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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Activists urge eradication of caste at school!Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 30.08.15

Activists urge eradication of caste at school - The Times Of India

Two booked under SC/ST Act for stopping student from singing Ambedkar song -The Indian Express

IIT-M students' group APSC says Gmail, FB accounts hacked - The Hindustan Times

Dalit labourer beaten up for demanding salary - One India

BJP Helped To Massacre Dalits, Say Ranveer Sena Activists - Tehelka

The I-Day Caste Carnage - Tehelka

The Patel agitation may be aimed at demolishing caste-based quota systems - The Economic Times

A day ahead of 'grand-alliance' rally, Pasmanda Muslims' meet turn out to be a low-key event - Two Circle


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The Times Of India


Activists urge eradication of caste at school


TNN | Aug 30, 2015, 06.23 AM IST


CHENNAI: The attack on a group of dalits more than 10 days ago in a Villupuram village has sparked outrage with activists urging the government to address the issue with seriousness from the school level. On Saturday, the State Platform for Common School System, during a discussion, resolved to appeal to all academic bodies to include 'annihilation of caste' in the syllabus. "This will bring to discussion the methods to eliminate caste and caste-based atrocities from school up to university level. It will help students grow with compassion for all fellow beings and establish a society of equals," said SPCSS secretary Prince Gajendra Babu. 

On the night of August 15, 80-odd dalit families of Seshasamudram fled their homes after a mob torched a temple car they were decorating. Petrol bombs were hurled into homes and vehicles destroyed. "This is a conspiracy by political parties," said Deepti Sugumar, national secretary of Safai Karmachamari Andolan, a national movement to end manual scavenging. Pointing out that the illegal practice was closely linked to the caste system, she said, "At least 4-5 manual scavengers die inside septic tanks or manholes in a month in Chennai but cases are not filed." She said the government spent 7 crore on a survey that identified only 400 manual scavengers across TN. "We did a random survey, without any resources, and identified 2,800," Sugumar said.

C Lakshmanan of the Madras Institute of Development Studies said caste-based atrocities were always raked up in a poll-bound situation. "This is a common point where both the ruling and opposition parties meet but they have not raised their voices against the incident in Seshasamudram," he said. 

Disability rights activist T M N Deepak said the fact someone with a disability could ostracise another disabled person showed how deep-rooted the caste issue was. Social activist Arul Kamaraj demanded that the government compensate the Seshasamudram victims and engage in sustainable uplift of dalits.


The Indian Express


Two booked under SC/ST Act for stopping student from singing Ambedkar song


By: PTI | Saharanpur | Published:August 29, 2015 5:05 pm


City SP said that a class XI student of the inter-college in Talhedi Bujurg area was singing BR Amdedkar song on the Independence Day when they stopped him in the middle and insulted him.



A principal and a teacher of an inter-college in this district has been booked for allegedly stopping a student from singing B R Ambedkar song, police said on Saturday.


City SP,Jagdish Sharma, said a class XI student of the inter-college in Talhedi Bujurg area was singing BR Amdedkar song on the Independence Day when they stopped him in the middle and insulted him.

A team from the college was formed to inquire into the matter and prepared a report two days ago, he said.

Based on that report, principal, Anoop Singh and teacher, Vidushi Tiwari have been booked under SC/ST Act, Sharma added.


The Hindustan Times


IIT-M students' group APSC says Gmail, FB accounts hacked


Abhishek Saha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi


Updated: Aug 30, 2015 15:41 IST

The Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, said its Gmail, Facebook and institutional mail accounts were repeatedly hacked last week, starting the day they organised a talk by a Harvard professor on reservation in engineering education.


The APSC, an independent student body recognised by IIT-Madras, made headlines earlier this year when it was de-recognised by the institution following an anonymous complaint that it created "hatred" against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindus. The decision to ban the group was subsequently revoked after sections of civil society lashed out against the decision.


Speaking to Hindustan Times, research scholar and a founding member of the group, Akhil Bharathan, said: "We found out on the evening of August 24 that we could not login to our Gmail, Facebook and Smail (the student mail in the IIT campus) accounts. By night, we recovered both Gmail and Facebook accounts by going to the 'Forgot password' option."


But then, on the morning of August 25, the group found that both their Gmail and Facebook accounts were hacked again. This time the members were unable to recover the accounts easily since the alternate email id and verification phone number that they provided to recover passwords were also changed.


"From the last account activity, we found that the IP address of the computer used to steal the password is from within the IIT-Madras campus," a press statement issued by the group said.


Finally, on Saturday, after four days of technical brainstorming, the group secured their Gmail and Facebook accounts. The institute has promised to retrieve the Smail account too.


"To us, it seems no mere coincidence that this dastardly act comes close on the heels of the 'anonymous' letter sent to the HRD ministry earlier this year," the press statement said.


APSC members have said that they discovered that the accounts were hacked few hours before a talk titled "Merit and Reservation in Engineering Education" by Ajantha Subramanian, a professor of anthropology at the Harvard University.


"As of now, we have no idea as to who might have done it. But it's for sure that professor Subramanian, with her data and extensive research, had made some startling revelations on the whole issue of reservation in engineering education which could disturbed some," Abhinav Surya, a member of the APSC, told Hindustan Times.
Detractors of the APSC have called the body a "Dalit organisation", even as members say that it consists of students irrespective of caste and creed.


One India


Dalit labourer beaten up for demanding salary


Updated: Sunday, August 30, 2015, 14:42 [IST]


Etah (UP), Aug 30: Six persons have been booked for allegedly beating up a Dalit labourer when he demanded his salary. A case was filed against Deepak and his five accomplices yesterday following a court order, after the victim Chandra Pal alleged that he was thrashed by the accused when he asked for his salary.

The victim had approached various police stations in the case but no FIR was filed, following which he took the judicial route. Pal, a resident of Khadaua village who used to work at Deepak's house here, had demanded his salary from the owner on July 26, SHO Etah, Z M Rawat said.



BJP Helped To Massacre Dalits, Say Ranveer Sena Activists


A Cobrapost exposé shows acquitted Ranveer Sena men confessing to mass murders of Dalits in central Bihar with the patronage of top BJP leaders, including a former PM and a former FM.




A sting operation by an investigative news portal, Cobrapost, has revealed that Ranveer Sena, the dreaded private militia outfit of upper caste men in Bihar, was aided by the BJP. With the Bihar Assembly election around the corner, the timing of the sting could not have been worse for the BJP.


In a year-long investigation code-named Operation Black Rain, Cobrapost has recorded statements of six operatives of the Ranveer Sena confessing to their involvement in six major massacres of Dalits in central Bihar — Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe, Shankar Bigha, Miyanpur and Ikwari; killing as many as 144 people including women and children. They further revealed that the outfit was supported by the BJP including the then Prime Minister (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) and the training for the militants was provided by the army men, retired or on leave.


The six militants — Chandkeshwar alias Chandreshwar, Pramod Singh, Bhola Singh, Arvind Kumar Singh, Siddhnath Singh and Ravindra Chaudhry — were set free by the courts for their involvement in the massacre. Chandkeshwar and Pramod Singh were acquitted by the Patna High Court, while Bhola Singh, Arvind Kumar Singh and Siddhnath Singh were let off the hook by the lower courts. Bhola Singh is still wanted by the Bihar Police and is hiding in Tata Nagar in Jharkhand, reveals the sting footage.


The Cobrapost team also tracked down Upendra Magiha who is alleged to have killed at least a hundred Dalits while commanding the Sena death squads on such missions.



Ranveer Sena was formed in 1994 by Dharicharan Singh of Belaur village in Bhojpur district of Bihar to counter the rising unrest among farm labourers who had started protesting against the exploitation meted out to them by the landlords. It was a private military outfit of upper caste landlords (mostly Bhumihar and Rajputs) formed with the aim of wiping out the Dalit farm labourers who had organised under the banner of Communist Party of India, Marxist-Lenninist (CPI-ML).


The militia was equipped with modern weapons like AK-47s, LMGs, semiautomatics, SLRs and Mausers, executing 16 massacres within the span of the next six years, killing 300 Dalits across six districts of Arrah, Arval, Bhojpur, Gaya, Aurangabad and Jahanabad. The Sena also had plans of carrying out 50 massacres in as many villages in a single day which they failed to execute.



Siddhnath Singh, let off by a lower court, recounts how he wreaked havoc in Laxmanpur Bathe and who gave the outfit weapons and finances. Singh reveals the weapons were from the rejected lot of the army and was provided to them by Surya Dev, a powerful politician from Dhanbad.


"… Woh military ka rejected samaan tha wahi hum logon ko uplabdh hua tha… hum kahe uplabdh hua tha jab pradhan mantri humare huye the… (I told them we got them from Indian military's rejected lot… we got the arms when the prime minister was ours)," recalls Singh,who is also said to have confessed this to police.


Another accused Pramod Singh also confesses to his involvement in the Miyanpur massacre in which 32 people were killed. He also alleges some prominent BJPpoliticians helped the outfit financially and politically.


"Bhajapa ka sarkar jiss samay tha… Atal Bihari Vajpayee the… uss samay the Yashwant Sinha … barabar aate the… mukhiya ji se barabar milte the… wo toh humare gaon mein hi… jis samay chhape mari ho rahi thi uss samay barabar humare gaon mein the… (it was when there was the BJP government [at the Centre] … there was Atal Bihari Vajpayee [Prime Minister] … there was Yashwant Sinha [Finance Minister], he would visit regularly and meet the chief [Barmeshwar Singh] regularly. He was there in the village when the police were raiding our places," he recalls. He further claims that Yashwant Sinha also gave them 5 lakh. "Jahanabad mp Arun Kumar, would help us escape in cars after the killings," he adds


Meanwhile, Ravindra Chaudhary reveals the details of the most gruesome plan of the Sena, which it failed to execute. "Hum log toh aisa ranneeti banaye the ki ek hi din mein pachas gaon mein narsamhar ho tab jaaker sarkar ki neend tootegi nahi toh sarkar toh bas yehi soch rahi hai ki ek desh mein alpsankhyak hain ati pichhri iske alawa koi jaati hi nahi hai (We had in fact worked out a strategy to execute massacres across 50 villages to wake up the government from its torpor. Otherwise, the government always thought that no castes other than the minorities, and the most backward live in this country)," he says without an expression of remorse on his face. He further alleges that the likes of Anand Mohan Singh helped them with weapons and armoury. Anand is currently serving a life sentence for murder of the district magistrate of Gopalganj in 1994.


The Cobrapost team also tracked down Upendra Magiha, the most wanted murderer of the lot. However, he refused to meet them. Interestingly, the police could not find him all these years.


The allegations of political support to the Ranveer Sena find solid ground from the fact that the BJP-JD(U) government dismissed the report of Justice Amir Das Commission right after coming to power in the state. The Commission was formed by the state government on 27 December 1997 to probe killings by the Ranveer Sena. Justice Das states that his report could have implicated some prominent politicians for their support to Ranveer Sena.


"I can give some names, for instance, Shivanand Tewary, CP Thakur, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushil Kumar Modi. Then there was the head of a village in the neighbourhood of Laxmanpur Bathe about whom we had drawn the conclusion that he too supported the outfit," Justice Das tells Cobrapost.


The courts in Bihar have acquitted all the accused for lack of evidence, which shows the kind of support the Ranveer Sena possesses. Shockingly, no single conviction has been announced for hundreds of murders by the dreaded private military outfit. It is a pity that police could not collect enough evidence against the accused even after all these years. Meanwhile, the acquittals have been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is sub judice.




The I-Day Caste Carnage


This Independence Day, Vanniyars 'celebrated' their freedom by attacking Dalits.


Freedom has a different meaning for everyone. That may be the reason why some members of Vanniyar community chose 15 August, Independence Day, to torch Dalit houses at Seshasamudram village in Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district. They manhandled many from the Arunthathiyar community of Dalits, who the Vanniyars consider to be inferior. Though the immediate provocation for theviolence was the holding of a temple car festival, the real issue is continuing arrogance and hostility of Vanniyars toward the lower strata of the society.

In Tamil Nadu, caste hierarchy also exists between backward classes and most backward classes. The political outfit of Vanniyars, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which is a part of the ruling NDA government at the Centre, found the occasion to settle old scores with the Dalits. They dug up roads to prevent the temple car from moving and started pelting stones and petrol bombs at Dalits, including women and children who had peacefully assembled for the festival. Seven houses were totally gutted in the attack and over 40 Dalits were beaten up. The police also came under the attack and district police superintendent Narendran Nair was injured.


It has been a week since the incident and police are yet to arrest those who masterminded the attack. Vote bank politics and potential alliances with the BJPand PMK in the upcoming assembly polls has stopped the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK from taking up the Dalit cause.


The village has been gripped by an eerie silence since that day — when schools had assemblies with leaders exhorting social solidarity and communal amity. "On 15 August 1947, while the whole world was celebrating Indian Independence, Periyar, the great visionary had the foresight to call it a day of mourning for the Tamils. He stated that the Independence was nothing but a transfer of power from the British to the Brahmins and Baniyas," says Stalin Rajangam, Dalit writer and activist. "Years later, when India was celebrating its 68th Independence Day, Hindus have unleashed terror in yet another village in Periyar's home state."


The local community says the major issue of contention between Vanniyars andDalits was the right of the latter to enter a five-foot wide public road. Hindus live on the northern side of the village, while Dalits live in the southern side. "The Hindus have unleashed violence apart from engaging in looting, torching and destruction including that of livestock. We heard them screaming to finish us off," recalls P Sambath, a local Dalit.


The so called inheritors of Periyar, the AIADMK and DMK chose to remain silent over the attack on Dalits. It exposes the double standards as well as corroding values of the two parties which, for so long, stood for social justice. DMKpatriarch, M Karunanidhi who had always claim credits for the 3 percent reservations for the Arunthathiyar community, has not commented on the brutalviolence unleashed upon them. Meanwhile, CM  J Jayalalithaa has termed the incident as a "clash between two communities". With elections fast approaching, both the major parties are evidently apprehensive of invoking the wrath of the casteist forces.


Arunthathiyars alleged that the Vanniyars turned violent after they returned from a meeting organised by PMK in Kallakurichi. S Ramadoss, party supremo and father of its chief ministerial candidate Anmbumani Ramadoss, is known for his hate speeches against the Dalits. DSP S Muralidharan who was posted at Seshasamudram village tells Tehelka that the casteist tension was simmering for some time in the area.


"A violent mob including women and children armed with petrol bombs and weapons attacked the procession without any provocation. As we were expecting backlash, the policemen were prepared enough to fight back and thus averted causalities," says Muralidharan.


Slowly, life is getting back to normal. But the police force deployed in the area and the continuing prohibitory orders keep the men away from the village. Many Vanniyar men are said to be hiding in the nearby sugarcane fields.


"It used to be a Dalit dominated village. But in the last decade Vanniyars started settling in the village. Gradually, they restricted Dalits from entering the seven temples in the village," says Sinthanai Selvan, general secretary of Viduthalai Chiruthikal Katchi (VCK). "When Dalits constructed their own temple, Vanniyars did not allow them to celebrate the festival. How could they live in such a hostile atmosphere, which poses threats to their lives? Where do the Dalits of this village go?" asks Selvan angrily.


The Economic Times


The Patel agitation may be aimed at demolishing caste-based quota systems


By Rajesh Ramachandran, ET Bureau | 30 Aug, 2015, 09.14AM IST

Say no to caste-based reservation; I was born intelligent but reservation ruined me; Why not reserve the post of PM...

These three slogans on three placards were captured in photographs taken during the mammoth Patidar or Patel rally organised in Ahmedabad on August 25. And these slogans make the agitators' intent clear: they just want all quotas scrapped. They are not seeking reservation but demanding the abolition of reservation in education and jobs for the Other Backward Classes or the OBCs, the scheduled castes (SCs) and the scheduled tribes (STs). 

It is not surprising that the Patels have demanded quotas to actually undermine quotas. If Brahmins, Rajputs, Kayasthas, Nairs of Kerala, Vellalla Mudaliyars and Pillais of Tamil Nadu, Reddys and Kammas of Andhra Pradesh and Lingayats of Karnataka term themselves socially and economically backward then the idea of backwardness and affirmative action would suddenly become meaningless. It was this carefully crafted theatre of the absurd that was being staged at the cost of nine lives in Gujarat 
this week.


Sure, there are poor among all communities. But that doesn't change the oppressive caste hierarchy or social inequities that determine private or public conduct like food habits, marriage and caste profession. Caste-based reservations can be abolished the day caste-based marriages are abolished; till then Patidars seeking quotas can only be seen as the continuation of their agitation in 1981 against quotas. 



A Peek into the Past

The students of BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad, gave a memorandum to the Gujarat government on December 31, 1980. Two of their demands were the reduction of the number of reserved seats at the post-graduate level and the increase in the number of unreserved seats at the PG level. In just two weeks, on January 14, 1981, the same group made a more dramatic demand: the abolition of all reservations in jobs and education. 


This demand triggered the infamous anti-reservation agitation of Gujarat that led to the political consolidation of the Brahmins, Banias and Patidars with the Dalits becoming their primary target. The medicos were supported by the employees in government, semi-government institutions, nationalised banks, lawyers, teachers and others. 


"The most aggressive and cruel in their attacks on the SCs were Patidar landholders in Ahmedabad, Kheda and Mehsana," wrote sociologist IP Desai in Economic and Political Weekly in May 1981. 


The dominant Patidars were probably responding to their loss of political clout as Madhavsinh Solanki, a "lower caste" Kshatriya, had become chief minister in 1981. Sardar Vallabhai Patel is not merely a symbol of Patidar pride, but also of the community's continuing dominance over the state's society, politics and to a lesser extent, industry. 

Gandhi had noted that "the Patidar peasant came to an unforgettable consciousness of strength", when Sardar Patel led the peasants' land revenue refusal campaigns in Kheda and Bardoli against the landlords. This led to the setting up of the Kheda milk union in 1946 by a young Patidar Congress worker, Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel, sowing the seeds of what is now the country's largest food products marketing organisation, Amul. 


Forward In Many Aspects

By controlling the Congress party and turning it into a Patidar enterprise, the community was successful in establishing and running most of the cooperatives, particularly in the dairy sector. 


The community had a head start even in the private sector with a Patidar setting up a textile mill as early as 1864 in Ahmedabad. The Mafatlal group set up by a Patidar, Mafatlal Gagalbhai, in 1905 was considered the third largest industrial house in the country after the Birlas and the Tatas even in 1979. 


No landlord could ever stop Patidar peasants from migrating for livelihood and prosperity. The migration triggered by the 1899 famine successfully continues even today. The Asian American Hotel Owners Association of the US controlled by Patidars running the famed Patel Motels, according to its website, has properties worth over $100 billion. 

Such a community with a leading role in politics, business, agriculture, cooperatives and much else cannot be by any stretch of imagination dubbed backward. 


And all that the protestors offer by way of explanation is that they do not want to spend money to get their children educated in self-financed professional institutions. But quotas do not ensure automatic admission into highly coveted professional courses for bad students like Hardik Patel, who managed to scrape through his bachelor's degree exam with grace marks. 


If in 1981 the agenda behind the antireservation agitation was to intimidate the Dalits and to stop their march towards equality, this time around the stir seems to be aimed at a larger national programme: to challenge the legitimacy of the caste-based quota system altogether and, if possible, to demolish it. 


Two Circle


A day ahead of 'grand-alliance' rally, Pasmanda Muslims' meet turn out to be a low-key event


Submitted by on 30 August 2015 - 1:37am


'If no party, including the BJP, comes to seek support, PMM may field 30-40 candidates.'


By Abhay Kumar for,


Patna: Held in the shadow of the mega rally of the 'grand-alliance' JDU, RJD and the Congress on August 30 in Patna, the convention (Mahapanchayat) of the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (PMM) turned out to be a low-key event.


The venue of Saturday's convention, Patna's Ravindra Bhawan, which has a capacity of 1000 seats, remained mostly empty. However, the organisers claimed that the number of participants were just below one thousand.

The PMM, an association of Pasmanda Muslims (backward and Dalit Muslims), had recently drawn the attention of media by issuing an statement that it may consider supporting the BJP if it accepts its demands that include proportionate share in power.


The convention was organised on Saturday to deliberate on PMM's future course of action, including lending support to the BJP in the upcoming Bihar Assembly election.


When asked to give reasons behind low turnout of the participants, Mohammad Husnain, organising secretary of the PMM, alleged that the leaders of the ruling JDU and the RJD stopped people from attending the meet.

"The leaders of RJD and the JDU stopped our people from attending the convention and even some of them were threatened. Further,dhoti, lungi, sari [clothes], and foods are being distributed by the state government and ruling parties to mobilise people for Sunday rally. In this whole process, our people did not turn up as we had expected," Husnain told


Yet, the organisers called the convention a success in which a large number of participants deliberated on how to address the political marginalisation of Pasmanda Muslims.


Detailing about the decisions taken in the meeting, Hesamuddin Ansari, president of the PMM, said that no decision has so far been taken about whom to support but we are keeping our options open. "Whosoever addresses our issues and gives us 30-40 seats in the upcoming assembly election, we would support them," he said.


According to the PMM leaders, no party has so far approached them. However, Mohammad Husnain hinted that the ball is in the BJP's court. "Now the BJP has to respond. We have openly said that our support would go to any party that gives us a proportionate share in power. Now the BJP should come forward to take our support," he said.


Critics of the PMM say that they have "no base" among people and they have "mushroomed" on the eve of election to serve their own interests.


To a question about their future course of actions if no political parties seek their support, Ansari said that they would not hesitate from fielding at least 30-40 candidates in the election with the support of the backwards, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised groups.


In its strategy to further pressurize the political parties to take note of them, the PMM is going to hold a Jan Sansand (People's Parliament) from August 30 onwards in areas which have more than one lakh-Pasmanda Muslim voters.


According to the PMM, the population of Pasmanda Muslims is 15 per cent out of the total Muslim population (16.5 per cent) in Bihar. Further, it has been claimed that Pasmanda Muslims are in majority in as many as 30-40 assembly constituencies.


Unlike the claims of the PMM, it would not be easy for them to contest elections as they lack resources, well-placed strong organisation as well as mass contact with people, a reason which explains why the political parties, including the BJP, have not so far approached them.


(Abhay Kumar is pursing Ph.D at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.)


News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET


.Arun Khote
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")

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