Dongaria and Kutia Kondh leaders seek Governor’s intervention


BHUBANESWAR, June 13, 2013

Special Correspondent, The Hindu

A group of Dongaria and Kutia Kondh leaders from Niyamgiri area on Wednesday sought the intervention of Governor S.C. Jamir to save them from the ‘mischief’ that the ST and SC Department of the State was playing to help out Vedanta by diluting the apex court’s order.

Stating that they had been betrayed by the ST and SC Department, Kumuti Majhi and Lada Sikaka of Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti urged the Governor that as the custodian of rights of all tribal communities in the State he should intervene and instruct the Naveen Patnaik government to quash the State ST and SC department’s order to conduct gram sabhas only in 12 villages.

The tribal leaders further requested the Governor to direct the State government to conduct gram sabhas in all the villages in Niyamgiri to ascertain claims and rights of their communities.

The government should be instructed to stop fear and intimidation tactics used by armed security forces in Niyamgiri hills to help Vedanta, which was unethical and undemocratic, they said. They further demanded that the State government should create a positive atmosphere so that their people will come out happily and participate in gram sabhas of all the villages and express free and frank views regarding their rights and claims.

The tribal leaders also urged the Governor to instruct the State government to stop all Vedanta activities in the area till the gram sabhas were conducted in a fair way in all the villages of Niyamgiri.

They told the Governor that the Niyamgiri mountain and hillocks close to their villages were sacred, as they were considered as the abode of their god, the Niyamraja. They were shocked when some people, without any knowledge, were talking to them about what constituted Niyamraja, they said. They said that the Niyamgiri mountain region and the hillocks were sacred and the centre of their identity and culture.

‘Instruct the government to quash the State ST and SC department’s order to conduct gram sabhas only in 12 villages’

 

Dalit boy forced to carry footwear on his head as punishment, wary Dalits flee #WTFnews


By Harish Murali | ENS – MADURAI

08th June 2013

Pechiammal (61), the grandmother of Dalit boy Arun Kumar who was forced to walk on streets where caste Hindus reside carrying his footwear on his head at Vadugapatti near Usilampatti, is worried about the future of her grandson.

“After my daughter Nagammal gave a police complaint against a caste Hindu youth for humiliating her son Arun Kumar, both have left for our relative’s house fearing for their lives,” said Pechiammal, who was seen sitting alone in the house at Vadugapatti. The village wore a deserted look on Friday, while the caste Hindus ‘closely monitored’ the movement of those Dalits who dared to venture out.

Narrating the atrocities that happened to Arun Kumar, Pechiammal said, “My grandson went to the Kallar Government High School to check his annual exam result. When he was returning, he walked barefoot following the ‘dictum’ of the caste Hindus, carrying his footwear in his hand. However, when he saw a group of students playing cricket, he stopped to watch the game. Unable bear the heat, he put the footwear down and stood on it. It was then that caste Hindu youth Nagamaalai spotted my grandson and forced him to walk carrying the footwear on his head.”

“What happened to Arun Kumar is not unusual. Since Nagammal filed a police complaint, the caste discrimination in our village has come to light,” said a cross-section of Dalits.

About 70 Dalit families live in a ‘colony’ (secluded area earmarked for Dalits) in the village. However, none of them are allowed to walk wearing footwear in the streets of caste Hindus. “We also walk barefoot to a ration shop which is located in the caste Hindu area,” said Alagar (33), a resident.

#India – Students trudge 10,000 km to complete school education #WTFnews


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Students of Gunukulakunta village who walk 12 km a day to attend school in Narayanakhed mandal in Medak district, on Sunday. Photo: Mohd Arif

Each student of Gunukulakunta village walks 12 km a day

What is required to complete high school education? If you ask the children of this tanda located in Narayanakhed mandal of Medak district, their answer will be to have enough strength to walk a long distance carrying a heavy bag of books!

Surprised? Believe it or not- as many as eight students of this village have walked more than 10,000 km each in the past five years to complete their studies from class VI to class X.

“Even if it rains, we have no choice but to walk from our village to Hanmantharaopet where our high school is. If not, we have to drop out from the school,” says Gunukula Teja, a student from the village waiting for her 10th results. G. Narasimhulu and N. Raju, who are her classmates, say that they have to walk 12 km (to and fro) every day to go to school. It takes about two hours to reach the school and return home.

“Our school works 220 days a year and we all attend school except for 20 days on an average. This amounts to 2,400 km a year and more than 10,000 km in the past five years,” says Narasimhulu. Not able to cope with the burden, just two months before the examination, Narasimhulu’s father bought him a bicycle so that he can attend special classes in the morning and evening.

“We have forced our elder daughter Papamma (senior) to discontinue education three years ago as we felt it will be difficult for her to walk that distance. But our second daughter Papamma (junior) is continuing her education and now entering 10th class. We get anxious every day till she returns home safely,” said Shantamma.

G. Krishna Reddy, father of Pavani, a first year degree student at Narayanakhed, has been on the edge for two years. Pavani is forced to walk four km every day (to and fro) among the fields to attend classes at Peddashankarampet.

“We are worried about her safety as she has to walk through the fields to reach the college. Now she is reluctant to continue education,” he says.

“Walking alone amidst the fields every day is dangerous and I am thinking of discontinuing my education,” says Pavani.

“The figures speak volumes about the hardships faced by the students. We have never come across these facts though we have been working in the grassroots level for the past one-and-a-half decade,” admits Ch. Mohan, founder of Sadhana, an NGO working on child rights.

 

Women of Koodadankulam – We do not want to be branded terrorists #Vaw #Womenrights


From
The Women Of Idinthakarai
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
Idinthakarai
Thirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu
Dear Friends.

Today, April 16,2013, we women, men and children, young and old will assemble under the leadership of our Village Committee to address a matter of urgent concern for us and our movement. As you all would remember, we have been raising questions about the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant based in Idinthakarai, the village closest to the plant for the past 600 days. Our questions and concerns have not been answered, our peaceful protests have been dealt with violence and suppression and we have been treated like enemies and anti-nationals.

Women protesting in Koodankulam

Women protesting in Koodankulam

Since yesterday we have been discussing the Department of Environment’s audacity in giving clearance to the impacts of water being discharged back to our life- giving oceans at high temperature and salinity. Don’t we all know that it will kill and harm the vital fisheries which provide food and livelihood to us all? We have also been very worried about the deal between the notorious Russian Company Zio Podolsk and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd which has led to the use of substandard materials in the making of KKNPP.

Last night as many of us tried to sleep in the Samara Pandal in the courtyard of the Lourdes Church we were disturbed by the sight of armed men entering the premises and loitering around. Not wanting to provoke them, we were able to understand by midnight that there is a drinking brawl happening just outside our village with the connivance of some local leaders and police. This is a matter of urgent concern for us as we see the beginning of violence and strife that they will instigate and nurture.

As you all know, our strength has been the steadfast commitment to peace and non-violence and we have chosen the path of informed and reasonable resistance after days of preparation and thought. One spark is enough to ignite the smoldering anger and frustration within us at the callous indifference, the criminal neglect and planned avoidance that we have been subjected to for years. We do not want to be victims of the divisive, annihilative forces of caste and religion, non-secular forces and criminalization of politics that has been happening in our country. We do not want to be branded terrorists and sacrifice our youth to become uncreative rebels whose life will languish behind bars.
This is what we want to reiterate today as we prepare for the crucial meeting. Our struggle is for justice and peace, for participation in democracy, for pursuing our livelihoods and life in this seashore village, for true development and progress.

Do stand by us and use all your capacity and contacts to build networks by which this message will reach the world

From Idinthakarai 16.04.2013

Anitha.S in conversation with friend in PMANE.
catastrophe64@gmail.com

 

Haryana- Dalits flee Haryana village after upper caste attacks


, TNN | Apr 16, 2013, 0

Dalits flee Haryana village after upper caste attacks
More than 100 Dalits fled a small Haryana village after being chased by upper caste goons, angry that a Dalit man had dared to marry one of their girls.
KAITHAL: As politicians and administrators in many northern Indian states were preparing to celebrate Dalit icon B R Ambedkar’s 122nd birth anniversary this weekend, more than 100 Dalits were fleeing a small Haryana village after being chased by upper caste goons, angry that a Dalit man had dared to marry one of their girls.

Meena and Surya Kant of Pabnama village in Kaithal were in a relationship for the past two years and they tied the knot on April 10. But their happiest moment in life turned tragic for the entire village. The marriage – with Meena, from a community called the Rods and Surya, a Dalit – led to a bloody clash on Saturday that forced Dalit men and women to flee, fearing violent reprisals. Members of the Rod community attacked Dalits, injuring 10 people, including seven cops.

The couple has been living in a Kaithal town under police protection following instructions from the Punjab and Haryana high court last week.

Even two days after the violence, Dalits are still in a state of shock and not ready to return to the village. Except a few youths and elders, no women and children were present in the village. Several have gone to their relatives’ places and a few are living in dharamshalas in Kurukshetra.

Ram Swaroop, a Dalit, said, “We agree that the marriage was against social norms. But why is the family of the groom and the entire community being targeted as we have no role in their marriage?”

He said it had become difficult for their families to return to the village under the circumstances as they could be assaulted again.

However, peace brokers were trying to calm things down. The two communities have formed separate committees to hold talks to sort out the differences and to restore peace in the village. Realizing that the couple could not be separated, the villagers on Monday started compromise talks.

Sarpanch Husan Singh told TOI, “As the couple remained firm on their decision to stay together, the villagers, including their family members, have left them to their fate. Members of both the communities held peace talks and I am hopeful that both would reach a compromise soon,” he said.

A villager, who had talked to the couple, said both of them ruled out any possibility of parting ways even though the Rods had been pressuring them to break off. During a meeting of village elders, 20-year-old Meena, a student of BCom final year in Kaithal College, made it clear that “she would prefer to die rather than separating from her husband.”

The sarpanch said it was impossible for the couple to enter the village as they did not abide by the sentiments of the villagers. Recalling the violence on Saturday, he said, “Some youngsters have attacked Dalit houses in a fit of rage but the village elders have sorted out the issue now.”

However, a Dalit youth, Lakhmi Chand, alleged that there was pressure on the Dalits to strike a compromise and not to press for arrest of the attackers.

“Both the communities have formed peace committees which met today to discuss the issue. The Rods are persuading us to withdraw the cases and assured that our security would be ensured in the village. But we are still unsure and our women and children are still away,” he said.

Kaithal SP Kuldeep Singh said the situation was under control on Monday and police personnel were deployed in the village. “The villagers from both the communities are making efforts to sort out the issue. The administration is cooperating with them in this initiative,” he said.

 

#India – A love affair is the reason for denial of work to Dalits #Vaw #WTFnews


R. ARIVANANTHAM, The Hindu 

Dalit women explaining their woes of discrimination at Deveerahalli village on Thursday. Photo: N.Bashkaran

Dalit women explaining their woes of discrimination at Deveerahalli village on Thursday. Photo: N.Bashkaran

Over 300 Dalit families of Deveerahalli Village, of Kudimenahalli Panchayat, in Krishnagiri district allege that they are being denied work by intermediate castes of the village and of six other nearby villages. The reason behind this, they say, is that a Dalit youth in their area had fallen in love with a girl of an intermediate caste from Sathinayakkanpatti under Damodarahalli Panchayat.

The girl is back with her parents after the youth’s parents wanted her to go back, as they feared the type of mob fury which was unleashed on three colonies in nearby Dharmapuri district, over a similar issue in November last year. But, the boycott of the Dalits of the Krishnagiri village continues though the affair had come to light in December and the girl had gone back to her home.

Intermediate castes have banned Dalits from working on their agriculture fields, brick kilns and other income-earning activities since then. The decision to bar them from such forms of employment was allegedly taken by a ‘khap panchayat’ — a council of older persons who issue decrees to their community members on matters such as marriage — consisting of the leaders of seven villages, in and around Sathinayakkanpatti and Deevarahalli, on December 24 last year, alleged A. Manikandan, district convener of Naam Tamizhar Katchi.

Many Dalits, who have also taken up the lands of intermediate caste on lease, for cultivation of crops, lost lakhs of rupees due to the economic boycott. They were not allowed to step into the farm lands. M. Kumar (37), who is District president of HIV Positive Network, said, “After the incident in December, the neighbouring landowner refused to give water for irrigating my ragi crop, cultivated on half an acre. I was forced to buy water from another village and bring it by tractors to save my crop’’. S. Salamma (45) of Deveerapalli village says she has two young sons to take care of. As her husband, a daily wage earner, has been rendered jobless because of the boycott, the family is totally dependent on the earnings from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) works and the free rice distributed through the public distribution system.

M. Chitra (30), mother of two male children, said, “There is no discrimination at the MGNREGS worksite, but the intermediate castes stopped speaking to us after the order of the khap panchayat”.

The decision taken at the khap panchayat allegedly ordered that Dalits should not be employed under the MGNREGS also. But, it was rejected by the village panchayat president K. Murugesan. Himself a member of an intermediate caste, he told the village leaders that he could not indulge in discrimination as the head of a local body. The parents of the youth and the girl could not be contacted for their comments.

X. Irudayaraj, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, and G. Sekar, District Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), added the police and revenue authorities should take action against those indulging in the boycott of Dalits, which denied them livelihood.

Stating that his inquiry found a boycott of the Dalits, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bargur, G. Gajendran said, on Saturday, that he would conduct a meeting between the Dalits and caste-Hindus. As for the love affair, Mr. Gajendran said that even before a formal complaint was lodged by the girl’s family, a police team visited the village and took all possible measures to prevent any untoward incident, and the girl returned to her parents.

#India – MGNREGA activist gangraped, murdered in Bihar #Vaw #WTFnews


 Adrienne Rich`s #Rape- but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best #poem #Vaw

Author(s): Alok Gupta, downtoearth.org
Date: Apr 3, 2013

Victim had angered influential landlord community of her village

A 45-year-old activist, who had been protesting against irregularities in the implementation of the rural employment guarantee scheme, was gang raped near Mandai Khurd village in Muzaffarpur on the night of March 27, the day of Holi festival. The victim died the next day while she was being taken to a local hospital.

The victim had reportedly became an eyesore for the influential landlords who have allegedly “hijacked” the rural employment scheme in the village using fake job cards. The activist (name withheld) was popular for her protests against the liquor mafia. The gang rape took place in a corn field when the victim was returning with her husband after meeting relatives.

Her husband was tied to a tree while she was forcibly carried away to a nearby field. The rapists reportedly tormented the victim for nearly half an hour. The victim’s husband was later untied by the assailants and threatened with dire consequences if he approached the police.

Enraged by the gang rape and subsequent death of the victim, villagers blocked the highway for nearly four hours. Rinku Devi, district secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Samiti, alleged that activists protesting peacefully against the incident were beaten by goons and that three female activists were injured in the protest on March 28.

“The tormentors stuffed bamboo and pebbles in the private parts of the victim. There were deep teeth bite marks on her entire body,” Rinku said.

Villagers are also suspecting the role of police in the entire incident. Villagers claimed that police is not taking action to nab the criminals. They also blamed police for focusing on maintaining law and order in the village instead of arresting those who committed the crime.

Second murder of activist in a week
This is the second killing of a MGNREGA activist in the district. In both incidents, the role of police has come under scanner. Last week, an advocate, Ram Kumar Thakur, was shot dead in Ratnauli village after he exposed a MGNREGA scam.

Police claim that family members of the rape victim did not report the incident to the local police station. News about the incident reached district police headquarters after protesters blocked the road. “We have constituted raiding teams to nab the culprits. Police would have been able to act swiftly if the victim family had lodged an FIR,” Arvind Kumar Gupta, additional superintendent of police, Muzaffarpur, said.

There is also a widespread rumour that the post mortem report of the victim has been doctored. Protesting villagers said that police are refusing to give a copy of the autopsy report. “Our sources have informed that post mortem report says that victim was not raped,” villagers said.

There was no arrest till the time of filing of the report. Keeping in the view the tension reigning the village, a contingent of police have been deployed.

Dalits stopped from performing Holi puja in Haryana village #WTFnews


Holi Festival of Colors, Utah 2010 - Chalk Exp...

 

 

PTI Mar 28, 2013,TNN

ROHTAK: Schedule Caste (SC) families were stoppped from performing Holi pooja and assaulted allegedly by the members of upper caste at Jahangirpur village of Jhajjar district of Haryana. Police have started investigation into the matter but no case was registered in this regard even after two days of the incident.

The SC families have threatened to leave the village if the accused are not arrested by the police after registering a criminal case against them. A sizable number of people of Schedule Caste today met Jhajjar district police chief, Anil Dhawan, at his office and demanded registration of criminal case against the accused, alleging that they had been living in a state of trauma since the incident while the accused were roaming openly in the village.

 

 

They also urged deployment of sufficient number of police personnel at the village to avoid any untoward incident. While interacting with mediapersons here, Brahma Nand, a man belonging to SC, said they had been performing Holi pooja separately from the upper caste for several years to avoid any untoward incident during the festival. However, “the people of the upper caste not only misbehaved with women of our families by using derogatory languages but also prevented them from performing Holi pooja on Tuesday. The women and children were also manhandled when they resisted the act,” alleged Brahma Nand. Poonam, a woman, said they would have to leave the village if action was not taken against the accused in this regard.

The police authorities should ensure the safety and security of the SC families in the village, she added.

Anil Dhawan told that the case was being probed as people of upper caste also suffered injuries in the clash.

They had also met him and demanded a fair investigation into the matter.

“Statements of people of both the parties are being recorded to ascertain the facts. No one found guilty in the probe will be spared,” said the SP, adding the case would be registered after the preliminary investigation. He said police personnel were sent to the village immediately after getting the information about violence between the groups.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE- Peaceful protesters demand withdrawal of police forces in Odisha


PPSS Update : 24th March 2013

PRESS RELEASE

From 22nd March 2013 onwards, more than 200 women of Govindpur village are continuing daily peaceful protest and shouted slogans opposing undemocratic moves of the government and POSCO in the village of Gobindpur in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha.

We are apprehending a police crackdown after the end of the budget session in the Odisha assembly on 6th of April 2013. Mean while, our villagers re-erected bamboo and wooden barricades at Gobindpur, Patana, Dhinkia and Trilochanpur villages under Jagatsinghpur‘s Dhinkia gram panchayat to prevent officials and police from entering the proposed Posco plant site. Addressing the villagers, our women leader Ms Manorama Khatua said that now we can go to any extent to ensure stopping of the project on our fertile land. She said that the women would henceforth guard the entry gate to Dhinkia area with their male counterparts to ensure no more demolition of betel vines takes place. She also said that our people are hell bent on opposing any move of the authorities to enter Gobindpur.

As you know that the presence of policemen was a cause of tension for women and girls at Gobindpur village. The state government has resorted to unethical tactics of jailing and lathicharging the protesters regularly. As women and children are at the forefront of the movement, regular lathicharge on women and children by paramilitary has become a norm. Over last 2 months though the administration declared that land acquisition would not happen ‘by coercion’, this region has just become a site littered with paramilitary camps with more than 12 paramilitary platoons. The constant presence of paramilitary in the area right inside the villages is worrisome and unacceptable in a democratic polity. A large number of people suffering from ailments are unable to visit doctors and nearest markets. Particularly the suffering of women with gynecological problems is deeply disturbing.

Hence we are demanding immediate withdrawal of policemen from Govindpur Village. To restore faith of its citizenry in Dhinkia & Govindpur villages and beyond, the state government must admit its excesses in the area.

We have also decided to launch hunger-strike from April 3, 2013 if it was not done. We call upon all political parties, social activists, intellectuals, and public concerned citizens, leaders to participate in the proposed hunger-strike.

Hoping for Solidarity.

Prashant Paikaray

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

Mobile no – 09437571547

E- mail- prashantpaikaray@gmail.com

 

Can the Female Sarpanch Deliver ? #womenrights #reservation


EPW-Vol – XLVIII No. 11, March 16, 2013 | Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Stephan Klasen, Jan Priebe, and Mithila Biniwale

This study examines the impact of mandated reservations for female sarpanch (elected heads of gram panchayats) on perceptions of service delivery and women’s democratic participation. Using survey data from Sangli district in Maharashtra, it finds that the availability of basic public services is significantly higher in female sarpanch villages compared to the male sarpanch villages when the former have been in the job for three to three-and-a-half years. Indeed, reservations have had a significant positive impact on the democratic participation of women in female sarpanch villages though the positive effects in terms of service delivery and democratic participation will take some more time to materialise.

Conclusions

we found that the male sarpanch had somewhat
better economic, social and educational status and better
political connections as compared to the female sarpanch. In
spite of this, the female sarpanch seem to have had interesting
and important impacts.

Equally importantly, we find that the political participation
of the women is a signifi cant causal factor in explaining the
services availability. Additionally, political participation of

women is higher in female sarpanch villages as compared to
male sarpanch villages for elections held both one year back
and three-and-a-half years back and such higher participation,
combined with a female leader, further increases service
availability. Thus, having a female sarpanch affects the political
participation of women in a village positively and it is likely to
be through this channel that the availability of services

improves over a period of three to three-and-a-half years. The
policy implication that comes out of this is that mandated
reservation for female sarpanch would work better if the time
period is increased from fi ve years to (say) 10 years. Thus,
instead of increasing reservation for women to 50% as has
been done, or in addition to it, it may be a good step if the
time period of reservation is increased as well.

 

Read the full study here