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Sunita Babu's Suicide: Driven to Death by Police Harassment

 

'Suicide of Sunita Babu – Due to Police Harassment'
A fact-finding report on a Dalit woman's suicide in Kerala by Sthreekoottayma (A women's collective)

The suicide of Sunita Babu, a Dalit woman, in Eroor, Thrippunithara of Ernakulum District appeared and was discussed in the media, but not with the seriousness that it deserved. The media portrayed it as a case of suicide driven by the weight of having divulged to the police the whereabouts of her criminal husband. The society saw nothing amiss in this incident. However, the fact of the matter is that Sunita took her own life, having been driven to it by two weeks of harassment by the police hunting for the accused Babu. For two weeks, the police frequented the house of the accused in uniform and civilian clothes, and constantly harassed the women and the children in the guise of trying to get information about the absconding accused, resulting in a tragic end for Sunita who was neither involved in, nor was a witness to the incident. Below is an account of facts of this incident that has not come to light.

Sunita Babu

April 30, 2013

Chandran is a daily-wage employee working in Vimal Bazaar, owned by T.V. Ramachandran near Mathoor gate in Eroor, Thrippunithura. On the said day, he borrowed a bicycle (that belonged to Ramachandran's uncle) from this shop, to go home for his breakfast. While he was having food at home, Chandran's nephews took the bicycle to visit the temple. While the children were inside the temple, the bicycle was left outside, where it was spotted by its owner, Ramachandran's uncle who was walking along the road. He took the bicycle. When the children came out of the temple, they didn't see the cycle and went around searching for it. When they were certain that they had lost it, they informed Chandran, their uncle and all of them together started searching for it. Having lost hope of finding it, they went to Ramachandran's shop, where they saw the cycle in front of the shop. When the children tried to get inside the shop to ask what had happened, Ramachandran said 'Get out, pulayadimakkale' (this is considered an expletive in Kerala and is a casteist abuse .). Ramachandran abused the children calling caste names.

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A sure way to produce Dalit dropouts

 

Udit Raj & Hany Babu

The article in The Hindu by Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, on the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) in the University of Delhi (Op-Ed, "Drop the rhetoric, start the debate," June 1, 2013) raises certain important issues.

du multiple exit points

The multiple exit points could become traps for students who are less privileged. Photo: Meeta Ahlawat

Mr. Tharoor, like most of the mainstream media in India, seems to be unaware of the arguments that are currently being made in opposition to the FYUP. The issue is no more confined to course structure or syllabi. Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class (SC/ST/OBC) groups have advocated caution on the potential of the new programme to make the reservation policy mandated by the Constitution nugatory, as a large number of students from SC/ST/OBC groups may not be able to complete four years of education. The multiple exit points may become death traps for these students. In spite of the claims made by the university that every student can do a four-year honours degree in the new scheme, the percentage of reserved category students will dwindle in the third and fourth years. They will exit with unequal degrees, the equalising force of education will be lost, and the social stratification will be further hardened.

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Brief Report Of The Killing of Adivasis by CRPF at Edesmeta, Chattisgarh

 

Brief Report Of The Killing of Adivasi Civilians by CRPF at Edesmeta in Bijapur district, Chattisgarh, on May 17, 2013

[Via Karthik Navayan]

Following media reports that eight adivasis and a CRPF constable had died in an alleged encounter on the night of May 17, 2013 at Edesmeta village in Bijapur district of Chattisgarh, a team of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) from Andhra Pradesh visited the area on May 25, 26 to elicit facts. The team spoke with residents of Edesmeta as well as police officers at Gangulur. There are 67 households in Edesmeta located in six paras (hamlets). The village is in Burgil panchayat of Bijapur block and falls in the jurisdiction of Gangalur police station.

The following is a brief report of the fact-finding team. A more detailed report will be put out in due course:

It is the HRF's view that contrary to the police version of an encounter with Maoists, there was no exchange of fire at Edesmeta on the night of May 17. Eight adivasis, including four minors, all of them male, and the CRPF constable died as a result of indiscriminate and unilateral firing by the CRPF. None of the deceased eight adivasis are Maoists as the police initially claimed. The eight did not die because the Maoists used them as human shields as an improvised police version put out a day later stated. They were killed in gunfire unleashed by a specialized anti-naxalite unit of the CRPF. There was no provocation whatsoever for the firing. Four more adivasis including a minor were injured. This callous brutality is chillingly similar to the slaughter of 17 adivasi civilians (including six minors) at Sarkeguda, also in Bijapur district, on the night of June 28, 2012.

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Caste-based discrimination a major structural factor underlying poverty: UN

 

media-statement

Continued plight of the 'untouchables'

UN experts call for strengthened protection of more than 260 million victims of caste-based discrimination

GENEVA (24 May 2013) – They occupy the lowest levels of strict, hierarchical caste systems founded on notions of purity, pollution and inequality. They face marginalization, social and economic exclusion, segregation in housing, limited access to basic services including water and sanitation and employment, enforcement of certain types of menial jobs, and working conditions similar to slavery.

They are the Dalits of South Asia, who constitute the majority of victims of entrenched caste-based discrimination systems which affect some 260 million stigmatized people worldwide, people considered 'untouchable'.

"Caste-based discrimination remains widespread and deeply rooted, its victims face structural discrimination, marginalization and systematic exclusion, and the level of impunity is very high," a group of United Nations human rights experts warned today, while urging world Governments to strengthen protection of the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who suffer from discrimination based on work and descent.

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Dalit women on intersections of violence and discrimination at the Human Rights Council

Dalit women on intersections of violence and discrimination at HRC 23 in the UN

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Side event at the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council
 

"Dalit Women: Working Together Towards The Elimination Of
Multiple And Intersecting Forms Of Discrimination And Violence
Based On Gender And Caste"

On 4 June 2013, 14:30-16:30, Room VIII, 3rd floor

This event offers a unique opportunity to explore the cross-cutting and intersecting nature and forms of gender and castebased
discrimination and to discuss what the international community can do to effectively address this entrenched problem.

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Cops watch as Dalits are attacked by organized mob in Keesara, near Hyderabad

 

Sub-Inspector of Keesara police station, Mr Venkat, was an eye witness to the brutal assault on Dalits in Rampally Dayara: Human Rights Forum

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To

The District Collector and Magistrate

Ranga Reddy district, Hyderabad

Dear Madam

Sub: Attack on dalits (Madigas) of Rampally Dayara JNNURM Colony- assistance to victims of attack-regarding.

You are aware that more than 10 dalits of JNNURM Colony of Rampally Dayara in Keesara mandal of Ranga Reddy district were injured in an attack on them by persons belonging to non-dalit castes of Ramapally Dayara village on May 1 and 2, 2013.

In the JNNURM Colony, Ms. Balamma of Rampally Dayara runs a belt shop which is located very close to the houses of the dalits. Inebriated customers have been creating nuisance for the past one year to which the family of Mr. Indrala Kalyan,a dalit resident of the colony belonging to the Madiga caste, have been objecting. The dalits had even a lodged a complaint in the matter at the local Kesara police station exactly a year ago on 4 May 2012. The owners of the shops have the support of Mr. Kandadi Anji Reddy and Mr Kandadi Srinivas Reddy of Rampally Dayara, the main accused in the attack of last week. While Mr. Angi Reddy is the mandal president of TDP, Mr Srinivas Reddy is the former upa-sarpanch.

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Harnessing Counter-Culture to Construct Identity

 

Workshop Report on
'Harnessing Counter-Culture to Construct Identity: Mapping Dalit Cultural Heritage in Contemporary India',
7-8 December, 2012, Convened by Ronki Ram

Ronki Ram

1. The topic and the goal

The workshop entitled Harnessing Counter-Culture to Construct Identity: Mapping Dalit Cultural heritage in Contemporary India was organized by International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden, The Netherlands at Lipsius, Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden on December 7-8, 2012. The workshop focused on the emergence of Dalit cultural heritage as a counter-culture to the mainstream culture of upper/dominant castes social set-up and world view. If any social institution or phenomenon that can be singled out to boldly mark the centrality of the Indian society, caste qualifies to be the foremost one. Anti caste movement has a long history in India. It was further radicalized by the emergence of Dalit movement with the entry of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar into the highly contested political domain of the colonial and post colonial India. Dalit movement adopted various strategies in its tirade against social exclusion and made concerted efforts for the emancipation and empowerment of the socially excluded sections of the society.

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