Recognize safai karmacharis of Valmiki community as manual scavengers, give them permanent jobs, housing plots

SCAVENGERS--621x414By Kirit Rathod*

Gujarat State claims to be No 1 in India for achieving its developmental goals. This claim is being made despite the fact that members of the Valmiki community of the scheduled castes (SCs) for years have been employed in Gujarat State’s gram panchayats, municipalities, municipal corporations and private companies in such odd jobs like disposal of human excreta and dead animals. A special civil application No 13911/08 was filed in the Gujarat High Court on this state of affairs, following a news item published in the Times of India (“These Hands Deal with Filth”, November 17, 2008).   The petition to the  Gujarat High Court quoted data provided by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, which had estimates that, as on January 9, 2007, there were 64,195 safai karmacharis in Gujarat. There is reason to believe that the number of safai karmacharis would have gone up drastically thereafter.

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Dalit Jan Akrosh Yatra in Haryana: Part of Dr Ambedkar’s idea of democratic assertion — educate, agitate, organize

Bakrosh3y Lakshita*

Kasturi Devi is a female chief from the Dalit community. She is resident of village Bhattookala, District Fatehabad. She told those who came as part of the Dalit Jan Adrosh Yatra in her village on the July 14, 2014 that it is very difficult for her to fight for the rights of the Dalits when the dominant caste and community are strongly rooted. But she is working hard and struggling for the rights of her community. She is very happy to see the initiative taken by the Yatra. She appreciates, and also decides to financially support the Yatra. She asks the Yatra to visit her village again and to stay connected with her struggle in the future also.

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Gujarat government flouts provision that allocation for Dalits under SC sub-plan should be in proportion to state’s population

gujarat sc budget1By Vasudev Charupa*

Section 26 of the Constitution of India makes it obligatory on all state governments to take special care of the welfare of scheduled castes (SCs), especially their economically and socially interests, even as safeguarding them from all types of exploitation. Despite this, the Gujarat government has so far failed to satisfy the needs of the SCs by making necessary allocations in the recent modified budget for the financial year 2014-15, presented recently in the Gujarat state assembly. The Dalit Arthikar Adhikar Andolan, Gujarat, has been analyzing the state’s budgetary allocations to SCs for several years now, and it has come to a few important conclusions in this regard.

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Hira Singh’s ‘Recasting Caste’: Annihilation of caste is intrinsically related with the abolition of class rule in India

marxist viewBy Asit Das*

Review of Hira Singh’s book “Recasting Caste: From the Sacred to the Profane”, Sage, New Delhi, 2014, Rs 795.

“Sociologists of the caste have invoked religion, cognition, cosmology, heaven and hell to find the secret of the genesis, growth, and survival of the caste and caste system. In the process, they have missed the real secret of the caste and caste system, which lies in political economy” – Hira Singh 

Joan Robinson, the legendary Cambridge economist, was visiting India after a tour of revolutionary China in the 1950s. In India, she met EMS Namboodiripad, a senior leader of the then united CPI. She asked EMS, despite many similarities between the two countries why there was a revolution in China, and why it did not happen in India, what was the problem? “Caste” was the answer given by Namboodiripad. Today, the India political left is divided, so one need not toe the political line of EMS Namboodiripad or his later party CPI-M. This, however, is not to deny the existence of caste or caste atrocities in India. Every day one gets the gory news of medieval barbarism inflicted on the Dalits of the country. Therefore, understanding the caste system is a serious task for anyone who is interested in the revolutionary transformation of Indian society. For communists, it is an urgent task, because the annihilation of caste is intrinsically related with the abolition of class rule in India.

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Situation of Dalit women and girls in South Asia: Need for greater attention by international community, documentation

dalit womenBy Manjula Pradeep*

When the entire world’s focus is on extreme forms of violence and atrocities happening against Dalit girls and women in India, it is has become crucial to lay down in front of the international community that all this is not just happening in India but also in other caste-affected countries of South Asia – though most of the time things simply go unreported by the media. The caste issue has been debated in the UN for over a decade, and it has received a lot of support and solidarity from UN mechanisms and member states, despite the stand taken by the Government of India that it is an internal problem and it should not to be discussed in the international forum.

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Conspiracy of silence: How Maharashtra Dalit rights activist became victim of atrocity and law enforcers protected the powerful

Reproduced below is Video Volunteers community correspondent Alka Mate’s report on how law-enforcement agencies hampered the course of justice following the murder of Sanjay Khogragade, a Dalit rights activist of Maharashtra, over a caste-based dispute. It highlights the case from the perspective of Khobragade’s family and activists who are working with them.

At 2:30 am on May 17 six people from a ‘higher caste’ tried to kill Sanjay Khobragade, a Dalit rights activist, over a caste based land dispute. They set him on fire while he slept in his house. With over 80-85% burns on his body, he passed away while at the Civil Hospital in Nagpur, Maharashtra on 23rd May. Today, the six individuals that Sanjay named in his dying declaration are out on conditional bail while his wife Devakabai is in custody. She is being framed for burning him with the help of Raju Gadpayle, their neighbour. The police have accused Devakabai and Mr. Gadpayle of burning Sanjay to hide their extra-marital relationship. Not one person in the entire Dalit hamlet of Kavalewada believes this theory.

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Water crisis in Gujarat’s rural areas: In village Panva of Surendranagar district, Dalit villagers complain of dirty water from well

Dirty water of the village pond: The separate source for Dalits

Dirty water of the village pond: The separate source for Dalits

By Counterview Desk

A large number of villagers in Gujarat are facing unprecedented water crisis due to poor rains. The brunt of the natural calamity has clearly fallen on the Dalits. A recent visit by Kirit Rathod, a senior activist of Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad, to Panva village of Patdi taluka, district Surendranagar, has suggested how this is happening. According to Rathod, there are 45 Dalit households in the village, and they are being discriminated against in the distribution of water.

They have been “allocated” a well, whose water is simply undrinkable. They have to necessarily depend on another well, from which they are not allowed to sink buckets and pull out water, like the higher caste women don. The Dalit women are at the mercy of the higher caste women for  drinking water from the well. Unlike the well meant for Dalits, this well is cleaner and its water is drinkable. Read more of this post

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