Auto-rickshaw drivers nabbed for kidnap, rape of minor – The Hindu


“Is raising a question at gram sabha an offence?” – The Hindu


In rape cases, even filing an FIR is difficult: Dalit women – The Times Of India


BJYM leader on the run after attacking Dalit professor – The Hindu


Going back to Mirchpur: Displaced Dalit victims live in tents on a farmhouse – The Indian Express


End caste discrimination: Bhagwat – The Hindu


Quota failed to solve social inequalities – Asian Age


Sex workers to learn about West Bengal’s cooperative initiative – The Hindu


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The Hindu

Auto-rickshaw drivers nabbed for kidnap, rape of minor



The Jangareddigudem police on Saturday arrested two auto-rickshaw drivers on charges of kidnapping and molesting a 14-year-old girl in Tadepalligudem.

Police arrested Gandrotu Lakshman of Jangareddigudem and his close friend Srinu of Tadepalligudem, both auto-rickshaw drivers. The girl was a resident of Jangareddigudem, studying in class 9 in a local school.

Deputy superintendent of police J. Venakta Rao said Lakshman kidnapped the girl and a classmate of hers while they were on their way back to home from school on September 18. The classmate returned home the next day and her mother lodged a complaint with the police.

Even as the police were investigating the case, the other girl returned home on September 22 and told her mother that she had been kidnapped by Lakshman and raped by him and his friend Srinu.

Based on a fresh complaint lodged by the mother, police registered another case and took the accused into custody.

A case was registered under the Protection of the Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The girl has been sent to the government hospital for treatment.

The Hindu

“Is raising a question at gram sabha an offence?”



For seven months, the Dalit couple have been living in an unsafe place

When the Dalit couple raised a question at the gram sabha meeting, they would never have imagined that they would be ostracised by the community.

Narrating their woes at a public hearing organised here by an NGO, Evidence, the couple – Lakshmi (35) and Paramasivam – from Kattunayakanpatti in Theni district, said that the police and the district administration had not taken any tangible action to date. The police registered a case against the accused seven months ago, but had not arrested them.

Mr. Paramasivam raised a question at the gram sabha meeting held on January 26 on the manner in which expenses were made by the organisers for a local temple festival. Angered by this, Ramesh Babu, who claimed to be close to district-level All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam functionaries, threatened the couple and also ordered the others to keep them away from their hamlet, they said.

The couple lodged a complaint with Veerapandi police. After 23 days, the police booked a case against Ramesh Babu and others under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. For the last seven months, the couple, along with their children, had been living in an unsafe place near a small pond outside the village. “Even for drawing potable water, I have to trek for two km. To buy grocery, I have to go to Venkatachalapuram, which is about three km away,” Ms. Lakshmi said.

Like the couple, about 20 victims of caste oppression narrated their woes to the panellists who comprised P. Shanmugam, State president of Tamil Nadu Malaivaazh Makkal Sangam, advocates Nirmala Rani and Ezhil Caroline and journalists Jayarani and Sugitha.

Executive director of Evidence A. Kathir, who moderated the hearing, said that it was an initiative to create an awareness among the deprived class, and such public hearings might help in preventing atrocities. He thanked the Dindigul Superintendent of Police and his team for their swift response to a couple of crimes against Dalits, the perpetrators of which were booked under the Goondas Act.

The Times Of India

In rape cases, even filing an FIR is difficult: Dalit women


TNN | Sep 27, 2015, 11.38 AM IST

MADURAI: Many of the 30-odd dalit women who attended a public hearing meeting in Arasaradi in the city said they had been subjected to sexual harassment, including rape, but had been unable to take the legal path for justice due to pressure and discrimination.

The meeting was held by Madurai-based NGO Evidence so as to provide legal assistance to dalit women who had faced atrocities. Director of Evidence A Kathir presided over the meeting, called ‘Dalit Women Speak Out’.

Saradha (name changed), a 47-year-old mid-day meal worker from Thirupuvanam, said she was raped by a 24-year-old man while she was returning home from the school. “Everyone asked me to settle the issue without registering a police complaint to protect the honour of the village,” she said.

“On February1 2014, my 17-year-old daughter was raped by a gang of four men, who later dumped her in a garbage site in our village. It has been a year since we last went to the village, because the villagers accused my daughter of being in love with a boy outside our caste. The accused were also later released on bail,”said another dalit woman from Ottanagampatti.

According to statistics given by Evidence, around 923 rape cases were registered in Tamil Nadu in 2013 and a whopping 10,565 cases were registered in 2014, of which 1,110 were cases of rape of minor girls.

Of these, one of the most vulnerable groups was dalit women, who face several hindrances right from the time of filing a complaint in the police station to getting medical checkups done, they said.

The Hindu

BJYM leader on the run after attacking Dalit professor



The accused evading arrest after two assaults in 10 days

A BJP youth wing leader has been evading arrest in connection with the attack on a Dalit Professor in Nagpur in Maharashtra.

Sumit Thakur, vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Nagpur unit, allegedly attacked Malhar Maske, a professor in a local college, twice in the past 10 days over a small dispute and set ablaze his three vehicles.

“The first incident took place on September 16, when my Bolero vehicle was parked in front of my house and Sumit Thakur came in a car and hit it. Then he and his accomplices started asking me to pay damages for his car for no fault of mine. When I told them that it was their fault, Sumit Thakur and his accomplices vandalised my Bolero vehicle and a motorcycle parked inside my house compound,” Mr. Maske told The Hindu.

When Mr. Maske went to file a police complaint at the Gitti Khadan police station against Mr. Thakur, he was allegedly pressured not to do so. “He [Mr.Thakur] came to the police station with 50 of his men and created a ruckus outside. I could not file the police complaint for first two days because of continuous threats and phone calls. However, the incident was reported in the local media. Then at 2 a.m. on September 18, he [Mr. Thakur] and his accomplices again came to my house and set ablaze my car. They also attacked me and my mother-in-law,” Mr. Maske said. After that, the Nagpur police filed an FIR against Mr. Thakur for arson and attack under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

“We have provided Mr. Maske protection and we are looking for the accused,” said the inspector of the Gitti Khadan police station.

The Indian Express

Going back to Mirchpur: Displaced Dalit victims live in tents on a farmhouse


Of the 130 families at the farm, houses of 18 were burnt down in the riots. The state government gave the 18 Rs 25.11 lakh as compensation and built homes for them under the Indira Awas Yojana.

Five years after his 70-year-old father and 18-year-old disabled sister were burnt to death in Mirchpur village in Hisar district in Haryana, Amar Chauhan, 34, and his family continue to live under police protection. Their new house, in Hisar city, is located near the residence of the deputy commissioner, and is 60 km away from their village.

Dalit families of Mirchpur living on tents at Tanwar Farm on Rajgarh road in Hisar after riots in Mirchpur village in district Hisar, September 10 2015. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh

The policemen move with the family members every time they go for court hearings and sometimes even when they go to work. Amar and younger brother Pradeep, 24, were hired as clerks at the deputy commissioner’s office after the April 2010 riots, in which a mob of over 400 Jats targeted Dalits, leaving two members of the Chauhan family dead and 52 others injured. Another brother, Ravinder, 28, works as a peon.

While the Chauhans received a compensation of Rs 20 lakh and government accommodation a year after the incident, the other survivors of the riots continue to live in a farmhouse in tents, 2 km from Hisar. Over 300 Dalit families had fled Mirchpur following the violence.

Earlier this month, the one-man Justice Iqbal Singh Commission set up by Haryana to probe the violence blamed police for acting as “mute spectators” and “failing” to prevent the rioting.

The Chauhans are fighting in the Delhi High Court the acquittal of 82 people accused in the violence. Of the 100 named, 15 were convicted and three given life imprisonment. “No one, from politicians to relatives, wanted us to pursue the case in court,” says Amar.

At the farmhouse, spread over 3.5 acres, where the other 130 Dalit families who refused to return to Mirchpur continue to live, stand scores of hutments with plastic sheets for roof, shared by up to five members of a family. The farmhouse belongs to Dalit activist Ved Pal Tanwar.

The victims have just lived through monsoon, when the whole place had got water-logged. “Finding clean water is a challenge. Earlier, the government sent water tankers. Now we call our own and there are frequent fights,” says Rinku, whose relatives were injured in the 2010 violence.

A handful of tents sport TV sets, refrigerators and air-coolers.

What hurts the riot victims most is the price their children are paying. “The closest primary school is 2 km away,” says a resident.

“Those who come with marriage offers want to see our houses and the conditions we are living in. Who will marry our children?” adds Kasturi, an elderly woman.

Despite the problems, says Dilbag Singh, “There is no question of returning to Mirchpur. We still fear for our safety. For two years, everyone here got food from Tanwarji’s house, now we go to Hisar everyday to find work.”

Of the 130 families at the farm, houses of 18 were burnt down in the riots. The state government gave the 18 Rs 25.11 lakh as compensation and built homes for them under the Indira Awas Yojana.

But the new houses in Mirchpur remain empty and are now run over by pigs. Balmiki Colony, where the riots took place, is like a fortress, with entry points manned by CRPF personnel.

Dilbag Singh, along with other families, wants the government to help them build homes away from Mirchpur.

Families of some of the convicted Jat men who have served their sentence and returned to the village, however, insist the situation is “improving”and they are once again offering jobs to Dalits. “The two communities are living peacefully and there have been no cases of violence,” says Kamlesh, the sarpanch.

Among the few from the other side willing to bury the hatchet, incidentally, is Karan Singh, whose scuffle with Jats triggered the violence. He feels the government has done enough, “families have already got their compensation”.

However, Karan himself now lives in Kaithal, over 100 km from Mirchpur.

The Hindu

End caste discrimination: Bhagwat



RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday called for ending caste discrimination and said only an equitable society can lead to a strong and proud community.

Addressing RSS workers, Mr. Bhagwat said development of family as well as village is of utmost importance as the progress of family and village is key to the country’s economic prosperity.

He also said that it was important to remove ills from society and steps should be taken in this regard.

Mr. Bhagwat also stressed on the conservation of cows and organic farming based on cow dung.

The RSS chief was addressing RSS state leaders from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh at Neri near here.

‘RSS never seeks report’

Lucknow: Rejecting opposition charge that the RSS was holding the reins of the government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the Sangh never asks for the report card on the government’s functioning.

The senior BJP leader said: “We are and will remain RSS volunteers. The organisation never permits creating differences on the basis of caste and religion.

“When we sit, we share with them as they have more experience, they never ask for the report card on our functioning,” he said on opposition criticism that RSS was indirectly running the government. PTI.

Asian Age

Quota failed to solve social inequalities


Sep 27, 2015 – Shehzad Poonawalla

The debate surrounding reservations has perhaps been the most polarising of our times, with a whole range of opinion-makers weighing in, either in support of or against the Constitutional scheme wherein the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, identified as such, derive much-needed access to educational and job opportunities in the public sector, that had been denied to them owing to their weak social circumstances.

Reservations were, in a sense the tool to right historical wrongs perpetrated on a large section of our people — the oppressed Bahujans — by a handful, of oppressor Manuvadis, who seemed to believe in a misplaced superiority, flowing primarily on the basis of a casteist, archaic doctrine called the Manusmriti. Today, the complexion and ambit of Manuvadi discrimination has widened and transmutated from mere casteism to sophisticated racism (against minorities) and classism.

The reservation system has emphasised on social and educational backwardness as being the primary diagnostic test or indicator for eligibility. The Mandal Commission, for instance, developed 11 indicators, of which four were for social backwardness, four for economic and three for educational backwardness. However, the economic indicators were given a weightage of just one point each while three points were given to social indicators and two points each for education. This left out a large number of genuine claimants of affirmative action to fend for themselves against the Manuvadi onslaught — Muslims, for instance.

Does anybody believe that the handful of Manuvadis who, on the one hand advocate the four-fold Varna system, of which Shudras and Dalits form the lowest rung, and on the other promote a xenophobic Aryan-Hindutva narrative that sees minorities and Dravidians as being below par, are only using this discriminatory system to socially immobilise and not just economically and politically sabotage power, resources and cultural spaces?

The reservation system has not gone far enough to redress the economic destruction inflicted by the Manuvadis on the oppressed Bahujan Samaj nor has it been equipped with the tools to judge economic deprivation.

Had this been the operating premise of our reservation system, today the Bahujan Samaj would have truly broken free from the shackles of discrimination and could have boasted of a far better representation in economic, political and socio-cultural spaces. After decades of reservation, however, the Dalits, the Muslims, the OBC lag behind others on every count. We are yet to see a Dalit or Muslim Prime Minister.

Today, the cannibalistic nature of the exploitative Manuvadi ideology has reached such levels that even the so-called “socially forward castes” like Patels, Jats and Gujjars are complaining and demanding reservation in jobs after having suffered economic and political exploitation under the Manuvadi system.

Their grievances are to an extent, genuine. Our reservation system can make suitable provisions to give opportunity to the poor among these “forward sections”. But, then, let us apply the economic criteria in its entirety and not piecemeal as anti-reservationist agents like the RSS, backed by Manuvadis, prescribe it.

When a Mohan Bhagwat from the RSS, which has traditionally supported the Manusmriti over the current Indian Constitution, talks about a re-look at the reservation system, it can only be dismissed as a ploy to do away with reservations in its totality. Their idea is to restore the economic bondage upon the Bahujan Samaj by depriving every genuine claimant of the benefit of reservation.

First, let there be an assessment and payment of reparations for the economic destruction of the Bahujan Samaj by the Manuvadis. Recently, we were all happy to see Shashi Tharoor advocating reparation payments by the British to India. So, why not this? Manuvadi exploitation dates back to thousands of years.

Secondly, let there be an expansion of the reservation system to the private sector. Patels, Jats, Gujjars are not complaining about low representation in just the public sector. Their main grouse is the denial of access and opportunity to white collar jobs in the private sector. Bahujan Samaj or reservation given to them has nothing to do with their plight whatsoever.

Also, let the arbitrary cap imposed by the Supreme Court on reservations in the public sector be lifted to accommodate economically weaker sections among the “so-called forward castes”, proportionate to what is justified by verifiable data.

Any genuine attempt to re-orient the reservation system to include the economic criterion must be done as part of a whole range of new-age affirmative action reforms, that safeguard the interests of the victims of the racial, classist and casteist onslaught by the Manuvadis.

The writer is founder member of PolicySamvad, a Delhi-based think-tank. He is an activist and a former official with the Union ministry of parliamentary affairs.

The Hindu

Sex workers to learn about West Bengal’s cooperative initiative



What started with a small initiative by sex workers with 14 members has in 20 years got 20,000 members in its fold and emerged as a successful model for extending banking facilities to marginalised women having little or no access to these facilities.

With Usha Multipurpose Cooperative, the cooperative bank owned and run by sex workers of Songachi in Kolkata completing 20 years, thousands of sex workers from other parts of India will gather in the city to learn the best practices of the cooperative.

On October 1, training programme on “Cooperative Development” will be organised where representatives of Usha Multipurpose Cooperative will provide inputs to sex workers from other parts of the country to replicate the cooperative model.

“Those participating in the training programme from Usha will essentially tell how the access to credit has brought a change in their lives of the sex workers who were earlier exploited by money lenders,” Smarajit Jana, chief adviser of the cooperative told The Hindu on Saturday.

A few months ago, the State government has awarded the cooperative as “Best Mahila Cooperative Award’ in 2014-15. The corpus of the cooperatives is now over 19 crore.

Executive Director of Centre For Advocacy and Research, Akhila Sivadas said the experiments such as Usha Multipurpose Cooperative were important and it had provided sex workers an opportunity to be credit worthy and set up their own micro finance institution owned and run by them through community participation.

“If these models succeed, then the rehabilitation of sex workers can be possible through these cooperatives,” Ms. Sivadas said, adding that the sex workers age very fast and the issue of rehabilitation is crucial.

She also emphasised that by the very nature of their work sex workers have “entrepreneurial” abilities and these cooperatives have a high chance of success.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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