COIMBATORE: A teenage Dalit boy, who entered the sanctum sanctorum of a temple, was allegedly thrashed and abused by a Brahmin priest and his son in Mettupalayam, Coimbatore district, on Friday.
K Vinith had gone to the temple with his younger sister K Sruthi for special prayers, an hour before her Class X results were declared on Friday. He entered the main temple, took `vibhuti' (holy ash) kept on a plate and smeared it on his sister's forehead. The priest and his son, who were not present in the sanctum sanctorum, returned then and allegedly slapped him repeatedly.
The two have been arrested on charges of abuse and causing voluntary hurt under sections of the Indian Penal Code. However, the police are yet to invoke the sections under the anti-untouchability law (The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act) against them.
Despite the presence of a stringent law and numerous public campaigns, complaints of Dalits being denied entry into temples abound.
According to Vinith, he had gone to the Siddhi Vinayaka temple near the co-operative housing unit in Mettupalayam around 9.30am to pray for Sruthi, who scored 71% in the exam. Temple priest S Jambunatha Gurukkal, 49, had left a plate of `vibhuti' at the entrance.
``Vinith took a pinch of `vibhuti' for his sister when the priest returned and confronted them,'' said P Krishnamoorthy, advocate and social activist.
The priest asked Vinith where he lived. When the boy said he was from the Adidravidar colony at Nadur, Jambunathan slapped him repeatedly for entering the temple, Vinith's father Krishnan, a railway contract employer, said.
Sruthi was shocked and screamed for help. Then, Jambunathan's son Sugavanam ran in and joined in beating up Vinith. The priest and his son asked them to leave after warning them to stay away from the temple.
Krishnan lodged a complaint with Mettupalayam police against the priest and his son. ``We took them into custody based on the complaint filed by the victims,'' said sub-inspector P N Thangavelu.
The priest's family claimed there was no caste angle to the issue, and Jambunathan just lost his temper when he saw the boy entering and ``defiling'' the sanctum sanctorum. ``He did not have any other intention. He could not control himself,'' said his wife J Revathi.
Nagarajan Iyer, another priest associated with the temple, claimed Jambunathan merely punished the boy for entering the sacred area and taking the `vibhuti'.
Bhubaneswar: A dalit BJD MLA on Saturday alleged he was asked by Orissa Chief Minister and party supremo Naveen Patnaik to withdraw a case of atrocity earlier filed against the party's Kandhamal MP.
The chief minister's office declined to comment on the allegation.
BJD's Daspalla MLA Kashinath Mallik told PTI that "the chief minister asked me to reach a compromise with Kandhamal MP Rudra Madhav Ray when I met him at the state secretariat on May 26. I, along with my wife, had gone to him seeking protection as our family faced threat from Ray."
Refusing to withdraw the case against Ray or have any compromise with the Kandhamal MP, Mallik said "the law will take its own course. I will not withdraw the atrocity case against Ray under any circumstance."
Besides lodging a complaint with police, Mallik had also moved Orissa Police's human rights cell and other authorities seeking justice.
The dispute between Mallik and Ray took place at a party rally in Daspalla in Nayagarh district on Wedesday with both having filed FIRs and at Daspalla Police Station on the same day.
While Mallik lodged a complaint accusing Ray and his supporters of hurting his sentiments by using the term "Kandara" (a Scheduled Caste) against him and making objectionable remarks about his wife, Ray's supporter Prasanna Behera (a dalit) also made similar charges against the MLA and his two supporters.
"We have registred both the complaints (No-30 and 40) under section 3 of the SC & ST (Prevention of Attocities) Act, 1989. Both the cases will be forwarded to the court," a senior official at Daspalla Police Station said.
In another twist, Ray's supporter Behera in writing has told police that he did not want any action against the MLA.
"My supporter Behera has informed police in writing for a compromise. I have asked my supporters to withdrw from the case in deference to the advice of the chief minister," Ray told reporters.
Party sources said Patnaik had suggested to both Ray and Mallik to strike a compromise as the dispute between the party's MP and MLA was affecting ruling BJD's image.
When contacted, the chief minister's office (CMO) here refused to make any comment on the allegation made by Mallik, a SC MLA from Daspalla in Nayagarh district.
Tension prevailed in a Rajasthan village after two Dalit grooms were allegedly asked to step down from their horses outside a temple by some upper caste men.
Jagdish Barwa, who is from Barva community, had sent his two sons to a temple on horses to offer prayers before the marriage procession in Dolar village yesterday.
However, some upper caste men from the village objected over this and asked the two brothers, Chotmal and Ramhate, to get off from the horses about ten feet away from the temple, SDM (Keshoraipatan) BL Verma said.
The father, however, insisted on taking the grooms to the steps of the temple on the horses only. This led to an heated argument between the two parties.
The police force deployed there following a request by Barwa pacified the two parties and brought the situation under control.
Later, the villagers complaint that one of the grooms was not eligible for marriage as he was underage. After the verification, the younger brother, Ramhate, was stopped from marrying as it was found that he was 20-years old.
The Vadodara Municipal Corporation has turned down the demand for re-allocation of houses provided to the urban poor from Kamatipura area of the city as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
About 450 families have been given notice to vacate their houses from Kamatipura and Harijanwas slums in Fatehgunj area and move to Kishanwadi, where they have been allotted new houses. But many of these families now say they do not want to move to Kishanwadi, saying they will not feel safe there since the place was affected suring the 2002 riots.
When slum-dwellers led by a local outfit, All India Quami Mahaz (AIQM), approached the VMC officials in this regard, they were told that notices were served as part of the procedure and that they should not complain since it was being done in the most transparent manner.
But members of the AIQM claimed Muslims and Dalits have lived together peacefully in Fatehgunj area for long and that Kishanwadi would be unsafe for them. "About 128 houses were destroyed in Kishanwadi during 2002 riots. Also, our livelihoods and education of our children will be directly affected if we are shifted," said Yusuf Shaikh, president of the AIQM, in a memorandum to the Vadodara collector.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner C M Makwana, however, said the VMC would press ahead with its relocation plans.
"It is inappropriate to raise this issue at this moment. Right from the beginning, the slum-dwellers were kept informed about VMC's plans, which we are executing as part of Central government's JNNURM project of providing urban poor with proper housing. If they are saying they will have to live in the areas where they will not feel safe, we can only say the houses are allotted through a draw system and not by any VMC official and so there should not be any issues."
Mumbai: Rajesh Saraiya might be a name that is not known to many but for the people of his community, he is their superhero. Rajesh is India's first Dalit billionaire.
Born in a middle class family in Dehradun, Rajesh studied aeronautical engineering in Russia. Now based in Ukraine, he runs a multi-national company SteelMont Pvt Ltd that deals in metals.
"People have to change from inside. They have to change their ideology, their mentality and look around the world for what is happening. There are so many opportunities," Saraiya says.
It a conference organised by the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries that aims to bring together Dalit entrepreneurs, there are many success stories.
Saraiya's story is one of them. However, despite being a great achievement, it doesn't reflect the larger Dalit reality.
According to the National Commission for Enterprises in the unorganized sector, 88 per cent of Dalits and Adivasis were spending less than Rs. 20 a day in 2007.
In their own words, the event is not about the past but the future and the aim of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries is just that - to provide a platform to Dalit entrepreneurs.
"Dalits are second to none as far as intelligence and entrepreneurship is concerned. We only have to give them an opportunity," says J J Irani, Director, Tata Sons.
"We have been trying to bring together Dalit businessmen since 2003. After 2005 we changed the name and formed the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries," adds Milind Kamble, Chairman, DICCI.
Rajesh may be the first Dalit billionaire but given the success stories at this conference, there are bound to be many more 'Rajeshs' in the near future.
Anna Hazare And Medha Patkar: What Is The Difference?
In April this year the media went into a loud and vulgar rapture as Anna Hazare continued his four-day fast against corruption at Jantar Mantar in the capital. Hyperventilating newscasters repeatedly declared that the issue of corruption has "touched a cord" with the middle class. The circus at Jantar Mantar ended on a happy note with an amazing display of rhapsody for millions of urban, educated, elite Indians as they saw the government kneel to the demands of Anna in re-formulating the Lok Pal bill. But this was more than a month back. In Indian politics, one month is a long period. With a short public memory and an equally uncaring public attitude, it is easy to comprehend why another fast in another corner of the country has evoked minimal response. Social activist and Gandhian, Medha Patkar has been on an indefinite fast since last seven days at Mumbai in protest against the land grab at the Golibar slum, next to the Mumbai airport.
The contrast is striking. No high profile players, no well known public figures, no lavish tents, no Bharatmata cut outs, no mineral water bottles for the attendees and of course minimal media glare. All the goodies of Anna Hazare's protest are missing from Medha Patkar's remonstration. What is most conspicuous is the "wretched" clientele for whom Medha is fasting. Medha's indefinite fast is for the basic rights of 26,000 families, which dwell the Golibar slum. Slum dwellers! People who are a road block in the conversion of Mumbai to Shanghai.
Medha is protesting the blatant callousness of the Maharashtra government and its nefarious Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA). SRA is the by-product of the political-land mafia nexus aimed at usurping those living in the slums of Mumbai. This futuristic Shanghai has more than 60 percent of its population living in slums with Golibar being the second largest slum of the city.
The SRA aims to authorize private builders to redevelop slum land. The result can be anyone's guess. Private builders take up the slum land by force, forgery or on cheap rates. The resale value of these prime locations brings phenomenal wealth in the general property market. Even more despicable is the Clause 3K of the SRA, which gives a single builder right to redevelop a slum without inviting any tenders.
What is most deafening in this protest is the silence of the media (electronic, paper and alternative) which stood with Anna Hazare in his high profile fight against corruption. No facebook pages, no twitter messages, no hourly news updates. Surely something is amiss "now" as compared to "then". Was it the personal charisma of Anna Hazare, who was largely unknown to elite Indians till April this year, which drew the masses and the media? Or was it a will of the media to suddenly awaken to the reality of corruption in this country? It baffles me.
Surely, Anna Hazare's well-orchestrated (and hence well funded) fight against corruption was more appealing to the urban middle class Indian then a fight for the slum dwellers of a small locality of Mumbai. Although to evaluate the efficacy of a protest on the basis of number of people benefited by it is not only dangerous but purely foolhardiness par excellence! Protests represent the core values for which a society stands, not the number of people affected by its success. May be it is for this very reason that our very conscientious media fails to represent decisively the issues raised by Irom Sharmila, who has been on fast for the last ten years against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Having said this, it may be noted that media has played a significant role in "individualistic protests" like those demanding justice for Jessica Lall or Priyadarshani Mattoo. Although it is easy to find instances of media manufactured struggles in India if the victims are elite, educated or middle class but to say the same for this very media taking up the causes of the underprivileged, oppressed or rural masses is difficult. No wonder there is hardly any coverage of Vidharba farmer suicides or of atrocities on dalits across the length and breadth of the country.
In India the amalgam of forces that drive a protest are also an important determinant for its adoption by the media. In Anna's case high caste, elitist composition with a cosmetic supplementation by commoner Indians and fuelled by well-funded corporate driven NGOs, formed an ideal diet for high TRPs. A ready meal for media digestion! Unfortunately these ingredients of manufactured protest are lacking when it comes to core issues of human survival as in Medha Patkar's ongoing demonstration in Mumbai.
The role of media in a democratic set-up cannot be over emphasized. But with more corporate control it is not difficult to discern what this integral pillar of democracy will support or rather avoid to support. With economic liberalization the media has become an important tool to formulate, channelize and direct popular protest; and there lies the danger for an unequal and unjust society like ours. Highlighting the correct story is a morally responsible task that has to be done without fear or favor. Medha Patkar and Irom Sharmila need an equal share of bytes & columns as Anna Hazare or Jessica Lall's sister. Injustices cannot be compared, weighed and then sold to the general public wrapped in a piquant newspaper or an exciting television show. Discriminations cannot have different colors. Biases cannot be silent or loud. Inequality can never be less or more.
Source: Bhaskar News | Last Updated 07:27(29/05/11)
Chandigarh: The Confederation of Indian Industry will train 50,000 SC/ST youth in 2011-12. It will also provide jobs to the same number of people. This was announced by B Muthuraman, the president of CII, on Saturday in an interaction with the press.
He said that the CII was working with the Dalit Chambers of India and was aiming to receive 10-20 % of raw material and services from industrialists belonging to the SC/ST population. Muthuraman was of the view that India could achieve a GDP growth rate of 8.6% this year provided factors like monsoon, international economy, oil prices etc remained favourable.
The CII president announced that four CII Skill Development Hubs and 30 district level Skill Gurukuls would be set up. Out of these, five would be located in northern states of the country.
-- .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.