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UP: Tribals Protest In Mirzapur, Demand Implementation Of Forest Rights Act, Allege Harassment

The protest is being held under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has been working to implement FRA in the region for nearly six years.

01 Feb 2023

Tribals Allege Officials Use Forest Rights Act to Harass, Demand Money; Picket DM's Office 
Special Arrangement 

Lucknow: Amid slogans of liberty, freedom and rights, hundreds of tribal people assembled and carried out a rally at dense forest areas of Dhekwah village in Rajapur gram panchayat of Marihan tehsil under Mirzapur district on Monday, demanding implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and the withdraw all cases registered against them.

The protesters, who marched to the 'stone rocks' on the banks of Jharinagari Nala, also sought 200 days minimum work for labourers in a year on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) job card and Rs 600 wage/day.

Despite the icy winds keeping the chill alive, which brought down the temperatures, people from at least seven villages of Marihan tehsil participated in the protest. The protest is being held under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has been working to implement FRA in the region for nearly six years.

FRA is a law that was brought in by the parliament in 2006 recognising that in several states across the country, there are people dependent on forest land for their livelihoods and that the forest conservation related legislations and the lack of proper forest and revenue settlement process had worked to deprive people of their rights on forest land. FRA grants land rights to those tribals and forest dwellers who have been tilling the land for years.

"On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary, around 300 tribals — both men and women — assembled under CPI(M) banner to raise the long pending demands. The land of the forest is under the control of the feudalistic land mafia and so-called religious babas. Such mafias were grabbing tribal lands by faking documents and winning the support of the police and the government. We want a proper implementation of FRA by the Forest department," Rajnath Yadav, district president of CPI(M), led the protest, told NewsClick, adding that illegal occupation should be removed from the fertile land and it should be distributed among the landless adivasis (aboriginals).

Image Courtesy: Newsclick

Accusing the local police of allegedly engaging in multiple illegal methods of keeping adivasis away from forest lands, Yadav added, "Forest officials are preventing them from tilling their lands. When they object to these acts and stake their claim, they are threatened with false cases and arrests. However, religious baba Jai Gurudev occupied nearly 650 bigha land illegally, and nothing has happened despite notice served to him four months back."

He further says, "Former Marihan MLA Lalitesh Pati Tripathi also occupied 6,500 bigha land near Kalwari, which belongs to tribals of the region. He was also served notice. Another baba, Swami Agra Nand Maharaj, is in the news for grabbing land in Sakteshgarh. The intimidation, eviction notices, and fake cases are only meant for poor adivasis but not applicable on these land mafias."

The CPI(M) leader alleged that tribal people in Dhekwah, Darhiram, Rajapur, Marihan, Atari, Pateri, and Patehara villages are preventing them from farming by planting thorny plants so that they can not grow crops for their survival.

"The tribals have been denied their rights under MNREGA and FSA in tribal regions for years. We have been demanding rights for several years but to no avail," says Yadav, who has been actively advocating for implementing FRA in the State.

Meanwhile, workers engaged at the sites of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) have demanded an increase in work days from the present 100 to 200/household and a revision in the daily wages to Rs 600.

Dinkar Kapoor, state general secretary of All India Peoples' Front, who is also a petitioner in FRA speaking with NewsClick, said, "93,430 land title claims were filed under FRA, and 74,538 was rejected by then Bahujan Samajwadi Party-led Mayawati government in 2011. We then approached Allahabad High Court in 2013 under the banner of Adivasi Vanvasi Mahasabha, and the court ordered a review, but the previous Akhilesh government did not do it. In 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, and instead of reviewing, the Yogi Adityanath government started serving eviction notices to vacate forestland immediately. The eviction notices were not only issued in Mirzapur but also served in Sonbhadra, Chandauli, and Bundelkhand to harass tribals."

Kapoor, based in Sonbhadra, working for the rights of tribals, added, "In 2017, we filed PIL in Allahabad High Court, and the court stayed eviction and ordered for review in 18 weeks on October 11, 2018. The review process began, but COVID-19 stopped everything. It resumed again post-pandemic, but the harassment continued," he alleged.

On November 15, 2022, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Sonbhadra and promised to give the land title to the adivasis, but nothing seemed to be working on the ground.

All India Peoples' Front will launch Bhoomi Adhikar Abhiyan, where they will campaign door-to-door in Sonbhadra, Mirzapur region, to implement FRA.

Around 45,000 adivasis of at least 52 villages spread over 22 panchayats in the Rajhaua forest at Manikpur block of Bundelkhand's Chitrakoot district were served with eviction notices because their villages are located in Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary (a sub-division of the Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary in Bihar), which came into existence in 1980. NewsClick has reported from the ground during the 2022 Assembly elections.

Courtesy: Newsclick

UP: Tribals Protest In Mirzapur, Demand Implementation Of Forest Rights Act, Allege Harassment

The protest is being held under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has been working to implement FRA in the region for nearly six years.

Tribals Allege Officials Use Forest Rights Act to Harass, Demand Money; Picket DM's Office 
Special Arrangement 

Lucknow: Amid slogans of liberty, freedom and rights, hundreds of tribal people assembled and carried out a rally at dense forest areas of Dhekwah village in Rajapur gram panchayat of Marihan tehsil under Mirzapur district on Monday, demanding implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and the withdraw all cases registered against them.

The protesters, who marched to the 'stone rocks' on the banks of Jharinagari Nala, also sought 200 days minimum work for labourers in a year on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) job card and Rs 600 wage/day.

Despite the icy winds keeping the chill alive, which brought down the temperatures, people from at least seven villages of Marihan tehsil participated in the protest. The protest is being held under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has been working to implement FRA in the region for nearly six years.

FRA is a law that was brought in by the parliament in 2006 recognising that in several states across the country, there are people dependent on forest land for their livelihoods and that the forest conservation related legislations and the lack of proper forest and revenue settlement process had worked to deprive people of their rights on forest land. FRA grants land rights to those tribals and forest dwellers who have been tilling the land for years.

"On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary, around 300 tribals — both men and women — assembled under CPI(M) banner to raise the long pending demands. The land of the forest is under the control of the feudalistic land mafia and so-called religious babas. Such mafias were grabbing tribal lands by faking documents and winning the support of the police and the government. We want a proper implementation of FRA by the Forest department," Rajnath Yadav, district president of CPI(M), led the protest, told NewsClick, adding that illegal occupation should be removed from the fertile land and it should be distributed among the landless adivasis (aboriginals).

Image Courtesy: Newsclick

Accusing the local police of allegedly engaging in multiple illegal methods of keeping adivasis away from forest lands, Yadav added, "Forest officials are preventing them from tilling their lands. When they object to these acts and stake their claim, they are threatened with false cases and arrests. However, religious baba Jai Gurudev occupied nearly 650 bigha land illegally, and nothing has happened despite notice served to him four months back."

He further says, "Former Marihan MLA Lalitesh Pati Tripathi also occupied 6,500 bigha land near Kalwari, which belongs to tribals of the region. He was also served notice. Another baba, Swami Agra Nand Maharaj, is in the news for grabbing land in Sakteshgarh. The intimidation, eviction notices, and fake cases are only meant for poor adivasis but not applicable on these land mafias."

The CPI(M) leader alleged that tribal people in Dhekwah, Darhiram, Rajapur, Marihan, Atari, Pateri, and Patehara villages are preventing them from farming by planting thorny plants so that they can not grow crops for their survival.

"The tribals have been denied their rights under MNREGA and FSA in tribal regions for years. We have been demanding rights for several years but to no avail," says Yadav, who has been actively advocating for implementing FRA in the State.

Meanwhile, workers engaged at the sites of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) have demanded an increase in work days from the present 100 to 200/household and a revision in the daily wages to Rs 600.

Dinkar Kapoor, state general secretary of All India Peoples' Front, who is also a petitioner in FRA speaking with NewsClick, said, "93,430 land title claims were filed under FRA, and 74,538 was rejected by then Bahujan Samajwadi Party-led Mayawati government in 2011. We then approached Allahabad High Court in 2013 under the banner of Adivasi Vanvasi Mahasabha, and the court ordered a review, but the previous Akhilesh government did not do it. In 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, and instead of reviewing, the Yogi Adityanath government started serving eviction notices to vacate forestland immediately. The eviction notices were not only issued in Mirzapur but also served in Sonbhadra, Chandauli, and Bundelkhand to harass tribals."

Kapoor, based in Sonbhadra, working for the rights of tribals, added, "In 2017, we filed PIL in Allahabad High Court, and the court stayed eviction and ordered for review in 18 weeks on October 11, 2018. The review process began, but COVID-19 stopped everything. It resumed again post-pandemic, but the harassment continued," he alleged.

On November 15, 2022, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Sonbhadra and promised to give the land title to the adivasis, but nothing seemed to be working on the ground.

All India Peoples' Front will launch Bhoomi Adhikar Abhiyan, where they will campaign door-to-door in Sonbhadra, Mirzapur region, to implement FRA.

Around 45,000 adivasis of at least 52 villages spread over 22 panchayats in the Rajhaua forest at Manikpur block of Bundelkhand's Chitrakoot district were served with eviction notices because their villages are located in Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary (a sub-division of the Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary in Bihar), which came into existence in 1980. NewsClick has reported from the ground during the 2022 Assembly elections.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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K’taka HC says downtrodden still unable to do business like “upper caste”

The Court refused to quash a complaint against a man who threatened, harassed and used catiest slurs to intimidate the victim.

31 Jan 2023

karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court refused to quash a complaint against the accused who allegedly abused a Dalit for owning a resort and threatened to kill him if he continued to run the business. Justice K Natarajan noted that while the two accused who belonged to the same community as the complainant cannot be charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the rest of the charges were made out against them and the other accused should be tried under the special Act.

The accused were harassing the complainant who owned the resort and picked up a quarrel with him and even abused him. They threatened the complainant for vacating the resort, trying to interfere with the possession. The complainant even had an injunction with regard to the property. The complainant and other witnesses stated in the complaint that the accused while abusing him, said that he is a stone cutter and he should do the work of cutting stone and not do business, or else they will murder him.

 The petitioners were pleading for discharge of the complaint against them. The FIR was lodged not just under IPC but also under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The petitioners contended that charges framed under the SC/ST Cat are not correct and hence prayed for quashing the proceedings.

The court held that Accused no 3 and 4 belong to the same community as the complainant and hence charges under the SC/ST Act cannot be invoked against them; however the same are justified against the other accused. The court also noted that the accused came together at the resort and picked up a quarrel and abused the complainant by taking the name of his caste in the presence of others and hence the accused cannot be discharged.

In conclusion, the court observed,

“it is unfortunate to note that despite the completion of 75 years of independence of India the downtrodden people were not able to do any  business equal to that of any other business people who were said to be in the upper caste. The other caste people are still doing atrocity over the person who is trying to lead a happy life and to keep up the life and liberty on par with the other people.”

The court noted that the offence committed by the accused not only “affects the right of business as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution but also life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The order may be read here:

Related:

Undesirable but prevalent inequalities in India

TN: Over 200 Dalits Enter Village Temple in Tiruvannamalai Amid Protests From Dominant Castes

Dalit boy found hanging from tree in Uttar Pradesh village

K’taka HC says downtrodden still unable to do business like “upper caste”

The Court refused to quash a complaint against a man who threatened, harassed and used catiest slurs to intimidate the victim.

karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court refused to quash a complaint against the accused who allegedly abused a Dalit for owning a resort and threatened to kill him if he continued to run the business. Justice K Natarajan noted that while the two accused who belonged to the same community as the complainant cannot be charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the rest of the charges were made out against them and the other accused should be tried under the special Act.

The accused were harassing the complainant who owned the resort and picked up a quarrel with him and even abused him. They threatened the complainant for vacating the resort, trying to interfere with the possession. The complainant even had an injunction with regard to the property. The complainant and other witnesses stated in the complaint that the accused while abusing him, said that he is a stone cutter and he should do the work of cutting stone and not do business, or else they will murder him.

 The petitioners were pleading for discharge of the complaint against them. The FIR was lodged not just under IPC but also under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The petitioners contended that charges framed under the SC/ST Cat are not correct and hence prayed for quashing the proceedings.

The court held that Accused no 3 and 4 belong to the same community as the complainant and hence charges under the SC/ST Act cannot be invoked against them; however the same are justified against the other accused. The court also noted that the accused came together at the resort and picked up a quarrel and abused the complainant by taking the name of his caste in the presence of others and hence the accused cannot be discharged.

In conclusion, the court observed,

“it is unfortunate to note that despite the completion of 75 years of independence of India the downtrodden people were not able to do any  business equal to that of any other business people who were said to be in the upper caste. The other caste people are still doing atrocity over the person who is trying to lead a happy life and to keep up the life and liberty on par with the other people.”

The court noted that the offence committed by the accused not only “affects the right of business as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution but also life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The order may be read here:

Related:

Undesirable but prevalent inequalities in India

TN: Over 200 Dalits Enter Village Temple in Tiruvannamalai Amid Protests From Dominant Castes

Dalit boy found hanging from tree in Uttar Pradesh village

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TN: Over 200 Dalits Enter Village Temple in Tiruvannamalai Amid Protests From Dominant Castes

Heavy police protection was deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

31 Jan 2023
Tiruvannamalai Image Courtesy: NDTV


Chennai: Around 200 members of the Scheduled Caste communities entered the Sri Muthaalamman temple in Thenmudiyanur village, Tiruvannamalai district, defying a 'ban' imposed by the dominant castes.

They were taken into the 200-year-old temple with the help of the district administration and heavy police protection on January 30,
after seven decades of being ostracised.

Hundreds of members belonging to the privileged communities held a protest in opposition.

The village comprises 1,700 families, of which 500 are dalits, while the rest are caste Hindus.

Notably, this temple comes under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) under the Tamil Nadu government and is built on poramboke (public) land.

The Tamil Nadu government administers an anti-untouchability pledge on January 30, Martyrs Day.

STRONG OPPOSITION

As part of the yearly Pongal celebration, each community is slotted a day to carry out worship rituals in the temple. However, the dalits were not involved in this practice.

Some dalit youths submitted memoranda to the district administration urging intervention. In response, the authorities held peace committee meetings with members of the dominant communities before initiating the temple entry move.

The night before the entry was to take place, 500 police personnel were deployed to avoid any untoward incident. Yet, hundreds of
dominant caste people gathered outside the temple, opposing dalits' entry to the Muthaalamman temple.

They argued that around 30 years ago, an understanding was arrived at between the Scheduled Castes and dominant communities to worship in different temples, adding that there was “no need to break it off” now.

The district collector and other local body representatives held meetings with them on the spot, stating the temple was a common
property.

Members of around 15 dalit families who came forward to carry out the worship rituals took out a procession. They carried garlands, firewood, and other items for preparing the Pongal dish and entered the temple at 10:30 a.m.

While a handful of dalit families entered the temple with State protection, it remains to be seen whether they will continue to visit
the temple without any opposition from dominant castes.

DMK LEADER ‘ABUSED’ DALIT BOY WHO ENTERED TEMPLE

Meanwhile, a purported video of a DMK union secretary verbally abusing a dalit youth for allegedly entering a temple has gone viral.

The incident occurred in Salem's Thirumalaigiri, where a dalit youth, on January 19, had entered a temple maintained by the Vanniyar community. This temple also comes under the HR&CE department.

The DMK has suspended union secretary, Manickam for "acting against the party's policies and bringing a bad image to the party." But, Manickam alleged that the boy had entered the temple drunk.

Courtesy: Newsclick

TN: Over 200 Dalits Enter Village Temple in Tiruvannamalai Amid Protests From Dominant Castes

Heavy police protection was deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

Tiruvannamalai Image Courtesy: NDTV


Chennai: Around 200 members of the Scheduled Caste communities entered the Sri Muthaalamman temple in Thenmudiyanur village, Tiruvannamalai district, defying a 'ban' imposed by the dominant castes.

They were taken into the 200-year-old temple with the help of the district administration and heavy police protection on January 30,
after seven decades of being ostracised.

Hundreds of members belonging to the privileged communities held a protest in opposition.

The village comprises 1,700 families, of which 500 are dalits, while the rest are caste Hindus.

Notably, this temple comes under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) under the Tamil Nadu government and is built on poramboke (public) land.

The Tamil Nadu government administers an anti-untouchability pledge on January 30, Martyrs Day.

STRONG OPPOSITION

As part of the yearly Pongal celebration, each community is slotted a day to carry out worship rituals in the temple. However, the dalits were not involved in this practice.

Some dalit youths submitted memoranda to the district administration urging intervention. In response, the authorities held peace committee meetings with members of the dominant communities before initiating the temple entry move.

The night before the entry was to take place, 500 police personnel were deployed to avoid any untoward incident. Yet, hundreds of
dominant caste people gathered outside the temple, opposing dalits' entry to the Muthaalamman temple.

They argued that around 30 years ago, an understanding was arrived at between the Scheduled Castes and dominant communities to worship in different temples, adding that there was “no need to break it off” now.

The district collector and other local body representatives held meetings with them on the spot, stating the temple was a common
property.

Members of around 15 dalit families who came forward to carry out the worship rituals took out a procession. They carried garlands, firewood, and other items for preparing the Pongal dish and entered the temple at 10:30 a.m.

While a handful of dalit families entered the temple with State protection, it remains to be seen whether they will continue to visit
the temple without any opposition from dominant castes.

DMK LEADER ‘ABUSED’ DALIT BOY WHO ENTERED TEMPLE

Meanwhile, a purported video of a DMK union secretary verbally abusing a dalit youth for allegedly entering a temple has gone viral.

The incident occurred in Salem's Thirumalaigiri, where a dalit youth, on January 19, had entered a temple maintained by the Vanniyar community. This temple also comes under the HR&CE department.

The DMK has suspended union secretary, Manickam for "acting against the party's policies and bringing a bad image to the party." But, Manickam alleged that the boy had entered the temple drunk.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Tribals Allege Officials Use Forest Rights Act to Harass, Demand Money; Picket DM’s Office

Protesters said that those who refuse to pay forest officials were termed 'outsiders' or 'encroachers' and their ready-to-harvest crops or even homes were mowed down with JCBs.

28 Jan 2023

Tribals Allege Officials Use Forest Rights Act to Harass, Demand Money; Picket DM’s Office

Bhopal: Upset with the poor implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the day-to-day intervention of the Forest Department officials on their farmlands, a group of over 4,000 tribals picketed Burhanpur collector office on January 24.

Under the banner of the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) – an outfit that works for the marginalised in the Nimar division of the state – over 4,000 tribals carried out a long march between the District Hospital and the collector’s office.

24.01.23 बुरहानपुर ज्ञापन.pdf (510.51 KB)

They alleged everyday harassment by forest cops and the involvement of forest officials in the illegal felling of trees to mint money.

They also demanded proper implementation of the Forest Rights Act, better education infrastructure and electricity in their villages – which is missing even as the country celebrated its 74th Republic Day with glam and glitz.

After reaching the collectorate, the agitating tribals demanded to meet the District Collector Bhavya Mittal in a bid to hand over a memorandum and put forth their demands. But it was turned down by the collector who sent her subordinate SDM Deepak Chouhan and Lakhan Aggrawal, joint-secretary, Burhanpur Tribal Affairs Department, to meet the protesters.

The enraged tribal protestors asked pointed questions to SDM about the Forest Rights Act and its violation which he failed to reply to. A protester could be seen saying in a video: "The officers neither know the laws nor can implement them and have the audacity to take action against the wrongdoers. If they leave the chair, we can run the administration."

In front of the officials, they alleged that the forest officials and cops often demand money from tribal farmers whose land applications are pending and who live close to the forest.

Protesters said that those who refuse to pay forest officials were termed 'outsiders' or 'encroachers' and their ready-to-harvest crops or even homes were mowed down with JCBs. "Under the garb of implementing forest laws, they demand money from the farmers for running tractors and thresher machines in their fields. They are also minting money by selling forest produce and costly woods," alleged Antram Awase, a tribal protester associated with JADS.

tribal

According to Madhya Pradesh Tribal Area Development Planning (TADP), 1.98 lakh claims of tribals have been taken into consideration to review through Van Mitra App by October 17, 2022. Of these, only 34, 932 applications got approval while 1.09 lakh applications were rejected again. Remaining, 53, 517 applications are still pending, the officials said.

"The process to verify the documents and holding Gram Sabhas got delayed owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. We are trying to put things on track," said an officer.

According to the agitators, the verification process of their land rights under the Forest Rights Act is pending even after 15 years. In some places, land rights applications were rejected without holding Gram Sabhas or without Sabha's consent – which is a mandatory clause.

The agitators also opposed the New Forest Conservation Rules, 2022 which enable handing over of the forest land to the companies without the consent of Gram Sabha.

Apart from the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, the protesters demanded proper schools, electricity, jobs and a mandi in the tribal-populated Nepanagar town of Burhanpur district. Tribals are travelling to Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and other states in search of wages, they said. Families along with their children are becoming bonded labourers in the sugarcane fields by taking an "advance" of only Rs. 15,000 – Rs 20,000 for three months and also facing sexual exploitation. 

"The government, which spends over Rs 100 crores on two days of an NRI meet to entertain foreign guests in Indore, has no money to spend on tribals’ education, health services, adequate electricity and village development. This point is repeatedly highlighted by tribals," said Madhuri, one of the key leaders of the outfit. 

In the end, the protesters handed over a memorandum addressing the chief minister, appealing to him to stop illegal felling, implement Forest Rights Act, and provide education and electricity in tribal areas.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Tribals Allege Officials Use Forest Rights Act to Harass, Demand Money; Picket DM’s Office

Protesters said that those who refuse to pay forest officials were termed 'outsiders' or 'encroachers' and their ready-to-harvest crops or even homes were mowed down with JCBs.

Tribals Allege Officials Use Forest Rights Act to Harass, Demand Money; Picket DM’s Office

Bhopal: Upset with the poor implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and the day-to-day intervention of the Forest Department officials on their farmlands, a group of over 4,000 tribals picketed Burhanpur collector office on January 24.

Under the banner of the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) – an outfit that works for the marginalised in the Nimar division of the state – over 4,000 tribals carried out a long march between the District Hospital and the collector’s office.

24.01.23 बुरहानपुर ज्ञापन.pdf (510.51 KB)

They alleged everyday harassment by forest cops and the involvement of forest officials in the illegal felling of trees to mint money.

They also demanded proper implementation of the Forest Rights Act, better education infrastructure and electricity in their villages – which is missing even as the country celebrated its 74th Republic Day with glam and glitz.

After reaching the collectorate, the agitating tribals demanded to meet the District Collector Bhavya Mittal in a bid to hand over a memorandum and put forth their demands. But it was turned down by the collector who sent her subordinate SDM Deepak Chouhan and Lakhan Aggrawal, joint-secretary, Burhanpur Tribal Affairs Department, to meet the protesters.

The enraged tribal protestors asked pointed questions to SDM about the Forest Rights Act and its violation which he failed to reply to. A protester could be seen saying in a video: "The officers neither know the laws nor can implement them and have the audacity to take action against the wrongdoers. If they leave the chair, we can run the administration."

In front of the officials, they alleged that the forest officials and cops often demand money from tribal farmers whose land applications are pending and who live close to the forest.

Protesters said that those who refuse to pay forest officials were termed 'outsiders' or 'encroachers' and their ready-to-harvest crops or even homes were mowed down with JCBs. "Under the garb of implementing forest laws, they demand money from the farmers for running tractors and thresher machines in their fields. They are also minting money by selling forest produce and costly woods," alleged Antram Awase, a tribal protester associated with JADS.

tribal

According to Madhya Pradesh Tribal Area Development Planning (TADP), 1.98 lakh claims of tribals have been taken into consideration to review through Van Mitra App by October 17, 2022. Of these, only 34, 932 applications got approval while 1.09 lakh applications were rejected again. Remaining, 53, 517 applications are still pending, the officials said.

"The process to verify the documents and holding Gram Sabhas got delayed owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. We are trying to put things on track," said an officer.

According to the agitators, the verification process of their land rights under the Forest Rights Act is pending even after 15 years. In some places, land rights applications were rejected without holding Gram Sabhas or without Sabha's consent – which is a mandatory clause.

The agitators also opposed the New Forest Conservation Rules, 2022 which enable handing over of the forest land to the companies without the consent of Gram Sabha.

Apart from the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, the protesters demanded proper schools, electricity, jobs and a mandi in the tribal-populated Nepanagar town of Burhanpur district. Tribals are travelling to Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and other states in search of wages, they said. Families along with their children are becoming bonded labourers in the sugarcane fields by taking an "advance" of only Rs. 15,000 – Rs 20,000 for three months and also facing sexual exploitation. 

"The government, which spends over Rs 100 crores on two days of an NRI meet to entertain foreign guests in Indore, has no money to spend on tribals’ education, health services, adequate electricity and village development. This point is repeatedly highlighted by tribals," said Madhuri, one of the key leaders of the outfit. 

In the end, the protesters handed over a memorandum addressing the chief minister, appealing to him to stop illegal felling, implement Forest Rights Act, and provide education and electricity in tribal areas.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Ban caste discrimination: Ambedkar Intl Center to Seattle City Council

The AIC has worked closely with council member Kshama Sawant, the Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSAI), Equality Labs, and the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) to help draft this proposed ordinance.

25 Jan 2023

Ambedkar

The Ambedkar International Center, Inc. (AIC), a US-based civil rights group that fights against caste oppression, and other groups have asked the Seattle City Council to ban caste-based discrimination. The proposed ordinance, officially introduced by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, would put Seattle at the national forefront of protecting the caste-discriminated.

The proposed ordinance for the Seattle City Council would add caste to its civil rights laws, prohibit caste-based discrimination, and include protections against discrimination in employment, public places, housing, and contracting, said a press release from the AIC.
 

 

The AIC has worked closely with council member Kshama Sawant, the Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSAI), Equality Labs, and the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) to help draft this proposed ordinance. This proposal builds on AIC’s policy in Seattle and advocacy efforts to end caste-based discrimination and fight for justice for victims of caste discrimination.

“Taking up such a model legislation is the need of the hour; a raft of evidence shows that the evils of caste and caste discrimination is present in the United States”, said Anil Wagde, a member of the AIC. According to the Seattle-based AIC, the 2020 census data shows that the South Asian population is the fastest-growing major ethnic group in Seattle, home to a large tech industry, where caste discrimination has thrived.

“The proposal comes in light of a growing movement to recognize and stop caste discrimination in the States. If passed, Seattle will become the first city in the States to ban caste discrimination and add protections against it,” stated the release.

More recently, Brown University became the first Ivy League institution to add caste to its non-discrimination policy and explicitly prohibit caste discrimination, joining a number of US colleges and universities. The AIC’s in Seattle proposal is also being supported by Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas, Boston Study Group and Ambedkar Kings Study Circle.

“Such legislation will not only bring the evils of caste to light and how caste bias operates but will also be much-needed legal teeth for the victims of caste discrimination. We thank Council member Kshama Sawant for her support and CSAI for this initiation. We would also like to thank our policy advisor Sumit Anand for his guidance and expertise. We hope that other city councils will follow suit and these small steps culminate in a national ban on caste discrimination”, Anil added.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Ban caste discrimination: Ambedkar Intl Center to Seattle City Council

The AIC has worked closely with council member Kshama Sawant, the Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSAI), Equality Labs, and the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) to help draft this proposed ordinance.

Ambedkar

The Ambedkar International Center, Inc. (AIC), a US-based civil rights group that fights against caste oppression, and other groups have asked the Seattle City Council to ban caste-based discrimination. The proposed ordinance, officially introduced by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, would put Seattle at the national forefront of protecting the caste-discriminated.

The proposed ordinance for the Seattle City Council would add caste to its civil rights laws, prohibit caste-based discrimination, and include protections against discrimination in employment, public places, housing, and contracting, said a press release from the AIC.
 

 

The AIC has worked closely with council member Kshama Sawant, the Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSAI), Equality Labs, and the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA) to help draft this proposed ordinance. This proposal builds on AIC’s policy in Seattle and advocacy efforts to end caste-based discrimination and fight for justice for victims of caste discrimination.

“Taking up such a model legislation is the need of the hour; a raft of evidence shows that the evils of caste and caste discrimination is present in the United States”, said Anil Wagde, a member of the AIC. According to the Seattle-based AIC, the 2020 census data shows that the South Asian population is the fastest-growing major ethnic group in Seattle, home to a large tech industry, where caste discrimination has thrived.

“The proposal comes in light of a growing movement to recognize and stop caste discrimination in the States. If passed, Seattle will become the first city in the States to ban caste discrimination and add protections against it,” stated the release.

More recently, Brown University became the first Ivy League institution to add caste to its non-discrimination policy and explicitly prohibit caste discrimination, joining a number of US colleges and universities. The AIC’s in Seattle proposal is also being supported by Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas, Boston Study Group and Ambedkar Kings Study Circle.

“Such legislation will not only bring the evils of caste to light and how caste bias operates but will also be much-needed legal teeth for the victims of caste discrimination. We thank Council member Kshama Sawant for her support and CSAI for this initiation. We would also like to thank our policy advisor Sumit Anand for his guidance and expertise. We hope that other city councils will follow suit and these small steps culminate in a national ban on caste discrimination”, Anil added.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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Dalit boy found hanging from tree in Uttar Pradesh village

According to the boy's family, Gurjeet, the victim, was playing in the farm near the disputed part of the land when the accused men caught the boy, strangled him to death and tied him to a tree.

24 Jan 2023

Dalit hanging

Badaun: A Dalit boy, aged 10 years, was allegedly killed by a group of upper caste men over a property dispute in Badaun district.

The Class 3 student went missing on Sunday evening and his body was found, hours later, hanging from a tree in the village farm.

The incident occurred in Rafatpur that has a mixed population of upper castes and Dalits.

The present village head is a Dalit.

According to the boy’s family, Gurjeet, the victim, was playing in the farm near the disputed part of the land when the accused men caught the boy, strangled him to death and tied him to a tree.

The men fled after noticing a few villagers in the area.

The police said that the matter is being investigated and the body has been sent for post-mortem.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Dalit boy found hanging from tree in Uttar Pradesh village

According to the boy's family, Gurjeet, the victim, was playing in the farm near the disputed part of the land when the accused men caught the boy, strangled him to death and tied him to a tree.

Dalit hanging

Badaun: A Dalit boy, aged 10 years, was allegedly killed by a group of upper caste men over a property dispute in Badaun district.

The Class 3 student went missing on Sunday evening and his body was found, hours later, hanging from a tree in the village farm.

The incident occurred in Rafatpur that has a mixed population of upper castes and Dalits.

The present village head is a Dalit.

According to the boy’s family, Gurjeet, the victim, was playing in the farm near the disputed part of the land when the accused men caught the boy, strangled him to death and tied him to a tree.

The men fled after noticing a few villagers in the area.

The police said that the matter is being investigated and the body has been sent for post-mortem.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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How caste hegemony has meant boycott for 17 families over inter-caste marriage: Gujarat

Seventeen families of the barber (Nai) caste in Gujarat’s Bhiloda taluka of Aravalli district have been facing a brute social boycott by privileged castes after a young man from the community married one from their caste

20 Jan 2023

Caste

The Patel community has imposed a brutal boycott on 17 ‘Nai’ (barber) families of the Bhutavad village in Bhiloda taluka, even cutting off electricity to their homes, physical attacks through stone pelting and the threat of eviction from the village. Their ‘crime’? A month earlier a young Nai married, by choice a woman from the dominant Patel community and since then the social boycott has made the entire Nai community misrerable.

According to the parents of the young man, Sachin Nai and the girl, a girl belonging to the more privileged, Chowdhary (Patel) community had eloped and married a few months ago without informing either side of the families. “But a few days ago, Sachin contacted the family and appeared in front of Gandhinagar police station. But since then my son has not been able to contact his family,” said Subash Nai, father of Sachi to the New Indian Express.

“On December 9, I received the marriage certificate by post. As soon as the people in the village came to know of this marriage, they boycotted 17 families of our community and are constantly pressurising us to send the girl back else they will not let even a single family stay in the village. They have also cut off our electricity and pelted stones at the house,” he further said. Prabhudas who is one of the members of the 17 boycotted families said, “They have stopped selling milk and other groceries to the Nai families, children are not allowed to attend school, and even a pregnant woman is treated badly.”

“We tried to talk to upper caste males, they are adamant on not allowing us to live in the village,” she alleged and demanded that the district administration should intervene,” Prabhudas said.District Collector Narendra Meena said, “On Wednesday evening, the issue was brought to my knowledge. I have instructed the SDM and local officers to address the issue within 24 hours.”

Who are the Nais?

Nais (the barber caste), also known as Sain/Sen, is a generic term for occupational castes of barbers. The name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word nāpita (नापित).  In modern times Nai in northern India refer to themselves as "Sain" instead of Nai. The Nai caste has been listed as an Other Backward Classes in various regions of India including the state of Gujarat. These include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi NCR, Goa, Jharkand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura,, Uttarachal, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.

The traditional occupation of Nais is barbering. The barber also has duties in connection with births, marriages and other festive occasions. Typically and ironically, the Hindu caste order, while having utilitarian even ‘customary’ roles for individuals like barbers from the more depressed castes, is still rigid and exclusionary when it comes to marriage and co-habitation as the plight of these 17 families from Bhiloda reveals. Nais even at times, act as the ‘Brahmin’s assistant’, and perform marriages for the lower castes, who cannot employ a Brahmin!!

 

Related:

MP: Dalit boy dies by suicide, blames teacher’s casteist remarks

TN: Dalit youth dies by suicide after ‘upper caste’ men violently attacked him

 

How caste hegemony has meant boycott for 17 families over inter-caste marriage: Gujarat

Seventeen families of the barber (Nai) caste in Gujarat’s Bhiloda taluka of Aravalli district have been facing a brute social boycott by privileged castes after a young man from the community married one from their caste

Caste

The Patel community has imposed a brutal boycott on 17 ‘Nai’ (barber) families of the Bhutavad village in Bhiloda taluka, even cutting off electricity to their homes, physical attacks through stone pelting and the threat of eviction from the village. Their ‘crime’? A month earlier a young Nai married, by choice a woman from the dominant Patel community and since then the social boycott has made the entire Nai community misrerable.

According to the parents of the young man, Sachin Nai and the girl, a girl belonging to the more privileged, Chowdhary (Patel) community had eloped and married a few months ago without informing either side of the families. “But a few days ago, Sachin contacted the family and appeared in front of Gandhinagar police station. But since then my son has not been able to contact his family,” said Subash Nai, father of Sachi to the New Indian Express.

“On December 9, I received the marriage certificate by post. As soon as the people in the village came to know of this marriage, they boycotted 17 families of our community and are constantly pressurising us to send the girl back else they will not let even a single family stay in the village. They have also cut off our electricity and pelted stones at the house,” he further said. Prabhudas who is one of the members of the 17 boycotted families said, “They have stopped selling milk and other groceries to the Nai families, children are not allowed to attend school, and even a pregnant woman is treated badly.”

“We tried to talk to upper caste males, they are adamant on not allowing us to live in the village,” she alleged and demanded that the district administration should intervene,” Prabhudas said.District Collector Narendra Meena said, “On Wednesday evening, the issue was brought to my knowledge. I have instructed the SDM and local officers to address the issue within 24 hours.”

Who are the Nais?

Nais (the barber caste), also known as Sain/Sen, is a generic term for occupational castes of barbers. The name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word nāpita (नापित).  In modern times Nai in northern India refer to themselves as "Sain" instead of Nai. The Nai caste has been listed as an Other Backward Classes in various regions of India including the state of Gujarat. These include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi NCR, Goa, Jharkand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura,, Uttarachal, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.

The traditional occupation of Nais is barbering. The barber also has duties in connection with births, marriages and other festive occasions. Typically and ironically, the Hindu caste order, while having utilitarian even ‘customary’ roles for individuals like barbers from the more depressed castes, is still rigid and exclusionary when it comes to marriage and co-habitation as the plight of these 17 families from Bhiloda reveals. Nais even at times, act as the ‘Brahmin’s assistant’, and perform marriages for the lower castes, who cannot employ a Brahmin!!

 

Related:

MP: Dalit boy dies by suicide, blames teacher’s casteist remarks

TN: Dalit youth dies by suicide after ‘upper caste’ men violently attacked him

 

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Student groups clash in Lucknow University on Rohith Vemula’s death anniversary

Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar, hanged himself in his hostel room on January 17, 2016

18 Jan 2023

Rohith vemula

Lucknow: Eight years after his death, clashes broke out between two student groups at Lucknow University over an event to commemorate the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula.

The two student organisations got into a heated argument and raised slogans against each other. However, the police and the university administration intervened and separated both the groups.

Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Ph.D scholar, hanged himself in his hostel room on January 17, 2016, 12 days after he was expelled from the hostel.

He was one among the five research scholars suspended by the Hyderabad Central University administration. All five of them were accused of assaulting an ABVP student leader.

His death triggered widespread protests across India as a case of discrimination against Dalit students.

The student groups, belonging to different ideologies, clashed when one group blamed the other for driving the Dalit student to end his life.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Student groups clash in Lucknow University on Rohith Vemula’s death anniversary

Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar, hanged himself in his hostel room on January 17, 2016

Rohith vemula

Lucknow: Eight years after his death, clashes broke out between two student groups at Lucknow University over an event to commemorate the death anniversary of Rohith Vemula.

The two student organisations got into a heated argument and raised slogans against each other. However, the police and the university administration intervened and separated both the groups.

Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Ph.D scholar, hanged himself in his hostel room on January 17, 2016, 12 days after he was expelled from the hostel.

He was one among the five research scholars suspended by the Hyderabad Central University administration. All five of them were accused of assaulting an ABVP student leader.

His death triggered widespread protests across India as a case of discrimination against Dalit students.

The student groups, belonging to different ideologies, clashed when one group blamed the other for driving the Dalit student to end his life.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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MP: Promises CM Made in 2016 Still Unfulfilled, Alleges SC/ST Employee Association

The organisation has threatened a massive protest on February 26 in Bhopal.

18 Jan 2023

MP

Bhopal: After Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation row and Karni Sena's anti-reservation protest last week, resentment is brewing among two lakh Schedule Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) government employees in the election year.

The AJJAKS, a union of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe Employees, on Sunday announced to hold a massive rally (SC/ST Samagam) on February 26 in Bhopal against Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government.

The decision to hold the rally was taken in a meeting of block presidents, and office bearers of the union held on Sunday at Bhopal's Ravindra Bhawan.

Speaking to Newsclick, General Secretary of AJJAKS, SL Suryavanshi, said, "The promises chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made on June 12, 2016, to the employees of reserved community in a public rally are still unfulfilled. He promised reservations in all government hirings, reservations in promotions, hiring on backlog reserved seats and others. On his direction, the General Administrative Department framed rules for reservations in promotions and a roaster system in 2017, but he didn't intend to implement it. It has been six years since."

"Chief minister Chouhan is compelled to fulfil the promises he made publicly," he lamented.

"The reservation in Health, Finance, Co-operative Departments, District Courts and government medical colleges has been revoked. Besides, there is no reservation for outsourced employees. Every provision of the Reservation Act 1994 is being violated by this government."

"Not just that," He further said, "The constitutional rights of the SC/ST community are being stripped away. They are facing discrimination on postings and mental harassment at workplaces."

CM Chouhan's announcement on June 12, 2016, is significant in many ways. It was the same public rally where CM Chouhan made "Jab Tak Mai Hu, Koi Mai Ka Laal Reservation Khatam Nahi Kar Sakta...." to end the suspension over the reservation of the SC/ST Community. But it upsets the general category voters who allegedly voted against the BJP in the 2018 elections and drove out the saffron party from the state.

The office bearers of AJJAKS claimed that they had submitted memorandums at the block and district levels. "If our demands are not met by January 29, we will hold a rally on February 26 in Bhopal to ring the last alarm to the ruling government," said Vinod Singh Batti, Bhopal district president, AJJAKS to NewsClick.

When asked the reasons for CM Chouhan's reluctance to deliver the promises, he explained, "Leaders and officials of upper castes have deluded him that this move can backfire and can enrage the voters of the general category again, which is not true."

Facing flak from the voters of the Rajput community for his 2016 'Mai Ka Laal' remark, chief minister Chouhan on January 5, 2023, announced a government holiday to mark the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap, construction of a memorial after queen Padmavati, withdrawal of cases lodged against members of the Rajput community during the protest of film Padmavat, a hostel for the poor upper-class students, rebate in examination fee for upper-class students on the lines of SCs/STs and others.

He made the announcement when Karni Sena announced to protest against the government on January 8 at Bhopal's Jamboree Maidan.

Not just that, Chief Minister Chouhan also laid the foundation stone of the Padmavati memorial the same day. Yet, a section of Karni Sena broke apart and decided to protest at Jamboree Maidan as per the decided schedule of January 8, 2023.

The Karni Sena is a well-known right-wing organisation backed by the BJP. The organisation came to light in 2017 during the agitation of the Hindi film Padmavat produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

With 21 demands, under the banner of Karni Sena Pariwar Sarva Samaj led by one Jeevan Singh Sherpur of Ratlam, launched an intense protest at Bhopal's Jamboree Maidan from the night of January 7.

They were demanding a law for the protection of interests of the general category and OBC persons on the lines of the SC/ST Act, age relaxation in recruitments to general category students, not increasing the retirement age of government employees, early recruitments on vacant posts, relaxation of criteria in EWS quota, retracting of cases against Karni Sena members who participated in agitation against movie Padmavat and in farmers' agitation.

demad

The BJP, which has already been facing allegations of being anti-reservation, the 'softness' of the government with the agitating Karni Sena members added fuel to the fire.

Commenting over the Karni Sena's recent protest, SL Suryavanshi said, "The BJP government, which quelled the OBC reservation protests with an iron hand, offered juice, food and protection to the protestors for days who openly abused CM Chouhan' deceased mother and spoke against the constitution."

Justifying his demands, he further said that Karni Sena's demand is not only unconstitutional but irrational. "The reservation has been granted based on social inequality, caste-based discrimination, not based on financial condition."

The financial status of the person does not improve the caste discrimination in society, he said.

"Those advocating for the reservation on the economic background should first guarantee the end of caste-based discrimination. Can they do it?" he lamented.

According to the 2011 census, Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 37 % of the population. Both communities have over two lakh government employees who have sway over the 10 lakh voters.

Courtesy: Newsclick

MP: Promises CM Made in 2016 Still Unfulfilled, Alleges SC/ST Employee Association

The organisation has threatened a massive protest on February 26 in Bhopal.

MP

Bhopal: After Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation row and Karni Sena's anti-reservation protest last week, resentment is brewing among two lakh Schedule Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) government employees in the election year.

The AJJAKS, a union of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe Employees, on Sunday announced to hold a massive rally (SC/ST Samagam) on February 26 in Bhopal against Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government.

The decision to hold the rally was taken in a meeting of block presidents, and office bearers of the union held on Sunday at Bhopal's Ravindra Bhawan.

Speaking to Newsclick, General Secretary of AJJAKS, SL Suryavanshi, said, "The promises chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made on June 12, 2016, to the employees of reserved community in a public rally are still unfulfilled. He promised reservations in all government hirings, reservations in promotions, hiring on backlog reserved seats and others. On his direction, the General Administrative Department framed rules for reservations in promotions and a roaster system in 2017, but he didn't intend to implement it. It has been six years since."

"Chief minister Chouhan is compelled to fulfil the promises he made publicly," he lamented.

"The reservation in Health, Finance, Co-operative Departments, District Courts and government medical colleges has been revoked. Besides, there is no reservation for outsourced employees. Every provision of the Reservation Act 1994 is being violated by this government."

"Not just that," He further said, "The constitutional rights of the SC/ST community are being stripped away. They are facing discrimination on postings and mental harassment at workplaces."

CM Chouhan's announcement on June 12, 2016, is significant in many ways. It was the same public rally where CM Chouhan made "Jab Tak Mai Hu, Koi Mai Ka Laal Reservation Khatam Nahi Kar Sakta...." to end the suspension over the reservation of the SC/ST Community. But it upsets the general category voters who allegedly voted against the BJP in the 2018 elections and drove out the saffron party from the state.

The office bearers of AJJAKS claimed that they had submitted memorandums at the block and district levels. "If our demands are not met by January 29, we will hold a rally on February 26 in Bhopal to ring the last alarm to the ruling government," said Vinod Singh Batti, Bhopal district president, AJJAKS to NewsClick.

When asked the reasons for CM Chouhan's reluctance to deliver the promises, he explained, "Leaders and officials of upper castes have deluded him that this move can backfire and can enrage the voters of the general category again, which is not true."

Facing flak from the voters of the Rajput community for his 2016 'Mai Ka Laal' remark, chief minister Chouhan on January 5, 2023, announced a government holiday to mark the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap, construction of a memorial after queen Padmavati, withdrawal of cases lodged against members of the Rajput community during the protest of film Padmavat, a hostel for the poor upper-class students, rebate in examination fee for upper-class students on the lines of SCs/STs and others.

He made the announcement when Karni Sena announced to protest against the government on January 8 at Bhopal's Jamboree Maidan.

Not just that, Chief Minister Chouhan also laid the foundation stone of the Padmavati memorial the same day. Yet, a section of Karni Sena broke apart and decided to protest at Jamboree Maidan as per the decided schedule of January 8, 2023.

The Karni Sena is a well-known right-wing organisation backed by the BJP. The organisation came to light in 2017 during the agitation of the Hindi film Padmavat produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

With 21 demands, under the banner of Karni Sena Pariwar Sarva Samaj led by one Jeevan Singh Sherpur of Ratlam, launched an intense protest at Bhopal's Jamboree Maidan from the night of January 7.

They were demanding a law for the protection of interests of the general category and OBC persons on the lines of the SC/ST Act, age relaxation in recruitments to general category students, not increasing the retirement age of government employees, early recruitments on vacant posts, relaxation of criteria in EWS quota, retracting of cases against Karni Sena members who participated in agitation against movie Padmavat and in farmers' agitation.

demad

The BJP, which has already been facing allegations of being anti-reservation, the 'softness' of the government with the agitating Karni Sena members added fuel to the fire.

Commenting over the Karni Sena's recent protest, SL Suryavanshi said, "The BJP government, which quelled the OBC reservation protests with an iron hand, offered juice, food and protection to the protestors for days who openly abused CM Chouhan' deceased mother and spoke against the constitution."

Justifying his demands, he further said that Karni Sena's demand is not only unconstitutional but irrational. "The reservation has been granted based on social inequality, caste-based discrimination, not based on financial condition."

The financial status of the person does not improve the caste discrimination in society, he said.

"Those advocating for the reservation on the economic background should first guarantee the end of caste-based discrimination. Can they do it?" he lamented.

According to the 2011 census, Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 37 % of the population. Both communities have over two lakh government employees who have sway over the 10 lakh voters.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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REPLUG: Rohith Vemula, Your Sacrifice was Not in Vain

The HCU scholar showed us why it is crucial to fight the subtle atrocities and discriminations that exist in academic institutions in the name of excellence and autonomy.

17 Jan 2023

Sacrifice

Someone who fights his entire life against injustice and ultimately sacrifices his life deserves to be called a martyr, even if martyrdom is formally reserved for those who battle on the borders. Today, many such thoughts come to mind on the sixth anniversary of the death of Rohith Vemula.

Academics and society

Rohith Vemula paid the ultimate sacrifice, of his life, to make academia introspect. His self-abnegation has become the most well-known instance of the widespread atrocities against the Dalits that prevail in academic spaces. He might have thought that the system is so callous that it will take not less than a living sacrifice to jolt it. Unlike many other incidents in academic institutions before and after him, the system got jolted by Rohith’s death, but it was obviously not shaken. That the system continued its atrocious practices is illustrated by the cases of Deepa Mohanan and Vipin P. Veetil. Scholarships continue to elude Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students. SC/ST teaching positions continue to remain vacant in academic institutions.

So, the foremost lesson we can draw from Rohith Vemula’s sacrifice is that it is critical to fight the subtle atrocities that prevail in academic institutions in the name of excellence and academic autonomy. What is the use of the academic excellence and autonomy that takes so many students’ lives? The minority of Dalit scholars cannot in any way obstruct the so-called excellence of the majority in educational institutions. The real story is not the question of pursuing excellence but the age-old quest to suppress the Dalits. Some of the “excellence” in academia is about using every possible way to prevent the Dalits from excelling.

Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academia in India avoids the caste question using the tacit excuse that STEM has nothing to do with caste. For them, something like a “sociology of science” does not exist. On the other hand, cleverly, even the social science academia either avoid or distort the caste question. They sweep the caste question under a cloak of what can, at best, be called “vintage academic fashion”. They do not transpose critical race theory to the Indian context, which would translate into BR Ambedkar’s statement, “Turn any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path.”

While the world changes rapidly, academia in India is still stuck with vintage academic fashion. Many students and faculty in academics mistake this fashion for substance and create a vast gulf between the academic world and the world outside.

The word “Ambedkarite” became popular after Rohith Vemula’s sacrifice. Currently, vested interests are trying to turn this into a fashion, reducing its substance. For example, it is now acceptable to talk about discrimination against Dalit students but not Dalit teachers. It is fashionable to talk about the discrimination by “the system” but not by peers. It is fashionable to create institutions, chairs and journals in the name of Ambedkar, but the space is filled with non-Dalits. This sort of Ambedkarism is basically a fashion without any substance. In this context, it is helpful to teach and internalise notions like “360-degree discrimination” and “discrimination audits”. Unless the academic sphere practices holistic thinking rather than fashionable thinking, it will not impact the wider society but remain an ivory tower for a privileged few. While living in an ivory tower is comfortable, such a life is always vulnerable to a rebellion by the public.

Most importantly, a nation cannot make itself better by hiding its problems but only by recognising them upfront. Therefore, to recognise caste in academia is to identify the problem forthrightly. A caste census will be the ultimate acknowledgement of India's problems!

The art and science of protest

Not for nothing did the Buddha prescribe a middle path that avoids the extremes. The Indian Constitution, which is a liberal democratic one, is neither revolutionary nor conservative but follows the middle path. If we observe Ambedkar's fighting strategy, we find that he followed the middle way, too, the route of avoiding extremes. It is said that Ambedkar practised pragmatism, which is not opportunism. (Roscoe Pound, applying pragmatism to law, conceived the law as a conflict resolution mechanism at a minimal cost.)

Ambedkar gave a lot of weight to the law in a protest project; it must adopt a pragmatic approach. It must be both art and science. A strategy for a protest that does not make any calculation of the costs involved is not a good strategy. A judicious mix of protests in the street and the courts seem to be a pragmatic strategy.

This leads us to the next point, whether a so-called Rohith Act is possible. After Rohith Vemula died, many proposed a law in his name to counter atrocities in academic institutions. While nobody defined the contours of such an act, the crux of the matter is indirect discrimination. Thankfully, what was recognised in the West in 1973 was acknowledged in India in 2021. Last year, the Supreme Court defined indirect discrimination in Lt. Col. Nitisha vs Union of India. So, Rohith’s sacrifice has not gone all in vain. Somewhere, the social stir that has taken place after he died has contributed to change.

‘Rohith Guidelines’ can be a fitting tribute

Unlike American laws, laws in India are not named after individuals. The Vishaka Guidelines are a rare instance when a Supreme Court-made law was named after an individual. These guidelines are equally applicable to all organisations, including private ones. The society also accepted these guidelines, while the State transformed it into a Parliament-enacted law, the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2013.

Even more radical than this, society accepted the Me Too movement. While civil society has no problem acknowledging gender violence, it is yet to show the same generosity to acknowledging caste violence. Could there be Rohith Guidelines in the manner of the Vishaka guidelines? Would civil society accept a “Caste Too” movement?

The author is Professor and Dean in the School of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The views are personal.

Courtesy: newsclick.in

REPLUG: Rohith Vemula, Your Sacrifice was Not in Vain

The HCU scholar showed us why it is crucial to fight the subtle atrocities and discriminations that exist in academic institutions in the name of excellence and autonomy.

Sacrifice

Someone who fights his entire life against injustice and ultimately sacrifices his life deserves to be called a martyr, even if martyrdom is formally reserved for those who battle on the borders. Today, many such thoughts come to mind on the sixth anniversary of the death of Rohith Vemula.

Academics and society

Rohith Vemula paid the ultimate sacrifice, of his life, to make academia introspect. His self-abnegation has become the most well-known instance of the widespread atrocities against the Dalits that prevail in academic spaces. He might have thought that the system is so callous that it will take not less than a living sacrifice to jolt it. Unlike many other incidents in academic institutions before and after him, the system got jolted by Rohith’s death, but it was obviously not shaken. That the system continued its atrocious practices is illustrated by the cases of Deepa Mohanan and Vipin P. Veetil. Scholarships continue to elude Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students. SC/ST teaching positions continue to remain vacant in academic institutions.

So, the foremost lesson we can draw from Rohith Vemula’s sacrifice is that it is critical to fight the subtle atrocities that prevail in academic institutions in the name of excellence and academic autonomy. What is the use of the academic excellence and autonomy that takes so many students’ lives? The minority of Dalit scholars cannot in any way obstruct the so-called excellence of the majority in educational institutions. The real story is not the question of pursuing excellence but the age-old quest to suppress the Dalits. Some of the “excellence” in academia is about using every possible way to prevent the Dalits from excelling.

Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academia in India avoids the caste question using the tacit excuse that STEM has nothing to do with caste. For them, something like a “sociology of science” does not exist. On the other hand, cleverly, even the social science academia either avoid or distort the caste question. They sweep the caste question under a cloak of what can, at best, be called “vintage academic fashion”. They do not transpose critical race theory to the Indian context, which would translate into BR Ambedkar’s statement, “Turn any direction you like, caste is the monster that crosses your path.”

While the world changes rapidly, academia in India is still stuck with vintage academic fashion. Many students and faculty in academics mistake this fashion for substance and create a vast gulf between the academic world and the world outside.

The word “Ambedkarite” became popular after Rohith Vemula’s sacrifice. Currently, vested interests are trying to turn this into a fashion, reducing its substance. For example, it is now acceptable to talk about discrimination against Dalit students but not Dalit teachers. It is fashionable to talk about the discrimination by “the system” but not by peers. It is fashionable to create institutions, chairs and journals in the name of Ambedkar, but the space is filled with non-Dalits. This sort of Ambedkarism is basically a fashion without any substance. In this context, it is helpful to teach and internalise notions like “360-degree discrimination” and “discrimination audits”. Unless the academic sphere practices holistic thinking rather than fashionable thinking, it will not impact the wider society but remain an ivory tower for a privileged few. While living in an ivory tower is comfortable, such a life is always vulnerable to a rebellion by the public.

Most importantly, a nation cannot make itself better by hiding its problems but only by recognising them upfront. Therefore, to recognise caste in academia is to identify the problem forthrightly. A caste census will be the ultimate acknowledgement of India's problems!

The art and science of protest

Not for nothing did the Buddha prescribe a middle path that avoids the extremes. The Indian Constitution, which is a liberal democratic one, is neither revolutionary nor conservative but follows the middle path. If we observe Ambedkar's fighting strategy, we find that he followed the middle way, too, the route of avoiding extremes. It is said that Ambedkar practised pragmatism, which is not opportunism. (Roscoe Pound, applying pragmatism to law, conceived the law as a conflict resolution mechanism at a minimal cost.)

Ambedkar gave a lot of weight to the law in a protest project; it must adopt a pragmatic approach. It must be both art and science. A strategy for a protest that does not make any calculation of the costs involved is not a good strategy. A judicious mix of protests in the street and the courts seem to be a pragmatic strategy.

This leads us to the next point, whether a so-called Rohith Act is possible. After Rohith Vemula died, many proposed a law in his name to counter atrocities in academic institutions. While nobody defined the contours of such an act, the crux of the matter is indirect discrimination. Thankfully, what was recognised in the West in 1973 was acknowledged in India in 2021. Last year, the Supreme Court defined indirect discrimination in Lt. Col. Nitisha vs Union of India. So, Rohith’s sacrifice has not gone all in vain. Somewhere, the social stir that has taken place after he died has contributed to change.

‘Rohith Guidelines’ can be a fitting tribute

Unlike American laws, laws in India are not named after individuals. The Vishaka Guidelines are a rare instance when a Supreme Court-made law was named after an individual. These guidelines are equally applicable to all organisations, including private ones. The society also accepted these guidelines, while the State transformed it into a Parliament-enacted law, the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2013.

Even more radical than this, society accepted the Me Too movement. While civil society has no problem acknowledging gender violence, it is yet to show the same generosity to acknowledging caste violence. Could there be Rohith Guidelines in the manner of the Vishaka guidelines? Would civil society accept a “Caste Too” movement?

The author is Professor and Dean in the School of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The views are personal.

Courtesy: newsclick.in

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