alits Media Watch
News Updates 30.07.15
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We have responses from across the world and people are expressing their serious concerns about our interventions. Some of them has also contributed which enable us to clear out office rent dues. We are hopeful for some more contributions soon as per commitments.
We are overwhelmed and tender our heartily gratitude to all the concerned friends. Unfortunately we are still far from our immediately need of resources which ensure to restore our all the activities.
We also need attention and affirmative action from all friends and concerns to ensure/ find out some way for regular support to PMARC which ensure continue all the activities without any resources crunch.
Only our collective effort may make it possible. It is a challenge before each one of us as equal stake holder of PMARC.
· Dalits Attacked During Temple Fest; 12 Booked - The New Indian Express
· White paper sought on land distribution to Dalits - The Hindu
· Deport the hand chopper, Malekudiya association tells police -See And Say
· Caste shadows migration patterns in Karnataka, says study - The Hindu
· Education Plan for Rural Students Faces Fund Crunch - The New Indian Express
· 'Rampant harassment of children in conflict with law' - The Hindustan Times
· Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: What about the manual scavengers? -DNA
Note : Please find attachment for DMW Hindi (PDF)
The New Indian Express
Dalits Attacked During Temple Fest; 12 Booked
THOOTHUKUDI: Owing to the fallout of caste clashes during a temple festival at Vadaku Konarkottai near Kayathar, 12 caste Hindus were booked for allegedly attacking Dalits, on Wednesday.
As part of the celebrations at Kommandi Amman and Pudhuveetu Amman temples on Tuesday night, Dalits of Vadaku Konarkottai carried germinated plants- Molapari- in a procession through Mettutheru inhabited by caste Hindus.
They also burst crackers in the street as part of revelry. As one of the crackers fell in front of a caste Hindu's house, some caste Hindu youth pelting stones in retaliation. With some of them sustaining injuries in the attack, Dalits too hit back.
Police claimed that caste Hindus verbally abused the Dalits using the names of their castes.
However, owing to the intervention of the village elders, the Molapari procession continued unhindered.
Immediately, a police team headed by Kovilpatti ASP, Murali Ramba, rushed to the spot and carried out investigations.
Dalits too submitted a petition at the Kayathar Police station on Wednesdaymorning and demanded action against the Caste Hindus.
Following the probe Murali Ramba booked 12 Caste Hindus namley Mani, Murugan, Sangilipandi, Muthusamy, Murugan, Mahendiran, Veerapandi, Veilpandi, Murugan, Veeriah, Mahendiran and Vijayapandi under the Scheduled Castes/Tribes(Prevention of Atrocities) Act. on Mednesday afternoon.
Following the registration of the case against the caste Hindus , a peace committee meeting was conducted by officials of the revenue department during which caste Hindus promised not to attack Dalits in future.
White paper sought on land distribution to Dalits
: DCC SC cell president Uppari Ravi has demanded that the State government should release a white paper on the promise of distributing three acres of land to each Dalit in Telangana State.
Flaying Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for failing the promise of appointing a Dalit as the Chief Minister of Telangana state, he alleged the government had even failed to fulfil the promise of providing three acres of land each Dalit for taking up agriculture.
Talking to newsmen here on Wednesday, he said that the party would constitute in-charge to oversee arrangements for the Dalit students in all the social welfare hostels in the district. He said that they would conduct the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on a grand scale in the district.
He also said that they would abolish the existing SC cell in the district and constitute a new body and also mandal level committees.
Town Congress president Karra Rajashekhar Reddy, Mahila Congress president Gugilla Jayashree, and others were also present.
See And Say
Deport the hand chopper, Malekudiya association tells police
Dalit Liberation Movement objects to raising of 'untouchability wall'
Dalit Liberation Movement (DLM) registered objection to a wall raised recently that restricts vehicular movement between Ambedkar Nagar and Muthvinayagar Koil Street near bus stand here.
DLM termed the wall as 'untouchability wall' that was raised with an aim of restricting the movement of dalits (Arunthathiyars) from Ambedkar Nagar to Muthuvinayagar Koil Street.
However official sources said that the wall was raised by a private person in his land.
Moreover pedestrian movement between the two streets has not been restricted.
Police deny permission
Meanwhile, police denied permission to DLM to hold demonstration in front of Revenue Divisional Office on Wednesday.
Hence the representatives of the movement including its head quarters secretary Parimala handed over a petition to Revenue Divisional Officer Uma Maheswari.
When cited official's version that the wall has been raised in a private land, Parimala said that the "path was in use since the days of forefathers".
When asked particularly if it was a public path or private land, Parimala said that "Even if it is a private land, government should buy the land and make it a path as it provides connectivity to people of Ambedkar Street to municipal dispensary and Uzhavar Shandy".
Caste shadows migration patterns in Karnataka, says study
Karnataka continues to have a strong bias against Dalits, says ICSSR chief Sukhadeo Thorat.
Karnataka — one of the fast urbanising States with 38 per cent people living in urban centres, as per the 2011 Census — continues to have a strong bias against Dalits as reflected in migration patterns and access to education and employment, said Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).
Speaking on the 'Status of Dalit Development in Karnataka' after inaugurating the Labour and Migration Unit at the Indian Social Institute hereon Tuesday, Prof. Thorat drew from the Census data and the National Sample Survey statistics to illustrate patterns of exclusion and distress being a major push for migration.
The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data (2007–08) shows that while the rate of migration in Karnataka is pegged at 38 per cent, there are vast differences between caste groups. It is 25.7 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes (STs), 34 per cent for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), 41 per cent for the other backward classes (OBCs) and 38 per cent for others.
Significantly, it is rural-to-rural migration that is highest among SCs (73 per cent) and STs (78 per cent), as opposed to OBCs (58 per cent), others (42 per cent), and average (56 per cent). In contrast, SCs (14 per cent) and STs (16 per cent) share in rural-to-urban migration is lower than the average (21 per cent), OBC (20 per cent) and others (25 per cent).
"Typically, rural-to-rural migration is in search of agricultural wage labour from dry to irrigated areas, from subsistence crop areas to commercial crop areas," observed Prof. Thorat. While migration is not by definition a negative trend, and it could be for better opportunities, the reasons for migration show a picture skewed against Dalits, he said.
Citing NSSO data (2011–12), he said against the average of 4 per cent graduates and above being unemployed in Karnataka, a whopping 11.6 per cent among SCs do not have access to employment. It is 4.2 per cent among others and 3 per cent among OBCs.A similar skewed pattern can be seen in access to resources. Average size of landholding is lowest for SCs in Karnataka at 0.42 hectares, against 0.77 hectares for STs, 0.89 hectares for OBCs and 1.39 hectares for others. The picture is not any brighter on the non-agrarian side. The share of the self-employed among the SCs in rural areas is 6.7 per cent in private non-agrarian enterprise and 25.1 per cent in urban enterprise. The average in the two categories is 11.5 per cent and 41.2 per cent, respectively.
The New Indian Express
Education Plan for Rural Students Faces Fund Crunch
ROURKELA: Sundargarh district administration's bid to extend school education in English medium to rural students faces threat from fund crunch. Though the administration had decided to admit 500 SC/ST students from rural pockets in private English-medium schools in urban areas under the Urban Education Programme from 2015-16 academic session, logistics like accommodation for the children and transportation have not been put in place yet.
Initially, the administration targeted to enrol 700 students and later, brought it down to 500. To provide quality education to children from weaker section of society, the administration asked private schools to set aside 25 per cent of seats for poor children under the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act.
District Welfare Officer SC Sahu said in response to their advertisements, around 600 applications were received from parents. "It has been finalised to admit 310 SC/ST students in 13 private schools of Rourkela and 182 students in eight private schools of Sundargarh town," he said, adding that the children would be temporarily accommodated at available hostels and all costs including transportation would be borne by the Government. He said the administration is in the process of developing an Urban Education Complex.
Administration sources said for the entire exercise, an annual budget of `1.62 crore has been submitted, but fund allocation is yet to be made by the State Government.
Sundargarh District Education Officer (DEO) DC Behera said children would be entitled to free education and the administration would reimburse the costs incurred by respective private schools.
In May, Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia had convened a meeting where representatives of 93 private schools were apprised of the district administration's decision and RCFCE Act. They were informed that 500 SC/ST students would get admission in private schools of Rourkela city and 200 others in schools of Sundargarh town. It was also decided to explore possibilities for admission of 100 SC/ST students at Rajgangpur town.
■ Logistics like accommodation for the children and transportation have not been put in place yet
■ The district admn had decided to admit 500 SC/ST students from rural pockets in private English-medium schools in urban areas.
Poonia said the initiative would go a long way in building quality human resources from disadvantaged communities with thrust at the primary level. He said the targeted seats have already been reserved and various modalities are being worked out. About delay in admission, Poonia said the selected children are being enrolled in various schools and if needed, special classes would be arranged for them to make up for the time lost.
The Hindustan Times
'Rampant harassment of children in conflict with law'
Updated: Jul 26, 2015 18:13 IST
Children in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection, especially those residing in poor pockets, are facing severe harassment, mainly at the hands of the cops in Bhopal. This was found by a six-member fact-finding team, including legal experts and activists from across the state and country, after visiting seven poor settlements in Bhopal.
The survey comes close on the wheels of the alerts sent by local NGOs, including Muskaan and MP Mahila Manch. The team would now submit a detailed report on their findings within a month and would also take up the issue with state-level authorities, Mahrukh Adenwalla, a lawyer and juvenile justice expert from Mumbai, said.
The team — comprising Adenwalla, Delhi-based child rights activist Khushboo Jain, former chairperson of child welfare committee (CWC), Delhi, Bharti Sharma, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti's Asha Mishra, Indore-based human rights activist Kalpana Mehta and NGO Aawaz's Prashant Dubey — has also noted gross violation of law, including provisions of the juvenile justice act (JJA).
They found that even innocent children and their family members in poor pockets of the city were targeted whenever there was a crime in the vicinity.
Children in conflict with law are those who get involved in criminal activity.
"We found that children are branded as criminals, beaten up, picked up at will, kept in police custody without any formalities, not presented before the authorities as required and money is extorted from families to allow them to go," Adenwalla told HT.
Bharti Sharma said since the police were the first point of contact with authorities whenever there was conflict with law, they came about as the biggest harassers. "There is easy negative labelling and discouragement of children even at the community level. This deprives them of the opportunity to normal life." This, according to Asha Mishra, led children to drop out of schools.
When approached, deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Bhopal, Raman Singh Sikarwar said that the city police were "very alert" towards dealing with children and the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) was working in this direction with "due care". "We keep conducting training programmes to sensitise the staff. Our work of reuniting missing children with parents has been appreciated very much," he said.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: What about the manual scavengers?
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 - 6:50pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk
Little appears to have been done for the workers who submerge themselves into a pit of shit and genuinely keep the Bharat Swachh.
Panchsheel Nagar resembles a dumping ground with cement strewn all over and leaking pipes spilling out contaminated water.
When Janardan Patil gets home after cleaning up choked gutters in Mumbai, more filth awaits him. There's not much respite after he returns from his job of manual scavenging.
Patil's house in Panchsheel Nagar in the affluent South Bombay area provides a stark contrast. Past the British-styled architecture and five-star hotels that greet the eye, a diversion in Colaba leads to the harsh ground reality. Comprising of 155 staff quarters for the BMC-appointed sanitation workers, Panchsheel Nagar resembles a dumping ground with cement strewn all over and leaking pipes spilling out contaminated water.
The pungent odour grows stronger as one approaches the residential quarters. Immediately behind the building, a stream of filthy water pretending to join the drainage system runs parallel to the apartments. The stream, a few inches below the ground level, is escorted along with plastic bags, food waste and bottles on both sides. Patil's backdoor, also attached to the kitchen, opens up to it. The cooking transpires with the repulsive stench hovering in the air. "The drainage gutter is not at all adequate considering the capacity of the building," says Patil. "Time and again, the gushing water stinking of overflows into the house."
The residents of Panchsheel Nagar dread the monsoons. As the downpour sets in, the stream of filthy water overflows and swamps the ground floor. No matter how firmly the backdoor is locked, water manages to break into the one-room apartments. Food grains and utensils fail to escape its contact. "We cannot expect much hygiene while we are at work," says Jayashree Lakhan, 58, a sweeper. "But do we not deserve a break from the muck where we live?"
The main door of the apartment is attached to the passage, which leads to three toilets shared by approximately 80 people living on the floor. The toilets have not been renovated for the last two decades, say residents, and its consequences are unbearable. Normally, a person carries a bucket full of water in the toilet, but here, a stick is equally important as the toilet is often choked. "Constant prodding and stabbing in the outlet helps drain out the waste while attending nature's call," says Jayashree, who got the job of a sweeper after her husband passed away in 1993. Many a time, even the stabbing proves futile and the human excreta overflows through the toilet. "Imagine starting your day like this," she says.
Ramesh Haralkar, a noted activist, believes the nature of the job has "made us forget that too are human beings." As we make our way to the terrace of Panchsheel Nagar, the repugnant stench accompanies us throughout. The terrace, though, allows us to talk without holding our breaths. "The community that keeps the city's drainage going is meted out such facilities," says Haralkar, as the majestic Taj hotel, hardly a kilometre away, overlooks the colony.
There are about 35 such settlements in India's booming financial capital. None in sound shape. "These colonies are like factories producing sanitation workers," says Haralkar, who was himself one for almost two decades in the 70s and 80s. "The fear of losing the government house forces the next generation to carry the baton forward."
However, Haralkar remains an exception. "The humiliation I faced during my working days made me determined to keep my three sons away from the profession," he says, recollecting that the superiors never missed a chance to insult him. He has endured occasional physical attacks as well for demanding "humane treatment". "I told my wife I do not mind sleeping on the road after we lose the government quarters but my sons would not do this job. I wanted the society to be respectful towards my kids."
In order to circumvent his sons from his profession, Haralkar ensured they never drifted away from education. "It was the only way to break the shackles. I told them this house does not belong to us," he remembers. "The moment they completed their education, I asked them to move out and find their own places." His sons studied hard. One is now an MSW, second is a photographer and the third one is a journalist. When Haralkar was convinced his sons were fairly settled, he resigned from his job and shifted back to his native village in coastal Konkan. "They were exposed to a wider outlook. My heart fills with pride when I look at them today," says Haralkar. "Other than fighting for their rights, I spread the importance of education among sanitation workers. The mindset of not prioritising education needs to be done away with. Workers believe education is a waste of time if eventually what one has to do is clean up the gutter."
While Haralkar's sons successfully changed their course, children of most sanitation workers have not been able to pursue education due to lack of exposure. Sewage cleanup may have become mechanised in some areas, but government figures suggest that 770,000 people in India either work as sewage cleaners or are supported by them. The BMC has more than 4000 manual scavengers at its disposal to clean up in excess of 50,000 manholes in the city.
In gutters about five feet deep, workers stand in chest-high sewage and use long wooden sticks to clear blocks. Manholes, on the other hand, are as deep as 40 feet where the worker has to descend into the pitch-dark sewer and physically siphon out the waste. Some manholes are big enough to house a rampaging truck.
Ramesh Chavan, 55, who has been a sewer cleaner for all his life, explains the abhorrent experience of entering a manhole. "Human excrement, filth are expected, but we have touched dead dogs, rats, sanitary napkins and many more repulsive things with our bare hands," he says, as he gears up for another dive into a world beyond the imagination of a layman. He wraps a dirty handkerchief around his right palm, removes his t-shirt and waits for his colleagues to loosen up the lid. "It is impossible to descend without a few shots of cheap liquor. No worker can enter the manhole in normal senses."
Labor activist Milind Ranade says the job still exists because of widespread apathy towards the lower-castes, which remain severely marginalised despite efforts to end caste-based discrimination. More than 95% of sewer workers are Dalits, according to the government's figures. "Had an upper-caste [person] been entering the sewage system, we would have seen an uproar. But if a lower-caste worker dies, who cares?" says Ranade.
A law was passed in 2013 that made it illegal to employ such workers and directed rehabilitation with skill training and alternative jobs. Sounds fair. Except the enforcement has had little to do with the diktat. The law itself tacitly admits the difficulty in banning a job that employs lakhs of citizens who would lack alternative work. It specifies tests that should be conducted before workers enter manholes. "They earn around Rs 15,000 per month," says Ranade. "With no education, no skills, they could permanently lose their livelihoods."
One of its manhole tests, though, is simple: A candle is placed inside, and if oxygen levels are too low, the flame goes off. If there are toxic gases, the candle explodes. Assuming the situation is safe, workers must be fitted with harnesses before descending into manholes. However, Chavan says he has never seen the tests being carried out. "There is not even a first-aid kit available at the site," he says. "Broken bottles lurking in the way often escape the eye in the absence of a torch, causing scars all over the body. The filthy water pierces into those cuts aggravating the injuries. I end up with an injection of Tetanus every six months."
Implementation of labour laws is generally poor in India, says Mihir Desai, former director of the India Center for Human Rights and Law, a nonprofit organisation. Passing laws allows the Indian government to argue that it is in line with international standards, but authorities are less interested in ensuring that standards are enforced, he said.
A manual scavenger is exposed to toxic gases like methane, nitrogen and ammonia. Chavan says if he requests for masks, cap or gloves, the contractor ridicules and blackmails him. "They do not care if we live or die," he says, in a defeated tone. "Their kids do not have to work in sewage water."
Under the name of Narendra Modi's widely appreciated initiative of Swachh Bharat, we saw many celebrities being clicked with a broom in their hands. Irrespective of whether the road actually needed cleaning, the photo-ops were grabbed with both hands. However, little appears to have happened for the workers who submerge themselves into a pit of shit and genuinely keep the Bharat Swachh.
When Tim Robbins crawled through the drainage system in the popular Hollywood filmShawshank Redemption, freedom embraced him on the other side. For our workers though, anything less than death is more than welcome.
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, an educational and research organisation, found that an average of 20 sewer workers die each month in Mumbai from accidents, suffocation or exposure to toxic gases. There are cases where workers have been carried away by the gushing water. Moreover, 80% of the workers die before they turn 60 because of work-related health problems, the study found.
Chavan too, is enduring health issues. "I get breathless repeatedly," he says. "I have shared my experiences with many officials, social workers and journalists right from the time I got this job. Now, I am nearing my retirement. Other than the authorities, nothing has changed." On asked whether the expenses for an on-duty injury are covered, Chavan laughs. "Are you serious?" he asks. "BMC does not even care for a death. Getting hospital bills covered is a long shot."
Chavan frequently learns about casualties on duty from his colleagues and news reports. The authorities term it a "sudden death", shrug off responsibility and move on. Everybody knows the actual cause of the demise. But it is hardly discussed. Does it not send shivers down the spine of other workers? "Not really. We are used to it now," he says and descends into the 30-feet deep manhole.
News monitored By Girish Pant & AJEET