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Friday, March 29, 2013

Caste discrimination, apathy leading to suicides on campus

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 29.03.13


Dalits stopped from performing Holi puja in Haryana village - The Times Of India

Caste discrimination, apathy leading to suicides on campus - The Times Of India

Govt plans law to ensure 22.5% spending on dalits, tribals - The Times Of India

Chairman of Punjab SC/ST Panel visits gang rape victim - DNA

Plea for SC, ST, BC judges - The New Indian Express

Ambedkar Sena burns effigies of dalit ministers - Business Standard

Caste no criteria for RTE admissions, clarifies govt - The Times Of India


The Times Of India


Dalits stopped from performing Holi puja in Haryana village


PTI | Mar 28, 2013, 07.41 PM IST


ROHTAK: Schedule Caste (SC) families were stoppped from performing Holi pooja and assaulted allegedly by the members of upper caste at Jahangirpur village of Jhajjar district of Haryana. Police have started investigation into the matter but no case was registered in this regard even after two days of the incident.


The SC families have threatened to leave the village if the accused are not arrested by the police after registering a criminal case against them. A sizable number of people of Schedule Caste today met Jhajjar district police chief, Anil Dhawan, at his office and demanded registration of criminal case against the accused, alleging that they had been living in a state of trauma since the incident while the accused were roaming openly in the village.


They also urged deployment of sufficient number of police personnel at the village to avoid any untoward incident. While interacting with mediapersons here, Brahma Nand, a man belonging to SC, said they had been performing Holi pooja separately from the upper caste for several years to avoid any untoward incident during the festival. However, "the people of the upper caste not only misbehaved with women of our families by using derogatory languages but also prevented them from performing Holi pooja on Tuesday. The women and children were also manhandled when they resisted the act," alleged Brahma Nand. Poonam, a woman, said they would have to leave the village if action was not taken against the accused in this regard.


The police authorities should ensure the safety and security of the SC families in the village, she added. 

Anil Dhawan told that the case was being probed as people of upper caste also suffered injuries in the clash.


They had also met him and demanded a fair investigation into the matter.


"Statements of people of both the parties are being recorded to ascertain the facts. No one found guilty in the probe will be spared," said the SP, adding the case would be registered after the preliminary investigation. He said police personnel were sent to the village immediately after getting the information about violence between the groups.


The Times Of India


Caste discrimination, apathy leading to suicides on campus


Nikhila Henry, TNN | Mar 29, 2013, 01.28 AM IST

HYDERABAD: P Raju, the dalit student who killed himself on March 19 at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) feared he would not be allowed to attend classes in the coming semester due to three backlogs and sank into depression.


But Raju didn't know that he had secured a 'B' grade in the Linguistics paper, making him eligible to continue his fifth semester, as authorities did not bother to announce his results until he hanged himself from the ceiling fan, after making a futile trip to the office of the controller of examination to know his fate.


Raju's story is not an isolated case, it is in fact indicative of a bigger failure of universities in communicating certain matters of relevance to the students who are already reeling under caste discrimination, either real or perceived.


Among the nine suicides from university campuses in the past one year, seven belonged to SC/ST/OBC communities, and one to a minority community.


In another case, Senthil Kumar, a dalit PhD scholar of the School of Physics, UoH, had committed suicide in 2008 as he was not told that he was eligible for scholarship in the coming semester, despite clearing his course work examinations, a senior faculty member of the university said.


Academics said the trend indicates incapability of institutions to understand the pressing problems of students with poor socio-economic background.


Ignored by school, college and university managements, students coming from less privileged backgrounds are at a higher risk of committing suicide in hostile or unreceptive academic set-ups, assert counsellors and human rights groups.


A fact-finding report submitted as part of an internal investigation after the suicide of Senthil Kumar found that "most students affected by the inconsistencies and ambiguities in procedures (academic and administrative) were SC/ST students, leading to the building up of a perception of discrimination among students belonging to these communities."


The report goes on to recommend confidence-building measures and transparent procedures to integrate such students into the academic system, which is not in place now.


In a more recent study conducted by Insight Foundation, New Delhi, it was found that four from Hyderabad were in a list of 19 suicides committed by SC/ST students of various institutions in the country, owing to caste discrimination during the past five years.


Activists say that most campuses which earlier had majority of students from effluent backgrounds have an increasing number of students from poor socio-economic backgrounds.


"On one hand, the government has recognized the importance of supporting and nurturing groups that were hitherto excluded from educational opportunities through scholarship schemes for SC/ST students and for minorities. On the other hand, this is not matched by a corresponding overhauling of existing institutional cultures," an article by faculty members of English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Asma Rasheed, K. Satyanarayana and Uma Bhrugubanda said.


The Times Of India


Govt plans law to ensure 22.5% spending on dalits, tribals


Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN | Mar 29, 2013, 02.26 AM IST


NEW DELHI: The Centre is mulling a law to ensure that 22.5% of the Union Budget is exclusively spent for dalit and tribal welfare, a move seen as an outreach to the Congress support base that is bristling at the party's failure on the flagship demand to restore reservation in promotions.


A law on dalit and tribal sub-plans would go beyond the symbolic to bind the government to spend for these groups in proportion to their population.


Presently, the SC sub-plan (SCSP) and tribal sub-plan (TSP) are governed by executive orders, seen by observers as the reason behind their failing to take off after three decades.


In a significant move, the Union social justice ministry has constituted a working group to thrash out "central legislation on SCSP and TSP for their effective implementation". Significantly, the panel has been asked to give its report by April-end, a short deadline that insiders say points to the urgency of legislating.


The sub-plans mandate every central ministry or department to spend around 15% and 7.5% of their budget exclusively for dalits and tribals. The schemes have been unsuccessful because of indifference of officialdom and unceasing disputes about which ministry has to spend how much. 

Many believe a penal provision in the proposed law can be the catalyst to force the government to hammer out nitty-gritties and enforce implementation for fear of punishment.


While the law, especially with penal provision, has been long advocated by activists and strongly resisted by bureaucracy, Congress seems to be eyeing its political potential ahead of the 2014 elections. The 'Jaipur declaration' after the 'chintan shivir' demanded a central legislation for effective implementation of sub-plans that suffer from "insufficient allocation and utilization". 

A statutory status for 'dalit budget' can help in wooing SCs/STs who are angry at Congress not restoring 'promotion quota' because of the wishes of OBC leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and its own upper caste lobby. Ideologues believe that Congress did not try hard enough to push the constitutional amendment bill and instead shot from the shoulders of SP and BJP.


That the law has emerged as a sort of silver bullet in Congress strategy is evident from Andhra Pradesh promulgating it in December. Sources said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has cited it as "priority agenda".


The twin plans have been mired in bureaucratic resistance and differences. Ahead of the unveiling of the 12th Plan, Union social justice ministry accused the Planning Commission of including the expenditure of exempted ministries to boost the achievements under sub-plans. 

The government decided to factor in 'estimated consumption proportion of SCs' to show it under the sub-plan - like how much did the dalits use a road or an airport to include it as money spent under the sub-plan.




Chairman of Punjab SC/ST Panel visits gang rape victim


Published: Thursday, Mar 28, 2013, 23:17 IST , Place: Amritsar | Agency: PTI


Chairman of Punjab Commission for SC/ST Rajesh Bagha on Thursday met the 22-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped from city general bus stand and gang-raped repeatedly in the moving car and assured her all kind of legal help.


He said the accused would be taken to task and there would be no leniency in such a heinous crime.


Bagha also held meeting with senior police and civil officials with regard to the ongoing proceedings of gang rape case.


He later told reporters that he had issued directions to Police Administration to complete the ongoing investigation at the shortest period in order to deliver justice to victim.


Bagha said police has also set up a special investigation team which will submit report of rape incidents within a week.


He also directed the District Administration to pay adequate compensation to the rape victim under the SC/ST Act forthwith and report to the Commission.


Vice Chairman of National SC/ST Commission Raj Kumar Verka also visited the gang rape victim today and issued direction to district administration to constitute a special Medical Board to extend her best medical treatment in the Government hospital since she was allegedly forcibly discharged by the doctors on duty.


On March 27 night, the girl was gang raped repeatedly in a moving car for forty five minutes and later dumped at Railway colony.


The New Indian Express


Plea for SC, ST, BC judges


By Express News Service - HYDERABAD

29th March 2013 10:19 AM


Members of the Lawyers' Forum for Social Justice requested acting chief justice NV Ramana of the High Court on Thursday to take steps for providing adequate representation to advocates belonging to the SC, ST and OBC communities in selection and appointment of High Court judges.


A delegation led by forum convener Krishna Devan submitted a memorandum to justice  Ramana in the latter's chamber in this regard. The acting chief justice assured them of a fair deal.

The forum members said that no SC or BC advocate had been appointed a judge of the HC since 2002.


Business Standard


Ambedkar Sena burns effigies of dalit ministers


Activists of Ambedkar Sena, a local political outfit, today burnt effigies of two dalit Akali ministers, accusing them of not doing anything for the welfare of the community.


Led by state president Harbhajan Suman, party activists held a protest march from Ambedkar Park in Hargobind Nagar and converged at the national highway opposite PWD Rest House, where they burnt effigies of SC/ST Welfare minister Gulzar Singh Ranike and Tourism minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur.


The protesters alleged that the two have failed to do anything for the welfare of dalits even though they themselves belonged to the community.


Accusing the ruling SAD-BJP combine in Punjab of being anti-dalit, the protesters said the state government has diverted central funds meant for dalit welfare to other departments and demanded a CBI probe into the issue.


The Times Of India


Caste no criteria for RTE admissions, clarifies govt


Swati Shinde Gole, TNN | Mar 29, 2013, 04.34 AM IST

PUNE: Financial background and not caste is the eligibility criteria for securing admissions in schools under the 25% reservation scheme of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, clarified the state education department.


The director of the state education department had announced last week that students belonging to SC/ST/OBC/NT and with family income below Rs 1 lakh were eligible for admissions under the RTE scheme. It had created confusion among parents, schools and activists.

The department was on the back foot on Thursday as it explained its earlier statement as a 'technical error'.


A notice issued by the state education department last week stated that only students from the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, other backward class, nomadic tribes and denotified tribes having family income below Rs 1 lakh would be eligible to apply for admission into private unaided schools under the RTE scheme.


The government notification created furore among parents and schools alike as the open category students from the economically weaker sections were ignored completely.


Mahavir Mane, state director of education (primary) on Thursday, clarified : "The notification will be reissued after correcting the error. No caste and religion barriers will influence admissions under the 25% reservation scheme of the RTE. A fresh notification will be issued at the earliest."


The principal of a private school said, "If the government is creating caste barriers in admissions, then why have they set the income ceiling? It was a bit confusing. We are now waiting for the new notification so that we can go ahead with the admission process and also consider the open category applications for this scheme."



.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.

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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