Why do you beg for land? This is where you were born, this land belongs to you

 

Gomathi Augustine

Background: Gomathi, founding leader of Pombillai Orumai and ward member of Devikulam Block, speaks at Chalo Thiruvananthapuram inauguration at Chengara Agitation on 29th January 2017. Pombillai Orumai is a Union of Dalit Women laborers of Kannan Devan Hills Plantation formed in the later months of 2015 during the historic agitation for the right to bonuses, fair wages and against exploitative working conditions. This collective marked its uniqueness in the history of labour agitations as it challenged the patriarchy and hegemony of the established trade unions (which they felt were not representing their position at the negotiating table). After a long silence of subjugation (and also internal splits within pombillai orumai collective) Gomathi opens up on how the established Political Parties, their Unions, Media and Government had all worked together in suppressing and dividing the Pombillai Orumai. She asserts that all should stand firm and united for Chalo Thiruvanathapuram struggle expressing her full support and participation for the struggle representing plantation sector workers.

gomathy augustine 1

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An Appeal from Ligimol CK

 

Ligimol C K

lijimol4I am Ligimol C K. One year ago I was residing in a rented house owned by Mr. Johnson in Eloor. After some days he stormed to my room along with his wife to beat me and he abused me a lot and moreover insulted me by calling my caste name. Many a times he abused me and called me with caste name. Several times he peeped at me while I am taking bath and he often put mirror in angle to watch me while I am washing clothes. He cut my drinking water connection using hacksaw blade. Even though I was silently suffering all other atrocities as I don't have an own house, the drinking water disconnection issue forced me to inform the police. But on 03/04/2016 night, after the visit of police staff, he even removed the doors of bathroom and toilet. I called back the police and showed the damages done by the owner. Then I made a written complaint by narrating all the above issues in detail at the Eloor Police Station. But the police rewrote my words and submitted the FIR in the court in favour of the owner. Therefore, the High Court rejected my plea. So I have decided to go for an appeal in Supreme Court.

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The Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey

 

Somnath Waghamare

I am Somnath Waghamare, a Graduate in Sociology and Post Graduate in Media studies from Sangli, Maharashtra, India. The past few years I have been working with the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and currently as an apprentice with a Human Rights Organisation in Bangalore. I am associated with the progressive, Ambedkarite Dalit social movement in Maharashtra and am interested in making documentary films on Dalit issues. Last year I made a documentary film, titled – "I am not a witch" on the witch-hunting problem. It is the story of an old tribal woman from Nandurbar, Maharashtra, who faced social boycott.

Promo of 'The Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey'

Now I am working on the great history of the Mahar Regiment, the so-called untouchables, in 'Bhima Koregaon Battle' who fought and defeated crony Brahmanical rule of Peshwas. The title of the film is - 'The Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey". I have completed all the pre -production film work, from 20th December 2016 to 5th January 2017, by visiting the celebration of this event in Bhima Koregaon, which is attended by about 20 lakh people every year but not covered in any mainstream media.

somnath waghmare

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Chalo Thiruvananthapuram – Wipe Out Caste Colonies! Reconstruct the Kerala Model!

 

[Via Santhosh Kumar]

On January 29, 2017 "Chalo Thiruvananthapuram" movement heralds from the protest fronts of Chengara with the mission to ensure equal justice for the marginalised in the domains of land ownership, housing facilities, employment and rights to resources. Jignesh Mewani, the acclaimed leader who engineered the Una Protest March in Gujarat will inaugurate the event. This alternate scheme of protest is initiated to reclaim the lives of the marginalised people that were crushed under the rule of democracy during the past sixty years of our country. Within six decades after the formation of unified Keralam, Adivasis, Dalits, Dalit Christians, estate labourers, fishers, women, sexual minorities, backward communities, and linguistic-racial-religious minorities have been structurally ousted from the spheres of political and social dominance.

chalo thiruvananthapuram

A majority of the population whose livelihood depended on resources from nature, soil, forest and freshwaters were cast away to colonies, slums and wastelands and made refugees on their homeland. There is not much difference in the policies and vision of the democratic governments that has been ruling the state from the foreign powers who once enslaved our countrymen and looted natural resources. No land reformation act affected the big estate or land owners in Kerala. It could not even make a dent on the existent caste system prevalent here. There was no special law enforcement to protect the rights to resources of Adivasi and Dalit communities that traditionally relied on forest, soil and other ecological resources. Though there were laws made to annihilate feudalism, farming lands were converted into estates. Those who were conferred permanent ownership of land immediately turned it into a commodity to reap profits. Today, corporates and land mafias reign over the agriculture land of Kerala.

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Gangrape and Murder of a 16 year old Dalit girl in Sendurai, Tamil Nadu

 

(A condensed translation, by Trevor Jeyaraj, of Mr. Venpura Saravanan's Facebook post in Tamil )

N (16), daughter of Rajendran R of Sendurai taluk in Ariyalur district, Tamil Nadu, who finished her class VIII and discontinued studies due to her situation at home was working at a garment store in Sendurai. Manikandan, the son of Ramasaami, a resident of Keelamalikai north street and an Indu Munnani (Hindu Munnani) member was working as a mason in the Sendurai area. N and Manikandan met each other and they were in a relationship, meanwhile, N became pregnant. Therefore, N forced Manikandan to marry her.

hindu munnani website

Picture from the Hindu Munnani website

Manikandan, who did not wish to marry her, on December 29 2016, through the advice of Rajasekaran, the Indu Munnani Secretary of Ponparappi abducted N and locked her in an unknown location. Here, along with Manikandan, Keelamaaligai Thirumuragan (S/o Arivalagan), Vetriselvan of Ayandhathanoor (S/o Seenivaasan), Manivannan (S/o Selvaraj) - these four men gangraped N for four days. Then they disrobed her and tried to drag the foetus from her womb and finally put a stone around her body and threw her into a well.

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Rejecting Victimhood, Reclaiming Resistance

 

Joint pamphlet by BAPSA, SIO, YFDA on the occasion of Rohith's Shahadat Din

[Distributed for 'Resistance March' against Institutionalized Brahmanism on 16 January 2017 in JNU, New Delhi]

The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the enforced disappearance of Najeeb Ahmad reveal that agents of Brahmanical Fascism in universities have selected students from marginalized communities as their targets. JNU right now is reeling under a conspiracy of saffronisation engineered by M. Jagdeesh Kumar and his Sanghi bosses. Students in JNU are resisting the attempts at crippling social inclusion in the admission and research programmes, but the threats to the life, liberty and dignity of personhood of students from marginalised communities show that Brahmanism is out to root out the very presence of Dalit and Muslim students from higher education.

rohith blue

Rohith Vemula suffered a sustained period of humiliation, which included eviction from hostel, termination of stipend allowances, exclusion from all public spaces of HCU, before he was forced to end his own life on January 17th, 2016. What was Rohith's 'crime'? He refused to accept Brahmanical hegemony in universities, he stood up to intimidation by the minions of fascism (ABVP), and he protested against the carceral state which sent Yakub Memon to the gallows. Rohith Vemula's humiliation should remind us that there are entrenched histories of casteism even in premier universities. These histories of subjugating students hailing from deprived backgrounds include systematically discriminating against them at the time of entering university, alienating them within the university, or even erasing their existence itself, as is the case of Najeeb Ahmad.

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Statement by concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals following the Court Sentence on the EFLU Defamation case

 

[via Susie Tharu]

We the undersigned wish to express our grave concern over the fact that five senior students of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), who were raising the issue of discrimination against SC and ST students in the EFLU's Department of German, have on 13/12/2016 been charged with defamation of a professor and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Their protests concerned Sreeramulu M, a ST student enrolled in the BA programme of EFLU's German Department. Sreermulu had not been allowed to continue in the programme ostensibly for his failure to maintain grades. The others who have been sentenced are office bearers of associations representing such marginalized students; they were speaking at a Press Meet held on 24/12/2012 after Sreeramulu, who had been trying for several months to be allowed to continue his course and avail remedial classes, went on fast. The defamation case was filed in March 2013. Two SC/ST atrocities complaints filed by Sreeramulu M and again by another student, Ranjan Kumar, in January 2013 are pending with the Police and are yet to be investigated.

munavath sriramulu

Munavath Sriramulu

The countrywide discussion raised through the struggles following Rohith Vemula's death in January 2016 drew public attention to the extent of caste discrimination in our universities. SC, ST, OBC and minority students figure disproportionately in the statistics for failure, drop out, expulsion, rustication and even suicide. Educational institutions and those who run them (teachers and administrators) have been forced to acknowledge that they are implicated in this terrible attrition of young citizens and know they must initiate reforms. Yet, far too little is being done to discuss this evidence, rethink rules, temper teachers' attitudes, reform syllabi or challenge ideas of merit that discriminate against the marginalized. A teacher's job is to help the actual students in the classroom to learn; not to uphold abstract standards of merit. From the courts, the underprivileged expect humane recognition of the inequities of their predicament and wise support for their cause. But what they have received is a demoralizing and intimidating signal.

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