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Monday, May 21, 2012

SP targeting Dalits with a vengeance: Mayawati-

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 21.05.12



SP targeting Dalits with a vengeance: Mayawati- The Pioneer

India's poorest turn video journalists to fill news gap- CapitalFM News

BJP leaders go all out to woo dalits- The Times OF India

Effective law for implementation of SC/ST Sub-Plans sought- The Hindu

SC, ST youth try to disrupt meet- IBN Live

Gangrape victim a dalit, SC/ST Act invoked- The Times Of India








The Pioneer

SP targeting Dalits with a vengeance: Mayawati


Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the two-month-old Samajwadi Party Government, saying Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was no different from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in terms of governance.


Mayawati said she was ready for a probe into any work done by her Government, but accused the SP Government of trying to settle scores with her through a biased probe and using the media against her.


The former UP CM claimed the Akhilesh Government has set a record of "transfer and posting" and accused the Samajwadi Party of pursuing "political vendetta" in targeting Scheduled Caste officers and employees.


"More than 2,000 Dalit officers have been shifted to insignificant posts. Dalit employees are being threatened in the name of probe. Officers are being targeted," she said, alleging the process of transfer and posting has become a tool to raise money and threaten the officer who refused to fall in line.


"They have also closed down 26 schemes of 13 departments, which were initiated by my Government for the welfare of Scheduled Caste and poor of others sections of the society," Mayawati said.


Dishing out crime figures of last two months, the BSP chief claimed 800 murders, 270 rapes, 245 robberies, 256 kidnapping and 720 loots cases have been registered by the police after Akhilesh was sworn in as the Chief Minister.


"Certainly, many more cases would not have been reported. The SP Government has managed the media and they are not reporting the spurt in crime under the new government. Like the Mulayam era, goons have become fearless under Akhilesh regime," Mayawati said.


The BSP chief also dismissed that her party lost the assembly election because of poor performance of the previous government and claimed the vote share of her party was just 2.75 per cent less than that of the SP.


"They rose to power because of several promises, which looked attractive but are hard to implement. Their poll agenda was conceived without taking note of the financial condition of the state," Mayawati said.


CapitalFM News

India's poorest turn video journalists to fill news gap


MUMBAI, May 21 – One video shows police beating protesters with sticks. Another shows two lifeless, dirty bodies dragged from their workplace in the sewers. In a third, a man explains why his hand was slashed.


The disturbing clips and personal stories have a common thread: all the victims are "untouchables", now known as Dalits, who are at the bottom of India's rigid Hindu caste hierarchy.

The Dalit with the cut hand says he was harmed for drinking from a pot meant for higher castes, while filthy and dangerous sewer work is a profession reserved for families of the lowest caste.


Such everyday discrimination is nothing new, but it is rarely documented with such intimacy and insider knowledge in India's mainstream domestic news media.


"The mainstream media just report on the superficial events but they don't have depth," said Amol Lalzare, a Dalit and one of the "community correspondents" working for Video Volunteers, a media and human rights group.


"I stay here, I know what's going on, and I also want to give solutions through my news clips," added Lalzare, who makes videos in the Mumbai slums with a camera not much larger than a mobile phone.


The 27-year-old documents a range of issues affecting the poor, from water shortages and poor sanitation to corruption and sexual harassment in the slums, where more than half of the city's residents live.


In their recently-launched campaign against caste discrimination, including a petition to properly end the illegal practice, Video Volunteers from across India have released footage to show the problem is still entrenched.


They captured Dalit women who take their sandals off to walk past the "big people's houses", a barber admitting Dalits don't come to his shop, and a school where Dalit children eat separately.


"It makes me nothing but angry," vented one female interviewee.


Kumar Ketkar, editor of the Dainik Divya Marathi newspaper in Mumbai, agreed that marginalised communities rarely draw attention from mainstream news outlets.


"Their normal everyday life does not get adequate coverage," he said, blaming the problem on the media's need for revenues from advertisers, who target a middle-class audience with "consumer potential."


Lalzare and his colleagues earn 1,500 rupees (29 dollars) for each report and 5,000 rupees (95 dollars) for an "impact" video, showing some kind of change as a result of their work.


They number about 60 nationwide and contribute to the Video Volunteers' "IndiaUnheard" news service, which since 2010 has published regular clips online and sometimes at screenings for the communities concerned.


In a major breakthrough for the group, one of the biggest English-language news networks in India, CNN-IBN, recently agreed to broadcast one of their stories per week to its millions of viewers.


Topics broadcast so far include gender inequality in farm workers' wages and child marriage – one interviewee was a 12-year-old cattle grazer married off three years earlier.


The project was set up to focus on "specific places where the media wasn't functioning," said American founder Jessica Mayberry, who is based in the southwestern holiday state of Goa.


She said the problem was more extreme in rural communities, giving the example of eastern Jharkhand state, home to a largely tribal population but without a single journalist of tribal origin in the regular press.


"It's a question of representation. Seventy percent of this country, the poor, is coming through this filter of the outsider who doesn't live there," she told AFP.


The income for Video Volunteers is currently about two-thirds donations – from social entrepreneurship foundations and individuals – and one third revenue from selling content and training.


The service is among various projects that have sprung up in recent years harnessing technology to give a voice to hundreds of millions of marginalised Indians who feel ignored by the media and the political class.


Bangalore-based website offers a place for users to vent their anger and share experiences of corruption across the country, where bribes and kickbacks are routine. P. N. Vasanti, director of the Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi, said the mainstream news channels were still dominated by politics, crime, sport and entertainment, but she thought social issues were gradually gaining ground.


"It's an evolution of news media and evolution of the audience. They are learning to demand what they want," she told AFP.


Examples of Video Volunteers clips, which contain disturbing images, can be found here:


The Times OF India

BJP leaders go all out to woo dalits


MYSORE: The recent political developments post the tough posturing by BS Yeddyurappa are weighing heavily in the minds of BJP leaders, who are trying to woo dalit communities in a big way and retain their political base.


At the BJP SC Morcha State Convention in the city on Friday, top BJP brass - chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda and state unit chief KS Eshwarappa - indicated their nervousness and asked dalit communities to back the party. Though they didn't refer to Lingayat strongman Yeddyurappa, both of them said the party will stand by dalits and fight for their cause.


The Hindu

Effective law for implementation of SC/ST Sub-Plans sought


Representatives of Dalit and tribal organisations have demanded that the State government formulate a potent law for effective implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Sub-Plans.


Opinion of SC, ST bodies was enlisted by the Cabinet Sub-Committee on SC/ST Sub-Plans at a workshop held here on Saturday with the stakeholders. Ministers C. Damodar Rajanarasimha, Chairman of the sub-committee, J. Geetha Reddy, P. Satyanarayana, K. Muralimohana Rao and G. Prasad Kumar heard the stakeholders' views patiently for over six hours at the meeting.



The workshop, however, commenced on a sour note when a section of slogan-raising Dalit students and activists stormed the dais even as Deputy Chief Minister started his speech. They alleged that the government was holding Cabinet panel meetings only for political mileage and it lacked sincerity in making a good law.


They entered into an argument with the Ministers and staged a protest sit-in on the dais. It took more than 20 minutes of persuasion by officials and police to take the protesters off the dais to enable smooth progress of the event.


Later, Mr. Rajanarasimha said their government was first to take up the exercise to make a law for effective implementation of SC/ST Sub-Plans in the country. The panel would submit its report to the government in two months by holding such meetings in all districts. They would rest only after drafting a law with clauses to make sub-plan funds non-divertible and non-lapsable, he vowed. Suggestions like creation of a nodal agency, provision for penal action under IPC against officials and Ministers for not spending the allocated funds, action against non-SC/ST officials under SC, ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act, social audit of sub-plan funds and proportionate allotment of funds for SCs/STs in the budget estimates itself were made.


Creation of principal implementation officers posts in every department on the lines of principal information officers under RTI, keeping all information on sub-plans in public domain, setting up ITDAs for non-scheduled areas were other suggestions.


IBN Live

SC, ST youth try to disrupt meet


HYDERABAD: Police foiled an attempt made by a group of slogan-shouting. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe youth to disrupt a meeting held by the cabinet sub-committee at Ravindra Bharathi here on Saturday to receive suggestions from SCs and STs on providing legality to the SC, ST sub-plan.


The youth, who charged towards the dais, were whisked away by the police before they could create trouble. They were demanding cancellation of 22 GOs diverting SC and ST funds and release of scholarships to students of the Hyderabad Public School.


The meeting also witnessed the differences between Malas and Madigas which came to the fore with a section of the people shouting slogans eulogising BR Ambedkar and another section hailing Jagjivan Ram.


K Nageswar, MLC, said SC and ST funds should not be diverted for other purposes. The sub-plan funds should be spent through nodal agency, he said and demanded social audit of every scheme.


Many leaders urged the government to bring in a strong law to implement the SC and ST Sub-plan effectively.

The state government constituted the cabinet sub-committee to take the opinions of SC and ST people on providing legality to SC and ST sub-plans. The committee has been touring districts to receive feedback from SC and ST people.


As part it, the sub-committee, under the aegis of deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, received representations from SCs and STs from Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts at a meeting held at Ravindra Bharathi here on Saturday. Expressing concern over large-scale diversion of SC and ST sub-plan funds to other works, some leaders alleged that as much as Rs 25,000 crore had been diverted so far. An amount of Rs 180 crore of SC and ST sub-plan funds was diverted to 18 poll-going constituencies, they further alleged.


Deputy chief minister and sub-committee chairman Damodar Rajanarasimha assured them that if the sub-committee failed to bring legality to SC and ST sub-plan, he would resign.


Sub-committee members J Geetha Reddy, K Murali, G.Prasada Rao, P Satyanarayana and Y Pratap Reddy attended the meet.


The Times Of India

Gangrape victim a dalit, SC/ST Act invoked


ROHTAK: The gangrape of an 18-year-old law student of Bhagat Phool Singh Women's University in Sonipat took a new turn on Sunday when it came to light that the girl belonged to a dalit community.


Sources said the victim, who was staying with her mother in the hostel under police protection, was still in a state of trauma.


University vice-chancellor Pankaj Mittal said that the girl was being counselled regularly. "I have talked to the girl. She is doing fine," said Mittal.


The girl was abducted last Wednesday morning from outside the campus located at Khanpur Kalan village in Sonipat and gangraped in the nearby fields in broad daylight by four people, including the incharge of a hostel mess.


Gohana police station SHO Kanwal Singh said that police have included relevant sections under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 when they registered the FIR on Thursday night, along with abduction and gangrape charges under the IPC.


He said they were interrogating the three accused - Amit Malik, Jaipal Singh, both residents of Khanpur Kalan and Bhupender Singh of Mundlana village. The fourth accused, Vikas alias Vikki, who has been booked for criminal conspiracy had been evading arrest. Police parties were continuing to raid suspected hideouts to nab him, he added.


Meanwhile, INLD leader Ajay Chautala said would complain to SC/ST commission about the incident and would seek its intervention to bring justice to the victim girl.



TOI journalist manhandled

Rohtak: An INSO leader, assisted by some women activists, manhandled the TOI journalist outside the women's university at Khanpur Kalan village on Saturday. He was pushed around and his t-shirt was torn by the crowd. The reporter was seeking the version of INSO leader Kunal Gehlawat over their demands in the ongoing students' agitation.


When questioned whether political parties were trying to gain mileage out of the issue, some outsider women accompanying him got provoked and started behaving rudely and questioned the antecedents of the journalist.


Subsequently, the INSO activist too provoked girl students to manhandle the journalist and raised slogans against media alleging that media was playing into the hands of authorities. When another English daily journalist tried to intervene, he was also manhandled.


Later, the girls as well as the INSO activist apologized stating that they failed to recognize the journalist, leading to mistaken identity. A written complaint has been given to police.


.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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