SOS e Clarion Of Dalit

November 15, 2007

dalit clarion issue.5

Filed under: dalit human rights — Tags: , , — Nagaraja M R @ 2:02 pm



Editor : NAGARAJ.M.R. VOL.1 ISSUE.5 23rd JULY 2006


In india , rich people belonging to forward castes
form educational trusts , proclaiming that they want to serve the
society by providing education to all irrespective of caste or creed.
By this declaration they get Civic Amenity sites from government
authorities at concessional rates. Further they get tax , duty
exemptions on materials , machines they import for the educational
institution. However , while admitting students they are purely
commercial minded , the highest bidder gets the seats.
Some institutions like industrial training
institutes ( I.T.I) , polytechnics , engineering colleges & medical
colleges run by trusts floated by forward castes lack basic
infrastructure , to teach students properly , they only appoint staff
belonging to thier castes. Dalits , minorities , weaker section
people are not at all selected. They don’t publicly advertise for
vacancies. They fill all posts with thier own caste people & finally
even get government grant in aid. How ? These institutions are getting
affiliations , yearly approvals form the government , how ? actually
they should have been shut.
These trusts want government backing for tax
exemptions , lands at concessional rates ,monetary benefits , etc ,
however the same trusts are not willing to implement the social
welfare objectives of the government , by providing seats to weaker
sections , by providing appointments to dalits few posts in all
category of positions ( not just group D – dalits are also brilliant
& capable of performing all jobs, they have proved it ).
Hereby , we urge honourable prime minister of india ,
government of india & honourable chief minister of karnataka ,
government of karnataka to :

1. before giving lands at concessional rate , tax exemptions , to any
educational trusts the government must ensure that the trust must
adhere to the social welfare norms of the government from day one.
2. Before giving affiliations to educational institutions the govt
must ensure , are the institutions are providing sufficient
infrastructure to students ?
3. Before giving grant in aid to any institution , the government must
ensure have the management provided jobs to dalits , minorities , etc
as per norms from the day one . if not grant in aid should be
rejected. Here there is no meaning in giving reservation of jobs in
future appointments in those institutions , as all the posts are
presently filled with forward castes , there is no expansion projects.
So , dalits have to wait for another 30-40 years to get the vacancies
in those institutions after the retirement of forward caste employees
, which is not at all practical or realistic .
4. In karnataka state , numerous Industrial Training Institutes ( ITI)
have mushroomed , some don’t even have basic infrastructure. Still
they are running the show , how ? these ITIs run by forward caste
people have appointed only their caste people to all posts , not even
a single dalit is there. Still they have got government grant in aid ,
how ? we urge honourable chief minister of karnataka , to look into
this & in future to provide grant in aid in aid to only those I.T.Is
which have proper infrastructure & dalits , weaker section employees
on their pay-rolls.
5. To order all educational institutions to make public announcement
of vacancies in their institutions even though not covered under
grant in aid , as they have already taken sufficient monetary
benefits from the government.
6. To order all educational institutions , to admit students as per
government rates of fees. Some institutions are fleecing higher fees
from the students , but are giving receipts for lesser amount only.
7. If any educational institutions don’t agree with the government
norms , those institutions must be asked to be registered as
commercial bodies , no tax exemptions , lands at concessional rates ,
allotment of CA sites should be given to them by the government.

By these measures alone poor & weaker
section people will get justice . you are aware of merited but poor
students committing suicides year after year , CET fiasco – due to
their financial inability to join medical or engineering colleges.
Numerous similar cases are there with regard to admission to ITIs .
polytechnics. The greed & casteism of these educational institutions
is reigning high. In the positive hope that you will be kind enough to
put an end to this menace. Jai hind. Vande mataram. Thanking you.

Your’s sincerely,

Dalits: Law As Paper Tiger!
(What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day
that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross
injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your
celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your
national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are
empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass-fronted
impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your
prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your
religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud,
deception, impiety, and hypocrisy–a thin veil to cover up crimes
which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the
earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody, than are the
people of these United States, at this very hour. )
(Frederick Douglass, former slave, 1852)
Does the cost of a ‘goat’ equals that of a human being? Whether
drinking water from a public lake where even animals are free to visit
should lead to a riot like situation or the very interpersonal
decision to marry a girl/boy of one’s own choice should culminate in
the killings of the couple at the behest of the community elders?
Any person who bears humane sensibilities and sensitivities would
rather decry these ‘medieval’ style responses towards fellow human beings.
S/he would rather find her/himself at wits end if s/he probes further
and discover that people affected by Tsunami engaged themselves in
systematic discrimination against dalits who were similar victims.
S/he would be aghast to know that the upper caste perpetrators of the
Killevenamani massacre (1969) of 35 plus Dalits were allowed to go
scot free by the judiciary on the spacious plea that the ‘Upper Caste
Gentry would not have gone walking to the place’.
In any normal country, all such exposures in the media would at least
lead to uproar at the national level, lead to fresh stirrings within
the nation’s conscience, culminating in a proces of self-introspection
and possibly self-correction. But India presents itself as a peculiar
case in the comity of nations. Here all such covert and overt violence
against a part of the citizenry has received not only legitimacy,
thanks to the purity and pollution based caste order, but has been
sanctified by the religious scriptures also. One still remembers how
one of the top leaders of the VHP had rationalised killings of five
dalits in Jhajjar four years ago emphasising that the Puranas – the
religious scriptures of the Hindus- accord precedence to a bovine
vis-a-vis a human being.
Thus India, a country of billion plus people, which is itching to get
a superpower status, which takes pride in its ancient tradition and
culture and whose elite goes gaga over the booming sensex, rather
presents a strange spectacle of a nation. If one decides to go by
economic indices alone then we may get a rosy picture, but a close
look at the goings on within the society makes it clear that there is
a disjunction between the world of economics and the lifeworlds of its
people. The core of the society bears its encounter with barbarism in
But before continue raising the follies of the nation and its people
in a haphazard manner, it would be opportune to take a close look at
the alleged theft of a goat which got exchanged by snuffing out the
life of a man in his teens recently.
” Lucknow : A teenaged dalit named Mukesh was beaten to death in
Ferozabad district for daring to participate in Bhagwat Paath
organised by the local Lodh Rajput community. The victim’s brother and
some relatives who came to the rescue of the teenagers were also
assaulted. The incident took place on Tuesday night.
Though the police confirmed that the provocation behind the murder was
caste bias, the accused alleged that they had caught the victim while
stealing a goat.The police could arrest only two of the twelve named
The above news appeared in the 15 th June 2006 ( Lucknow edition of
Times of India). Ofcourse there was no followup of the incident in the
print or the electronic media. Rather it received the same fate as
scores of other news, which are considered unimportant.
Imagine one of those intrepid journalists decides to follow the story
to see for her/himself the way the event unfolds itself. What would be
her/his observations?
To be very frank, the journalist would discover not single but
multiple versions of the whole incident. For all practical purposes
one would decide one’s presentation of the `truth’ depending upon
one’s own location in the caste matrix in the area.
The Lodh Rajputs, who come under the resurgent OBCs and who form
backbone of local power structure in different areas, would be
hell-bent upon proving the ‘crime’ of the deceased. Perhaps to garner
further community support to the inhuman act committed by their own
caste men, they may present a fresh slew of charges against him and
would also vouch that he also harassed ladies of the community. They
would be loathe to listen to any counterview to their argument which
would try to raise the issue of ‘punishment’ commensurate with ‘crime’
and the role of the institutions of justice delivery established by
the republic more than 56 years ago to do the same.
The hapless dalits would share the way in which they came to know
about the tragic death of one of their dear ones, the way the police
adopted a dilly dallying tactics in this particular case and how it
itself became a party in the stigmatisation of the whole dalit
community. It does not require much of a genius to prophesise that
unless and until some powerful voice/s join the grief of the dalits,
the brutal murder of Mukesh by the Lodh Rajputs would slowly lead to
the blind alley of a ‘closed file.’
The tragic prognosis of this incident may appear disturbing to any
civilized person but the fact of the matter is that the way the troika
of state-judiciary-(rest of) civil society unfolds itself in any of
such cases of dalit atrocities, the fate is not dissimilar. May it be
the case of ‘traditional’ atrocities where the dalits are denied any
rights whatsoever in the Hindu society or may it be the case of
‘modern’ forms of resistance put in by the dalits or a caste hindu
response to the changing situation of the dalits, the picture is same
It was only last year that a dalit basti situated in Gohana (a town,
which is hardly 100 kms from the capital,) was attacked by a few
hundred strong mob of mostly Jat youths. The marauders burnt down
scores of their houses and looted their property in daytime in the
presence of two hundred strong police force posted near the basti with
senior officers in attendance. The immediate provocation for the
attack was the murder of a Jat youth allegedly by a few dalits who
felt agitated when the murdered man alongwith his friends had passed
obscene remarks against dalit women.
Another specificity of the attack was that the Jat youths were just
‘implementing’ the decision of the caste council’s ( caste panchayat)
which had given an ultimatum to the police to hand over the ‘culprits’
to them or face reprisal attack on the basti.To rub salt in the wound,
when the marauders left , the seniormost boss of the police in the
region, not only minimised the extent of plunder but also expressed
satisfaction that there was no loss of lives from either side.
It was clear to any impartial observer that the main ‘grievance’ of
the Jats against the dalits was the way many among them had refused to
follow the ‘community profession’ of safai and had charted an
alternate path of life and were now refusing to tolerate humiliation
any more.
Recently when a group of human rights activists visited the basti,
they found to their dismay that out of 23 upper caste accused in the
case, (while the actual number was in hundreds) till date only three
could be apprehended and they were also released on bail immediately.
The CBI enquiry ordered into the case is moving at a snails pace and
seven dalits were still languishing in jail without any sign of bail
supposedly for being party to the death of the Jat youth.
(Social justice minister Meira Kumar pointed out that the conviction
rate in cases registered under the Protection of Civil Rights Act is a
mere 3.75 per cent. Besides, 75 to 77 per cent cases of crimes against
Dalits remain pending despite the existence of special and designated
courts. Union home minister Shivraj Patil, who was also present at the
conference, acknowledged that the system was not delivering justice
and existing laws safeguarding the rights of backward classes may have
to be changed or tightened.
January 12, 2005, The Telegraph)
The first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru always sang paens
to the Unity and Diversity of the country. But he forgot to add that
the institution which ‘unites’ the Indian people who are spread over a
subcontinent is their strict adherence to the age old ‘caste system’.
It is a system based on exclusion and graded hierarchy and the only
‘diversity’ which it allows is it the nature of violence which is
unleashed against the people who are considered at the bottom of the
Caste Matrix.
Perhaps the plight of the dalits in Gohana or in Ferozabad would lead
us to a query about the presence/absence of appropriate laws to curb
such offences against them. A person unaware of the way Indian polity
functions may presume that spurt in atrocities against dalits is
mainly due to absence of laws. S/he is sadly mistaken.
The founding fathers of the Constitution had solemnly resolved to
secure to all citizens Justice: Social, Economic and Political,
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. And
equality of status and of opportunity, and to promote among them all
fraternity, assuring the dignity of individual and unity. It also
emphasised that :The state shall not discriminate against any citizen
on grounds of religion, race, caste, place and birth or any form. The
Directive Principles of the Constitution underlined The State shall
promote with special care the educational and economic interest of the
scheduled castes/tribes and shall protect them from social injustice
and all forms of exploitation.
It is worth noting that in accordance with these Constitutional
provisions a number of measures have been initiated by the government
for providing protection to untouchables (Scheduled Castes or SCs)and
the tribals. These measures can be categorised into two broad themes :
protective and developmental. Under the ‘protective’ sphere
untouchability was legally abolished and its practice in any form
forebidden by the Protection of Civil Rights (Anti-Untouchability) Act
of 1955.
To protect the category of SC and ST in a more effective and
comprehensive manner a few other legislations were introduced.
Policies of reservation and representation were adopted to improve the
access and participation of these sections in the economic,
educational and political spheres. The enactment of the bonded labour
(Abolition) act, 1976 or laws to curb child labour were part of the
other major measures taken to make the protection for these sections
more stringent and effective. The year 1989 witnessed the government
enacting another act, namely the Scheduled Castes and Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act to prevent atrocities against SC/STs.
The necessity for enactment this act had arisen because under the
existing circumstances the Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955) and
normal provisions of the Indian Penal Code were found to be inadequate
to provide safeguards. The SC and ST (POA) Act, 1989 was pioneer in
many ways. It provides for not only appointment of special courts,
punishment for neglect of duties to officials, forfeiture of property
of the perpetrators, confiscation of arms from the dominant castes in
the area, declaration of a particular area atrocity prone, and even
asks for distribution of arms to the downtrodden etc.
But as Justice V.K. Krishna Iyer, the legendary human rights activist
and a former Supreme Court Judge puts it, all such ‘half hearted
legislation has proved to be impotent and ineffectual in practice’. He
also added that the aim behind these attempts was to have a ‘more
effective, more comprehensive and more punitive provisions of law’.
However ‘ the ruling classes saw to it that, at the functional level,
the legislations were paper tigers’ ( All quotes from in ‘Forward by
Justice Iyer to a book ‘ Dalit Utpidan aur Vidhik Upchar, by
P.L.Mimroth, Nov 2000, Delhi)
There have been innumerable reports detailing how the local police in
connivance with the perpetrators themselves, sabotages implementation
of laws basically meant to protect the dalits and the tribals. It is
noticed that instead of filing cases under the POA act, it prefers
filing cases under normal provisions of Indian Penal Code, which
facilitates release of the accused on bail easily. It also facilitates
filing of ‘counter cases’ against the victims, so that a compromise
could be reached. The Third Report of the NPC (New Delhi :GOI, 1980-
p.31) had rightly underlined how ” [f]alse criminal cases are
sometimes engineered merely for the sake of making arrests to
humiliate and embarass some specified enemies of the complainant, in
league with the police for corrupt reasons”
A related phenomena is the way in which the powers that be take steps
to deter enlightened people to fight for constitutionally granted
rights of the dalits and the tribals. Human Rights Watch Report ( Vol
4, no. 15, June 1992) shares details of how Criminalisation of Social
Activism in India takes place. In its much acclaimed report ‘Broken
People – Caste Violence against India’s “Untouchables” (1999) Human
Rights Watch repeats how ‘State agents have acted directly and
forcefully against those attempting to claim their rights.Dalit
activists throughout the country face charges as “terrorists”,
“threats to national security” and “habitual offenders..” (Page 153)
The `Report on Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes’
(NHRC, 2004,Delhi) rightly underlined the way the `state has failed in
this respect’ on `several fronts’. According to the conclusions of the
report the state has failed on `several fronts’. These are `failure to
effectively implement the laws relating to atrocities against SCs and
STs’ which is `reflected both in respect of preventing violence from
taking place’ as well as in the `inability to punish perpetrators of
violence after the crime is committed’; `failure to act against its
own agencies involved in the commission of violence ;’ failure to
strengthen the watchdog institutions’ etc. `The failure of the state
vis-à-vis mobilization of caste Hindus in favour of social democracy
embedded in the constitution and various laws and state policies’ can
also be considered palpable which has `created ambivalence in its
intentions and contradictions in its actions’ .
The Sixth Report of the National Commission for SCs and STs (1999-2000
and 2000-2001) had expressed its deep sense of dissatisfaction over
the way all these measures are implemented. While commenting that
“..the number of cases registered under Prevention of Civil Rights act
and SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) act has been showing downward
trend.. as a healthy development “it exposes the way this reduction in
no of cases is achieved . According to the preface, ” But from its
reviews with various state governments the commission is of the view
that a large number of cases go unregistered, mainly because of the
reluctance on part of the police officers to register the cases and
also because of lack of awareness among the members of these
communities about the provisions of these acts.”
In addition, there are delays in investigation, collusion with
offenders and manipulation of witnesses and evidence which all
contribute to reduce the effectiveness of these protective
legislations.” (See Preface Page II) In the same vein it tells us that
in most of the states neither the meetings of the monitoring and
vigilace committees are held regularly nor any special courts are set
up to deal with cases of dalit atrocities.
It also adds: ” The question of setting up exclusive special courts,
particularly in the states having large pendency, needs serious
consideration of the government. The rate of convictions in various
states ranges from 5 to 10 percent and it is necessary to examine the
reasons for such low convictions rates and for taking urgent
corrective action.”(ibid) According to the commission ,” The apex
court has held that the Special courts cannot directly entertain the
cases under these acts, without following commital proceedings. It is,
therefore, necessary to amend these acts suitably to authorise the
special courts to admit cases under these acts directly.”(ibid).
One can go on mentioning the various schemes or the affirmative action
programmes run by the government supposedly for the empowerment of the
dalits and also give details about the systematic manner in which a
conscious attempt is on to deny what is due to them. One would be
surprised to know that not only thousands of posts which are meant for
them especially from the upper class category have been lying vacant
for years together but there are thousands and thousands of people
belonging to the non dalit category who have manipulated jobs meant
for these sections by procurring `false certificates’ and the
concerned authorities are sitting over this despite repeated
complaints by the aggrieved people. The seriousness of the phenomenon
of false certificates can be gauged from the fact that the last two
annual reports of the National SC and ST Commission ( since
bifurcated) have devoted a chapter each to discuss the gravity of the
situation arising out of this.
This makes it crystalclear that the state has to show firm political
will, get ready to make amends to ameliorate the situation and move
beyond pious rhetoric if it is serious about the commitments it made
with the `other people’ exactly 54 years back while promulgating the
constitution. But one cannot expect that there would be any radical
departure from the way in which the state has been functioning.
Ofcourse before moving on to the unholy alliance between the state and
( a section of ) civil society it would be opportune to take a close
look at the Gujarat experience.
The Gujarat Earthquake in the year 2001 and the consequent relief and
rehabilitation programme was an eyeopener to the outside world
regarding the deep seated caste bias in the Gujarati community apart
from the much talked about bias against the minorities. There were
reports that at places the relief and rehabilitation work bypassed the
dalits and the Muslims. There were also reports about the siphoning of
the relief material to the relief camps inhabited by the non-dalit or
upper caste hindus and how consciously the dalits as well as the
Muslims were deliberately left out in many cases.
The organised genocide of Muslims in the year 2002 at the behest of
the Sangh Parivar organisations which was aided and abetted by the
Modi government was another occasion when the travails and
tribulations of the dalits came under further scrutiny. While a
section of the dalits cooption in the Hindutva agenda and their
metamorphosis as foot soldiers of the Hindutva brigade was duly
reported, the Varna dominated media did not deem it necessary to
emphasise some related facts. The genocide in Gujarat had also a
little dalit blood accompanying it. The dalits lost 108 lives in
Gujarat, 38 alone in the city of Ahmedabad. Quite a few of these
deaths occurred due to the dalits resisting the Hindutva goons by
siding with hapless Muslims.
Ofcourse when one comes to the way the Atrocities act unfolds itself
in the state, then one comes across the same shocking pattern which is
evident at the national level. A conclusion of a detailed and
systematic study of 400 judgements done by Vajibhai Patel, Secretary
of Council for Social Justice corroborates this. It tells us that
utterly negligent police investigation at both the higher and lower
levels coupled with a distinctly hostile role played by the public
prosecutors is the main reason for the collapse of cases filed under
the atrocities act. It is worth noting that he has meticulously
documented these judgements delivered under this act since April 1,
1995 in the Special Atrocity Courts set up in 16 districts of the
state. The study also blasts the common perception is that the
inefficacy of this law is due to false complaints being lodged or
compromises between the parties, in actuality it is a complicit State
that has rendered the Act toothless.
A writeup in the ‘Communalism Combat’ ( March 2005) by Teesta Setalvad
presents in a nutshell the main findings of the study :
# In over 95 per cent of the cases, acquittals have resulted due to
technical lapses by the investigation and prosecution, and in the
remaining five per cent, court directives are being flouted by the
government. Often while crimes under the IPC against the accused have
been proved, offences under the Atrocities Act have not, suggesting a
systemic bias against recording and establishing crimes under this law.
# As a result of the attitude of the state police and the state public
prosecutors, those accused under the Act for criminal acts like murder
(for which life imprisonment is the sentence) and rape are being
allowed to go scot-free.
# Numerous judgements of the special courts set up under the
Atrocities Act in Gujarat — which due to lapses in investigation and
prosecution, have led to the acquittals of the accused —have passed
strictures against the negligence demonstrated by both the police and
the public prosecutors and even summoned time-bound `action taken’
reports. Often policemen have even resorted to giving false evidence
to protect the accused while prosecutors have attempted to mislead the
courts by arguing that the provisions of the Atrocities Act are not
# Under section 4 of the Atrocities Act, “Whoever, being a public
servant but not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled
Tribe wilfully neglects duties required to be performed by him under
this Act, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall
not be less than six months but which may extend to one year.” In 95
per cent of the judgements studied by the CSJ, courts have passed
strictures against errant police officials invoking provisions of
section 4 under the Atrocities Act, but the government of Gujarat,
instead of taking action against the erring officers, has honoured
them with promotions.
The deliberate manner in which the state machinery connives with the
perpetrators of the crime is evident in very many ways.
– Acquittal due to investigation by a lower officer : The atrocity
rules of the 1995 make it mandatory that investigations of an offence
should be carried by either by a DySP or an officer above his rank,
who is supposed to send his report directly to the state DGP. In 95
per cent of the cases it is observed that the accused are acquitted
merely on the ground that the investigation of the offence was done by
an officer below the rank of DySP
– Acquittal due to non-inclusion of caste certificate by the police :
The act makes it clear that the caste certificated of the complainant
issued by a competent authority be annexed to the complaint and
produced by the police before the court.There have been several
judgements when rape accused were allowed to go scot free merely
because the investigating officer did not annexe the caste certificate
of the complainant.
-Negligence by public prosecutors : The appointment of special public
prosecutors to try cases is mandatory under the act but the hostile
role played by such SPPs to prosecute cases destroys the case. It
takes years to reach the stage of trial and when the
victim/complainant enters the witness box to depose, s/he does not
know who the PP is.The CSJ has studied several judgements in which the
courts have passed severe strictures against deliberate attempts by
the special public prosecutors to avoid implementing the special
provisions under the Act thereby vitiating the prosecution case itself.
The CSJ study rightly notes that ‘an utter lack of commitment to this
legislation and lack of political will by state governments to
prosecute the atrocities committed under this Act have rendered this
legislation meaningless.’ It also tells that ‘the Scheduled Caste
Welfare department of the state government, created with the objective
of providing social justice to Dalits and Adivasis, has glaring
vacancies in key posts making the implementation of social justice
measures even more difficult. There are over 300 vacancies in this
state department, from the rank of district officer downwards in
Gujarat alone.’
It is possible that all this details where the state comes out in
rather unflattering terms could be brushed aside as a story repeated
ad nauseam. All the talk of dalit atrocities could be presented as
another extension of the way in which ‘state in the third world’
unfolds itself. But the key point worth emphasising is that caste
atrocities much like gender oppression or racial atrocities have a
specificity which transcends the binary of ‘state as perpetrator’ and
‘people as victims’ . In fact they implicate the partisan role played
by the people themselves.
The ‘Report on Prevention of Atrocities against SCs ‘ prepared by NHRC
( 2004) presents details of the way in which the civil society
presents itself :
-civil society becomes a distinct beneficiary of caste based order and
how it helps perpetuate the existing unequal social reactions and
frustrates attempts to democratize the society because through the
customary arrangements the dominant classes are assured of social
control over people who can continue to abide by their commands
without any protest.
– In fact it represents the deep divide in social values, where people
themselves wish to enjoy all rigths and privileges which a democratic
liberal society offers them but are vehemently opposed to their being
granted to the scheduled castes.
– Civil society effectively undermines the authority of the state by
obstructing the effectuation of rights and entitlements to all
citizens and attempting to perpetuate caste based inequalities,
indignities and violence against SCs.
– Civil society reflects a deep seated ambivalence between
obscurantism and modernity
Of course the uncivil nature of the civil society presents before us a
unique challenge where the need then becomes to rise above a mere
discourse on civil and constitutional rigths and address the failure
of the largest democracy of the world to go beyond mere form. We have
to appreciate that it concerns the greater hiatus that exists between
constitutional principles and practice and corresponding ethical ones
based on a diametrically opposed ideal. Everyone has to see that under
the purity and pollution based paradigm which is the cornerstone of
our caste system, inequality receives not only legitimisation as well
as sanctification. As inequality is accepted both in theory and
practice, a legal constitution has no bearing on the ethical
foundation of caste-based societies.
It was a manifestation of this real hiatus that when Bhanwari, a
Saathin from Women’s Development Programme, Rajasthan was raped by the
villagers, the trial judge acquitted the accused on the reasoning that
“rape is usual” and ‘upper–caste man could not have defiled himself
by raping a lower-caste woman.’

More News on Pakistani Dalits

Dear Friend,
Here’s some more information on Dalits in Pakistan,
sent to me by a friend of mine in Sindh

Yogi Sikand

1. TMA ‘deprives’ Hindus (Schedule Caste) of plot for
RAHIM YAR KHAN, July 17: A sanitary inspector of the
Tehsil Municipal Administration has allegedly deprived
some local people of the Hindu community of the plot
they had acquired for the temple.

About 200 families of Muslims, Christians and Hindus,
earlier settled in Mohallah Qazian near Central Eidgah
, were shifted outside the city in Dhakka Basti, New
Canal Park, by the then municipal committee chairman
Mian Abdul Khaliq in 1987.

Although the land for mosque, church and temple was
allocated and possession was given, it was not
transferred on paper.

The Hindus, under the guidance of priest Baba Santu
Ram, started worshipping in the five-marla plot
provided to them for building the Balmiki temple.

Following the death of Baba Santu Ram in 2001, his
wife planned to sell the plot to raise funds for the
marriage of her daughters.

In 2002, the district nazim received a letter from the
Punjab Auqaf department deputy secretary with
suggestions to carry out development work for

At least Rs405,500 were estimated for the construction
of Balmiki temple for the Hindus in New Canal Park .
Later, minority district council member J.K
Jamal-i-Azam Naik sent a letter to the district
council member (planning) in which Rs589,100 were
demanded for the temple.

In 2004, Baba Santu Ram’s wife disposed of the plot
against a reasonable price to Nazir Masih, a retired
Shaikh Zayed Hospital employee. Birbal Ram, the
successor of priest Baba Santu Ram, along with the
whole Balmiki biradari had filed an application with
the TMA that the temple plot could not be sold and
that it should be returned to the community. But Nazir
Masih built his house on the plot.

After sometime sanitary inspector Zafar Masih alias
Bakka, using TMA resources, demolished the house and
the plot was given to Birbal Ram and Balmiki biradari.
Later, Zafar Masih offered the Balmikis to build a
boundary wall on the temple’s plot for which they
could pay him in installments. On completion, Zafar
Masih locked the gate with a claim that the plot
belonged to the TMA.

A delegation of Hindu Balmikis, including minority
members of district and tehsil councils Arjun Jee,
Kanjee Ram, Gordhan Das, Kanoo Ram, Beerbal Ram, Jan
Bheel, Preetum Dass Baloch, Guru Sukh Dev Jee and
Ramaish Jaipal, met Tehsil Nazim Mian Ijaz Aamer on
June 26 and informed him about the illegal possession
of the temple plot by Zafar Masih. The tehsil nazim
ordered an inquiry into the matter.

The delegation had also visited Rahim Yar Khan DPO
Shahid Hanif and asked him to take action against the
sanitary inspector. The DPO assured them that their
rights would be protected.

The Balmikis claim that the TMA is not sincere in
returning the temple’s plot to them as the market
value of the New Canal Park has increased
sufficiently. The Government Post-Graduate Girls
College has also been shifted to a nearby building.

They also claim that UC nazim Mehmood Ayaz and naib
nazim Rana Iftikhar Rasool are also interested in this

The Balmiki Hindu biradari has urged the high-ups to
direct the TMA authority to return to them the place
of worship. (Daily Dawn 18 th July 2006)

2. Schedule caste Women rapped near chachroo

In the village Umer Anar near chachroo, Rawal S/O
Saleem Senhro (Muslim) rape of Ms Sajna W/O Deroo
Mal belonging from Meghwar community. A news
published in the Kawish newspaper that’ Ms Sajna
forcefully rapped & clothes Scratched on her
resistance. An incidence happened when she was going
to agricultural land alone. Case registered by her
husband Deroo S/O Arjan Das in the Chachroo Police
Daily Kawish (Sindhi Newspaper) Sunday, 16 July 2006 .

3. 129 people of Bheel community (Schedule-Caste)
Male, female and children convert to Islam.

Tando Mohammad Khan: 59 male, 40 women, 30 children of
the 15 families accepted Islam in the presence of
Hafiz Ghulam Mohammad Mahmoodi Qadri in the village
Allahdino Shaikh district Thatta. Ghulam Mohammd is a
central representative of Jamait Mehmodia Qadri
International. The representative claimed’ 129 people
of Bheel community motivated by the preach of Jamait.
To take the privilege from this huge conversion, a
religious congress was invited’ where religious people
gathered in thousands. The leaders reinforced to other
religious members that for more conversion there is
only one way to encourage the people of other religion
into Islam which is to preach on religious education.

Source’ Kawish (Sindhi Newspaper) Sunday, 16 July


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