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‘I know how it feels to be humiliated, I know how it feels to be empowered’: Modi to Dalit entrepreneurs

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Rajya Sabha passes SC/ST Bill unanimously through voice vote

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After seeing several days of adjournments, the Rajya Sabha on Monday unanimously passed Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment bill in a matter of minutes and that too through a voice vote and without any debate.

After seeing several days of adjournments, the Rajya Sabha on Monday unanimously passed Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment bill in a matter of minutes and that too through a voice vote and without any debate.The BJP was keen to get the bill through, especially to undo the damage done by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks given during Bihar polls that were dubbed as anti-Dalit quota by the opposition. The party also thinks that the passage of the bill would improve its image among Dalits that in turn could brighten its prospects during the UP state assembly elections due in 2017.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Of late BJP has been taking lot of brickbats for being intolerant and insensitive towards Dalits, especially after union minister V K Singh’s remarks given on the purported killing of two Dalit girls in Haryana recently.Deputy Chairman P J Kurien took up the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015 that aims to prohibit the commission of offences against members of the SCs and STs and adds provisions for establishing special courts for the trial cases of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims, in the second half of day.The sudden change in the atmosphere of the upper house that until recently failed to transact any business because of frequent pandemonium, prompted the deputy chairman Kurien to observe, “There is perfect calm and tranquility. Everybody is cool. A cool breeze is blowing. I don’t know where this breeze is coming from.”The amended bill adds new categories of actions to be treated as offences committed by non SCs and STs and amends certain existing categories. Impeding certain activities related to voting especially vote or not vote for a particular candidate will also be considered an offence.The new offences include – Garlanding SCs and STs with footwear; Compelling to do manual scavenging or dispose carry animal or human carcasses; Abusing SCs/STs in public by caste name; Disrespecting any deceased SCs/STs person held in high esteem or attempting to promote feelings of ill-will against SCs/STs and threatening or imposing economic and social boycott.The offences in case of sexual exploiting of SC or ST woman would include – Using acts, words or gestures of a sexual nature against SC/ST woman; Touching an SC/ST woman intentionally in a sexual manner without her consent; Practice of dedicating an SC/ST woman as a devadasi to a temple.Other actions that will be considered as an offence are Preventing SCs/STs using common property resources, entering any places of public worship that is open to the public, and entering an education or health institution.In case of any violation of any provisions mentioned in this act the courts will presume that the accused non SC/ST person was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim, unless it is proved.The bill also adds provision specifying duties of public servants which includes, registering a FIR or complaint, public servant must read out the information given oral complaint by SC/ST person before taking the signature of the victim and giving copy of this information to the victim. It should be noted that parent Act has provision mentioning that public servant (non SC/ST) neglecting his duties related to SCs/STs will be punished with imprisonment for a term of 6 months to 1 year.The Bill adds provision specifying establishment of exclusive Special Court and Special Court at the district level to try offences mentioned under this Act. Exclusive Public Prosecutor and Public Prosecutor will be appointed for every Exclusive Special Court and Special Court.A new chapter added to the bill dealing with the rights of victims and witness mentions that it shall be the duty of the state to make arrangements for the protection of victims and their dependents and the witnesses. It also mentions that state should specify a scheme to ensure the implementation of rights of victims and witnesses.

Abohar murder: Accused Amit Doda surrenders, liquor baron remains elusive

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“Amit Doda surrendered before SP Headquarters Abohar last night,” DIG Ferozepur Range, Amar Singh Chahal said.

Amit Doda, one of the accused in Abohar Dalit murder case, has surrendered before police even as the liquor baron and Akali leader Shiv Lal Doda continued to remain elusive.”Amit Doda surrendered before SP Headquarters Abohar last night,” DIG Ferozepur Range, Amar Singh Chahal said.However, he said that Shiv Lal Doda, main accused in the case, has not been arrested so far.”Shiv Lal Doda continues to remain elusive,” Chahal said adding that efforts are being made to nab him.Punjab Police had issued a look out circular against Shiv Lal Doda and his nephew Amit Doda in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The duo has been booked for conspiracy in connection with the murder of a 27-year-old Dalit man Bhim Sain whose limbs were chopped off by suspected henchmen of a liquor baron in Abohar on December 11.Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress had accused the Punjab Police of “going soft” on the Akali leader and his nephew due to pressure from the ruling SAD-BJP government.The police have so far arrested 13 persons in the case.

RSS attempts to reach out to Dalits; asks volunteers to adopt families, slums

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RSS claims this programme is part of a campaign to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of its third sarsanghchalak, the late Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat
Arijit Sen
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The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is going all out to affirm its pro-Dalit credentials, a few months after its chief Mohan Bhagwat called for a reassessment of the reservation system.According to Indian Express, the RSS has told its volunteers across the country to adopt at least one family each from the community, intermingle with their family members, dine with them and work towards bringing them into the mainstream of society. The volunteers also have to expose the Dalit family to their families and introduce the Sangh ideology.Sangh shakhas in urban areas are to adopt slums and interact with Dalits there. In rural areas, district units of the RSS will adopt Dalit-dominated villages.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RSS claims this programme is part of a campaign to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of its third sarsanghchalak, the late Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras.RSS office-bearers claim Deoras strove against the practice of untouchability. They say that he worked towards emancipation of Dalits as well.The RSS has published a speech of Deoras that he had delivered against untouchability, which they have handed over to volunteers.

Hopes on GST dash as Rajya Sabha heads for complete washout

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley countered her statement by even producing a copy of comments of appreciation by her in the temple’s visitor book and power minister Piyush Goyal aggravated the situation by calling her statement as “another incident of manufactured problems and manufactured discrimination”.

Modi government’s hopes to pass key legislative bills, including the GST, seem to have all but dashed in the winter session with no let-off in disruptions in sight by the Congress-led opposition in Rajya Sabha during the last three days.Besides Congress and other opposition parties raking up one issue after the other, the ruling party’s members also played their role to stall the Rajya Sabha with ill-timed comments and playing some hardball politics, raising doubts whether there is an attempt of an internal sabotage by the treasury benches.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aware that the House will go in a tumult on the issue of religious intolerance that was ruling the roost at the start of the session because of Dadri and death of Dalit children, the BJP took a soft approach by yielding to opposition’s demand to have a discussion on the rational of celebrating Constitution Day on November 26.In a bid to strike cord with the opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself hit a conciliatory note in his reply to the debate. In a well-measured speech bereft of any harsh comments, Modi said that “nobody in the country needs to give a certificate of his patriotism. Everyone in this country is a patriot.”But the House got in a logjam over Congress member Kumari Selja’s statement regarding alleged denial of entry in Bet Dwarka temple. The House showed a glimmer of hope of conducting business with all members expressing solidarity during a debate on Chennai floods but the chances faded as BJP raked up Selja’s temple visit issue again.Leader of the House Arun Jaitley countered her statement by even producing a copy of comments of appreciation by her in the temple’s visitor book and power minister Piyush Goyal aggravated the situation by calling her statement as “another incident of manufactured problems and manufactured discrimination”. All hell broke loose after that resulting in washout for another two days until the minister expressed regret.When the House met again on December 4, to counter Congress charges on Dalit issue, BSP supremo Mayawati raised the matter of cabinet minister, VK Singh’s ‘dog’ remark on the murder of two Dalit girls in Haryana’s Faridabad. The issue was joined in by other opposition parties. Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party also demanded a reply from the government on the statement made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat thus stalling proceeding of the house on December 4.The next week saw the Congress taking up cudgels on the Delhi High court notice to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Congress rushed to the well repeatedly blaming PM Modi for vendetta politics. All efforts made by Chairman Hamid Ansari and deputy chairman P J Kurien to delink parliament with a court matter failed to pacify Congress members resulting in a total washout of the entire week’s proceedings business from December 7 to 11.The penultimate week starting on December 14 began on a promising note with external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj giving a detailed account of her Pakistan visit during Heart of Asia conference and decision to start comprehensive bilateral talks with Pakistan.As soon as she completed, the house went through frequent disruptions on Abohar incident in Punjab with Mayawati accusing Punjab government of not acting against atrocities on Dalits. The issue kept the house busy till after afternoon and thereafter Congress raking up the issue of Kerala chief minister Ommen Chandy being deliberately kept out from a function of unveiling of statute at the insistence of the PMO. The day adjourned with members protesting for taking up SC/ST atrocities bill instead of Whistle blowers bill that was listed ahead.On the next day, angry Congress members raised their pitch against the Arunachal Pradesh governor for calling assembly session on his own without consulting the council of ministers and fixing up the agenda himself. They got support from Left parties and the JD (U). Calling it murder of democracy they trooped into the well and despite deputy chairman P J Kurien ruling that matter a governor can be discussed only after giving a substantive motion, they did not budge.The BJP got into double trouble when Arvind Kejriwal announced CBI raids at Delhi CM’s office on tweeter and Mamata Banerjee tweeting “shock” in solidarity. TMC member Derek O’Brien raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha that was soon joined by the members of the entire opposition, including Left parties and the Congress, arch rival of AAP in Delhi.Despite Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal requesting the chair not to adjourn the House and if need be conduct the proceedings until midnight, the deputy chairman had no option but to adjourn it a few minutes after 3pm.While CBI raids took a back seat on Thursday as AAP and Congress resorting to brazen it out in public, the Arunachal Pradesh picked up heat again with almost entire coming in support of Congress seeking indulgence of the house to protect the constitutional norms in the state.Despite deputy chairman requesting that the matter for a substantive discussion is under consideration of the chairman, Congress led opposition did not allow house to function describing Arunachal developments a very serious matter that can jeopardise the security of the country.

Congress, communists looting Kerala; BJP is ‘third force’ in state, says PM Modi

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Eying Dalits and backwards, RSS plans campaign for Hindu unity

“We are going to hold discussions on ‘samajik samrasta’ (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present,” RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said.

RSS will run a nationwide campaign next year to promote “social harmony” among Hindus apparently with an eye to win over Dalits, tribals and other backward classes, communities which are key to BJP’s hopes of wresting power in Uttar Pradesh where elections are due in 2017.The move also assumes significance in the wake of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s suggestion that the reservation policy needs to be reviewed – a statement that had boomeranged as it was blamed by many for BJP’s drubbing in the recent Assembly polls of caste-ridden Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are going to hold discussions on ‘samajik samrasta’ (social harmony) in our shakhas (morning get-together classes) from January 3 to 10 in which all the participants have been asked to be present,” RSS Madhya Bharat Pranth Sanghchalak Satish Pimplikar said.”The members (volunteers) of the shakhas will spread the Sangh’s viewpoint on ‘samrasta’ in the society thereafter,” he said.Besides, on Makar Sankranti (January 14), the RSS will organise lunches in which food stuff of ’til’ (sesame seeds) made by different families will be served, he said referring to an apparent symbolic gesture of breaking traditional caste-related restriction that have plagued the society.”People of different castes including Dalits, creed and languages will sit together and take lunch. By doing so we want to promote samajik samrasta in the Hindu society,” he said.”We will also hold several ‘samajik samrasta yajnas’ on February 7 in which people of different castes, including Dalits, across the Madhya Bharat Pranth, will participate,” he said.The RSS functionary, however, stressed that “nothing deeper” should be read into this move. It is primarily aimed at Hindu ‘samrasta’, he said adding that RSS has been promoting harmony among Hindus since decades.”We are doing this exercise following a decision of our central body. Such functions are going to be organised in our 11 ‘kshetras’ spread across the country. The different pranths of the kshetras will chart out their functions,” Pimplikar said.Meanwhile, the RSS is circulating a Hindi booklet titled ‘Sabhi Hindu Sahodar Hai’ (all Hindus are siblings), containing its views on ‘Hindu samrasta’ in Bhopal, Gwalior, Chambal and Narmadapuram revenue divisions of MP which it refers as Madhya Bharat Pranth.The 32-page booklet praises Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of Indian Constitution, and contains lectures of former RSS chiefs late Balasaheb Deoras and late M S Golwalkar vehemently opposing untouchability.The BJP too has been stressing on the legacy of Dalit icon Ambedkar with the Narendra Modi Government marking Constitution Day on November 26 which saw a special two-day discussion in both Houses of Parliament as a tribute to Ambedkar.In a stunning comeback in Uttar Pradesh, BJP had swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state, which was mainly attributed to the consolidation of Dalit votes, and the party has been hoping to continue the trend in the 2017 Assembly polls in the politically crucial state.However, the recent debacle in Bihar Assembly polls despite the fact that it won a major chunk of Lok Sabha seats in the state jolted the party.

Mayawati rubbishes reports of BSP aligning with Congress or BJP in Uttar Pradesh

“Recently, there have been reports in the media that BSP is tying up with BJP in the coming UP assembly elections. This is a rumour being spread by Samajwadi Party,” the former UP chief minister said.

BSP on Monday made it clear that it will not have an alliance with any party and will contest all the seats in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due in 2017. “I want to state it clearly that BSP will not have any alliance with any party. Neither with BJP nor Congress. Our party will contest all 403 seats and we will contest on our own strength,” BSP chief Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament. She also alleged that Samajwadi Party (SP) was spreading false “rumours” that her party will tie-up with BJP and claimed that it was SP which had joined hands with BJP. “Recently, there have been reports in the media that BSP is tying up with BJP in the coming UP assembly elections. This is a rumour being spread by Samajwadi Party,” the former UP chief minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In fact SP has already joined hands with BJP. SP broke out from the grand alliance of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar in Bihar to help BJP in the recently held state elections. This is a well-coordinated efforts on the part of SP to spread canard,” she said.Stepping up attack on the SP, she said, “Situation in UP is not good and the state is witnessing communal tension. People of UP want change in the state and they want BSP to come to the power.” On VK Singh issue, she said, “We have already demanded resignation of Singh before the commencement of the session.But government is not going to take any action and it shows their anti-Dalit attitude.”Taking on the Congress, BSP supremo said, “Atrocities were committed against downtrodden when Congress was in power in Haryana. Congress was in power both in the state and at the centre. But dalits did not get any justice. So whenever Congress raised the Dalit issue, it is for political purpose only.”Congress MPs led by Rahul Gandhi staged a protest outside Parliament house demanding removal of Union Minister V K Singh for his “dog” remarks.

BR Ambedkar’s economic thought not fully understood, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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As political parties vied to appropriate BR Ambedkar’s legacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would leave no stone unturned to fulfil his vision and dreams to create a prosperous and inclusive India. Modi, who released two commemorative coins of Rs 125 and Rs 10 as part of Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations, said that while his contribution to social justice has been recognised, his economic thought and vision has not been fully understood and these were “equally enlightening”. He said the more Ambedkar’s thought was recalled, in the context of issues currently faced by India, the more his vision and his approach to inclusiveness was respected.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Parliament, during the two-day debate on the Constitution and Ambedkar, the government had come under attack over the comments of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and the intolerance issue.Modi tweeted on Ambedkar’s 60th death anniversary that his views on “harmony and inclusiveness continued to inspire us”. He said Ambedkar and the Constitution should always be discussed and talked about in this country, and the observance of Constitution Day on November 26th, was a step in this direction. He appreciated Ambedkar’s vision on subjects such as women empowerment, India’s federal structure, finance and education.Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati accused NDA government of making hollow statements on Ambedkar saying “indecorous” remarks made against the Dalit community by those holding high offices were ignored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.”Like the previous Congress government, the present BJP government has done nothing concrete for the followers of Babasaheb but has only made hollow statements,” Mayawati said in a statement issued on Sunday. Her party is taking on union minister VK Singh for his alleged remarks on dalit children who had died.Mayawati said there was a marked difference in what the Modi government practiced and preached. “The latest remarks of Singh have crossed all limits of decency. It is sad that no head of any Constitutional body took notice his statement and initiated any action. We were forced to boycott him at least in the Rajya Sabha,” she said.

Government leaving no stone unturned to create inclusive India: PM Modi

The Prime Minister also highlighted Ambedkar’s vision on women empowerment, federalism, economy and its relevance on Sunday

Contending that BR Ambedkar’s economic thought and vision has not been fully understood, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the government is leaving no stone unturned to fulfil his vision and dreams to create a prosperous and inclusive India.Releasing two commemorative coins of Rs 125 and Rs 10 denomination at his residence as part of the 125th birth anniversary year celebrations of the architect of the Constitution, he said Ambedkar was a visionary and a profound thinker whose economic thought and vision is still not fully understood and needs to be appreciated, even though his contribution towards social justice have been recognised. “Our government is leaving no stone unturned to fulfil the vision & dreams of Dr Ambedkar to create a prosperous & inclusive India,” Modi said in a series of tweets after the function in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot were also present.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister also highlighted Ambedkar’s vision on women empowerment, federalism, economy and its relevance on Sunday. “We are aware of Dr Ambedkar’s contributions towards social justice but Babasaheb’s thoughts on economic issues are equally enlightening. … Dr Ambedkar will always be remembered as an original & profound thinker. His views on inclusiveness & harmony continue to inspire us,” he said.The Prime Minister said Ambedkar had faced lot of humiliation, yet his patriotism reflected in his work.Referring to the recent two-day sitting in Parliament on Ambedkar, he said there was good discussion in both the Houses of Parliament. The members reviewed the present situation in the context of Ambedkar’s perspective, he said. There were people who asked why November 26 was being observed, the Prime Minister said, adding “I do not feel that somebody who understands Babasaheb Ambedkar would ask these questions.” Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution should always be discussed and talked about in this country, and the observance of Constitution Day on November 26 was a step in this direction, a statement issued by Prime Minister’s Office said.Modi said there were only a few individuals who remain alive in public consciousness, even 60 years after their death. “The more we recall Ambedkar’s thought, in the context of issues currently faced by India, the more we come to respect his vision and his approach to inclusiveness.” He said it is because of great men like Babasaheb that India has scaled heights of progress. After releasing the coins, Modi said “nobody would have ever thought that there could be a day when Ambedkar picture could be on India’s coin.”Earlier in the day, Modi paid floral tribute at the Dalit mascot’s statue in Parliament House lawns. “Remembering Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his Punya Tithi,” he posted on Twitter along with a photograph showing him and Ambedkar’s statue.

PM Modi says Ambedkar’s vision still not understood, releases commemorative coins

The Prime Minister said while his contributions towards social justice have been recognised, his economic thought and vision is still not fully understood and it needs to be appreciated.

PM Narendra Modi

Describing BR Ambedkar as a great visionary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his economic thought and vision is still not fully understood, even though his contribution towards social justice have been fully recognised.Releasing two commemorative coins of Rs 125 and Rs 10 denomination at his residence as part of the 125th birth anniversary year celebrations of the architect of the Constitution, he said Ambedkar was a visionary and a very deep thinker.Related Read: PM Modi, Sonia Gandhi, President Pranab Mukherjee and others pay tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister said while his contributions towards social justice have been recognised, his economic thought and vision is still not fully understood and it needs to be appreciated. Modi said there were only a few individuals who remain alive in public consciousness, even 60 years after their death. He said “the more we recall Ambedkar’s thought, in the context of issues currently faced by India, the more we come to respect his vision and his approach to inclusiveness.” He said Ambedkar and the Constitution of India should always be discussed and talked about in this country, and the observance of Constitution Day on November 26 was a step in this direction, a press release issued by Prime Minister’s Office said.The Prime Minister appreciated Ambedkar’s vision on subjects such as women’s empowerment, India’s federal structure, finance and education. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot were present on the occasion.Earlier in the day, Modi paid floral tribute at the Dalit mascot’s statue in Parliament House lawns. “Remembering Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his Punya Tithi,” he posted on Twitter along with a photograph showing him and Ambedkar’s statue.

Spat between Anil Vij and Sangeeta Kalia creates uproar in Haryana Assembly

The State Health Minister told the House he had a video clip to back his claims that the SP had allegedly threatened the NGO, which had brought to his notice the issue of illicit liquor trade in the area.
File Photo
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Pandemonium prevailed in the Haryana Assembly on Monday as Congress slammed State Minister Anil Vij over the transfer of a woman IPS officer who was involved in a verbal spat with him and demanded his resignation even as he asserted that a case could be registered against her.Heated exchanges took place among ruling BJP and Congress MLAs on the first day of the Winter Session of the Assembly over the issue while Chief Minster Manohar Lal Khattar came to the rescue of his minister and appealed to opposition parties to avoid making it a Dalit versus others issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The issue should not be linked with gender. The transfer of IPS officer Sangeeta Rani Kalia, who was SP of Fatehabad district, as Commandant 4th IRB at Manesar should not be seen as any kind of punishment,” Khattar said.During the Zero Hour, Geeta Bhukkal, a Congress Dalit MLA, said the Minister had spoken “inappropriately” to the Dalit woman officer and demanded that he should either apologise for his behaviour or resign. She said a case is made against the Minister under the SC/ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act following which Vij got up from his seat to give clarification.The State Health Minister told the House he had a video clip to back his claims that the SP had allegedly threatened the NGO, which had brought to his notice the issue of illicit liquor trade in the area.”A case can be registered against the SP for threatening the complainant NGO,” the Minister said.He said, “It is dangerous if you know half truth. Some people are trying to politicise the issue and give it a different colour.”Kalia was on Saturday shunted out, a day after a spat with Vij, becoming the second woman IPS officer to be unceremoniously shifted in two months. The move triggered angry reactions against him from the opposition and on social media.Vij had on Thursday stormed out of a meeting of the District Grievances and Public Relations Committee at Fatehabad after the police officer refused to follow his order to leave the venue following heated exchanges between them.Vij, who is the Chairman of the District Grievances and Public Relations Committee, said, “The NGO took up the issue…they said they work against the drug and liquor mafia despite enormous personal risk, but police don’t help them and instead they are threatened.””I suggested that a joint team of the Excise department, Health department and police could carry out raids in the area bordering Punjab, where the drug and liquor mafia is active.No sooner I made the suggestion, the SP (Kalia) threatened the complainant,” Vij said. The Minister said he “politely” told the SP that he was the Chairman of the Committee and the issue was on the agenda.”Tell me what message goes out to public if a district police chief threatens someone who highlights wrongdoings?” he asked the Chair.”I told the SP if she was threatening them in my presence, it only proved the allegations of the NGO that police were not helping them. When she did not pay heed, I adjourned the meeting and came out as I did not want the matter to become worse,” he said.The Minister rejected allegations that he made casteist remarks against the officer. Vij also said he has written to the DGP, seeking protection for the workers of the NGO.As opposition members continued interrupting the Minister, Chief Minister Khattar said, “The issue should not be linked with caste or gender. This is an administrative issue. A proper system is in place for running things.”Who is at fault and who isn’t can be a matter of debate but I am not going into that. One thing is clear that Chairman should have the final say (in the meeting),” Khattar said.Defending Vij, the Chief Minister said it was graceful of the Minister that he came out of the meeting. Chief Minister Khattar said he had seen the video clipping of the incident and was pained by the argument.On the transfer of Kalia, Khattar told the Assembly that transfers are administrative matters and “it doesn’t mean that we are handing out any kind of punishment (to the officer).” However, Bhukkal countered him saying “it’s not just a matter involving a Dalit, but how (the minister) behaved with the woman officer, especially when the BJP government talks about Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, is unfortunate”.State Minister Krishan Kumar Bedi, who belongs to the Dalit community, and other BJP legislators sought to turn the tables on Congress, asking it to answer what it did to protect the interests of the Dalit community during its tenure.Independent MLA Jai Prakash also backed Vij, saying the IPS officer had no right to “rebuke any member from the public who had gone in the meeting with a complaint.” INLD’s Abhay Chautala also targeted Congress, saying that said party’s Kuldeep Sharma had allegedly made an objectionable remark against a Dalit MLA during the last term of the House.Heated exchanges followed as supporters of Chautala and Sharma joined in. Chief Minister Khattar said he had seen the video clipping of the incident and was pained by the argument. On the transfer of Kalia, Khattar told the Assembly that transfers are administrative matters and “it doesn’t mean that we are handing out any kind of punishment (to the officer).”However, Bhukkal countered him saying “it’s not just a matter involving a Dalit, but how (the minister) behaved with the woman officer, especially when the BJP government talks about Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, is unfortunate”.State Minister Krishan Kumar Bedi, who belongs to the Dalit community, and other BJP legislators sought to turn the tables on Congress, asking it to answer what it did to protect the interests of the Dalit community during its tenure.Independent MLA Jai Prakash also backed Vij, saying the IPS officer had no right to “rebuke any member from the public who had gone in the meeting with a complaint.” INLD’s Abhay Chautala also targeted Congress, saying that said party’s Kuldeep Sharma had allegedly made an objectionable remark against a Dalit MLA during the last term of the House.

If Sardar Patel had become PM, India would have become Pakistan: Author Kancha Ilaiah

Dalit activist and author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred a controversy by saying that India would have gone on the lines of Pakistan had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the nation’s Prime Minister.

Youtube video grab

Dalit activist and author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred a controversy by saying that India would have gone on the lines of Pakistan had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the nation’s Prime Minister.Speaking at the Times LitFest on Sunday, Ilaiah said that Patel was close to the Hindu Mahasabha and added that he wouldn’t have allowed Ambedkar to draft and write the Constitution.The Congress Party said everyone had a right to have an opinion.”What Kancha Ilaiah has said is his personal view. One leader cannot be compared with another as every leader has his own stature. I would not like to comment on his views,” Congress leader PL Punia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Contractor stabs Dalit labourer to death in Muzaffarnagar

Over monetary disputes, labourer gets stabbed to death.

Image for representational purpose.

dna Research & Archives
A 30-year-old Dalit labourer was allegedly stabbed to death by a contractor at Yogendernagar area, in Muzaffarnagar.The deceased has been identified as Rambir, who was working at a jaggery making unit, police said.The victim was reportedly stabbed to death by a contractor working at the same unit at Yogendernagar under Bhopa police station area in the district on Thursday evening, police said. No arrests have been made in the case so far, they added.The police added that the duo was involved in a monetary dispute.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Being Dravidian: ‘The institutionalisation of caste in Tamil Nadu politics was solely due to DMK chief Karunanidhi’

Tho Paramasivan, better known as Tho Pa, smiles his withering smile despite the niggling pain of an amputated foot. The 65-year-old writer, retired Professor of Tamil at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, researcher of temples for three decades and a staunch Periyarist, is affable and concise. Conversational chitchat, like his home in Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli, is sparse. His only God, he says, are the writings and teachings of the founder of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, Periyar EV Ramasamy Naicker, whose picture is hung up on the wall.

“Karunanidhi (chief of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK) is wholly responsible for caste issues in this state,” begins Tho Pa, mincing no words. “Periyar was against caste. The Dravidian movement was against caste. Anna (former Chief Minister Annadurai) compromised the Dravidian movement when he said – “ondrey kulam, oruvaney devan” (One humanity, one God). Karunanidhi diluted it further and turned it entirely into votebank politics,” he said.

Paramasivan refers to events that took place in the 1990s to prove his point. Renaming of districts in the state were on in full swing during the DMK regime with Karunanidhi as Chief Minister. Names for districts were those of prominent leaders belonging to different castes. Madurai, for instance, was named Pasumpon Thevar Thirumaganar district (referring to a prominent leader Muthuramalinga Thevar belonging to the Thevar caste belonging to the Backward Classes).

Villupuram district was called Villupuram Ramasamy Padayachiyar district, after another powerful leader of the Vanniyar (Most Backward Caste) caste. Many other districts had similar nomenclature. In 1997, caste riots broke out in southern Tamil Nadu when the State Transport Corporation in Virudhunagar was renamed as Veeran Sundaralingam Transport Corporation after a prominent Dalit leader. Thevars, an ‘upper caste’ refused to get into these buses named after a ‘lower caste’ leader. The state government led by Chief Minister Karunanidhi went into a huddle and hastily decided that names of caste leaders would not adorn districts or transport corporations.

. Firstpost/Sandhya Ravishankar

Tho Paramasivan. Firstpost/Sandhya Ravishankar

“Periyar is still relevant,” explained Paramasivan. “The Dravidian parties have diluted the movement. Absolute power corrupts absolutely – that is the Dravidian movement. It is a sad history. But no movement can die. It will change its form, new parties will come. It will morph and stay relevant to the times,” he said.

Paramasivan scoffs at Karunanidhi’s son and DMK heir apparent MK Stalin visiting the Thirukoshtiyur Ramanujar temple last month and at Karunanidhi himself penning the script for a biopic on the Hindu saint which is being aired on the DMK mouthpiece Kalaignar TV. “In the 1950s, (Tamil film actor) Sivaji Ganesan joined the DMK,” reminisced Paramasivan. “He went to the Tirupati Balaji temple before the release of some film of his. DMK men stuck posters all over the state calling him ‘Tirupati Ganesha’, mocking him. Karunanidhi and Stalin have forgotten all of that. All of this scriptwriting and visiting temples is only for votebank politics,” he said.

Paramasivan says that caste is here to say, considering how deeply institutionalised it has become in mainstream state politics. “Destroying caste is not an easy thing,” he argued. “Caste is as real as it is cruel. We can only dilute it. That is why Periyar believed in inter-caste marriages,” he said.

Periyar and the Dravidian movement have come under severe criticism from Dalit thinkers for being a movement that uprooted the Brahmin and installed the OBCs (Other Backward Castes) in its place, leaving the Dalits still outside of the system. Paramasivan, the Periyarist, defends his ideology. “The OBC took maximum advantage of Periyar’s Dravidian movement,” he argued. “It is an objective ideology and it was used more by the intermediary castes. This is unavoidable in such caste hierarchy,” he said.

Paramasivan also feels that there is a vacuum in political leadership for the Dalits in Tamil Nadu. “There is no good leadership for Dalits,” he said. “Dalit writers are sowing the seeds of hatred amongst people. Hatred is more powerful, it catches fire instantly. When hatred is sown, there is a sense of revenge amongst the community. Dalits are opposing non-Dalits, many times, for no reason,” he added.

“There will be lots of violence,” said Paramasivan on the issue of whether caste would be history in a few generations. “There will be at least another 50 years of bloodshed before caste dissolves. Caste will go only after unprecedented bloodshed, which we are yet to witness. It will come,” he warned.

The morphing of the Dravidian movement and caste intolerance in Tamil Nadu are interlinked, according to Paramasivan. He believes though that the movement itself will spread to other parts of the country, in a time of great intolerance. “In India, nationality has become a big thing now,” he explained. “India is a prison of suppressed nationalities. Tamil Nadu was the forerunner at one point. This crisis of nationality will come again. The BJP will ensure that this nationality question will remain alive. The Dravidian ideology will fight this and it will need to change to fight it. I see other states picking the anti-Hindi and anti-Hindu propaganda soon. Rationalism will spread to other states,” he said.

Parts one and two of the Tamil Nadu Caste Chronicles series are available here.

The author tweets @sandhyaravishan

Teetotalist state: Bihar government will ‘soon’ take steps to impose liquor ban in state

Patna: The Bihar government will soon take steps to impose a ban on liquor in the state, Excise and Prohibition Minister, Abdul Jalil Mastan said on Monday. The minister made the comments soon after taking office.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. ReutersBihar CM Nitish Kumar. Reuters

Nitish Kumar. Reuters

“We will start work to impose a ban on liquor in Bihar. It would be visible in the next six months,” he told the media here. In July, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had declared that prohibition would be imposed if he retained power in the assembly elections.

Mastan said the demand for prohibition in Bihar had been made by many. Women, mostly from Dalit and backward castes, had been at the forefront of protests against rising liquor consumption and demanded a ban on it.

IANS

PM Modi being ‘dictatorial’, say Sonia, Rahul Gandhi

Attacking the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said when he is abroad, he says India is tolerant and government wants to take all sections together but he says nothing of this sort when he is in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday came under strident attack from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who accused him of being “dictatorial” and using the smokescreen of development to mask communal agenda. Castigating the ruling dispesnation over a number of incidents like Dadri lynching and burning of Dalit children in Haryana amid the raging debate on intolerance, Sonia, Rahul and other top leaders tried to put the Modi dispensation on the mat. Training her guns on the Prime Minister, the Congress president said,”Simply because someone holds a different view or disagrees they cannot be branded a traitor. This is neither the way of our democracy nor a form of patriotism. It is a form of dictatorship.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Today, we are witnessing attempts by certain individuals and elements to whitewash their communal agenda in front of the world by hiding it behind the mask of development.” “Development is used as a buzzword, again and again. It is ironic that they speak of development yet fail to learn from the legacy and lessons of the man synonymous with laying the foundation of India’s growth-Nehruji,” she said. Attacking the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said when he is abroad, he says India is tolerant and government wants to take all sections together but he says nothing of this sort when he is in India. “Prime Minister is silent when Dalit children are killed in Haryana or when someone is killed in the name of religion in Dadri,” he said. Accusing Modi, BJP and RSS of practising unilateralism, Rahul said the Prime Minister does not take interest in Parliament and though the Opposition raises issues neither he nor his government bother to respond, which is in stark contrast to the respect shown by Nehru to his opponents. Alleging that people were being viciously attacked for holding different beliefs in the “prevalent atmosphere of intolerance”, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused Modi of promoting himself by harping on the issue of development.An unusally aggressive former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “Hamare Pradhan Mantri Vikas Ki baat karte hain. Jahan Jaate hain vikas ke naam par apni dukandaari chamkaane ki baat karte hain (Our Prime Minister talks of development. Wherever he goes, he tries to promote himself in the name of development).” He was was greeted with loud cheers. The attack on Modi came at the concluding ceremony of the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, which also saw repeated reference by party leaders to the poll victory of the grand alliance in Bihar.

How Kerala left the country behind on transgender rights

The policy was framed in tandem with the Supreme Court judgment and a report compiled by an expert committee constituted by the ministry of social justice and empowerment.

The Kerala government on Thursday unveiled a landmark policy that enforces the constitutional rights of transgender communities. Over a year after the 2014 Supreme Court judgment that guaranteed such rights for the transgender people, Kerala became the first state in the country to do so. Chief secretary Jiji Thomson released the State Policy for Transgenders in Kerala 2015, handing the first copy of the policy to Akkai Padmashali, a leading transgender and human rights activist from Bengaluru. Addressing the press, the chief secretary called it a “watershed moment” in a country where “transgenders have not received their due in the state’s developmental framework”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The policy was framed in tandem with the Supreme Court judgment and a report compiled by an expert committee constituted by the ministry of social justice and empowerment. According to the state government’s data, the committee spoke to 4,000 of the estimated 25,000 transgender people in the state, 99 per cent male to female, 63 per cent married to females. The survey asked questions about awareness of one’s body and access to health services, civil rights, the ability to live with dignity, self esteem among others, to come up with fairly dismal findings. Some of these affect basic yet essential sectors of health and education, with 54 per cent transgender students dropping out of school before class X, 51 per cent denied equal treatment in clinics and hospitals, and 89 per cent being mistreated at work. Ninety-six per cent of transgender did not raise their voices against violence, including sexual violence, because of their gender identities, and 76 per cent could not register their gender identity in applications for services, despite the SC judgment upholding their right to do so.In this context, heeding the SC’s call, the state government has pushed this policy that, at least on paper, enforces constitutional rights of all TGs, “including but not limited to female to male TGs, male to female TGs and Inter Sex people”. Kerala has set up a transgender justice board and district wise justice committees to implement its policy. “South Indian states have always done better than north Indian ones when it comes to transgender rights,” said Rituparna Borah, a Delhi-based queer rights activist. “Delhi has no such body, but Chennai has long had a transgender welfare board, and Karnataka has seen the transgender movement come together with the Dalit movement. Such policies give groups like ours entry points into the system.”For example, she said, her NGO used the SC judgment to be able to take up the case of Shivy, a trans male illegally kept captive in his home, in the Delhi high court, and secure his freedom. The judge presiding over the case, Siddharth Mridul, quoted extensively from the 2014 judgment in his own order. However, Borah points out a flaw in Kerala’s policy, and the process in framing it, that has traditionally plagued trans rights movements; the glaring absence of trans male voices. The survey too, spoke to overwhelmingly male to female respondents. “Mostly, such policies speak largely for the hijra communities,” said Borah, “which is good but those are not the only gender identities.” She pointed out that while hijras have a certain amount of social and cultural space, trans men and genderqueer people don’t. “Even the Prime Minister says the hijras and god’s gift,” said Borah, referring to the PM’s recent speech about assimilating trans communities into the mainstream. This leaves out other identities, making them harder to establish. “People don’t even see trans men as transgenders, they think only hijras are Tgs,” said Borah.However, she agreed that this policy had a lot of positives, and could allow recognised transgender groups to work for the betterment of all gender identities.

NHRC issues notice to Gujarat government for discriminating against Dalits

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Gujarat Government over the issue of a separate Anganwadi for Dalit children in Hajipur village of Patan district.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Gujarat Government over the issue of a separate Anganwadi for Dalit children in Hajipur village of Patan district.Taking suo motu cognizance of a media report, the NHRC has issued notice to the the Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Gujarat, and sought a report within two weeks.According to the report, there are two separate Anganwadis, one for the children of Dalits and the other for the children of other castes in Hajipur village.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reports stated that a three-year-old Dalit girl, who was lost in conversation with her four-year-old neighbour friend, walked towards Anganwadi number- 160 but was stopped at the gate and asked to go to Anganwadi number- 159 that was meant for Dalits.According to the NHRC, if the contents of the media report were true then it raised serious issues of human rights violation of Dalits.

Protests and a high profile death mar plans for Modi’s London visit

Human rights activists and several socio-religious forums are campaigning to stage huge protests at Downing Street and Wembley to mar the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A massive projection of Narendra Modi holding a sword in one hand and a shield with the ‘Om’ symbol with a swastika superimposed appeared on the Houses of Parliament next to the iconic Big Ben

The Awaaz Network is spearheading the protest. Others joining the ‘Modi Not Welcome’ team are South Asia Solidarity Group, Sikh Federation UK, Southall Black Sisters, Dalit Solidarity Network UK, Indian Muslim Federation, Indian Workers Association, Muslim Parliament, and Voice of Dalit International.

The c

What the protesters projected onto the houses of Parliament in London. Image courttesy: TwitterWhat the protesters projected onto the houses of Parliament in London. Image courttesy: Twitter

What the protesters projected onto the houses of Parliament in London. Image courttesy: Twitter

ds “Modi not welcome” onto the Houses of Parliament building on Sunday in a bold show of protest against Modi. The projection showed Modi wielding a sword in front of “an OM sign that is tragically being transferred to a swastika.”

“[Narendra Modi] wants to sell the idea of a ‘Digital India’, a ‘clean India’ and a developed and self-sufficient India,” a spokesperson for the Awaaz Network said. “The reality is the unleashing of a violence packed authoritarian agenda that seeks to undermine India’s democratic and secular fabric.”

The visit is seen as an opportunity to help “break down the wall between the Indian state and many Sikhs outside India”, the Sikh Human Rights Group said.

It has sent five proposals to New Delhi, including abolishing ‘blacklists’ of Sikhs living abroad who cannot travel to India, release of prisoners held for political reasons, and a dialogue between the Indian government and Sikhs based abroad.

Scotland Yard was meanwhile placing a ‘policing plan’ to deal with protests. There is some concern in official circles about the security aspect of Modi’s visit, after a Sikh demonstration at the Indian high commission last week led to some violence and traffic jams in central London for some hours.

At the same time Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wants Britain to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, but also to use the occasion to question him on recent events in India that have caused some concern about tolerance.

Speaking at the London School of Economics at a launch event for his book, ‘The Country of First Boys’, Sen said he voted against Modi but he did not expect the situation to take “such naked a form as it has taken” under his government,

High profile Indians were diverting from the planning for the visit by the death of Lord Swaraj Paul’s son from a mysterious fall from his penthouse in central London. Angad Paul fell eight storeys, landing on the roof of a building below where his body was spotted by horrified onlookers. Paul was educated at MIT, where he gained degrees in Economics and Media Arts and Sciences. Firefighters were called to lead the operation to get him down and paramedics pronounced the 45-year-old dead at the scene in central London.

None can stop BSP from coming to power in UP in 2017: Mayawati

Mayawati, however, said that BSP had the satisfaction in the fact that anti-Dalit, anti-minorities and those against communal amity having casteist mentality have not been able to come to power in Bihar like at the Centre

Claiming that people in Bihar voted en masse in favour of the grand alliance against the “wrong policies and communal mindset” of BJP, BSP supremo Mayawati on Monday said results had proved that no power can stop her party from coming to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.”The people of Bihar voted en masse in favour of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav against the wrong policies, working style and communal mindset of BJP because of which BSP failed to ensure victory of its candidates,” Mayawati said in a statement. “It became a direct fight in Bihar between the grand alliance and BJP…and BSP had to face massive losses there,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mayawati, however, said that BSP had the satisfaction in the fact that anti-Dalit, anti-minorities and those against communal amity having casteist mentality have not been able to come to power in Bihar like at the Centre. “People of Bihar need to be congratulated for this or else its effect would surely have been on the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh,” she said, adding BJP was under the impression that once it comes to power in Bihar the same would be repeated in UP also.”Bihar results have had an adverse impact on BJP and Samajwadi Party in UP, and BSP now has confidence that no power can stop it from coming to power in UP,” she stressed.”In the recent panchayat elections in UP, BJP was wiped out and Samajwadi Party also trailed BSP…in Bihar, SP in a tacit understanding with BJP, fielded candidates which could have directly benefited the saffron party,” she alleged.She also thanked her party-men in Bihar for standing unitedly in the face of a challenge posed by the direct contest.

Karnataka: Congress minister’s wife caught accepting bribe; BJP demands his resignation

Bengaluru: After Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya’s wife Vijaya was caught allegedly taking a bribe from a contractor in a sting operation, leaders from the Opposition parties BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) are demanding that he resign from his post and a high-level probe be ordered into the incident.

Former Deputy Chief Minister and veteran BJP leader KS Eshwarappa said Anjaneya should immediately resign from his post.

H Anjaneya. IBNLiveH Anjaneya. IBNLive

H Anjaneya. IBNLive

“I would not like to talk much about whether the minister’s wife was involved in accepting bribe or not, but I would suggest the Minister to resign and Chief Minister initiate an inquiry into the issue,” he added.

A Kannada TV news channel aired footage in which a man is seen keeping currency notes on a table before Vijaya in the minister’s house.

The channel claims that the money was a bribe of Rs 7 lakh to pass a tender worth Rs 7 crore in a particular district and that it had used fake currency notes as part of its sting operation.

Unfazed by the controversy, Anjaneya defended his wife, saying it was a conspiracy to defame his image in public.

“There is no need for me to take bribe, and my wife is not of that kind. She is innocent. There is conspiracy behind this … I have not come into politics to make easy money, but serve people,” he told reporters reacting to the sting operation.

Asked who was behind the conspiracy or whether there were people belonging to his party, Anjaneya said “I cannot tell who is and who is not behind the conspiracy.”

Playing the Dalit card, Anjaneya said it was common for oppressed people to face such difficulties. “I belong to the oppressed community and it is common for us to face such situations. I have been rendering social service, which you (media and people) all have been seeing,” he said.

Reacting to the controversy, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he is not aware of the sting operation and wouldn’t be in a position to talk much about it.

On the other hand, the opposition, especially the BJP demanded the resignation of either Siddaramaiah and Anjaneya.

“Siddaramaiah, who has been claiming that his government is clean, stands exposed in the sting operation. The Chief Minister must immediately resign from the post,” senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said.

PTI

Karnataka minister’s wife caught on ‘sting’ allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 7 lakh

“There is no need for me to take bribe, and my wife is not of that kind. She is innocent. There is a conspiracy behind this … I have not come into politics to make easy money, but serve people,” he told reporters reacting to the sting operation carried out by a Kannada news channel here.

Representational image.

A Karnataka minister was in a controversy after a ‘sting operation’ by a TV channel on his wife allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 7 lakh regarding a tender pertaining to his department.In the video footage aired by the channel, a man is seen keeping currency notes on a table before Minister for Social Welfare Anjaneya’s wife in the minister’s house.The channel claims that the money was a bribe of seven lakh rupees to a pass a tender worth Rs 7 crore in a particular district and that it had used fake currency notes as part of its sting operation.Unfazed by the controversy, Anjaneya defended his wife, saying it was a conspiracy to defame his image in public.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is no need for me to take bribe, and my wife is not of that kind. She is innocent. There is a conspiracy behind this … I have not come into politics to make easy money, but serve people,” he told reporters reacting to the sting operation carried out by a Kannada news channel here.Asked who was behind the conspiracy or whether there were people belonging to his party, Anjaneya said “I cannot tell who is and who is not behind the conspiracy.”Playing the Dalit card, Anjaneya said it was common for oppressed people to face such difficulties. “I belong to the oppressed community and it is common for us to face such situations. I have been rendering social service, which you (media and people) all have been seeing,” he said.Reacting to the controversy, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he is not aware of the sting operation and wouldn’t be in a position to talk much about it.On the other hand, the opposition, especially the BJP demanded the resignation of either Siddaramaiah and Anjaneya.”Siddaramaiah, who has been claiming that his government is clean, stands exposed in the sting operation. The Chief Minister must immediately resign from the post,” senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said.Former Deputy Chief Minister and veteran BJP leader K S Eshwarappa also said Anjaneya should immediately resign from his post.”I would not like to talk much about whether the minister’s wife was involved in accepting bribe or not, but I would suggest the Minister to resign and Chief Minister initiate an inquiry into the issue,” he added.

Sikhs stage black flag protests against desecration in Chandigarh

The protesters were also demanding recovery of stolen ‘bir’ (religious scripture) of Guru Granth Sahib from village Burj Jawahar Singhwala on June 1 at Faridkot, arrest of real desecrators and of those cops who had fired at protesters killing two Sikh activists and injuring several others at Behbal Kalan village last month and making their names public.

Sikh community people take out a march with black flags to protest against the desecration of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Punjab firing incident in Amritsar on Tuesday.

PTI
Carrying black flags and placards, Sikh activists of various outfits, including radical groups, on Tuesday staged peaceful protests at various places in Punjab against the desecration of holy book last month, with demands for time-bound probe by CBI.The protesters were also demanding recovery of stolen ‘bir’ (religious scripture) of Guru Granth Sahib from village Burj Jawahar Singhwala on June 1 at Faridkot, arrest of real desecrators and of those cops who had fired at protesters killing two Sikh activists and injuring several others at Behbal Kalan village last month and making their names public. They also demanded scrapping permanently the case registered against two brothers Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, who were arrested earlier but released yesterday with police saying there was not sufficient evidence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protesters, including women, formed a human chain adjacent to roads, including National Highways and state highways criss-crossing the state without disturbing traffic, police said. Chanting ‘Satnam Waheguru’, the protesters were supported by representatives of dalit and muslim communities at various places in the state.Both the India-Pakistan cross-border Sada-e-Sarhad buses, plying to and fro New Delhi and Lahore, passed through Phagwara normally, police said. The protesters were agitating against sacrilege incidents of Holy Guru Granth Sahib at different places in the state last month. Some of the placards propagated the November 10 ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation of Sikhs) convened by radical Sikh outfits at Amritsar, police said.Apprehending that the CBI probe into the desecration incidents could meet the fate of 1984 riots, the protesters demanded a time-bound probe by the investigating agency.”If the CBI probe into the desecration cases is to go the anti-Sikh riots way where nothing came out even after 31 years, then the inquiry into incidents of desecration should be handed over to United Nations(UN)”, demanded the protesting Sikh Sangat, Sikh bodies, Gurdwara committees, Women Wing Societies, Dalit and Muslim representatives.

5 films made by Anand Patwardhan that you must know

Anand Patwardhan returned National Awards

File Photo
Noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan on Wednesday returned his National Award to protest against the murders of rationalist author MM Kalburgi and activist Govind Pansare. Also read: Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan and 7 others return National Awards<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are a few award winning films from the prolific director:1. Bombay our city (1985, 75 minutes): This film tells the story of millions of slum dwellers of Mumbai and the issues they face, which include threats of eviction to ‘beautify’ the city.Patwardhan got a National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film in 1986. He returned this award to protest against a ‘culture of intolerance.’2. ‘In the Name of God’ (Ram ke Nam), (1992, 75 minutes): This film tracks the Hindutva movement before the demolishing of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. It won the National Film Award for Best Investigative Film in 1992.3. Father, Son and Holy War (Pitra, Putra aur Dharmayuddha) (1995, 120 minutes)This film received the National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues and National Film Award for Best Investigative Film in 1996.4. War and Peace (2002):With the nations like India, Pakistan and United States vying to have gather arms, especially nuclear weapons, this film examines the affect it has on people, relations between nations and peace movements. It won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film, India, 2004,[26] etc.5. Jai Bhim Comrade (2011): This film, made over the span of 14 years, tracks the Dalit movement, the artists leading it and the various incidents of violence that took place against the community.

BJP damaging cultural, secular values of country: AAP

The party alleged that corruption was so rampant in the state that no one can get a birth or death certificate without paying a bribe.

Sanjay Singh, AAP-core committee member was speaking at a joint press conference after the AAP Rajasthan Workers meeting.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday alleged that the BJP was doing politics of hate under a “planned conspiracy” to damage the cultural and secular values of the entire country.”Incidents of Dalit atrocities on children and adults, rationalist M M Kalburgi’s cold-blooded murder, authors returning their awards due to religious and creative intolerance, and hate speech of saffron leaders and Union ministers, including V K Singh. This is a planned conspiracy. Politics of hate is being going on… It is going on in the entire country to disturb Indian society and damage the cultural and secular values, which were strong since centuries,” Sanjay Singh, AAP-core committee member at a joint press conference after the AAP Rajasthan Workers meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Not the least, the BJP was trying to build a temple after Nathuram Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi. It was very shameful, Singh further said.”Modi is very concerned over Syria’s footballer as he posted tweets regarding him, but he is not concerned on the religious and creative intolerance,” he said.”Why is he mute on Lalitgate involving two BJP women — Union minister Sushma Swaraj and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje — and mines bribery case in Rajasthan?” Singh, who was accompanied with Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh and Nitin Tyagi, said.AAP leader Sanjay Singh further asked, “Why Modiji is not reacting on church attacks, murder of dalit children, Kalburgi’s murder, hate speeches by BJP ministers who speak only to be in media”.On the revival mode of AAP in Rajasthan, Singh said that the party will make the Lalitgate, involving Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, mines bribery case and deteriorating law and order situation in the state a “public issue.”The party alleged that corruption was so rampant in the state that no one can get a birth or death certificate without paying a bribe. The people are stuck with the mud politics of two parties, Congress and BJP, Singh said, adding that AAP will give them a respite in the 2018 assembly polls.Party spokesperson Ashutosh said that the party has put up a single point agenda of ‘Brashtachar Mukt Bharat’ (Corruption Free India) and to change ‘Jan Chetana’ into ‘Jan Andolan’ (public conscience into public movement). We will go to all states to take up this mission, he said.Detailing the revival plan of the party, Ashutosh said that the party’s organisational set up will be strengthened in every state, every district, up to the booth level, in a time-bound manner. He added that a Jan Chetna Yatra would also be organised in Punjab and Delhi. The AAP leader admitted that the party was facing hurdles in all its state units but will surely work on them.On the strained relations between the AAP government in Delhi with the Centre, the party leaders alleged that the Modi government was defaming Kejriwal by conspiring to control MCD, Police and LG office.”We have urged the Prime Minister not to make and treat Delhi as a Gujarat model where he used to do every thing that he wanted,” Singh said.The AAP leaders also expressed concern on rising prices of essential commodities. Thousands of delegates from various parts of Rajasthan attended the AAP workers meeting today.

BJP govt has destroyed Haryana, says INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala

Slamming the first ever BJP government in Haryana led by Khattar, who has been giving details of its “achievements” on completion of one year, Chautala said they have destroyed the state.

Abhay Singh Chautala
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Haryana’s main opposition on Sunday accused the Manohar Lal Khattar government of “destroying” the state and cheating people by going back on its promises made before Assembly polls.”The Chief Minister says they have undertaken Vikas (development), but I will say that they have done Vinash (destruction),” senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said.Slamming the first ever BJP government in Haryana led by Khattar, who has been giving details of its “achievements” on completion of one year, he said they have destroyed the state. Hitting out at Khattar government’s claims that it had taken various steps to rein in corruption, Chautala, speaking with party leaders Ashok Arora and Rampal Majra, asked “why have they failed to take action on the chargesheet which we submitted to the (then) Governor last year about various acts of ommission and commission of the previous Congress government in the state?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I had recently asked Chief Minister about what his government intended to do about the chargesheet and he had assured the members in the state Assembly that his government will get an inquiry done into this. We (INLD) had even said that if we are found wrong on any of the facts which we raised in our chargesheet, then action be taken against us. But one year has passed, they are still dilly dallying the matter, which indicates there is tacit understanding between the Congress and the BJP,” he alleged.Chautala raked up “a mega scam in the making” pertaining to the purchase of 1509 Basmati variety of rice from farmers at the price of general variety rice by government agencies.”While the purchase rate of this particular variety last year was at Rs 3,300 per quintal, now the government agencies are procuring it at Rs 1,450 per quintal. However, the farmers allege that they are being paid only between Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,300 per quintal. I demand a high level probe by an independent agency into this scam,” he said.Criticising the government over its claims of having taken many pro-farmer decisions, he said, “Immediately after they came to power, there was acute shortage of pesticides (urea). A couple of months back, the government claimed to have made highest ever payment of Rs 1,092 crore for crop damage, but still there are many farmers who have not got any compensation…Farmers including cotton farmers affected by white-fly pest attack have not been adequately compensated,” he said.Chautala also claimed that BJP has gone back on promises in its poll manifesto.”They promised unemployment allowance to youths and to give Rs 15,000 per month salary to the Safai Karamcharis and equal pay scales to employees at par with Punjab, none of which has been fulfilled. On the contrary, during the past one year, many sections including employees, guest teachers, nursing students, laboratory assistants and other sections have been forced to hit streets as the promises made to them by the BJP have not been fulfilled,” he said.The INLD leader said “no concrete step has been taken to ensure early completion of SYL Canal, which would have helped Haryana get its share of water”. He charged the Khattar government with failing to end favouritsm in jobs, “which had ruled roost during previous Congress regime”.On the law and order situation in the state, he alleged that it has worsened ever since present government took over.While recent incidents at Sunped in Faridabad and Gohana, in which two Dalit children were burnt alive and a Dalit youth died allegedly in police custody, have shaken the state, “there has been a manifold increase in crimes against Dalits and women”, he said.”As many as 100 Dalit families of Bhagana village in Haryana were forced to convert while victims of Mirchpur incident are still living in a state of fear and insecurity,” he said.On the power issue, he stated, “they made tall promises of giving 24-hour power supply to the people, but the truth is that they are fiding it difficult to supply even four hours of power (in rural areas). Moreover, they also burdened the consumers with hiked power rates.”We give the government time till November 1 to roll back the increased power rates or else we will be forced to hit the streets to protest,” he said.On the rise in rates of pulses, Chautala said, “Recently, huge stocks of pulses were seized from hoarders in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, both of which are ruled by the BJP…pulses, which are selling at around Rs 70 per kg in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, have shot through the roof in our country and are selling at well above Rs 200 per kg”.”But the government is not worried about common consumers…we only hear about row over beef or some irresponsible statements made by the BJP Ministers, be it at the Centre or Haryana,” he said.On the minimum qualification criteria for various posts of Panchayati Raj institutions, Chautala said, “Today, if a referendum is conducted, 99 per cent people in the state will not favour this”.On Khattar’s recent visit to US and Canada to attract investments, he said, “This was just an eyewash. No new investment has come to Haryana”.Meanwhile, Chautala said preparations were underway for INLD’s ‘Samman Rally’ on November 1 in Rohtak, to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Deputy Prime Minister, late Devi Lal. Chautala said among other leaders, they had also invited Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, to participate in the rally.

Burning of Dalit children: Upper caste ‘mahapanchayat’ decries arrests of seven people

Faridabad: Decrying the arrests in the Dalit children burning case, a ‘mahapanchayat’ held here by upper castes on Sunday accused the authorities of bias and “bowing to the pressure of caste politics”.

The meeting attended by members from different associations of Kshatriyas, Brahmins and Rajputs claimed that the case was not about “inter-caste fight” but was a “feud between two families”.

The father of the Dalit children who were burnt to death. PTIThe father of the Dalit children who were burnt to death. PTI

The father of the Dalit children who were burnt to death. PTI

The upper caste members demanded that the seven arrested persons be released till the probe is completed.

The meeting also asked the authorities to first complete the investigation into the earlier killing of three persons from the family of the accused allegedly by relatives of Jitender, father of the deceased children.

Two-and-a-half-years-old Vaibhav and 11-month-old Divya had died after their assailants allegedly poured petrol through one of the windows of their house in Sanped village here on the intervening night of October 19-20.

While the children perished in the blaze allegedly set off by some upper caste people who had a running feud with the Dalit family, their parents suffered severe injuries in the attack.

The mahapanchayat also voiced for a compensation for the accused family as “the family is not left with any source of income and is in a difficult financial condition”.

Accusing the establishment of “bowing down to the pressure of caste politics”, the upper caste families said that the government is siding with the Dalits “just because they are Dalits”.

“While the Dalits are united in terms of following the call of their leaders, the upper castes are divided within their self made limits,” they said.

The families also requested the authorities to shift the accused from Bhondsi prison to Neemka, so that their family members can meet them more frequently.

Deepak Gaur, member Akhil Bhartiya Brahmin Sabha said that they would come out with a rally soon if their demands are not heeded to.

Meanwhile, the women members from the accused family also met Assistant Commissioner of Police Vishnu Dayal today and asked for a detailed and unbiased probe into the case.

PTI

Nitish Kumar questions PM Modi’s ‘silence’ over Haryana Dalit toddlers’ murders

At the same election meeting in Vaishali district, Kumar also raised the controversial dog remark against Dalits by union minister V K Singh to highlight the “insenstivity” of NDA ministers.

“BJP leaders talk of jungle raj in Bihar. Is the Haryana incident an example of Mangal raj?” asked Nitish Kumar (PTI)

File Photo
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over burning to death of two Dalit children in Haryana. “Over 100 hours & Modiji hasn’t uttered a word on Dalit killings in Haryana yet him invoking Gandhiji s ideals is nothing but preposterous,” Kumar said in a tweet message. He referred to the Faridabad incident during his election rallies in the day at Lalganj in Vaishali and other places.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At Lalganj, Kumar said “BJP leaders talk of jungle raj in Bihar. Is the Haryana incident an example of Mangal raj?” At the same election meeting in Vaishali district, Kumar also raised the controversial dog remark against Dalits by union minister V K Singh to highlight the “insenstivity” of NDA ministers. With Ramvilas Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi on its side, NDA is hoping to win a bigger chunk of Dalit votes that constitute about 20 per cent of the total votes in Bihar.In such a condition, the Faridabad incident has spelt trouble for NDA as it has given the grand secular alliance an opportunity to attack it.

Dalit Children Murder: Toddlers’ father discharged from hospital

Family sources confirmed that Jitender was feeling better after returning from the hospital.

Two Dalit toddlers who were burnt alive allegedly by people from upper caste at Sunped village

File Photo
Jitender Kumar, father of the two Dalit toddlers who were burnt alive allegedly by people from upper caste at Sunped village here and undergoing treatment for post-traumatic shocks, was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Virendra Yadav said Jitender’s health conditions were normal with no signs of infection and was discharged from hospital this afternoon.He was admitted at BK Hospital here on Thursday after he developed signs of post-traumatic shocks and also to check if any infection spreading due to his burn injuries in his hands. Family sources confirmed that Jitender was feeling better after returning from the hospital. However, his uncle Hukum Singh said that despite the improvement Jitender was still in shock. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jitender was escorted to his village by armed cops to ensure his safety, sources said. Meanwhile, the SIT constituted for the case has started its work. DCP NIT Pooran Chand, who heads the team, said they would share the findings when the CBI steps in the case, as the agency has already been given the responsibility of probe. BSP National Vice President Raja Ram visited the victim after he arrived at home and assured that the issue would be raised in the Parliament.

Path shown by Mahatma Gandhi extremely relevant today, says Modi on UN’s 70th anniversary

New Delhi: The ideals and path shown by Mahatma Gandhi are extremely relevant today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday in a message on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the UN which assumes significance in view of the recent incidents of violence in the country.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

“Greetings to everyone on UN Day. UN completes 70 years in service of humanity, committed to its goal of making the world a peaceful place,” he said.

“The ideals and path shown by Gandhi ji are extremely relevant today and they resonate with the UN charter and ideals of the UN,” Modi said.

His reference to Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals and path assumes significance in view of the recent incidents of violence, like lynching of a man in Uttar Pradesh over beef-eating rumours and burning of a Dalit family in Haryana.

The Prime Minister said India is at the forefront of various initiatives of the UN and is committed to doing our best in supporting UN in their endeavours.

He noted that on the UN day, iconic buildings worldwide will be illuminated in blue at night and said, in India, Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad will be illuminated.

PTI

Dalit boy death: SIT formed to investigate case, Khattar maintains boy committed suicide

The move to form the SIT-headed by a DSP came as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar came under attack for claiming that the boy, Govind, had committed suicide.

Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar

PTI
A Special Investigation Team has been formed to probe the death of a 15-year-old Dalit youth in Gohana here, a day after two ASIs were booked on murder charges following allegations from the family that he died in police custody.The move to form the SIT-headed by a DSP came as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar came under attack for claiming that the boy, Govind, had committed suicide.Police said the postmortem, which was conducted by a board of doctors, showed that the boy died due to hanging.”The SIT has been formed in the case. The report of the postmortem, which was conducted by a board of doctors, says that the boy died due to hanging. There was also a mark on his neck,” the Rohtak Range Inspector General of Police, Shrikant Jadhav, told PTI today. On the directions of Jadhav, a SIT had also been formed to conduct further investigations in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The SIT will be headed by Rohtak Police DSP rank officer Amit Bhatia,” Superintendent of Police, Sonipat, Abhishek Garg said on Saturday. He said the situation in Gohana town was peaceful after protests by the boy’s family, which had alleged that he was beaten by police and died in custody after being accused of pigeon theft.The two Assistant Sub-inspectors were booked on murder charges and also under sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on the direction of National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission.On Friday, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had told reporters here that “the post mortem report will throw light on why the suicide took place and for what reasons.” He had said the boy’s family was involved in a dispute with another family over some money and pigeon and that the boy was not questioned and he had himself gone to the police station.Congress had attacked the Chief Minister for claiming that the boy had committed suicide even before the investigation was completed.”When Chief Minister of the state like ML Khattar will pre-judge a case before investigation, may I ask who will punish the guilty in this country. It is shameful, it is condemnable and it is reprehensible,” chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala had said. He alleged that it reflected a mindset which is anti-dalit, anti-poor and anti-backward that is “taught in the school of RSS and BJP.”The Gohana incident had come close on the heels of two Dalit children being burnt alive at Sunped village in Faridabad district.

Hariyal, the parrot, arrested in Rajura for using abusing language: Why blame the bird, must have been watching the news!

A normal day in India starts with the suspicious death of a 14 year old Dalit for stealing a pigeon, and a controversy over the police taking the kid away, allegedly asking for money to release him and then the boy being found hanging from the ceiling of a neighbouring uncle’s house.

At about the same time, two Dalit children in Faridabad are set on fire by a village head because of an old rivalry. Why the caste divide has to be perpetuated even by its denial is beyond comprehension, but we seem to love the ‘them and us’ concept. If the BJP really wants applause, they should take steps to finish the caste system entirely, and end the scourge of the country. Our caste wars have now become even worse than the situation during the apartheid years in South Africa. We have a situation where a 23 year old author Huchangi Prasad is threatened with having his fingers sawn off for writing ‘against Hinduism’, because his book ‘Odala Kichhu’ is anti-caste.

Image courtesy: ibnliveImage courtesy: ibnlive

Image courtesy: ibnlive

As the day wears on, a famous singer is charged with molestation and so is a national cricketer. Abhijeet Bhattacharya and Amit Mishra are innocent till proven guilty and the latter represented India in the fourth ODI even after the police issued a notice to him. Bhattacharya and Mishra are accused of engaging in the rising sport of girl-baiting, exactly what caused a teenager to kill herself after the cops refused to take cognisance of the complaint and deal with the three bullies making her life miserable. Another woman raped in Odisha commits suicide in shame and fear. All this against the backdrop of the BBC announcing that Indian women are fighting back against the rising wave of rapes.

The death toll- for eating beef, or being accused of eating beef, or saying that it is okay to eat beef- stays at three persons. But Congress corporator Parminder Bhamra has gone on record as saying that cow urine (hello, Morarji) is so pure that hospitals across Mumbai should use it to cleanse their wards and corridors.

Still in Mumbai, Bollywood takes on the Shiv Sena over the boycott of all Pakistanis. Mahesh Bhatt echoes the sentiment that blows in the wind on a regular basis; keep politics and art separate. And literature and science, and sport, and music, and whatever else is being hammered on the anvil.

While all this is going on, an elderly couple is stranded in an Air India aircraft for 70 minutes after it comes into Mumbai from Hyderabad because there are no wheelchairs. Their demand forms for assistance at disembarkation were correctly filled and the Airports Authority which is responsible for this mistake (not Air India since the crew had to stay on board till the last passenger left) seems indifferent to their plight. If you watch the video you do not know whether to laugh or cry. Seventy minutes in a plane with engines off.

The incident regarding a petrol bomb victim in Udhampur translates into a curfew in Srinagar, where separatists have been on the rampage.

If all this isn’t enough, the Congress offers its ‘daily dose’ by accusing the BJP of protecting former IPL big boss Lalit Modi, an issue which is so boring that one wishes the Congress lets up on some days and take a break.

And in the capital, the Delhi administration under Arvind Kejriwal passes a resolution against Lt Governor Jung for transferring VAT Commissioner Vijay Kumar ostensibly because he ordered raids on several companies. It seems that no good deed goes unpunished.

But for eight hours on Sunday the people will stop their antics and focus on the fifth one day decider where tickets are being scaled at three times their face value. The fact that umpire Aleem Dar and commentators Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have been shooed away from Mumbai by a few Shiv Sena thugs will no longer matter.

And in the Indian city of Rajura, a parrot called ‘Hariyal’ is arrested by the police after the owner complained that it was using fowl language towards his stepmother, who is 85.

Maybe the parrot was just reading/watching the news and saying…X%$#@*&(%… Why blame the bird.

Just another day…

Suicide or custodial death? Despite CM Khattar’s clean chit on Dalit teen’s death, doubts linger

Is the death of the Dalit teenager in Gohana a case of suicide, or is it a murder by the police? The death of the 15-years-old in Gohana in Sonepat district under mysterious circumstances barely two days after the shocking burning of two kids in Sunped village has brought parts of Haryana on the boil again.

The family of the Dalit boy, who lived in Devipura, alleges that he died in police custody. His body, with wounds all over, was recovered from near a deserted house in Shiv colony on Thursday. According to relatives of the boy, on October 21, Lal Singh of Gohana had filed a complaint of theft of four pigeons, Rs 5000 and two mobile phones, at the police post on Jind road, Gohana. As the police suspected the Dalit boy of the crime, he was called to the police station for questioning where the police took him in custody.

Haryana police. File photo. Image courtesy: ReutersHaryana police. File photo. Image courtesy: Reuters

Haryana police. File photo. Image courtesy: Reuters

Family members alleged that the police demanded Rs 5000 for his release. Later however, the police claimed he had escaped custody. But next morning his body, hanging from a rope, was found in the deserted house.

While speaking to the media on Friday in Chandigarh, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar claimed it was a case of suicide and that the boy had not died in police custody.

“No interrogation was going on. The family of the boy came to the police station with a complaint and went back home after the matter was resolved. There was no summoning of the Dalit boy. He went to the police station on his own. Later the matter was resolved and everybody went back home. The suicide took place in the night later, according to the unofficial information,’’ said Khattar. He said the suicide was committed in the night and the official report in the case was yet to arrive.

Khattar said the post mortem report will throw light on why the suicide took place and what were the reasons. “Whosoever is responsible will not be spared and strict action will be taken,” he said. He said there was no problem of law and order in Haryana and peace was being maintained.

“It is wrong to give a colour of caste to such events,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, tension prevails in the Gohana region with people blocking the Panipat-Rohtak railway track demanding the arrest of two policemen responsible for the boy’s death. The state government has posted a huge number of policemen. The Haryana police has lodged an FIR against two sub-inspectors in the case.

Sonepat SP Abhishek Garg said that members of the ‘gadia lohar’ (ironsmiths) community had two days ago approached the Sonepat Police charging the boy with the theft of a pigeon and other items, demanding an investigation.

Speaking to Firstpost, PL Punia, Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), said they have taken serious note of the Gohana incident and sent a notice to the Haryana government. “The NCSC’s Deputy Chairman, Ishwar Singh, is on the spot, closely monitoring the situation,’’ said Punia.

Rann Singh Mann, Haryana Congress Spokesman told Firstpost, said the law and order situation was deteriorating because the government had totally lost control over officers. “Senior police officers are fighting among themselves. There is groupism among police officers. The government behaves as the judge and gives clean chits to people even before the inquiry. Let the government conduct an investigation into such cases before pronouncing judgments and compensations or else you may have to cut a sorry figure like in the case of two girls who alleged molestation and later were found out to be wrong,” said Mann.

Karamvir Singh, social activist and president of the Confederation of SC/ST/BC Organisations, Haryana, told Fistpost that it was yet to be ascertained whether the number of atrocities had increased in the last one year during BJP rule in Haryana, but many cases had come to light during the period. Quoting National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures, he said in 2014, 21 Dalits had been killed and this year too there were a number of deaths.

Karamvir Singh blamed the Haryana police and the upper caste people for their anti-Dalit attitude. “The police are most apathetic to the Dalits. Their complaints are often not registered. If at all the FIR is filed, the police tries to put the Dalits in a soup while saving people from other castes. I appealed to the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to implement the `Gochni’ policy or a mix of people from different castes, including Dalits on higher posts in police and administration to ensure justice to the Scheduled Caste people,” he said.

Swami Agnivesh and Hussain Dalwai call recent caste and communal atrocities government failure

Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra Hussain Dalwai and social activist Swami Agnivesh on Friday spoke out against the recent spate of caste and communal atrocities in the country, condemning the lack of government action to check them.Dalwai, a member of the Congress party and convenor of an informal group of Muslims in Parliament, linked the murders of rationalists and writers, the attacks on Muslims and Dalits, as signs of growing hatred in the country, calling it a government failure. He brought up cases of attacks in Maharashtra, which hadn’t made the news the way the Dadri lynching in Uttar Pradesh, the burning of Dalit children in Sunped Haryana, the death of Kashmiri truck driver in Udhampur, for example, did.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Their condemnation of rising intolerance and violence came on a day when yet another Dalit boy died in Haryana under mysterious circumstances, writers who returned their Sahitya Akademi awards went on a march and students in Delhi were lathi-charged while protesting the rollback of non NET UGC scholarships.”Since the Mandal Commission, Hindutva has increased,” he said, “as even back then LK Advani has said that they would retaliate against those who benefited from Mandal.”Both he and Agnivesh criticised the BJP government for appearing to condemn such violence by their top leaders, while their own men acted differently on the ground.”Instead of development, they are tearing the society apart,” said Dalwai. “Those who kill rationalists can’t be touched, as they are protected. Anyone who speaks out has their face blackened with ink.Agnivesh added that this “politics of polarisation” started in the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, and has continued. The results of which, he said, could be seen all over the country. “RSS has set the agenda, and its associated groups are carrying it out,”said Agnivesh.”We thought, when the Prime Minister gave his first speech from Red Fort, against communal and caste atrocities, that he was serious about change,”he continued, “but what he says and what happens is very different.”Agnivesh gave a personal example, of how the Hindu Mahasabha had, in April this year, called him a traitor and announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh to those who would bring them his head. “When I called the Haryana CM, Manohar Lal Khattar, he said he didn’t know anything,” said Agnivesh, “even though it had been reported in the media. Till now nothing has happened.Both however, called for an end to cow slaughter, saying it had no place in India. They did add that the answer to cow slaughter could never be violence against people. “If you see a cow being slaughtered complain to the police,” said Agnivesh.

Faridabad Dalit children burnt alive: RAF platoon deployed to maintain peace

A segment, comprising six officials, of the platoon shall be present round-the-clock at the victim’s house, sitting on a charpoy right outside the room in which the family was sleeping when the incident took place.
File Photo
PTI
A platoon of Haryana’s special Rapid Action Force was deployed on Friday to maintain law and order in Sunpedh village where two children of a Dalit family were burnt alive by upper caste men three days ago.A segment, comprising six officials, of the platoon shall be present round-the-clock at the victim’s house, sitting on a charpoy right outside the room in which the family was sleeping when the incident took place. The room has now been sealed by a team of forensic experts who visited the spot on Thursday evening.”The special RAF platoon arrived late last night and their duty started at 8 AM today. They will be present at the spot in two shifts of 12 hours each,” said an official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Most officials in the platoon were drawn out from the three companies of special RAF officials still deployed at Atali village near Ballabhgarh where communal clashes had taken place around three months ago, said the official. Villagers confined themselves to their houses, leaving shops closed and streets deserted even as more than 300 police personnel are deployed in the area.”Police personnel from several districts, including Ballabhgarh, Faridabad and Gurgaon, have been deployed here to maintain law and order, though the situation is under control right now,” said a police official.Meanwhile, Jitender, the father of the deceased children, is undergoing treatment at a government hospital, where he was taken last evening after he developed burn wound infections on his hands. The doctor attending Jitender said that he had not taken food or water for almost 20 hours and also complained of breathlessness.Several political leaders, including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, visited him and condemned the incident. Seven persons have so far been arrested in connection with the incident. In their complaint, the family had named 11 people who allegedly scaled walls in the wee hours of Tuesday, poured fuel inside the room through a window and set it afire, said police.Two-and-a-half-years-old Vaibhav and 11-month-old Divya died in the incident.

Dog analogy – NCSC chief speaking like Congress spokesperson: BJP

Taking suo motu congnisance of Singh’s controversial comments over the Dalit burning issue, the Commission has issued a notice to DGP of Uttar Pradesh and SSP of Ghaziabad.

BJP said that VK Singh had expressed regret and senior party leaders like Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also commented about VK Singh’s comments.

File Photo
BJP on Friday accused National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairperson PL Punia of acting like a Congress spokesperson and also attacked its vice president Rahul Gandhi and BSP leader Mayawati for shedding “crocodile tears” over the killing of two Dalit children. Under fire over the incident and subsequent dog analogy used by Union Minister Gen (retd) V K Singh, BJP fielded its Dalit leader Vijay Sonkar Shastri to deflect criticism and take on Punia over his comments deprecating Singh. “Punia must explain whether he wants to act like a Congress spokesperson or somebody in a constitutional post. Can he act as a party leader while holding the NCSC chief post? We have strong objections to his comments. There are talks that the Commission under him does not work and Dalits are not getting justice. Can Punia give one example where somebody from the Scheduled Castes has benefited from his work?” Shastri told a press conference soon after Punia criticised Singh for his comments. Taking suo motu congnisance of Singh’s controversial comments over the Dalit burning issue, the Commission has issued a notice to DGP of Uttar Pradesh and SSP of Ghaziabad. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the killing was not a case of crime targeting Dalits but due to enmity between two families and claimed that local BSP MLA besides the state administration had said so as well. Shastri, a former chairman of the Commission, termed as “unfortunate” Singh’s ‘dog analogy’ while the Minister was responding to queries on the incident.Asked about criticism by allies like Jitan Ram Manjhi and Ram Vilas Paswan, he noted that Singh had expressed regret and senior party leaders like Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also commented on it.Mocking Rahul Gandhi over his visit to the Faridabad home of the victim family, Shastri said his “Dalit prem (love)” had surfaced again. “People like him visit Dalits, do photo-ops and then forget them. They can do nothing but shed crocodile tears,” he said.

Now, young dalit writer assaulted for "anti-Hindu" writings

Huchangi Prasad, a 23-year-old student and author of a book ‘Odala Kichchu’ which speaks against the caste system, alleged that he was assaulted on Wednesday and threatened that his fingers would be cut for writing against Hinduism.

Amid continuing countrywide protests by writers over “rising intolerance”, a young Dalit activist and writer was allegedly attacked by unidentified men whom he suspects to be right wing activists, for his “anti-Hindu” writings at Davangere in central Karnataka.Huchangi Prasad, a 23-year-old student and author of a book ‘Odala Kichchu’ which speaks against the caste system, alleged that he was assaulted on Wednesday and threatened that his fingers would be cut for writing against Hinduism.”On October 21, late night, a group of eight to nine persons came to the SC/ST hostel where I reside and told me that my mother was unwell. Worried, I followed them. They took me to a place and started threatening and assaulting me for writing against Hinduism and the caste system,” Prasad told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prasad, a journalism student, alleged, “They also smeared kumkum on my face and threatened to cut my fingers for my writings.”Prasad said he received some minor injuries in the attack, adding, “They (the attackers) said I’m born as Dalit, because of sins I had committed in my previous life.” Asked whether the men belonged to any particular group, Prasad said, “From their words it was almost clear that they are from some right-wing group but I’m not completely sure.” A case has been registered against unidentified persons at RMC Yard Police Station in this regard. Police said they are on a lookout for the suspects.”A complaint was filed by Prasad yesterday alleging eight to ten persons had attacked him and attempted to kill him,” a police official involved in the investigation said.He said the case has been registered under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including 307 (attempt to murder), as also under sections of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.The incident has occurred at a time when at least 35 writers from across the country have announced their decision to return their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest the “rising intolerance” in the country and the killing of Kannada writer and rationalist M M Kalburgi at Dharwad in north Karnataka.Another Kannada free-thinker and writer KS Bhagwan had also received threats for his remarks against Hinduism and its Gods which the right-wing groups saw as “offensive” and “provocative” hurting Hindu sentiments.The writers facing threats have been provided security after the killing of Kalburgi who was shot dead at point blank range by two men, who are still at large, in August.

Nitish Kumar targets PM Modi, says Haryana witnessing ‘mangal raj’

“The people voted for them in Haryana and helped them form the government. What happened there? Dalit kids were burnt in Haryana. If there is ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar then isn’t Haryana witnessing mangal raj,” he said while addressing a rally here.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday highlighted Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK. Singh’s dog remark in the wake of the murder of two Dalit children in Haryana, saying some call Bihar the ‘jungle raj’ but this incident reflected the ‘mangal raj’ in the BJP-ruled state.”The people voted for them in Haryana and helped them form the government. What happened there? Dalit kids were burnt in Haryana. If there is ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar then isn’t Haryana witnessing mangal raj,” he said while addressing a rally here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A central minister has said that the Centre is blamed even if a stone is pelted on a dog. Can you just imagine the mindset of such people, who compare the killing of two innocent Dalit kids with a stone being pelted at a dog,” he added.Continuing his tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his DNA jibe, Nitish said the people of Bihar would not have imposed their faith in him had his DNA been bad.”The Prime Minister said in Muzaffarpur that my DNA was bad. If my DNA was bad then why you (the people of Bihar) made me the Chief Minister for ten long years. My DNA is the same as that of any Bihari,” he said.The Chief Minister asserted that the recent uncalled for comments being made by the BJP leaders reflected their desperation as they could not digest the fact that they would lose the battle in Bihar.

Cannot get away saying statement was misinterpreted, says Rajnath Singh on VK Singh’s dog analogy

Commenting on the incident of Dalit children being burnt to death, VK Singh on Thursday said that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’ while Rijiju endorsed a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians ‘enjoy’ breaking rules.

Hitting out at Minister of State (MoS) VK Singh and Kiren Rijiju for making a controversial statement, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that party leaders need to be careful while putting out their views.Commenting on the incident of Dalit children being burnt to death, VK Singh on Thursday said that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’ while Rijiju endorsed a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians ‘enjoy’ breaking rules.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to the media, Rajnath Singh said, “Both Gen VK Singh and Kiren Rijiju have already given clarification on their statements. But I feel as leaders of ruling party, we all must be extra cautious before making any statement and should also ensure that there is no possibility of our statement to be interpreted in the wrong sense.””We cannot get away by saying that statement was misinterpreted. We need to be careful while putting our views,” he added.Rajnath Singh also said that he has spoken to Haryana CM, “He (Khattar) has taken cognizance of that and taking all appropriate measures,” he added.Also read: VK Singh defends remark, says he didn’t intend to draw analogy between Dalit kids and dogArguing that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’, VK Singh had on Thursday said, “It was feud between the families, don’t connect it with the government, local administration failed. If someone throws stones at a dog, the government can’t be held responsible.” Vaibhav, a two-and-a-half years old, and his sister, 11-month-old Divya were burnt alive after some persons from an upper caste set their house afire while they were sleeping. Their mother Rekha suffered 70% burns and has been referred to a Delhi hospital for treatment.However, as the Opposition parties attacked VK Singh, he apologised clarifying that somebody was deliberately trying to mix his two different remarks and create confusion. Also read: VK Singh’s statement reflects Modi government’s ‘anti-Dalit’ mindset: CongressKiren Rijiju also sought to downplay his endorsement of a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians “enjoy” breaking rules and said it was not directed at one section but was applicable to the entire society. He said attempts to “politicise” his statement were wrong and added that if there were wrongs happening in the society everyone was responsible for it.Demanding VK Singh’s immediate sacking, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “It is condemnable, it is shocking, it is inhumane to say the least. General VK Singh has insulted not only the entire Dalit community of this country but all Indians. It reflects the mindset of the Modi government which insults Dalits, which insults the minorities and looks down upon the people who are poor and downtrodden.”He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack him and tender an apology on Singh’s behalf. Surjewala said a criminal case should be registered against the minister under Prevention of Atrocities on Schedule Castes Act.

Dalits have always been insulted in India on a large scale: Mayawati

Referring specifically to the death of the two Dalit children in Ballabgarh, she said, “”It’s a shameful incident. It clearly indicates that the BJP is not at all concerned or sensitive about Dalits.”

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday squarely blamed both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, besides other political outfits for perpetrating large scale atrocities on Dalits across the country.Addressing media in Lucknow with reference to the recent burning to death of two children in a village in the Ballabhgarh area of Haryana earlier this week, and also the murder of a 15-year-old Dalit boy in Gohana area of the same state allegedly by police, Mayawati said, “Dalits have always been exploited and insulted at all levels on a large scale, whether it is by the regimes of the Congress, the BJP and other opposition parties, whether it is at the Centre or in the states.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring specifically to the death of the two Dalit children in Ballabgarh, she said, “”It’s a shameful incident. It clearly indicates that the BJP is not at all concerned or sensitive about Dalits.””A Dalit family was burnt alive under police protection in the BJP-ruled state of Haryana. These governments have also been trying to protect the culprits who commit atrocities against Dalits. This shows their communal mindset towards Dalits,” Mayawati said.

dna Must Reads for morning: dna Must Reads for morning: From Dalit boy found dead to first US ground commando killed in Iraq

1. US rules out any India-type civil nuke deal with Pakistan; Obama urges Pak to avoid raising nuclear tensionsWith tensions high between Pakistan and India, Washington has been concerned about Pakistan’s development of new nuclear weapons systems, including small tactical nuclear weapons, and has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a unilateral declaration of “restraint.” Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Dalit children burnt alive: Sunped villagers accuse cops of tampering with evidence​Haryana Police avoided a possible flare-up in Sunped village after angry villagers accused a policeman of placing a toy and a blanket in the room where Jitender Kumar’s family was set ablaze on Tuesday in order to recreate the crime scene. Read more here.3. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray ‘burns’ BJP at Dussehra rallySeeking to project the Shiv Sena’s Hindutva as broad-based, Uddhav attacked his ally for the killing of a Muslim at Dadri on allegations of eating cow meat and criticised Union minister Gen VK Singh’s comments in the context of the murder of two Dalit children in Haryana. Read more here.4. Haryana: Dalit boy charged with theft of pigeon found dead under mysterious circumstancesIn yet another case of caste-atrocities in Haryana, a 15-year-old Dalit boy, charged with theft of a pigeon, was reported dead under mysterious circumstances in Gohana town in Sonepat district on Thursday. The incident took place just 50 km away from Delhi. Read more here.5. dna Exclusive: Maharashtra’s Emergency prisoners to be recognised; govt may reward them with monthly pensionMaharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has directed the general administrative department (GAD) to collect data to determine the number of Emergency prisoners across Maharashtra. It is believed Fadnavis government is contemplating to recognise and reward them with benefits including monthly pension. Read more here. Read more here.6. First US commando killed in rescue raid, 70 hostages freed from ISIS in IraqOne member of a US special operations force was killed during an overnight mission to rescue hostages held by Islamic State militants in its prison around 7 kilometres north of the town of Hawija. Sixty-nine hostages were rescued in the action, that caused the first American to die in ground combat with the militant group. Read more here.

In Ballabhgarh, talk of Dalit mahapanchayat and religious conversion grow louder

Talking to dna, the speakers, most of them belonging to the Bahujan Samaj Party, said that the Dalit community will debate the possibility of leaving Hinduism and choosing a religion ‘which does not believe in caste system’.

Dalit Community members shout slogans against Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar after his visit to Sunpedh village where a dalits house was set on fire allegedly by men belonging to the upper-caste community, in Ballabhgarh in Faridabad on Thursday.

PTI
Dalit leaders from Haryana on Thursday said that if investigation into the killing of two children is not conducted in a fair manner, a mahapanchayat will be convened in the coming days where ‘future course of action’ would be decided after consultations with the Dalit community. During a meeting with residents of Sunped village in Faridabad district, the leaders added that if ‘atrocities on Dalits continue to happen’, they would embrace Buddhism or Islam.Talking to dna, the speakers, most of them belonging to the Bahujan Samaj Party, said that the Dalit community will debate the possibility of leaving Hinduism and choosing a religion ‘which does not believe in caste system’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Haryana police have arrested seven of the accused men while four are still absconding. Police told us that they will, eventually, arrest all the accused but if during police investigation we feel that a deliberate attempt is being made to shield the culprits, a mahapanchayat will be organised,” said Surinder Kardan of BSP.The meeting, which was attended by 30-40 villagers, took place merely a few feet away from Jitendar Kumar’s house which was set ablaze on Monday allegedly by upper caste men. Kumar’s two children, a nine-month-old daughter and a two-and-a-half-year-old son died of burn injuries and suffocation while his wife, Rekha, is undergoing treatment at the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi.”If Dalit samaj decides that we need to leave Hinduism, we will do that and if it is decided that we need to covert to Buddhism or Islam, we will do that as well,” Kardan added. In August nearly 100 Dalit families of Haryana’s Bhagana village converted to Islam in a ceremony at Jantar Mantar in Delhi “Let this be the last act of oppression that our community has witnessed. Let there be no more atrocities. We must stand united,” said Kamal Gautam. Another local leader from Haryana’s Meewat area spoke at the gathering, and said that they will march to the state secretariat as well as Jantar Mantar in Delhi irrespective of whether villagers from Sunped accompany them.”We will take our struggle to New Delhi and if anyone among you would like to join us your are welcome. We will not force anyone to come with us but we will ensure that death of these children is not forgotten,” he said.The meeting was also attended by people belonging to the adjoining villages. Among those listening to the rousing brief speeches by Dalit leaders were youth of the village. Both Pawan and Manish felt that culprits behind the killings must be punished but they were not sure if changing their religion would make a difference to what they called as ‘casteist mindset’.In the same meeting controversial remarks of BJP Union minister General VK Singh were brought up briefly but speakers changed the topic saying,” A tragedy has taken place in this village. We don’t need to discuss Mr VK Singh’s remarks. “Blaming a family feud for the burning alive of the two children, Singh had said, “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is not responsible. It was a feud between two families, the matter in under inquiry.”

Dalit children burnt alive: Sunped villagers accuse cops of tampering with evidence

The villagers claimed that tampering of evidence was being done to create ‘confusion’ at the behest of the local Thakur community.

Haryana Police avoided a possible flare-up in Sunped village after angry villagers accused a policeman of tampering with evidence and ‘recreating the scene of crime’. After a forensic team visited the spot on Thursday and inspected the area for possible evidence, angry villagers confronted police officers saying that one of the members of Haryana Police had placed a toy and a blanket in the room where Jitender Kumar’s family was set ablaze on Tuesday.The villagers claimed that tampering of evidence was being done to create ‘confusion’ at the behest of the local Thakur community. The villagers also said that the crime scene should have been sealed off on Monday itself so that it could have been kept intact before the arrival of CBI officials to take over the case from Haryana Police.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sensing potential flare-up, senior officials of Haryana Police arrived immediately to pacify the angry villagers. The matter was resolved after police sealed the area.”The was some confusion. The forensic team was visiting and they took account of the evidence. No police officer tampered with the evidence. But the case being very sensitive, we are looking into the accusations, and if we find any negligence on the part of the police we will take action,” said deputy commissioner of police Bhupender Singh.Earlier, three more persons were arrested for their alleged role in the killing of two Dalit children who died when the entire family was set ablaze while they were sleeping at their residence. The chidren’s father, Jitender Kumar, told police that 11 persons had carried out the attack in which his wife Rekha also suffered burn injuries. She is undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital. Seven persons have been arrested so far and four, according to police, are absconding. Eight police officials, including inspector Anil Kumar, officer-in-charge of Sadar Ballagbarh police station, have been suspendedThe Haryana government had on Wednesday recommended a CBI probe into the case, meeting the demand raised by the victim family.Earlier in the day, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar visited the family of the two Dalit children. The CM, while speaking to reporters, said the incident should not be given a “political or casteist colour”. Haryana’s director general of police Y P Singal said that as per investigations so far, an old enmity appeared to be the trigger behind the gruesome incident.Kumar was later in the evening take to a local hospital after his family told authorities that he needed medical assistance. Kumar, who has suffered burn injuries on both his hands, had not eaten properly since the death of his children, according to the family.

Dalit boy charged with theft found dead in Haryana

The SP said the boy’s family has alleged that the teenager had been brought to the police station at Gohana

The boy died while in police custody.

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Close on the heels of two Dalit children being burnt alive at Sunped village in Faridabad, a 15-year-old Dalit boy, who was charged with theft of a pigeon, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Haryana’s Gohana town on Thursday.According to police, the teenager was found dead at his home in Gohana town in Sonepat district, though the boy’s family approached the police alleging that he died while in police custody. Some members of the ‘Gadia lohar’ (iron smiths) community had yesterday approached the Sonepat police charging the boy with the theft of a pigeon and demanded appropriate action against him, Superintendent of Police, Sonepat, Abhishek Garg said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the SP said the boy’s family has alleged that the teenager had been brought to the police station at Gohana by the ‘Lohars’ and that he died while in police custody.Meanwhile, the boy’s family today clashed with the police in Gohana and placed the body on the road demanding action against the “erring cops”. Heavy police had been deployed in the area to control the situation. “According to the preliminary investigations in the case, the boy was found dead at his home today. There was a mark around his neck. A post-mortem examination is underway and once its report comes, we can arrive at the conclusion how he died,” Garg said over phone.Responding to the allegations that he died in police custody, he said, “we have registered a case and will add appropriate sections after the post-mortem report comes. As far as his family’s allegations are concerned, we will take appropriate action if any such thing is found true during our investigations”.

Shiv Sena Dussehra rally: Dadri, not ink attack shame India, says Uddhav Thackeray

Defending the party’s actions against Kasuri book launch he said, “Incidents like Dadri, not the ink attack, shame India and lower country’s image. How did Dalit firing incident happen in Haryana?”

Thackeray said that the party acted in a democratic manner during the Kasuri episode”Responded with ink, since it was a book launch.”

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray addressed the party’s annual rally held on the Shivaji Park ground in Dadar. Shiv Sena got the clearance from the Bombay High Court to hold the rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai this year after separate applications moved by the BJP-led Maharashtra government and Shiv Sena, which also is part of the state government.”If VK Singh equates Dalits and dogs, why did you unveil Babasaheb’s memorial in Indu Mill?”, the party chief taunted BJP. PM Modi had commemorated Bal Thackeray at the Indu Mill. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defending the party’s actions against Kasuri book launch he said, “Incidents like Dadri, not the ink attack, shame India and lower country’s image. How did Dalit firing incident happen in Haryana?” Thackeray said that the party acted in a democratic manner during the Kasuri episode. “Responded with ink, since it was a book launch,” he said.He also spoke about India-Pakistan ties, “Keep culture and cricket aside, first sort out border issues.”He also hit out at the state BJP over the pulses price rise. “There was news that Dal worth 25 lacs stolen in Nagpur,” he said. “First protect Dal and then Pakistan,” he said.Thackeray talked about the party’s agenda, “We will not leave Hindutva, Marathi Manoos cause at any cost. We won’t compromise on that,” he said.

Dog analogy: Congress demands apology from PM Modi, asks to sack VK Singh

Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack VK Singh and tender an apology on his behalf. Surjewala said a criminal case should be registered against the minister under Prevention of Atrocities on Schedule Castes Act.

Reacting to a controversial statement made by VK Singh over the death of Dalit children in Haryana, Congress on Thursday demanded an apology form Prime Minister Narendra Modi and immediate sacking of the Union Minister.Singh kicked up a storm with his comments that the Centre cannot be blamed if somebody throws a stone at a dog to shield it from criticism for the Faridabad Dalit burning incident, prompting opposition demands for his ouster.”See, the thing is, never associate local incidents with the Central government (sarkar). There is an inquiry going on.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For everything…like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible…it is not like that,” Singh said in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, the constituency he represents in Parliament, while referring to the burning alive of a Dalit family in Haryana’s Faridabad which left two toddlers dead on the intervening night of October 19-20.Demanded VK Singh’s immediate sacking, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “It is condemnable, it is shocking, it is inhumane to say the least. General V K Singh has insulted not only the entire Dalit community of this country but all Indians. It reflects the mindset of the Modi government which insults Dalits, which insults the minorities and looks down upon the people who are poor and downtrodden.”Also read: VK Singh defends his remark, says my statement wasn’t intended to draw analogyHe also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack him and tender an apology on Singh’s behalf. Surjewala said a criminal case should be registered against the minister under Prevention of Atrocities on Schedule Castes Act.Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari described the dog analogy used by Singh as “preposterous and abominable”.”….comparing the death of two little children who were burnt alive to possibly the stoning of a dog…what could be more preposterous and abominable than that. This reflects the mindset of the government,” he said.Singh, however, later clarified his statement was not intended to draw an analogy between the Faridabad incident and stoning of a dog.”My statement wasn’t intended 2draw an analogy. My men & I put our lives on the line 4the nation irrespective of caste,creed & religion,” he tweeted.

Dalit children burnt alive: No problem of law and order in ‘peace loving’ Haryana, says CM Khattar

Khattar, who visited the Sunpedh village to meet the family members of the victims, said the state government has ordered a CBI probe in the case.

Manohar Lal Khattar

Amid sharp criticism from the opposition over the Ballabhgarh incident, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday assured that there was no problem of law and order in ‘peace loving’ Haryana and said that the perpetrators of the Dalit killings would not be spared. Khattar, who visited the Sunpedh village to meet the family members of the victims, said the state government has ordered a CBI probe in the case. “Haryana is a peace loving state and there is no problem of law and order. We have already handed over the case to CBI, the culprits won’t be spared,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Khattar downplayed media posers whether he was confident of the fact that such incidents wouldn’t take place in the near future. “We will make sure that no such incidents take place between these two families,” he said. Asserting that the case has been handed over to the CBI, Khattar assured that the culprits would not be spared. “This is a matter of investigation. We should wait for the enquiry,” he said. The Chief Minister also assured all assistance to the victims. “Ten lakh rupees have been given to the family, we will pay the amount required in the medication of the lady admitted in the hospital,” he added. Khattar had earlier postponed his visit to the village due to the protests by the Dalit families. Two children were charred to death and their parents injured after their house was set afire allegedly by some members of Rajput community at Sunpedh village in Ballabhgarh. The mother of the victims is battling for her life at a hospital.

Dalit children burnt alive: VK Singh courts controversy, says ‘government can’t be blamed if a dog is stoned’

However, in an afterthought – aimed to stress that the government must not be held responsible for every incident, Singh added: “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is held responsible.”

Talking about the death of two Dalit children in Sunped village of Faridabad district of Haryana, Union Minister VK Singh on Thursday courted a controversy by arguing that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’.Speaking to the news agency, Singh said, “It was feud between the families, local administration failed, don’t connect it with the government”.However, in an afterthought – aimed to stress that the government must not be held responsible for every incident, Singh added: “If someone throws stones at a dog, the government is held responsible.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: How can I bury them with my own hands, says father of Dalit children burnt aliveVaibhav, a two-and-a-half years old, and his sister, 11-month-old Divya were burnt alive after some persons from an upper caste set their house afire while they were sleeping. Their mother Rekha suffered 70% burns and has been referred to Delhi for treatment. Meanwhile, seven accused have been arrested so far. Villagers of Sunped also staged protests throughout the day on Wednesday by placing bodies of children on the road until the administration persuaded them to lift a road blockade and perform the last rites.Visiting the Dalit family Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had accused the Prime Minister, Haryana chief minister, the BJP and RSS of practising “politics of crushing” those who are weak, resulting in such incidents.”This is an attitude shared by the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of the state and the entire BJP and RSS. The attitude is if somebody is weak, he can be crushed. What you have seen is the result of this attitude,” Gandhi said.

dna Must Reads for morning: From Pakistan’s large nuclear stockpile to foundation of new Andhra’s new capital

1. Pakistan has at least 130 nuke weapons stockpile; will be fifth largest nuclear power by 2025: ReportPakistan has a nuclear weapon stockpile of 110 to 130 warheads, a rise from an estimated 90 to 110 in 2011, a US think-tank said. Read more here. 2. How can I bury them with my own hands, says father of Dalit children burnt alive<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“How can I bury them with my own hands,” wailed Jitender Kumar, the father of the two Dalit children who were burnt alive allegedly by upper caste men on Tuesday. Read more here.3. India v/s South Africa 2015: It’s now or never for IndiaWith India trailing 1-2 in the series, home team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no other option but to win the last two games and salvage some pride as the limited-overs leg of the Freedom Series gives way to the four-Test series. Read more here.4. Pakistan tells US about ‘India’s subversive role’; won’t accept limits on tactical nuclear armsPakistan on Wednesday said it has handed over to the US three “dossiers”, which it claims to contain “evidence” about India’s role in “subversive activities” in that country, nearly a month after it gave such an alleged document to the UN which paid no heed to it. Read more here.5. PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Andhra’s new capital Amaravati todayPrime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Andhra Pradesh’s capital city Amaravati at a village in Guntur district on Thursday, in a mega event for which the state government has made elaborate arrangements. Read more here.6. Ranveer-Vaani go back to school for ‘Befikre’!Aditya Chopra is in Paris doing a recce for his next film Befikre. The romantic drama that stars Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor as the leads will be shot extensively in the French capital. Read more here.7. UEFA Champions League: Big stars fail to impress as Real Madrid, PSG clash ends in a stalemateReal Madrid took a big step towards finishing top of Champions League Group A game when they held Paris St Germain to a 0-0 draw in the French capital on Wednesday as both teams remained unbeaten. Read more here.

How can I bury them with my own hands, says father of Dalit children burnt alive

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meeting Jitendra whose house was set on fire by men belonging to the upper-caste community

dna
“How can I bury them with my own hands,” wailed Jitender Kumar, the father of the two Dalit children who were burnt alive allegedly by upper caste men on Tuesday.Kumar, in fact, attended the protest by several hundreds of his community men, who blocked the Delhi-Agra highway for hours demanding suspension of cops who failed to act, as well as the arrest of the accused. Kumar’s family was set ablaze after locking the house from outside, in Sunped village of Faridabad. While his two kids succumbed to injuries, his wife Rekha is still battling for life with 70% burns.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wednesday’s protest, however, started when bodies of nine-month-old Divya and Vaibhav, 2, were brought from the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi to the village where they were to be buried. The victims’ relatives and villagers however stopped at Jat Chowk, which is three kilometres short of their village, and listed their demands in front of the police. They said the children will not be buried until appropriate action is taken against the accused. The protesters also demanded suspension of six cops who were supposed to be posted in the village on the fateful night.The cops have been posted in the village since last year when a violent confrontation between members of Dalit and Thakur communities had resulted in deaths of three upper caste men. Jitender Kumar, the father of the deceased children, soon arrived at the spot where his children were wrapped in plain white cloth. Kumar broke down on seeing his children. The sight of the father weeping while holding his children created quite an emotionally charged environment and agitating protesters soon began to gather around the area where the bodies of the children were kept, raising anti-government slogans.Some of the protesters while talking to dna even said that the Dalit community in Haryana will convert to Islam if their demands were not met immediately. “More than 50 Dalit families of Bhagana village have converted to Islam. Why shouldn’t we do the same if we are being persecuted on the basis of our caste,” said Rohtas Kumar. Five kilometres away from Jat Chowk, hundreds of Dalits from various villages of Faridabad gathered at the bypass road. Sensing a potential law and order crisis, police also resorted to lathicharge following which some of the protesters dispersed from the main road.The situation was only brought under control when senior police officials accompanied by local political leaders pacified the villagers and requested them to return to Sunped village to continue with the pending last rites of the two children.Earlier in the day, Jitender Kumar was visited by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Brinda Karat of the CPM. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who was expected to meet the family, cancelled his visit due to the protest. His government later stated that the CM has ordered a CBI inquiry into the matter. The union social justice ministry has sought a report from the Haryana government on the episode. Social justice minister Thawarchand Gehlot had spoken to the chief minister on Tuesday night.

Dalit children burnt alive: We have been framed with bundle of lies, says Kshatriya Maha Sabha

Victim family is conspiring against us, the body said.

We have full faith in the government and administration and the truth shall come out by an unbiased investigation, they said (PTI)

File Photo
All India Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Maha Sabha on Wednesday termed as “bundles of lies” the entire episode of the burning of a Dalit family in Sonped village here and appealed for an unbiased investigation. Addressing a press conference at Ballabhgarh, the organisation claimed that the upper caste family in question was “being framed” in the incident. The women from the family, who were also present, said that the Dalit family was acting against them as a year-old-case between the families had neared its end and was “in favour of the upper caste family”It is for this reason that the victim family is conspiring against us. We have full faith in the government and administration and the truth shall come out by an unbiased investigation, they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two-and-a-half-years-old Vaibhav and 11-month-old Divya died after the assailants allegedly poured petrol through one of the windows of their house in Sanped village here on the intervening night of October 19-20.While the children perished in the blaze allegedly set off by some upper caste people who had a running feud with the Dalit family, their mother Rekha, 28, suffered serious burns and is battling for life in a Delhi hospital. Their father Jitender, 31, also received injuries while trying to save them.

Caste violence: Faridabad’s Sunped village tense after burning of Dalit children; govt plans CBI probe

Chandigarh: Sunped village of Faridabad district in Haryana continues to be tense a day after two children were burnt alive in a shocking incident of caste violence. There is simmering anger in the Dalit community not just against the perpetrators of the crime, but also against the police which failed to provide protection to them leading to the ghastly incident.

A Special Investigating Team (SIT) has been set up to probe the incident, according to Mohammad Akil, Haryana ADGP Law and Order, who visited Sunped village to review the situation. DCP/NIT Faridabad will head the team, he said. A massive deployment of security forces has been made in the village. Ballabhgarh Deputy Commissioner of Police along with Tigaon Assistant Commissioner of Police is monitoring the situation to prevent any untoward incident. Three arrests have been made so far.

People protest against the killing of Dalit children in Faridabad. PTIPeople protest against the killing of Dalit children in Faridabad. PTI

People protest against the killing of Dalit children in Faridabad. PTI

Meanwhile PTI reported that the Haryana Government on Wednesday recommended a CBI probe into the burning alive of a Dalit family which resulted in the death of two toddlers at a village in Faridabad district on Wednesday.

“Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has recommended a CBI probe in the incident. A SIT has also been formed which is headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Puran Chand,” Khattar’s media advisor, Amit Arya said.

The Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the state police will probe the case before CBI takes it over, police sources said. Once the CBI probe gets notified, the investigation details will be handed over to them as per procedure.

What has shocked the Dalits here is the fact that the district administration and the police knew of the grave threat to the Dalit family and it had been given police protection for the last 10 months. Seven policemen posted in the area, including the in-charge of Sadar Ballabgarh police station, have been suspended with immediate effect for dereliction of duty.

The Dalits, however, are not satisfied with the government’s action against the policemen. They are demanding that an FIR be registered against them as they were equally responsible for the carnage. They charged that the policemen rarely remained posted in the area, This gave a chance to the attackers to set ablaze the house at night.

The Sunped incident is a reminder of the Mirchpur carnage in Hisar in 2010 where a Dalit, Tara Chand, aged 70 and his 16-years-old physically challenged daughter Suman were burned alive in their house. Later the one-man judicial commission of inquiry headed by justice Iqbal Singh had held the police and the duty magistrate responsible for the escalation of violence in the area. Then also questions had been raised about the functioning of the Haryana police as it had failed to take timely action despite warnings against possible attack on Dalits in Mirchpur.

Speaking to the media, Jitender Kumar, father of the two children who died, said he used to be in fear the Rajputs ever since their communities clash with them a year ago. Jitender, who works in a medical store in Ballabhgarh, said no compensation or consolation could give him relief as he had lost both his children.

Anil Baba, Haryana unit president of the Republican Party of India (RPI), said they will not allow cremation of the bodies till a case was registered against the policemen held guilty for dereliction of duty.

Soon after Tuesday’s shocking incident, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had a telephonic talk with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to ensure security in the village to prevent such incidents. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today visited the village to meet the Dalit family. Former Congress Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda was one of the first to console Jitender Kumar yesterday.

Haryana Pradesh Congress president Dr Ashok Tanwar, BJP MP from Ambala, Rattanlal Kataria, CPM’s Brinda Karat and Ramdas Athawale, MP from Maharashtra, also visited the Sunped village.

Dalit children burnt alive: NCSC summons top Faridabad Police Commissioner, admin officials

Two children of a Dalit family in Sanped village in Faridabad (Haryana) were burnt alive while their parents suffered injuries allegedly after some persons from upper caste set their house afire .

“It was unfortunate that the official machinery supported rich and powerful at the cost of oppressed,” NCSC said (File Photo)

PTI
The National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) has summoned the police commissioner and the deputy commissioner (district magistrate) of Faridabad in the wake of the incident in Sanped village, where a dalit family was burnt alive leading to the death of two toddlers. “The Faridabad police commissioner and the administrative officer (deputy commissioner), have been summoned in connection with Sanped village incident, on October 26,” NCSC Chairman PL Punia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two children of a Dalit family in Sanped village in Faridabad (Haryana) were burnt alive while their parents suffered injuries allegedly after some persons from upper caste set their house afire while they were asleep inside it at around 2.30 AM on October 20. Two-and-half-year-old Vaibhav and his 11-month-old sister Divya were killed while their mother Rekha, 28, and father Jitender, 31, sustained burn injuries when the attackers allegedly poured petrol from the window of their house setting it ablaze.The NCSC Chairman, who had visited Sanped village after the incident came to light yesterday, said, “it was unfortunate that the official machinery supported rich and powerful at the cost of oppressed.” Punia hoped that the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha but is yet to be cleared by Rajya Sabha will change things in favour of Dalits and oppressed preventing Sunped-like incidents. “The Bill is yet to be passed by Rajya Sabha. It provides for time-bound disposal of cases of atrocities against dalits and tribal people, in three months, through establishing special courts,” he said.11 persons, including a father-son duo, have been booked on murder, rioting and other charges in connection with the incident, a Faridabad police spokesman said.

Dalit children burnt alive: Villagers refuse to cremate bodies; threaten to convert into Islam

Staging protest and blocking the Ballabgarh-Faridabad highway, villagers have also threatened to convert into Islam if all the accused are not arrested and their demands are met.

Situation in Ballabhgarh became tense on Wednesday after the residents of Sunped village refused to cremate bodies of two Dalit children who were burnt alive after some persons from an upper caste set their house afire while they were sleeping.Staging protest and blocking the Ballabgarh-Faridabad highway, villagers have also threatened to convert into Islam if all the accused are not arrested and their demands are met.Vaibhav, a two-and-a-half years old, and his sister, 11-month-old Divya were burnt alive, while their mother Rekha suffered 70% burns and has been referred to Delhi for treatment. The bodies of Dalit children were brought from Delhi amid a large contingent of police deployed to avert law & order situation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the Haryana Government has ordered a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident of a Dalit family being burnt in Sunped, a village near Faridabad, and suspended the eight erring police officials
Also read: Dalit children burnt alive: Rahul Gandhi blames PM, CM’s attitude; lashes out at media for calling it a photo-opEarlier in the day, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi visited the family and accused the Prime Minister, Harayana Chief Minister, the BJP and RSS of practising “politics of crushing” those who are weak which results in such incidents.”This is an attitude shared by the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of the state and the entire BJP and RSS. The attitude is if somebody is weak, he can be crushed. What you have seen is the result of this attitude,” Gandhi said.So far, four people have been arrested in connection with the case on the basis of the preliminary investigation.

Dalits feeling insecure under BJP govt: Mayawati in the wake of Haryana caste violence

Lucknow: Terming the attack on a Dalit family in Faridabad as most unfortunate, BSP president Mayawati on Wednesday threatened to take to the streets over delay in arrest of the culprits, even as she charged weaker sections are feeling “insecure” under BJP government.

BSP chief Mayawati criticised BJP for Haryana caste violence. Reuters

BSP chief Mayawati criticised BJP for Haryana caste violence. Reuters

“The manner in which four members of a Dalit family were set ablaze in Faridabad leading to the death of two children is most unfortunate and condemnable…if the victims are not provided proper security and compensation by the Haryana government and prompt action is not taken against the culprits BSP will take to the streets there,” BSP chief was quoted as saying in a party release in Lucknow.

Mayawati regretted that even after so many years of independence, “atrocities” on the weaker sections and Dalits have not stopped.

“At the Centre and in many states, governments are still working with casteist mindset and discriminating against these sections”, she said.

She alleged that people of these sections are “feeling insecure specially under the BJP government at the Centre and states and this is a very serious.”

The senior party office bearers of BSP in Haryana have been instructed to make all efforts to help the victim family, the release added.

Two children of a Dalit family were burnt alive and their parents suffered injuries yesterday allegedly after some persons from upper caste set their house afire at Sunped village near Ballabhgarh while they were sleeping.

11 persons, including a father-son duo, have been booked on murder, rioting and other charges.

PTI

`Real` jungle raj is in BJP-ruled states: JDU leader Ali Anwar

Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar on Wednesday condemned the Faridabad incident, in which two children of a Dalit family were allegedly burnt alive by upper-caste Rajputs, saying that the “jungle raj” was in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states and not in Bihar.

JDU leader Ali Anwar

Janata Dal (United) leader Ali Anwar on Wednesday condemned the Faridabad incident, in which two children of a Dalit family were allegedly burnt alive by upper-caste Rajputs, saying that the “jungle raj” was in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states and not in Bihar.”The Prime Minister and Amit Shah talk so much about jungle raj in Bihar, but look what is happening in Haryana. Two children have died and we hope that their mother survives. They talk about jungle raj in Bihar, but the real jungle raj is in states ruled by the BJP,” Anwar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Congress leader Rashid Alvi dubbed the incident as “unfortunate” and called for strict action against the perpetrators.”The law and order situation in Haryana is deteriorating. The Chief Minister of the state is so busy with communal activities that he does not have time to look into these matters. Whatever happened to that family is very unfortunate. The culprits have not been arrested so far, they should be nabbed at the earliest. Action should be taken against the policemen responsible for their protection,” Alvi said.Tension gripped the locality yesterday after the incident.The mother of the children is battling for life at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has sought a report from the state’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the incident.

Intolerance is not new to us, why drag Modi into the Dadri fiasco?

By Sunil Raman

Three days after Akhlaq was killed for allegedly eating beef in Noida district of Uttar Pradesh, a 90-year-old Dalit man was killed and his body burnt in front of his wife as they stood outside a temple on the outskirts of Kanpur in the same state of UP. Later the local police closed the case claiming that the accused was drunk. This news did not appear on the front page of any leading daily in Delhi. Nor did it seem to stir the conscience of many of our middle class intellectuals who are seemingly disturbed by “growing intolerance” in India since Narendra Modi became the prime minister last year.

Relatives of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn his death. ReutersRelatives of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn his death. Reuters

Relatives of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn his death. Reuters

According to the last report of the National Commission on Scheduled Castes, there has been a steady rise in discrimination and ill-treatment of Dalit women across India. Murders, rapes, refusal to allow Dalits to access public wells, public ponds and temples have statistically grown but conviction rate, hold your breath, remains below 10 per cent.

Cities, Delhi included, are not immune to biases and maltreatment either. As a BBC journalist in 2009, I met a family in North Delhi where Dalit women were cleaning human waste from households for a pittance. This was in Delhi and not in any small town or village. The life of that family has not changed since.

No one seemed disturbed by intolerance of upper castes and the failure of governments to get justice for Dalit victims of Laxmanpur Bathe, Miyanpur, Bathani Tola, Nagari Bazaar and Shankarbigha. Between April 2012 and January 2015 all upper caste accused of killing poor Dalits were acquitted due to “lack of evidence”. Surprisingly, these killings and failure to get these poor, landless Dalits justice did not stir any one’s conscience. No writer announced return of awards at this growing intolerance towards Dalits.

No writer announced return of an award earlier this year when a court acquitted 16 PAC policemen accused of killing 42 Muslims at point blank range in Hashimpura, Meerut, UP in 1987. No writer returned awards when Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Dalits were being killed through 1980s and 1990s. Only Khushwant Singh returned his Padma Shri after Operation Bluestar in 1984.

From New York Times in US to Dawn in Pakistan, the international media is having a field day commenting and expressing concern at growing “intolerance” in India. Social media writings and Facebook posts lament the “silence” of the prime minister, while educated Indians in upper middle class drawing rooms wonder if the “idea” of India will survive. One would imagine that a peaceful and tranquil India has suddenly exploded into uncontrolled expression of intolerance.

Recent weeks of sporadic incidents where a Muslim was killed for allegedly eating beef in Uttar Pradesh, killing of a rationalist writer in Kannada, ink thrown at a former BJP member Sudheendra Kulkarni, and remarks against beef eating etc are all being blamed on prime minister Modi.

Thirty-odd writers have returned their awards in protest, and the prime minister is being targeted as the person responsible for the supposedly rising instances of intolerance from Himachal to Karnataka. International media has lapped up Breaking News stories on 24×7 channels and begun to question the Modi government’s resolve to build a tolerant society.

The New York Times writing over the weekend stated that “The revolt now presents Mr. Modi with a critical test of his vaunted ability to shape the public narrative of his administration. Perhaps more than any crisis he has faced since becoming prime minister 17 months ago, this one is offering a kind of X-ray of Mr. Modi’s carefully cultivated persona both here and abroad”.

The NYT articulated the concerns of middle class elite who seem to suddenly wake up to “growing intolerance” in India. Cocooned from the realities of India, oblivious to the levels of intolerance many people face daily due to their caste affiliations, religious identity, eating habits and choice of clothes, or for that matter sexual orientation, intolerance has been a part of our society for centuries. A robust media and judiciary have ensured that these instances are reported and addressed with greater vigour.

However, to argue that intolerance has suddenly become a problem to debate and discuss every day once again mirrors the shortsightedness and political colour that these events have acquired in recent weeks.

Incidents of such attacks in states ruled by non-BJP parties are also due to Modi government, it is argued. Many of the so-called secularist voices, motivated primarily by their dislike of Modi and the BJP, have chosen to ignore the responsibilities and duties of state governments. Modi is not a local daroga who can be held responsible for every rape, murder and theft that happens in India.

A “secular” government of Uttar Pradesh and its leading lights such as Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav are not questioned. On the contrary, the “young” chief minister who was feted by 24×7 channels as a “harbinger” of change when he defeated the BSP in 2012, got free airtime on channels where he blamed BJP for the heinous crime committed in Noida’s Bisada village. The local police was not held accountable by the UP government and Samajwadi Party’s failure to protect Muslims and Dalits over the last four-year-plus evoked no serious questioning.

In Karnataka, led by a secular Congress, it is no different. The killing of a noted Kannada writer last year, rape of young women and children and the condemnable remarks by the state Home minister on rape get some attention only to be ignored later.

The Congress does not hold its chief ministers in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka responsible for poor law and order situation. Isn’t it their job? Similarly isn’t UP government responsible for maintaining peace in the state to arrest and convict people responsible for such attacks? Isn’t Maharashtra government similarly responsible?

Intolerance has always been present in Indian society. A few incidents, blown out of proportions to score political points, do not help address the reasons why we are intolerant of views, ideas and beliefs that are different from ours. Intolerance cannot be debated on secular versus non-secular lines. Mahatma Gandhi was the only Indian who had the courage and moral standing to speak on intolerance. Most others today are only using free airtime to score political and ideological points. For others it is a good subject for conversation in the comfort of their drawing rooms.

The writer is a former BBC journalist

Protests after children burnt alive

A key highway in India is blocked in protest against the death of two children, burnt alive in an arson attack in Faridabad.

Dalit family set ablaze in suspected revenge attack in Haryana

File photo of the two kids who were burnt alive

Merely twenty five kilometers from the southeastern border of the National Capital, a nine-month-old girl and a boy, aged two-and-a-half, were on Tuesday set ablaze in a suspected revenge killing perpetrated by members of an upper caste community. The incident comes two weeks after mother of the two children, who was also set ablaze in the attack, had filed a complaint with the local police after men from upper caste community had allegedly threatened to kill her family.The incident was reported from Sunped village of Haryana’s Faridabad district where an all-night vigil (also called as Jagran) was organised by the villagers on the occasion of Hindu festival Navratra. Kumar (27), a private medial assistant by profession, sees his patients in the office located right next to his room where he and his family were sleeping on the fateful night. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At around 2 am, a resident of the village, was on way to her home after attending the Jagran function. She noticed flames emanate from the bereaved family’s home and alerted a police team that was stationed a few feet away from the scene of crime. Seeing the commotion several villagers followed the police team to the house only to see Jitender Kumar and his wife Rekha, crying for help. The police found the two children in a room adjacent to where the couple was. Kumar had desperately tried push out his two children from tiny passage which opens into what was his office. He was woken up today morning by droplets of some liquid falling onto his feet. “I woke up to see about a dozen men throwing petrol into our room. I tried to open the door only to find that it had been locked from outside. The attackers continued to throw petrol into our room while I kept begging them to spare us. Minutes after that, one of them used a matchstick to set us on fire. I pushed my children into my office through that tiny window but by then the fire had engulfed them,” said 27-year-old Kumar.According to him 5-7 minutes had passed before villagers finally opened the door. “I used my hands to extinguish the fire but that wasn’t enough. When the villagers arrived they wrapped my children and wife in a blanket and took them to a local hospital. From there the doctor told us to go to Safdarjung hospital. My children passed away even before we could reach the hospital in Delhi,” Kumar added.The children, according to the medical reports, had suffered more than 30% burns and were declared dead on their arrival at the hospital. His wife, is currently undergoing treatment and is said to be in a critical condition. Kumar himself has burn injuries on his nose and hands.Tensions between Dalits and Thakurs of Sunped village had been simmering since October 2014 when three upper caste men were killed in a major confrontation between the two communities. According to officials, a fight had broken out between children of two communities in which a mobile phone had fallen into a drain. Villagers claimed that youth from the upper caste community had abused a Dalit youth and asked him to retrieve the phone from the drain. “When the Dalit youth did not oblige them, he was beaten up,” said Jal Singh, the village head.Moments later adults of the two families from which the youth belonged to fought with each other as a result of which around 12 persons were injured. Three of the injured men, who belonged to the Thakur community, succumbed to their injuries following which 11 persons, including two women were arrested. The two women were released on bail later but situation in the village continued to be tense.After Dalit villages approached local authorities a police team had been maintaining 24-hour vigil in the area since last year. However, tensions continued to prevail. “They had told us that they will murder our family. They used to abuse us whenever they saw us or passed by our home. On some days they would throw rocks into our home,” said Santa Devi, the grandmother of the two children.On October 6, Rekha had written a letter to the SHO of the local police station and had asked the cops to take action against some men who had allegedly threatened to kill her family. “The police told us that three men of their community had died so they will abuse but they won’t do anything more than that,” said Rakesh Kumar, the younger brother of Jeetendra.Senior Haryana police officers, however, denied the accusations. “We knew the threat level and we had taken necessary precautions. A police team was present there,” said a senior police officer adding that the noise coming from the function had made it difficult for the posted cops to know what was happening in Kumar’s home.The villagers, however, refused police’s defense accusing them of appeasing the dominant community. “Is it possible that the attackers would come, set the house on fire and leave without getting caught. Either the police was sleeping or they know something that we don’t,” said Manish, a resident of the village. Members of the Thakur community speaking to dna floated a different theory altogether. Vinjendra Singh, a resident, even claimed that the Kumar was not in good terms with his wife and might have committed the act himself.When told that the wife, who is undergoing treatment at Safdarjung hospital, might give a statement contrary to his belief, Singh told dna that it was police’s job to find out the truth. Neighbours of the family rubbished theories of a domestic dispute stating that the couple were recently married and were happy to be with each other. “The husband was not even in the fight that took place a year ago. His uncle, who was a Pradhan, was accused of being in the fight but not him. But all the men in their family are in jail so the attackers though of taking revenge on Jeentendra,” said Rohtas Kumar a distant relative of the family.According to Kumar, a total of 11 people carried out the attack. Police detained three men, identified as Balwant Singh, Kartar Singh and Dharam Singh, and have launched a massive manhunt to nab the other eight accused named in the FIR. Police said that most of the accused belonged to one family which had been involved in a major confrontation with the Dalit family since 2014. Following the killing more than 150 officials of Haryana police were deployed in the village on account of simmering tension that prevailed in the area throughout the day.The village has a total population of 2000-2500 out of which 300-400 make up for the Dalit community.

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