Khairlanji: Gruesome Massacre of Dalits: Dalit Fury Scorches Maharashtra

 

(This report was first published in People's March in January 2007)

Avanti

MARX'S famous phrase, "people make history" was witnessed this past one month in Maharashtra when the Dalits rose as one to protest against the gruesome killings of four Dalits in Khairlanjhi village. It is a fact that people develop the tactics and revolutionaries must learn from them. The manner in which the protests in Maharashtra spread, the determination and fury of the masses as the movement built itself up over the period, the focus in the targets of their attacks were not planned, but they point to how the people have devised their own methods to express their protests.. Surekha Bhotmange, her teenaged daughter Priyanka, and sons Roshan and Sudhir were killed on September 29, but the protests began in the first week of November as the realization came that the entire case was being suppressed, by the police and political authorities to protect the perpetrators of the crime. As the casteist nature of the police and Government revealed itself over the days the masses pressed their protests forward sparing none, not their opportunist, compromising leaders, nor the corrupt Dalit officials who were also party to the coverup. It was as if the protests rose from the depths of their beings, their frustrations at the casteist oppression they continue to face in daily life, the lack of economic opportunities in "globalizing India" inspite of their struggle to educate themselves and their children. Young school educated youth and women were in the forefront of the protests. Neither the large forces of the police nor the rapid action force could stop them. They faced arrest only to be back on the streets the next day. The Maharashtra Government was just unable to stop these protests though they tried strong repression and disinformation. The appeals of the established Dalit leaders and the Buddhist clergy to use peaceful means fell on deaf ears. Though only 10 per cent of the population of the State, the Dalit masses proved their strength and capacity to paralyse the entire economic life of the State.

The Maharashtra Government has unleashed repression on the masses. Hundreds have been arrested, the police have resorted to firings and lathi-charges at innumerable places, combing operations have been conducted in various bastis in the different cities in the state, hundreds of youth have been detained. They have even imposed sedition cases on some of them, as if protesting against casteist violence is equal to overthrow of the State. Indeed the brahminical Indian State really is fearful of the militancy of the Dalit masses. They have prevented all morchas planned by the people if there is a whiff of militancy. The Long March from Nagpur to Khairlanjhi was forcibly stopped.

But to prevent the march to the Vidhan Sabha in Nagpur on December 4 the State Government pulled all the forces in its arsenal. Nagpur was converted into a police camp with ten thousand special police including the Rapid Action Force deployed all over the city to ensure that the march would not take place. All the Dalit leaders were detained. Trucks from villages were turned back and people not allowed to leave their villages. The dalit masses in the bastis in Nagpur were imprisoned in their homes and were not allowed out of their houses. Repeatedly the Government has been saying that all the demands of the masses have been met and now there should be no agitation. The Government's crass undemocratic approach is exposed before all. So the Government now decides when the people should agitate and when they should not. They decide whether the demands of the masses have been met or not.

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Oppose the modalities of reservation adopted by Delhi University

 

Balancing Interests: Two reasons to oppose the current modalities of reservation adopted by Delhi University

Hany Babu M.T.

Delhi University teachers are witnessing a peculiar phase. On the one hand, a large number of teachers who have been relegated to the status of "adhoc teachers" for years on end see some glimmer of hope for a much deserved and long awaited "permanent" status as the University and many of its colleges have started advertising for permanent posts after a long span. On the other hand, some groups of teachers from the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes have moved the High Court challenging the way in which the University and its colleges have adopted the 200 point post based recruitment roster (in the matter of Delhi University SC/ST/OBC Teachers Forum and another vs. University of Delhi and others (WP(C) 803 of 2014 at the High Court of Delhi)).

For a large number of onlookers, the scenario is a bit bewildering as the University, for the first time, seems to have made some positive steps towards the proper implementation of reservation as reflected by two factors: (i) the number of seats earmarked for the reserved categories has definitely gone up as reflected in the advertisements that have come out both for the departments and for the colleges in the university; and (ii) for the first time, reservation has been extended in the cadres of associate professor and professor for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. What, then, has driven the teachers from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes to court, people wonder.

One question that bothers many is this: when things seem to have taken a positive turn for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes, is it justifiable that a group of teachers have approached the High Court? Maybe they do have some grievance, but, then, doesn't their moving the Court have the undesirable consequence that appointments may get stalled, in which case the interest of thousands of adhoc teachers will get affected. Some even go to the extent of accusing the teachers who have moved the Court of having ulterior motives, or of having been motivated by political factions that may have their own vested interest in stalling the appointments. Interestingly, a group who had always seemed to be unhappy with the reservation policy have also become quite active in hurling such accusations. On the other side, the groups pushing for speedy appointments are accused of being supporters of an administration that has shown scant regard for a dialogic engagement with teachers and students who, for quite justifiable reasons, have differed with and have opposed vehemently the views of the administrators. Even if we give a long rope, the fact that it is more or less the same groups that have supported all the reforms of the administration and that press for speedy appointments with the existing modalities begs for some explanation.

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Dalit and Adivasi students prepare to fight: National Dalit and Adivasi Students' Parliament

Note on the

National Dalit and Adivasi Students' Parliament

to be held on 9th December, 2013, Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

~

Abhay Xaxa, Prachi R Beula and Babita Negi

In the words of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, education is milk of the lioness which will empower everyone who drinks it. History stands witness to the fact that education has been used as a weapon of oppression by the Brahmanical forces to enslave the Dalits and Adivasi communities by denying them fundamental human rights and thereby pushed them to the margins of socio-economic development.

dalit adivasi chhatra sammelan

ऐ दोस्त !
सिमटे से हुए शिक्षा के इस दायरे के
अंदर-बाहर
हाशिये पर धकेल दी गईं तुम्हारी चाहतें, ज़रूरतें
कौन कौन से फ़र्ज़ी कलंकों का
जाने कब से - जैसे
जुर्माना अदा कर रही हैं!

तुम्हारी इज़ज़त
तुम्हारे अधिकारों का फ़लसफ़ा
जाने कितने वेदों की साजिशी इबारतों तले
जाने कब से कसमसा रहा है

जिस शिक्षा ने
फैलना था तुम्हारे जीवन में
पहुंचना था ज़हन की कोशिकाओं में
शादाब इक मंज़र लिए
जिन संसाधनों पर
कुदरती-मौलिक तुम्हारे हक़ो-हुक़ूक़ के साथ
लिखी जानी थी
तुम्हारे भी
मनुष्य होने की इबारत
सब कुछ तो जैसे, आज भी
ख़तरनाक़ तौर पर, वीरान है

प्राकृतिक तो छोड़ो......
तुम्हारे कानूनी अधिकारों को उन्होंने
रियायतों के रंग में रंग दिया है
छात्रवृतियों में सेंध लगा रखी है
बहुतेरे छात्रवास कागज़ों में ज़िंदा हैं
और जो हैं भी दरअसल
उनमें और कब्रिस्तान के सन्नाटों में
क्या फर्क है बता दोस्त !!
कल का एक अदद भविष्य
हमारे आज के ज़हन की पोटली में
क्या रखा है, देख रहा है
टटोल रहा है

देख रहा है हमारी ओर
और क्या हम
आने वाली अपनी पुश्तों के
पैरों में
देखना चाहते हैं
यथा-स्थिति वाला वही सफ़र
मजबूरियों के अन्धकार में ढला
ऊबड़ खाबड़ ?

उनके पैर
छालों भरे तलवों के साथ ??

ऐ दोस्त, जो सूरते-हाल ये है
क्यूँ न अपने ज़हन का आज
मंज़र बदल दें
एक कदम आगे बढ़ें
इक साथ हम - और कह दें
हाँ ! शिक्षा, संसाधनों और सभी
सवैधानिक हक़ों समेत
इस मुल्क की हिस्सेदारी में
मेरे हिस्से का मुल्क
अब मेरा है
और अपना हक़ हम ले के रहेंगे !

कि ज़िन्दगी कोई सस्ती शै नहीं होती !!

ऐ मेरे युवा दलित-आदिवासी दोस्त
तुम्हें भी क्या यही लगता है ??

~ Gurinder Azad.

From Ekalavya to Balmukund Bharti, Anil Kumar Meena and just now, Madari Venkatesh, history is full of discrimination towards Dalit and Adivasi students. On the other hand Dalit and Adivasi communities have used education as an instrument to assert their dignity and rights. The two communities have understood the importance of education for their path to development. Perhaps, therefore, the Dalit and Adivasi communities have a strong desire for education. The testimony of this fact can be seen in the increasing number of SC/ST students' enrolment in primary education, increasing literacy level among the two communities and their presence in higher education. The will power for education among SC/ST students has always emerged as a challenge to casteist mentality which considers SC/ST students as a threat to the Brahmanical supremacy.

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Report on Recent Dalit Student Suicides at University of Hyderabad

 

"Raju-Venkatesh Solidarity Committee" Report on Recent Dalit Student Suicides at University of Hyderabad

raju-venkatesh committee photo

On 24th November 2013, Madari Venkatesh (student ID: 11ACPA02), a 3rd year PhD scholar, from Advance Centre for Research in High Energy (ACRHEM), University of Hyderabad (UoH), committed suicide in his hostel room in the campus. Venkatesh came from a Dalit family from Ibrahimpatnam, Andhra Pradesh; probably, a first generation University student. He was a CSIR-Junior Research Fellow, and stayed in the campus. This unfortunate death has raised serious issues and concerns with regard to the circumstances under which such incidents recur, in the last two years, especially, among marginalized students (SC/ST/OBC) in the campus, due to institutional lapses and prejudiced negligence. This signifies an atrocious case of institutional indifference to the needs and aspirations of marginalized students, to a large extent, in the campus.

raju-venkatesh 1University of Hyderabad Students, under the banner "Raju-Venkatesh Solidarity Committee", protest at the administration building on 27.11.2013

M Venkatesh, after joining UoH for PhD, was not provided a guide and a lab, even after three years, even when other students had started their researches, and published international papers. ACRHEM director, the faculty members, and the management of the university grossly neglected to provide basic academic facilities to a research scholar, thereby, implying a casteist bias in the functioning of the University. Although continuous efforts were made by the deceased in July 2013, through a written request, to provide him a regular guide; his pleas were counter signed, by the Vice Chancellor (who was the in-charge Director), only to be put in abeyance. In the wake of recurrent suicides in the campus, especially, of marginalized students; student groups came together under the banner "Raju-Venkatesh Solidarity Committee."

I

m-venkatesh

Mr. Madari Venkatesh, PhD Scholar

Madari Venkatesh was not allotted any supervisor, when he joined in 2011. In his notification of results for admission, he was specially asked by the administration to meet the director, considering his specialization.

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Slips between the cup and the lip: The sorry state of reservation in Central Universities

 

Hany Babu M.T.

A massive recruitment exercise is just about to get under way at the University of Delhi. The University has recently advertized for 665 teaching positions with the break up as follows: Professor: 99, Associate Professor: 206, and Assistant Professor: 360. This round of recruitment, however, raises a grave concern with respect to the implementation of reservation in general and OBC reservation in particular. What is most paradoxical is that this round of recruitment is taking place after the University has finally conceded to two longstanding demands: (1) the implementation of reservation in the Professor and Associate Professor posts and (2) the implementation of the 200-point roster taking the college and the postgraduate departments (as the case may be) as a single unit. However, living up to its notorious reputation with respect to the implementation of reservation, the University is all set to violate all norms, thereby depriving the reserved categories of thousands of posts.

Apart from the current state of reservation in the teaching positions at the University of Delhi, this paper also looks at the larger picture of OBC reservation in the teaching faculty positions and identifies two factors that have colluded to deny OBCs their rightful share in the recruitment of teaching faculty. Firstly, though the Central Government implemented OBC reservation in 1993, Central Universities adopted OBC reservation in teaching positions only in 2007. There has so far been no attempt to take into account the consequent shortfall in OBC reservation. Secondly, the brahminical forces have conspired to deprive reservation for OBC in the posts of Associate Professor and Professor. This means that OBCs are deprived an equal chance to move upward in the academic hierarchy, which would, among other things, also deprive them adequate representation in the decision making bodies, as OBCs are very scantily represented in the higher positions in the academic echelons.

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Atrocity in Beed: Are we safe in this country?

 

Are we living in our own state? Are we safe in this country?

Yogesh Maitreya

YogeshToday in the morning, at my desk in the office of the internship agency where I work, I wrote the brief story of an atrocity on a nineteen year old (SC) girl who was raped by two Maratha boys of her village. Before examining such incidences, the reality of atrocities in the villages of Maharashtra was just another story or tale for me, a story or a tale which we hear from distances, from second-hand sources and, further, leave it to die in the mind. The narratives of the victims on paper have something chilling in it; it moved me to blankness before I was able to read further. The essence of the victim's narrative was such that one could hardly avoid the misery of her social settings; the vulnerability was evident through her accounts of how they live. Now that I am seeing the face of my country more closely, I feel more gloomy and insecure about its future. I see the air around me as hostile. And how could I avoid the questions which I always ask myself: are we living in our own state? Are we safe in this country?

Case history in brief

Chandrama's family lives in Barad, in Beed district, Maharashtra. It is rarely spoken of and largely unknown to much of the Indian population, and even within the metropolitan cities of the state, but Maharashtra is an atrocities prone area. According to the NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau), from 1994 to 2003, atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SC) in Maharashtra outnumbered the list of criminal cases. And according to a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (Delhi) during 1990's, the 'Marathwada' region of Maharashtra, which comprises Beed district, recorded 'high incidences of caste bondage and previous records of atrocities against Dalits'. Unfortunately, its criminal glory, according to NCRB's 2012 data, shows a record of 1091 cases of crime against SC in Maharashtra alone. Chandrama's case is one among them.

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Preliminary Report: National Tribunal - Violence Against Dalit Women

 

National Tribunal – Violence Against Dalit Women

Introduction

 
"Hindu Society as such does not exist. It is only a collection of castes. Each caste is conscious of its existence. Its survival is the be-all and end-all of its existence." Babasaheb Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste, 1937.

A caste society is inherently violent in nature and this violence is most brutal and horrific towards Dalit women. However, debates on gender and violence in India have always located the privileged, upper caste women as its central subject. In such a scenario, the systematic, systemic and unrelenting violence against Dalit women is seldom highlighted in most mainstream discourses. More importantly violence against women is often seen in terms of patriarchy alone as though our society is homogenous for all women, with all of them having similar privileges and vulnerabilities. This is a blatantly false and extremely problematic discourse in a caste society. Here, the intersectionality of gender, caste and class, which is so important to understand the violence against Dalit women, goes totally unseen. In fact, the prevailing structure of caste and the secondary status of women in society are largely responsible for the violation of the human rights of Dalit women. To understand the root cause of this situation, it is essential to examine the basic factors that contribute to their vulnerability, in other words, we need to analyse how patriarchy feeds from caste and vice-versa.

tribunal banner

The human rights of Dalit women are violated in peculiar and extreme forms. Stripping, naked parading, caste abuses, pulling out nails and hair, sexual slavery & bondage are some of the few forms that are often employed in the violence against Dalit women. Further Dalit women have been subjected to various kinds of sexual violence such as rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, homicide, physical and mental torture, immoral traffic and sexual abuse. The National Crime Records Bureau data records reveal that more than 4 Dalit women are raped every day in India. We are convinced that this is a grossly under reported figure since hundreds of cases of rape of Dalit women are not even registered. The truth is that the question of conviction is a distant dream for many.

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