Dalits Media Watch
News Updates 17.08.15
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· Village headwoman caught on video 'beating Dalits with a stick after tying them to a tree'- Mail Online India
· Tamil Nadu: Vanniyars attack Dalit procession, torch huts - The Indian Express
· The Times Of India
· Eight arrested for murder - The Hindu
· Kandadevi car could not be pulled this year too - The Hindu
· Bhagana Dalits get open death threats from Haryana Khap Panchayats for converting to Islam - Two Circle
Mail Online India
Village headwoman caught on video 'beating Dalits with a stick after tying them to a tree'
PUBLISHED: 21:16 GMT, 16 August 2015 | UPDATED: 23:45 GMT, 16 August 2015
In a horrific incident that came to light, a village headwoman (sarpanch) allegedly thrashed three Dalits, including a woman in Dhurkot village.
Her son reportedly recorded the entire episode and the clip went viral.
The incident took place on July 27 when the victim, Suresh Kumar, and his colleague had gone to Dhurkot village to take back the money he had given to a woman who is also his colleague.
"We had gone to the village to get Rs 2,000 from our colleague. As soon as I parked my motorcycle, three to four men started hitting me with sticks. One of them was Bikramjeet Singh, son of village sarpanch Sarabjeet. Bikramjeet filmed the entire incident on his mobile phone.
"Sarabjeet, with the help of her son, and a few others dragged us to the nearby tree, tied us to it and beat us mercilessly. We begged them to let us go but they did not stop," Suresh revealed.
The video, which went viral on YouTube and was circulated through popular messaging application WhatsApp, shows Sarabjeet allegedly assaulting Suresh with a stick and hurling abuses.
The victims said they had filed a police complaint on August 9, but no action was taken.
The victims alleged that the police were pressurising them to compromise as the accused is an influential woman.
The victims also alleged that Sarabjeet and Bikramjeet have threatened to implicate drug smuggling and flesh trade cases against them if they did not withdraw their complaint.
Meanwhile, SHO Ravinder Singh of Ajitwal police station said, "We have received a complaint which is being investigated. Action will be taken after the investigation is over."
The incident has also attained political overtones.
Moga's AAP leader Ajay Sharma announced his support to the victims and criticised the police for shielding the accused Sarabjeet Kaur.
The Indian Express
Tamil Nadu: Vanniyars attack Dalit procession, torch huts
Police said that the attack was a fallout of long-pending dispute over Dalits' right to bring out a temple car procession through the village's main road, which passes through a Vanniyar-dominated area.
At least 10 Dalit huts were torched and 15 people, including a SP and six other policemen, were injured when upper-caste Vanniyars attacked a procession of Dalits in Seshasamuthiram village of Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district late on Saturday evening.
Police said that the attack was a fallout of long-pending dispute over Dalits' right to bring out a temple car procession through the village's main road, which passes through a Vanniyar-dominated area. According to a police report, Seshasamuthiram has over 3,000 Vanniyars and only 400 Dalits.
"The dispute has been pending for the past four years. Vanniyars had objected to the procession and the government, too, had been denying permission, citing law and order problems. But this year, the administration decided to allow Dalits to take out the procession. The Vanniyars responded by attacking the Dalits and torching the temple car. They set their huts on fire and also hurled petrol bombs at police," said a senior police officer.
Immediately after the violence broke out, large number of police teams rushed to the spot. "SP K S Narendran Nair rushed to the village with a police team, but they were not able to enter the area as the Vanniyars started pelting stones. The SP and six other policemen were injured. We had to fire several rounds in the air before we could enter the Dalit localities where huts had been set on fire. Even fire tenders were not allowed entry by the Vanniyar groups. They also disconnected power supply to the entire area," said the officer. He added that tension is still prevailing in the area and over 400 armed personnel have been deployed to prevent untoward incidents.
The officer further said that many of the attackers are supporters of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and were returning from a demonstration organised by PMK leader and former Union minister Anbumani Ramadoss. Vanniyars are a core voter base of the PMK.
The Times Of India
Eight arrested for murder
Police on Sunday arrested eight persons who were accused of murdering Orukuntla Surendra alias Narasanna, 45, of Budhawarapet Church Line in Kurnool town on August 9.
Shaik Taher Shabbir Ahmed, 54, Syed Asadullah, 63, Syed Abbas, 34, Syed Noori, 30, Syed Abdulla, 24, Syed Shareef, 26, and Syed Saheb Hussain, 60, all of Budhawarapet and Shaik Anwar Hussain, 26, of Nirmal Nagar were arrested, Kurnool Superintendent of Police A. Ravikrishna said. A case was registered under the IPC, Arms Act and Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act against the arrested persons.
Kandadevi car could not be pulled this year too
HR and CE Department fails to keep it ready
Mired in the raging controversy, the Kandadevi temple car could not be pulled this year too during the Aani festival as the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department could not make the car ready.
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court had directed the department last year to take all earnest efforts to ensure that the car of the Sri Swarnamurtheeswarar Temple 'gets running during the annual Aani festival in 2015' but the department could not comply with the order.
The majestic wooden car presented a pathetic look after the HR and CE department had removed the 'vigrahams' and four wheels of the car, Mr P R Chandran, a native of Kandadevi, who had done extensive research on the issue told The Hindu on Sunday.
The chances of the car getting ready for pulling next year also looked bleak as the Assembly elections would be round the corner and the State government would not wish to repair the car in time and take a risk, he said.
This year, the 10-day-long Aani festival began with flag hoisting on June 22 and passed off peacefully in the absence of the two contentious issues, the pulling of car and according special honours to the heads (Ambalams) of four 'Nadus'.
The temple car, which came to a grinding halt in 1998 after Dalits asserted their right to pull it, remained in the centre of controversy ever since it was rolled out with four 'vadams' (ropes), exclusively meant for caste Hindus from four 'Nadus', more than 200 years ago.
Mahatma Gandhi during a visit to Devakottai on January 24, 1934 tried to broker peace between the 'Nattars' (Kallars) and Dalits but the controversy would not die down, Mr Chandran recalled. He said the car festival witnessed the first major law and order problem in 1875 when eight people were killed in a clash. Since 1896, the festival was held every year but not without clashes between Nattars and Dalits, he says in his book "Therum Porum."
From time immemorial, only 'Nattars' of four 'Nadus' – Iruvaseri, Unjanai, Semponmari and Thennilai – were allowed to pull the car, while Dalits were asked to push it from behind, whenever it got stuck, he says in the book. And when the Dalits asserted their right , the car stopped running.
Bhagana Dalits get open death threats from
Haryana Khap Panchayats for converting to Islam
Death threats have started pouring in for protesting Bhagana Dalits by the Khap Panchayats of their village, nearly a week after 100 families of the Dalit community from Haryana's Hisar district converting to Islam.
The protesting Dalit families from Bhagana village, Hisar accepted Islam during protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar in the National Capital as what their leaders termed as mark of "protest" against "perpetual persecution and torment at the hands of the upper-castes Hindu Jats". The Protesting Dalits had recited 'Kalma' and later offered 'Namaz' in congregation .
"The Khap Panchayat of our village has told us that we will be slaughtered if we try to go back to our villages as Muslims. We have been asked to abandon our property in the village after our conversion to Islam," President of Bhagana Sangharsh Samiti, Virender Bagoriya told TwoCircles.net.
On March 23, away from the media glare, as the election campaigns were in full swing four girls, belonging to the Balmiki community in Bhagana village were allegedly kidnapped by a group of Jat boys and gang-raped. They were dumped at Bhatinda railway Station, about 170 KM away, where they were found in "almost unconscious state" by the village head and their relatives a day later.
Pertinently the Dalit families from Bhagana have been holding sit-in at the Hisar district headquarters since March, 2012. When the ground where Dalit boys played was "acquired" by Jats and a wall was constructed obstructing Dalits from the village to have access to the , (community space), Dalits in the village protested and filed cases. Over 130 families sat on dharna outside the District Headquarter (Mini Secretariat) in Hisar. It's been almost two years and many of them are still sitting on Dharna.
Since April last year, most of the protesters gradually shifted to the national capital hoping that their voices would be heard. Dalit families from the village allege that the dominant Jat community have unleashed atrocities on them on several pretexts.
According to the Bhagana Sangharsh Samiti, the Haryana Khap Panchayats had boycotted 250 Dalit families, declared a social and economic boycott against them and forced them to flee the village in 2012. The Jats had "illegally" occupied 280 acres of land and stopped Dalits from using them. "When we went to lodge a complaint with the administration against their atrocities, the local police, under pressure from the upper-caste Jats, registered a case of sedition against the victims themselves and sent them to jail. They were even attacked and their minors were gang-raped," claimed a Samiti member.
These cases cannot be seen in isolation as the Bhagana village has seen several clashes in last couple of years between dominant Jats and backward Dalits of Balmiki and Kumhar community. The "benefits" of Constitutional guarantees and reservations have impacted in "empowering" the backward community as several of their wards could study and even join forces or find jobs outside. When the members of the backward communities started asserting themselves and demanded equal rights, they had to face the "backlash" from the land-holding community in the village. Many of these Dalits earlier worked as virtual "bonded labours."
Meanwhile, the protesting Bhagana Dalits at Jantar Mantar have alleged that Delhi Police let lose a "reign of terror" on them after their conversion to Islam. On the evening of August 8, a dozen of converted Dalits were bundled in police vans and detained at the Parliament Street Police station.
"At around 5 pm on August 8, we were taken to the Parliament Street Police Station where Police Personnel said that we should not have held this conversion ceremony at Jantar Mantar. Police even accused us of converting in lieu of getting Rs 5000 which was a blatant lie," said Satish Kajla Abul Kalam of Bhagana Sangharsh Samiti to TwoCircles.net, adding, "We countered every allegation and were released after about 5-6 hours."
"We were asked by Police to give in writing that the conversion took place without any force or coercion and we won't organize any religious activity again at Jantar Mantar, to which we willingly obliged," says Kajla.
On the intervening night of August 9 and 10, however, Delhi Police lathi charged on the protesters with the intention of dispersing them, while they were sleeping at the dharna site, leaving many people injured. In the melee, claimed Bhagana Sangharsh Samiti , two persons suffered fractures and were later admitted to a hospital.
"Some 16-17 policemen along with 5-6 persons in civil dress came and told us to vacate the venue.When we told them that it was quite dark and we don't have any place to go, the Policemen without any word started manhandling us and hit us with baton which caused injuries to many of the protestors and two injured persons suffered fractures," Kajla claimed, adding when we went to lodge an FIR at the Parliamentary street police station against the police officials , they didn't entertain our request and told that they will enquire into it.
After intense highlighting of Conversion issue by media, the BJP Schedule Caste (SC) Morcha, National President, Dushyant Kumar Gautam visited the protesting Dalits on the afternoon of August 9 and assured them redressal of their grievances at the earliest.
The Bhagana Dalits, however, termed his words as political gimmicks as they claimed that their earlier letters addressed to the him for justice were never replied.
"We had written letters to him 3-4 times to readdress our grievances but he never replied. Now after conversions he came to us and assured that he will speak to higher authorities but we don't expect anything from him," Kajla informed TwoCircles.net, adding, except Dushyant Kumar, no one from any other mainstream party have visited us.
Yogendra Yadav of AAP used to visit us but after his expulsion from party he too hasn't come back, he said.
On the other hand, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), maintains that the real issue at hand was the continued exploitation of the Dalit families by those who wanted to convert them. "The VHP demands action against the culprits, irrespective of who they are. But the real issue at hand is the fact that the agony of these suffering families is being exploited by those who want to make this a religious issue. The VHP will take action against this and ensure that at least in Delhi, this can't happen," VHP Delhi spokesperson Vinod Bansal told media persons.
"Since the day we have converted to Islam, every day we get visitors from Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena. They tell us that our move to convert was wrong and we can't do it. They ask us to revert back to Hinduism by assuring us that they will take up our issue to the Parliament and will get our demands fulfilled," Virender Bagoriya told TwoCircles.net.
"We just ask them that if they want to help us then do that on humanitarian grounds but not on communal lines and regarding reverting back to the pervious religion, we have made it clear to them that we won't revert back and they are wasting their time in discussing these things," he added.
Rohit Bokda, a young Dalit boy from the village who has been at the dharna site since last year has renamed himself as Reyaz Khan after conversion. He too says that they have no plans of reverting back to Hinduism.
"Some reporters and people come here and asked us if in near future our demands are met, will we convert back to our previous religion? My answer to them is a Big No! We were born Hindus but now we will die Muslims. Our grievances have nothing to do with our conversion to Islam. We have voluntarily converted to Islam after we gained understanding about Islam that this religion doesn't discriminate on the basis of caste," Rohit told TwoCircles.net.
He had earlier told TCN about how he felt discriminated in the village. "When I was 15 years old there was a fight between Dalit boys and those from the Jat community. Although the fault was theirs, Dalits were forced to apologise in the Panchayat," he had shared with TCN last year, adding that since then he did not like living in the village a lot, and moved to his uncle's place in Rohtak. "We live in a free country, why should we still remain slaves?" he had tersely remarked then.
The converted dalits are firm in their stand to fight for justice even if they have to spend their whole life at Jantar Mantar toiling with harsh summers and chilly winters of Delhi.
"When we had started our protest in 2012, we had taken a vow to fight against injustice till end, even if we had to give our lives for this cause. We will continue to hold protest in Jantar Mantar until and unless our demands are met. Either we will die or the atrocities on Dalits will die," said Varendra Bagoria.
Pertinently, on August 8, some 100 male members of the Dalit families gathered for demonstration at Jantar Mantar, followed by brief speeches of community leaders and converted to Islam. Maulvi Abdul Hanif from Jharna Masjid near Qutub Minar completed the formalities in a ceremony where the converted Dalits recited 'kalma' and offered 'namaz' in congregation.
News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET