[MLL] PMARC : Dalits Media Watch - News Updates 20.12.13
*Dalits Media Watch*
*News Updates 20.12.13*
*Students disrupt Amartya Sen's lecture over campus suicides-** The Times
*Dalit supporters water-cannoned-** Church Times *
*Dalits plan contempt proceedings against Collector-** The Hindu*
*Orissa Revenue Minister questioned on land rights of the poor-** The Hindu*
*The big challenge-** The Hindu*
*Will Ambedkar statue be a tall order for Modi?-* *The Times Of India*
*Dalit Literacy Rate Up by 9 pc in Pondy-** The New Indian Express*
*The Times Of India*
Students disrupt Amartya Sen's lecture over campus suicides
HYDERABAD: A group of students from University of
disrupted Nobel laureate Prof Amartya Sen's lecture, demanding that
he talk on caste-based discrimination in institutions of higher learning
instead of the scheduled topic: 'Are Coffee Houses important for Education?'
The students under the banner of 'Raju-Venkatesh Joint Action Committee',
an organization formed to protest suicides of several Dalit students and
alleged caste discrimination, disrupted the talk for 15 minutes, soon after
Sen announced the topic of his lecture.
After briefly protesting in front of the auditorium, they marched in around
4.30 pm, holding placards that read: 'De-castesize education', 'Counsel the
faculty, not the students' and 'Say no to suicides'.Though the protestors,
who had black bandages tied around their mouths, initially indicated they
would carry out a silent protest against rising suicide rate among students
from marginalized sections on campus, events took a turn for the worse soon
after Sen introduced the subject of his lecture.
Angry students, raised slogans demanding that Sen, known to preach and live
by the teachings of Dr B R Ambedkar, speak on the discrimination against
Dalit students on university campuses instead of dwelling on coffee houses,
where Dalits seldom set foot.
The protest was the culmination of an online campaign endorsed by 198
people, which had started on December 17, requesting Sen to "address the
issue of discrimination in higher education and distinctly explain
institutional forms of caste discrimination." Amidst cries of 'Jai Bheem'
and 'They all want us to die', the students accused varisty authorities of
oppressing Dalit students and driving them to suicide.
In fact, some protestors even went to the extent of asking the Nobel
laureate to explain why he received a doctorate from a vice-chancellor who
resorted to "discrimination" on his campus.
Even Sen's curt response to their protest, on how agitations should be
about "presenting an argument rather than preventing others from speaking,"
failed to have any impact on the students.
"If I was told earlier to speak on the Dalit issue, I would have done so.
But considering I have no idea about this particular issue, it would be
outrageous for me to speak on it now. I am not competent to do so," Sen
While the students refused to call off the protest even at the insistence
of vice chancellor Ramakrishna Ramaswamy and some faculty members, they
finally relented after much persuasion by the university administration.
*Church Times *
*Dalit supporters water-cannoned*
THE Prime Minister of India has apologised to church leaders in the country
after police used batons and water cannons on protesters demanding an end
to discrimination against Dalit Christians.
The rally in New Delhi on Wednesday of last week was organised by the
Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, the National Council of Dalit
Christians, the National Council of Churches in India, and the Church of
Protesters demanded equal rights for Dalit Christians. Dalits were formerly
known as "untouchables", and are regarded as the lowest caste in India.
Addressing the rally, the General Secretary for the Church of North India,
Alwan Masih, said that the Presidential Order of 1950, which denies equal
rights to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin on the basis of religion,
was "violative of the fundamental rights assured by the Constitution of
A report from the Church of North India said that, during a peaceful march
towards the Parliament House, the police "brutally cane-charged"
protesters, before using water cannons to throw "cold and dirty water with
unbearable pressure". A number of protesters were "badly injured".
Among the many senior church leaders arrested were Mr Masih and the RC
Archbishop of Delhi, the Most Revd Anil Couto. Several monks and nuns were
also arrested. The Church reported that this was the first time since 1997
that bishops had been arrested for supporting the Dalit cause.
The day after the protest and arrests, the Prime Minister of India, Dr
Manmohan Singh, met church leaders and apologised for the use by the police
of batons and water cannons.
Last Thursday, the Revd David Haslam, convener of the Churches Dalit
Support Group, said: "This appalling incident shows again how caste
discrimination is still all around in Indian society. Daily news briefings
tell of threats, beatings, rapes, and house-burning. Dalits - Christian,
Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu - remain in constant danger, especially when they
stand up to protect their rights."
*Dalits plan contempt proceedings against Collector*
Dalits in Vellakoil block, who have been fighting to gain rights for
unrestricted access to the New Uthamapalayam Mariamman Temple in the
locality since 2010, have decided to initiate contempt of court proceedings
against the District Collector in Madras High Court.
S. Karuppaiah, convener of the Uthamapalayam temple entry agitation
committee, said the move was planned as the Collector, despite a High Court
direction to him on September 26, had failed to issue appointment
notification to lawyer B. Mohan, who practices in various courts, as
special public prosecutor in the case in which Dalits were assaulted by
non-Dalits when they tried to enter the temple in 2010. When contacted, Mr
Mohan said that he too had taken up the issue with the Collector on the
delay in issuing the notification to him.
“Without the Collector issuing the notification under Section 24 (8) of
Criminal Procedure Code, I am not able to appear in the court as special
public prosecutor in the case. Due to this, “absent” has been marked
against my name when the case recently came up for hearing at the Tirupur
Principal District and Sessions Court, designated as special court for
trial of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes,” he pointed out.
*Orissa Revenue Minister questioned on land rights of the poor*
Narayan Patro says there is a need to carry out reforms to do justice
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro had to deal
with innumerable questions pertaining to land rights of the marginalised
communities in the State here on Tuesday.
The questions were posed by several men and women from the backward regions
of the State who attended a meeting organised on the occasion of the
release of a report on a study on mining and land rights of the Dalits and
marginalised communities. The meeting was organised by the Development
Mr. Patro had a tough time in answering the queries that ranged from
multiple displacements to land rights for the thousands of landless
families in different corners of the State.
While assuring that he would try his best to resolve the land issues that
would be brought to his notice, Mr. Patro said the need of the hour was to
carry out reforms and bring a change in the system and mindset of those
manning the administration to do justice to the landless and displaced
people. The Minister lamented that despite the State government making
several new laws relating to issuance of record of rights in favour of
landless families and rehabilitation of displaced families, a lot was still
left to be done to streamline the system to ensure that the benefits
reached the marginalised communities.
Stating that land had to be acquired in order to ensure industrial
development in the State, Mr. Patro, however, observed that many Central
laws were still posing hurdles in the mineral rich regions of the State.
The plight of thousands of families who had been displaced by various
projects in the past was also highlighted by the participants who came from
different regions of the State. The need for reclaiming of the abandoned
mines from where iron ore, coal and other minerals had already been
extracted by various government undertakings and private companies was also
stressed by the participants so that the people who had lost their land and
had been affected by mining could be benefited in the future.
The Minister assured the participants that the government was trying its
best to give land to the landless under the Vasundhara scheme, and where no
government land was available money was being paid to the families to
purchase private land.
*The big challenge*
Ten years ago, when Rajiv Goswami died due to complications arising out of
his self-immolation bid as a student in 1990, online media attributed
martyrdom to him. His co-agitators fondly recalled their hero of
anti-Mandal protests, as they did the glorious days when police refused to
baton them-- ‘Yeh andar ki baat hain, police hamare saath hain’, was the
Not police alone, but media also actively collaborated with the
anti-reservation public spectacles, in 1990 and on every given occasion.
Absence of vocal intelligentsia from the dalit and OBC groups only
encouraged the casteism manifested through protest forms scoffing
bottom-of-the-hierarchy vocations such as boot polishing and sweeping of
Brazen parade of upper-caste arrogance they were in their form and content,
asserted K. Balagopal, one of the very few intellectuals trenchant and
unblinking in their support for the millions of oppressed people in the
But sane voices such as Balagopal’s which could have shamed the agitators
by holding a mirror to their undemocratic and greedy aspirations, remained
in bulletins from AP Civil Liberties Committee or ‘Reservations Protection
Thankfully, truth is available now for those seeking it. The newly
published compilation of Balagopal’s Telugu writings,
Drukpatham* , promises to shred into fine pieces and consign to dust, every
celebrated argument against reservations.
It is a collection of 23 carefully edited articles addressing the concerns
of oppressed sections including dalits, aadivasis, OBCs, Muslims, and
And the list of whose constricted thought horizons the book seeks to widen
includes not only students celebrating misplaced martyrdom, but also
university authorities, politicians, policy makers, civil servants, and
Nearly 25 years after the Mandal agitations, relevance of these writings
has not waned vis-à-vis the rock-hard impenetrability of the upper-caste
ethos still ruling the country. Opposing the skewed interpretation of
reservations as electoral hand-outs, Mr.Balagopal asserted the quotas as
the democratic right of the multitudes languishing behind in the social
order for centuries.
He demystified the concept of ‘merit’ by problematising the very
epistemological grounds it stands on. Apart from 3,000 years of cultural
capital, the ‘merit’ has behind it, learning convenience, caste-based
cohesion and unquestioned laws of inheritance with no precondition of merit.
Faith in the court-room justice and in the happy ending it would bring to
the sordid tale of discrimination, would take a beating upon reading his
piece on OBC reservations in central universities. A finely delineated
account of the Sachar Committee report equating Muslims with the Scheduled
Castes in all the comparable indicators of human and social development,
pits an inescapable argument for extending reservations to them.
>From calling universities and higher learning institutions ‘Modern
Agraharas’, to castigating the apex court’s judgment against categorization
as lacking in wisdom and reason, the posthumously published compendium
spares nobody. Chastised on a tad lesser note are OBC groups for opposing
Muslim reservations and Mala Mahanadu for opposing categorisation.
Published by Perspectives, the book is recommended for less narcissistic
introspection by forward castes; for deprived classes to develop a belief
in their rights; for more nuanced understanding of law by judiciary; and
for improving the honesty quotient of Indian society.
*The Times Of India*
Will Ambedkar statue be a tall order for Modi?
AHMEDABAD: A new movement among dalits in Gujarat asking for the world's
tallest statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar could test Narendra Modi's political
tightrope-walking skills ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Having anointed himself 'Chhote Sardar', the BJP's prime ministerial
candidate is in the midst of a record-breaking drive to create awareness
about the 182-metre statue of Sardar Patel being built near Narmada dam.
Barely days after a mammoth 'Run for Unity', some 3,000 dalits plan to take
to the streets across Gujarat demanding a similar statue for Ambedkar. The
rally will be held at Badharka, a village 10 km from Dholka on December 25,
the day Ambedkar burnt the
In Gujarat, nearly one lakh families from across 3,500 villages covering 14
districts will light lamps at home at 9 pm on December 25. The event is
being managed by independent dalit rights groups. Special paraphernalia,
matchboxes and candles carrying the message — 'Bharat desh ni sauthi unchi
pratima, adhunik Bharat na gadhvaiya, Dr
ej emnu sachu samman' have been distributed in villages.
This is a Gujarat-based movement, but could become a headache for Modi if
it spreads to other states as it is known that Sardar and Ambedkar strongly
differed on a number of issues, including reservation.
"If the state government can mobilize Rs 2,500 crore for the tallest statue
of Sardar from across the country, why can't there be a similar drive for
Babasaheb's statue? After all, he stood for equality among all communities
and a socially cohesive nation," says Martin Mackwan, founder of Navsarjan
Trust, which is spearheading the movement.
Macwan wants a debate on why Ambedkar does not deserve the world's tallest
statue. He wants this message of alleged injustice to reach out to the 17%
dalit population in the country.
*The New Indian Express*
*Dalit Literacy Rate Up by 9 pc in Pondy*
There has been a substantial increase in the literacy rate among the
Scheduled Caste people with the literacy rate going up to 77.9 per cent in
2011 from 69.1 per cent in 2001. The rural literacy has seen a jump from
64.3 per cent to 73.9 per cent while the urban literacy has increased from
75 per cent to 83 per cent, according to a presentation given by deputy
director of census operations, Puducherry, J Jayapragasam, at a workshop
here on Wednesday.
The male literacy rate has gone up from 78.4 per cent to 85.2 percent,
while the female literacy rate has increased from 60.1 per cent to 71.1 per
The work participating rate of SC has gone down from 40.2 per cent in 2001
to 38 per cent in 2011. More significantly, in rural areas, the rate has
decreased from 44.4 per cent to 39.7 per cent. But in urban areas, it has
gone up from 34.9 per cent to 35.9 per cent. While 66 per cent are male
workers, 44 per cent are female workers.
A total of 18.98 per cent of the SC population in Puducherry town lives in
slums, while 56 per cent of the population lives in slums in Yanam, 9.71
per cent in Mahe and 30.88 per cent in Karaikal.
While cultivators in the general population has declined from 3.18 per cent
to 2.71 per cent in the last decade, among the SC population, it has
marginally increased from 1.18 per cent to 1.62 per cent.
The literacy rate in slums is 82.37 per cent in Puducherry, 97.18 per cent
in Mahe and 83.78 per cent in Karaikal. The agricultural labourers have
declined from 55.36 per cent to 39.11 per cent. The percentage of SC
population employed in household industry as compared to other industries
has increased from 0.83 per cent to 1.03 per cent. In other industries also
it increased from 42.63 per cent to 58.24 per cent.
*News Monitor by Girish Pant*
Marxist-Leninist-List mailing list
To change your options or unsubscribe go to: