The representation gap

 

Christophe Jaffrelot, Gilles Verniers

Decline in number of OBC MPs shows that the classic tropes of backward class politics — quotas and simple descriptive representation — no longer work.

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections produced an assembly where many voices can hardly be heard. The representation of Muslims, for instance, is at a historical low, with less than 4 per cent of the seats. But there are other groups that have also suffered a sharp decline in representation. OBCs, who over the last 25 years have dominated the political scene in the Hindi-speaking belt, are a case in point.

Since the late 1980s, one of the most significant trends in Indian politics has been the gradual decline of upper-caste representation in the Lok Sabha, and the concomitant rise of OBCs. This phenomenon was essentially due to the decline of the Congress — a party dominated by upper castes — and to the rise of regional parties, primarily supported by large, dominant OBC groups. In 1989, the proportion of OBCs in the Lok Sabha had jumped from 11 per cent to 21 per cent, and continued to grow in the post-Mandal phase until 2004, when it peaked at 26 per cent. In parallel, the representation of upper castes persistently fell, from 49 per cent in 1984 to 37 per cent in 1989 and 34 per cent in 2004. The gap between OBCs and upper caste MPs returned from the Hindi-speaking belt had never been so small. The 2009 general elections marked a reversal of that trend, as upper caste representation shot up to 43 per cent, and the share of OBCs fell to 18 per cent.

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Another Khairlanji: Rajasthan's Nagaur district is the new dalit slaughterhouse

 

Bhanwar Meghwanshi and Janani Sridharan

The following is a detailed account of the happenings leading to and on the 14th of May 2015 at village Dangawas, describing an attack by the powerful Jats on dalits – murdering 4 of them by the use of tractors, molesting their women, seriously injuring several others and setting to fire their homes. This report has been prepared after intensive fact finding exercises. Currently Rajasthan is seeing several protests and demands of an independent CBI inquiry and compensation for the affected dalits families of what is perhaps the most serious and massive attack on Dalits in recent history, reminding one of the Khairlanji massacre.

nagaur 3

Less than 250 km away from the capital city of Jaipur, the Jat - dominated Nagaur is home to several recent Dalit atrocities. If one were to examine the kind of atrocities perpetrated in the last year alone, one's heart would scream out. It is hard to believe that independent India is host to such crimes today. Such brutality and cruelty of unimaginable proportions inflicted by one community on another might even put terrorist groups to shame! Is this even possible in a democratic state? Apparently yes, with the political and administrative system that initially refused to even take notice of the happenings.

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Fact Finding Report on Javkhede Khalsa

 

Sujit Nikalje

History of Ahmednagar

Ahmednagar district is in Maharashtra, about 120 km northeast of Pune and 120 km from Aurangabad. Ahmednagar gets its name from Ahmed Nizam Shah, who founded the town in 1494 on the site of a more ancient city, Bhingar. The district was created after the defeat of the Maratha Confederacy in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818 when most of the Peshwa's domains were annexed to British India. The district remained part of the Central division of Bombay Presidency until India's independence in 1947, when it became part of Bombay State, and in 1960 the new state of Maharashtra.

Ahmednagar is a relatively small town and lacks the development witnessed in nearby cities of western Maharashtra such as Mumbai, Pune and Aurangabad. Ahmednagar is home to 19 sugar factories and is also the birthplace of the cooperative movement. Due to scarce rainfall, Ahmednagar often suffers from drought. Marathi is the primary language for daily-life communication. 

The total population of the District as per the 2011 census is 45,43,080. The Scheduled Caste Population as per the 2001 Census Data is 4,85,000 which is 12% of the total population, and as per 2011 census it has increased by 1%.

Atrocity Cases in Ahmednagar district

There has been a steep rise in the number of atrocity cases in Maharashtra. The brutal massacres in Khairlanji in 2006 and in Sonai village of Ahmednagar district in January 2013, where three Dalit boys were hacked to death by members of dominant castes, are indicators of the increased intensity. In the triple murder of Dalit youths in Sonai, one of them was supposed to have had a love affair with a Maratha girl. Then recently, in Kharda on 28th April 2014, again in Ahmednagar district, a Dalit boy named Nitin Aage (17) was killed by members of dominant castes, just on the suspicion of a love affair. The dominant caste people pulled him out from his school in broad daylight, beat him up brutally and then lynched him.

There are other recent cases like that of Manoj Kasab, a Sarpanch from the Matang community (the third largest in population among the Scheduled Castes in the state), who was killed by members of the dominant castes. Apart from these killings, many Dalits also face incidents of ostracization to the detriment of their livelihoods, physical assaults and humiliation on an almost daily basis from the dominant castes.

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Preliminary fact finding report on the inhuman murder of Dalits in Ahmednagar

 

Dalit Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti

(Report released on 30th October 2014, at a press conference in Mumbai)

 Preliminary fact finding report on the inhuman murders of Dalits on 20 October 2014 at Jawakhede (Khalsa), Taluka Pathardi, District Ahmednagar.

javkhede massacre

 On 20th October 2014, in Jawakhede (Khalsa), Taluka Pathardi, District Ahmednagar, the entire family comprising the father, mother and a son, of Buddhist faith, was killed brutally.

On 27th October 2014, the Dalit Atyachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti sent a committee to Jawakhede village on a fact-finding mission to probe these murders. The said committee comprised of Subodh More (social activist and freelance journalist), Jatin Desai (senior journalist), Feroze Mithiborwala (social activist), Uttam Jagirdar (social activist), Sudhakar Kashyap (correspondent of IBN Lokmat), Anjan Veldurkar (activist), Vinod Shinde (activist), Professor Ranganath Pathare (senior literary person from Ahmednagar), Bela Sakhare (Nagpur), Keshav Waghmare (social activist from Pune).

Jawakhede village is at a distance of 62 kms from Ahmednagar, with a population of about 3000 people. A majority of the population belongs to Maratha and Vanjari caste; while the Dalit, Muslim and Christians live in minority. About 30 households belong to the Buddhist community.

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Kambalapalli Carnage

 

Written By

 Oruvingal Sreedharan
 &
R. Muniyappa

Published by

 Babasaheb Dr.B.R. Ambedkar Adhyayana Kendra, Bangalore-9

Dedicated
to
late Sriramappa and other Six Dalits who were burnt alive at Kambalapalli

We sincerely acknowledge the support given by the following DSS/BSP activists for bringing out this small booklet

O. Rajanna, N. Shivanna, Krishna Chinthamani, Dr.L. Hanumanthaiah, Marasandra Muniyappa

 ~

Will history repeat itself?

 On 26th January 1950, India will be an Independent country (Cheers). What would happen to her independence? Will she maintain her independence or will she lose it again? This is the first thought that comes to my mind. It is not that India was never an independent country. The point is that she once lost the independence she had. Will she lose it a second time? It is this thought which makes me most anxious for the future. What perturbs me greatly is the fact that not only India has once before lost her independence, but she lost it by the infidelity and treachery of some of her own people...

Will history repeat itself? It is this thought which fills me with anxiety. This anxiety is deepened by the realization of the fact that in addition to our old enemies in the form of castes and creeds, we are going to have many political parties with diverse and opposing political creeds. Will Indians place the country above their creed or will they place creed above country? I do not know. But this much is certain that if the parties place creed above country, our independence will be put in jeopardy a second time and probably be lost for ever. This eventuality we must all resolutely guard against. We must be determined to defend our independence with the last drop of our blood. (Cheers).

~ Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
in the Constituent Assembly
On 25th November 1949.

~

 Kambalapalli Carnage

 Burning Alive of 7 Dalits - Genesis

Kolar is one of the 27 Districts of Karnataka State in India. There are 11 Taluks and 12 Assembly Constituencies out of which 3 are reserved for Scheduled Castes. There are 2 Parliament seats in Kolar district - Kolar and Chickaballapur. Kolar seat is reserved for Scheduled Castes and K.H. Muniyappa, a Scheduled Caste is the sitting Member of Parliament. Chowdareddy has been elected from Chinthamani Assembly seat, where the carnage took place.

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Another 'Dharmapuri' in Theni district: Dalit colony attacked for inter-caste marriage

 

தமிழ்வாணன், VCK - Theni District Secretary

April 9th.

Melmangalam village, near Periyakulam, Theni district.

A Dalit youth Suresh (30) eloped with a caste hindu girl Muthulatchumi (25) on 30th March, 2014. Fearing for their life, it is said they fled to Kerala. No complaint was pressed by the girl's family, instead the caste hindu village heads threatened Dalits, asking for return of the girl. Dalits denied any knowledge of their whereabouts.

theni 1

 

On 6th April, 2014, Theni Lok Sabha candidate of DMK Muthuramalingam visited the area for campaign. Caste hindus gathered in hundreds for the campaign meet. After the meet, the gathering including ADMK supporters started attacking the Dalit colony nearby. They burnt automobiles, looted the houses and set fire to them. Caste hindu women too participated in the attack along with their men. 3 Dalit men sustained injuries from sickle attack, 1 women was injured in the ear and 6 Dalits were hospitalised. 10 houses, 3 shops and a temple were burnt down.

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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.

Read more...

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