reservation in private sectors also.

While talking to The Pioneer State President SP Singh said that people belonging to SC/ST are facing huge problem to get their caste certificates as they are being asked by district administer to submit a proof of ancestors caste certificates (before 50 years).

The Central and State Government should make a committee, who will review the welfare schemes run by both Governments for the welfare of the SC/ST and OBCs. He said that the poor farmers belonging to the SC/ST, especially in Haridwar districts are being exploited by the administrative officers. He demanded that the State Government should submit the reports to the commission what action was being taken against those officers who were responsible for it.

State Opposition Leader Harak Singh Rawat said that the Central and State Government welfare schemes are not reaching to the beneficiaries. He alleged that the BJP-led Government failed to provide basic rights to the people belonging to SC/ST and OBCs.

Among those present on the occasion were Hira Singh Bisht, Lal Chandra Sharma, Prabhat Dabral, Subodh Uniyal, Vinod Nautiyal, Anail Kumar Sharma, Madan Rawat, Bhupendra Kumar, Sharad Bahuguan and others.

Out Look India

SC/ST Commission Visits Deceased Dalit Sisters' Home

Chairman of the SC/ST Commission today visited Kothiwal Nagar here to take stock of the situation after two Dalit sisters were charred to death allegedly by a mob on December 18.

P L Punia, the chairman of the Commission, talked to the victims' relatives and summoned the District Magistrate, DIG, SP (city) and Circle Officer (city), Moradabad, to appear before the Commission on January 10.

"The case of the Dalit sisters being burnt was an open case of murder, while the local administration has tried to mould the case into that of an accident or suicide," Punia told PTI.

He said in a similar case of crime against Dalits in Delhi, the Police Commissioner had summoned the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Secretary, Social Welfare, R K Srivastava, who was arrested after ignoring the summons.

On a question on the status of Dalits in India, Punia said that while the position of the Dalits is not satisfactory in any state, it is the worst in Uttar Pradesh, even though the state's Chief Minister Mayawati belongs to the Dalit community.

The Moradabad case of atrocities against Dalits is "horrible", he said, adding, it shows the status of the Dalits in the state.

Talking about the facilities available to the SC/STs, Punia alleged the funds for the benefit and uplift of SC/STs are being diverted to works like development of roads, medical colleges and even the Commonwealth Games.

Reservation was also not providing good jobs to those belonging to the backward castes, Punia said.

The Commission has started an awareness campaign to make Dalits aware of their rights, he said.

South Asia Mail

Discrimination at the Puri Temple

By Dr. Anuradha Sharma

On 28th December, 2010 the report came to me like a bolt from the blue that Katie Leonard with her pal was detained at the temple of Puri. I have never visited the shrine of Jagannath and would not like to visit a place that categorizes people on the basis of their nationality. India has given right to its people to visit religious places. Even this is incomprehensible that the policies of a holy place inflict restrictions on the foreigners.

These pundits, who have damaged the culture of the country for centuries and left us to bemoan on the fate of reservation and a long list of dalits, are not ashamed on their part played in shaping a painful history for this country. A culture, that sings for universal peace and Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam, is seemed hollow when it's deities inside the tight security are polluted by the entry of an American student.

A Lord has polluted by the entry and He is made pure by washing again drawing the student out of the temple premises. This discriminatory history goes back when in the same temple Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was not allowed to enter though she was an Indian. Hindus are not those who follow the Hindu religion but those who live in Hindustan. Have the authorities ever asked every Hindu before framing such biased policy for the temple.

I am not aware about the constitution of Jagannath Temple but I am proud of the cultural heritage of this country that says "Atithi Devo Bhav" (guests are God). We daily watch a few advertisements promulgating the values of "welcoming guests". Born and brought up with the culture of humanity I could never digest this discrimination based on religion. The establishment that hates humans cannot be welcomed. If it is something that prohibits entry of living souls into the temple it is not something normal. I am of the firm conviction if there is anything anti-human then it should be changed immediately.

I pray for those mentally sick priests of the temple to get well soon from their indefinable psychological complexes. God must give them insight to recognize the unfathomable beliefs of the culture of India. Philosophers have said that Hiduism is not a religion it is a way of life. Common souls like me only can pity those who do not know the depth of religion and pose themselves as the pillars of the religion.

Last month when I visited Canada I had very good experiences. The people I met there took extra care so that I may not get a bitter experience or bring black image of their country back home. I feel we fail in doing the same.

(Anuradha Sharma is a lecturer at a College, in India and writes poetry in English and Hindi both. Her poems and research papers have appeared in many journals, anthologies and news papers in India and abroad. Lately she has completed her Research Project funded by UGC and has been selected for Associateship by IIAS, Shimla. Bharat Times honored her by Woman of the Year Award. She has received honorary degree Doctor of Humanity by an Institution in Florida. She is also nominated for an international Who's Who. )

Front Line

Left in the cold


A convention of Muslim organisations calls for speedy implementation of the Ranganath Mishra and Sachar reports.

"I AM a domestic worker and have four children, the youngest is six months old. My husband is a rickshaw-puller, he remains ill most of the time and so I have to work. My eldest daughter is six years old – she looks after the other children when I am gone. We have no ration card or any other proof of identity – I cannot get my daughter admitted to school as they demand proof of birth and identity. I have neither. They ask money for making a ration card or giving admissions. I live on rent and do not know when my hutment will get demolished. I have worked in many places in Delhi and the National Capital Region ever since I remember."

These are the words of Rukhsana, 30, a Muslim and a migrant. She has not heard either of the Ranganath Mishra Commission or the Sachar Committee report.

In the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the years 2006 and 2007 assume special importance as two important reports pertaining to minorities, particularly Muslims, were prepared by two commissions with the intent of framing remedial policies for the uplift of the indigent sections among them.

On December 4, the National Convention for Muslim Rights, held by leading Muslim organisations, along with representatives of political parties in the capital, urged the Union government to implement without further delay the comprehensive recommendations made by the two commissions.

The organisations included the Kolkata-based Democratic Forum for National Integration, the Delhi-based Muslim Intelligentsia Forum and the Hyderabad-based Awaaz . The delegates, comprising academics and experts, political party representatives and State government functionaries, concluded unanimously that the Union government had developed cold feet on the recommendations of the two commissions. Among the speakers were K. Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha; Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Member, Planning Commission; Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board; Zahid Ali Khan, editor of Hyderabad-based Siasat; and Anwar Pasha, Associate Professor at the Centre for Indian Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra, was notified on October 29, 2004. The first UPA government, backed by the Left parties, had made a commitment in its Common Minimum Programme "to establishing a National Commission to see how best the welfare of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities, including reservation in education and employment, is enhanced".

The commission was to suggest criteria for identifying socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities and recommend measures for the welfare of these sections, including measures such as reservation in education and government employment, and suggest constitutional, legal and administrative modalities for the implementation of the recommendations. It submitted its report on March 10, 2007, and it was tabled two years later, in December 2009. The irony is that the report was tabled without an action-taken report, which made it unclear whether the recommendations had been accepted or not by the Union government.

"We wrote not once but four times asking for a debate on the Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations. I raised this at every session of the Rajya Sabha," said Ali Anwar Ansari, a Rajya Sabha member from the Janata Dal (United). He pointed out that it was on the instructions of the Supreme Court that the terms of reference were expanded to include the Dalits among Muslims.

"Both the commissions had concluded that the Muslim community was not a monolith and homogenous one. The Sachar Committee used terms like Ashraf, Ajlal and Ajmal from the Arabic to show that the community was socially stratified," he said. Ansari lauded the West Bengal government's decision to give 10 per cent reservation for Muslims in government jobs. Nearly 85 per cent of the Muslim population in the State was covered under reservation, explained delegates from the ruling Left Front in West Bengal. In Andhra Pradesh, where a similar step was undertaken, the Supreme Court, in an interim order, upheld the validity of 4 per cent reservation to backward members of the Muslim community.

The Ranganath Mishra Commission said: "Since the minorities – especially the Muslims – are very much under-represented, and sometimes wholly unrepresented, in government employment, we recommend that they should be regarded as backward in this respect within the meaning of that term as used in Article 16 (4) of the Constitution." The commission recommended 15 per cent reservation for backward minorities in education and jobs, with 10 per cent earmarked for Muslims (as they constituted 73 per cent in the total minority population in the country) and 5 per cent for other minorities.

Delegates at the conference demanded the speedy implementation of the commission's recommendation of 10 per cent reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslims and the extension of the benefits of reservation available to the Scheduled Castes among Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists to their counterparts among Muslims and Christians. In a resolution, the delegates demanded that any additional allocation should be made from the open quota without disturbing the present quota fixed for Other Backward Classes and the S.Cs. If necessary, the government should initiate the process for a constitutional amendment to ensure that over 50 per cent reservation can be provided, they said.

Shocking revelations

The Sachar Committee, a high-level committee on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in India, was constituted in March 2005. It came up with shocking revelations about the low status of Muslims, who had slipped behind the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in terms of socio-economic and educational indicators. Delegates at the convention said that a complete review of the implementation of the committee's proposals and a debate in Parliament were needed. They asked why the government had ignored the widespread demand, which was also made by the National Minorities Commission, for a 15 per cent budgetary sub-plan for the development of the Muslim community. They pointed out that the government had not even accepted the M.A.A. Fatmi Committee's recommendations. (Fatmi, who was a Minister of State in the Human Resource Development Ministry, headed a high-powered committee that prepared an action plan.)

The Sachar Committee's report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on November 30, 2006. Nine months later, on August 30, 2007, "follow-up Action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee" was placed in Parliament, but no discussion was held despite a demand from political parties.

Speakers at the conference observed that the follow-up action did not contain any new policies or mention time-bound targets or a clear-cut financial allocation. What was reiterated and emphasised was the Prime Minister's 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities, which pre-dated the Sachar Committee's recommendations. And the situation seemed to have improved only marginally in some sectors. The government had set up a three-year timeline in 2007 for ensuring 15 per cent priority-sector lending by banks to members of the minority communities; by 2010, only 13.77 per cent lending was achieved.

Similarly, 90 districts with a concentration of minority communities were identified for the implementation of a Multi-Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities (MSDP). Political parties, including the Left parties, had demanded that blocks be identified as units for the implementation of the programme instead of entire districts. In any event, these 90 districts, selected under the "targeted" policy, covered only 35 per cent of the Muslim population. The allocation, too, was meagre. The Eleventh Plan had envisaged an allocation of Rs.30.5 crore for each district over five years for the development of the minorities; of this, only Rs.1,440.29 crore was released for 89 districts until November 30, 2010, which came to slightly over Rs.16 crore a district, almost half of what was allocated by the Plan.

The scheme for providing quality education in madrasas was allocated Rs.325 crore under the Eleventh Plan, but an outlay of only Rs.95 crore was made over a period of three years. The delegates from West Bengal pointed out that the State's budget provision for madrasa education for a single year, 2009-10, was Rs.526 crore, surpassing the Plan period's total allocation for five years. Even the total expenditure of Rs.7,000 crore on all Central and Centrally sponsored schemes for the minorities over five years constituted a minuscule 0.32 per cent of the total outlay for the Eleventh Plan. And less than half of what was allocated had been spent in the first three years of the Plan period.

P.S. Krishnan, former Member Secretary of the National Commission for Backward Classes, said that in Hutton's (J.H. Hutton's census of 1931) Census report, only the untouchables among Hindus were included as such; the untouchables in other communities were not considered. He recommended that a portion of the Plan should go to the minorities with specific allocations to Dalits and backward Muslims. The Minister of State for Minority Development and Madrasa Education in West Bengal, Abdus Sattar, said that the Union government refused to consider a sub-plan for minorities despite the Sachar Committee placing Muslims below the S.Cs and the S.Ts in some indicators.

The Chairman of the West Bengal Minorities Development Finance Commission, Mohammad Salim, made a fervent plea for a discussion in Parliament on the Sachar Committee recommendations. "Conditions were created so that no discussion takes place. The appeasement theory has been laid bare by the findings of the report," he added. Salim also pointed out that the MSDP was a brainchild of the United Front government, and the Left parties had insisted that the block should be the unit of implementation for it to be effective. The demand, made more than a decade ago, was still valid, he said.

"The Sachar report is a diagnostic one; the Ranganath Mishra report is the operative part," he said, adding that the government needed to act on both with equal urgency.

Focussing on the issue of education for Muslims, M.A.A. Fatmi said that he was "disturbed" that the recommendations of his committee pertaining to education were not even considered. The recommendations had addressed all areas including adult literacy and higher education.

"We said that wherever there was a population of 250, a school should be opened; we recommended that Kendriya Vidyalayas be opened in Muslim majority areas and that an Urdu university be started. Had that happened, this would have helped lots of Muslim children," he said.

.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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