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The caste cauldron of Maharashtra (Part I)

(Report first published in November 2003)

Violence against Dalits in Marathwada

A Report by the Fact Finding Team comprising

Dr. Anand Teltumbde

Akram Siddiqui

Subodh More

Hashim Mohamma

November 2003

Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Mumbai

~~~

Introduction

In recent months a series of incidents of killings and violence against Dalits in Marathwada shocked everyone. The issue raked up in the Maharashtra Assembly led to Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde offering to resign. People smelt it to be a reaction to a Dalit becoming the chief Minister of the State for the first time. Some tried to see it as a part of strategies of political parties on the eve of elections. Some analyzed it as a natural result of weakening of Dalits over recent times because of their political fragmentation. The recent Shiv Sena overtures to Dalits, with the slogan of 'Bhimshakti + Shivshakti = Deshbhakti' was also being linked to these happenings.

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Human Rights Forum Demands Immediate Arrest of ABVP Activists Who Attacked Beef Festival

Human Rights Forum Demands Immediate Arrest of ABVP Activists Who Attacked Beef Festival in Osmania University

We Human Rights Forum, strongly condemn the attack of ABVP on the 'Beef Festival' in Osmania University today. The ABVP exposed its undemocratic ugly face today by attempting to disrupt the beef festival. We demand immediate arrest of culprits who tried to attack the beef festival and destroyed busses and media vehicles. We also condemn the attack on Venkat, the general secretary of Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika.

It was the responsibility of police to prevent the ABVP, who tried to attack the participants at the beef festival and destroyed buses and media vehicles. But police became mute spectators and that encouraged the ABVP goons to create nuisance in the Osmania University campus.

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Murder of Jaggaiyan, Dalit Panchayat President of Nakkalamuthanpatti

Fact Finding Report on the murder on 22nd November, 2006, of Jaggaiyan, Panchayat President of Nakkalamuthanpatti Village Panchayat, Kuruvikulam Panchayat Union, Tirunelveli District

(Press Release of 28th December 2006)

Dalit Panchayat President Slain thirty days after Local Government Election for resisting caste slavery

I. Introduction

Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Goverment conducted a Fact Finding investigation into the murder of Jaggaiyan – Dalit Panchayat President, belonging to the Arunthathiyar Community (Sub-Caste among Dalits), Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat, Kuruvikulam Panchayat Union, Tirunelveli District on 22.11.2006.

Information from NGOs and newspaper reports revealed that Mr.Jaggaiyan, a Dalit and newly elected Village Panchayat President, aged around 42 years, Nakkalamuthanpatti Panchayat, Thirunelveli Dt, was murdered by Thirupathi Raja, Present Vice President of the same panchayat, and his wife Regina Mary, the former Panchayat President belonging to the Kama Naidu Caste (Naickers). It is alleged Thirupathi Raja had set up Jaggaiyan as a benami president and had wanted him to work in cooperation and subordination to him. Since he had refused to co-operate and listen to the orders of Thirupathi and his wife they wanted him to resign from his post. When he refused to resign, he was threatened several times and murdered early morning at 5.30 am in front of the tea shop in the village by the same two persons.

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The Murder of Servaaran, a Dalit Panchayat President

Fact-finding Investigation Report into the alleged murder of Servaaran, a Dalit Panchayat president from Thirunelveli District

REPORT

30th March, 2007

Introduction

Information from news paper reports and Dalit rights organisations revealed that Mr.Servaaran, a Dalit and newly elected village Panchayat President, aged around 65 years of Maruthankinaru Panchayat, Tirunelveli District, was allegedly murdered by upper caste Thevar people of the same panchayat. It is known that Mr.Harikrishnan (Thevar) husband of Ex-Panchayat President Ms.Poolammal had set up Servaaran to contest in the election so that he would function as a benami President. The present Vice-President of the Village Panchayat Sumathi (Thevar) and her husband Neliraja Rathinam due to a family dispute with Mr.Harikrishnan supported another dalit candidate Mr.Chelladurai (Pallar, Sub-caste) for the President's post. But Servaaran won the president's post in the election. Sumathi who was elected as Vice President did not want to work under a dalit (Arunthathiyar) President. She and her husband had on several occasions insulted Servaaran, Servaaran had filed two complaints against them in Panavadali Chathiram Police station. It is said that Sumathi and her husband threatened Servaaran with dire consequences for filing a complaint on them. On 19.2.07 around 5.30 am Servaaran was dead about 50 mtrs.from his residence.

Human Rights - Kalam, Tirunelveli, Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF) together with Human Rights Forum for Dalit Liberation (HRFDL) commissioned a Fact Finding Investigation into the death of Servaaran – Dalit Panchayat President, belonging to the Arundatiyar Community (Sub caste among Dalits) of Marthankinaru Panchayat, Kuruvikulam Panchayat Union, Tirunelveli District on 19.02.07.

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Attacks on Dalits in Kalappatti

Findings of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Team that visited Kalapatti village, Tamil Nadu, in May 2004 

1. Caste Discrimination and Untouchability practices

Kalapatti is a village which is located in the Coimbatore district under the Kovilpalayam police station limits. It is 14 km from the Coimbatore-Avinashi road. This village consists of nearly 2000 families belonging to the Gounder Community, the Dominant caste in this locality, 250 families of Arunthathiyar community, 10 families belonging to the Parayar community, 150 Boyar families all belonging to the Dalit community are residing here. Other than this there are 100 Nayakar families and 100 Valayar families. In this particular village the Dominant caste is the Gounder community and they specifically hold all powers, economically, socially and politically and have an upper hand in decision making and policy building at all levels.

kalappatti_3_copyThere are various forms of caste based discrimination that exists in this village even today. The dalits are not allowed to walk in the streets of the caste Hindus, not allowed to enter the village Mariamman temple for worship, in the tea shops there are separate glasses or tumblers for the dalits and the caste Hindus, Dalits are neither allowed to walk on the streets freely discussing or talking among themselves, the Dalits are forced to bend their heads portraying their inferiority complex, caste based abusive language colored by sexual remarks are often passed against the Dalits, especially, the Dalits women undergo sexual harassment and assault, the Dalits are intimidated and criticized for nothing at all. All the above mentioned forms of discrimination still exist in this particular village of Kalapatti.

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Soni Sori: Human Rights Watch writes to Prime Minister

Letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding Sexual Assault Case in Police Custody

Dr. Manmohan Singh

Honorable Prime Minister of India

South Block, Raisina Hill

New Delhi 110011

India

Dear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:

I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to draw your attention to the case of Soni Sori, a tribal woman accused by the Chhattisgarh police of being a supporter of the Maoist "Naxalites." She alleges that she has been subjected to sexual assault, electric shocks, and beatings while in custody and denied necessary medical treatment, which the Chhattisgarh state government has not adequately addressed.

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Another Gohana: Dalit Bastis ransacked in Salwan village of Karnal

(Based on a Fact Finding report first posted in the Google group NCDHR, in March 2007)

A Fact Finding Team of Human Rights Defenders and Social Activists from National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights was formed with a mandate to Investigate into the reports of Salwan village of Karnal district, carried in several news papers and electronic Media and to find out the extent of truth behind the reports. Fact Finding Team visited Salwan Village, Karnal on 2nd March 2007 and met Victims. The FF team found that 200 houses were burnt and destroyed.

The situation of the village is so tense with the threat of further attacks seeming possible any time. Due to this fear 75% of Dalit families have fled the village. According to some unconfirmed sources, the FF team got information today that one Dalit youth was murdered in Salwan village in the continuation of attack last night.

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