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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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Andhra Pradesh Dalits and Adivasis marching towards achieving Statutory Status for SCP and TSP

Karthik Navayan

SC, ST Sub-Plan Nidhula Saadhana Ikya Kaaryacharana Committee (United Action Committee to claim SC, ST Sub-Plan Funds) was formed under the leadership of Sri Kaki Madhava Rao, Former Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh as its chairman and Retired Justice K. Ramaswamy as adviser. Retired IAS Officers Sri B. Danam, Sri K.R. Venu Gopal, Sri T. Gopal Rao and Retired IPS Officers Sri Rushya Rao, Dr. D. T. Nayak, Dr. V. N. V. K. Sastri are some of the important persons as its members. National Dalit Forum, Sakshi Human Rights Watch- A P and Center for Dalit Studies have come together to provide secretarial assistance to the committee.

The Committee has brought together nearly 100 people's organizations and NGOs under its fold. The core committee constituted a drafting committee to draft the bill to provide statutory status to SCP and TSP. The drafting committee consisted of Sri K. Madhava Rao, Sri B.Danam, Sri V.Nanda Gopal, Mr. R.Ravi Kumar. The Drafting committee met several times to articulate the bill. The salient features of the Bill are:

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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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Growth without Inclusion- At Whose Cost?

Union Budget 2012-13

Response from Dalits and Tribals

Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan/NCDHR*

The Total Plan Expenditure of Union Budget 2012-13 BE is Rs.3,99,011 cr. For Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) Rs. 37113.03 cr. and Rs.21710.11 cr has been allocated which is altogether 9.3% (SCP) and 5.4% (TSP) as compared to the legitimate allocation of 16.2% for SCP and 8.2% for TSP. For STs there is decrease of 0.1%. There is gap of Rs. 38,535.54 cr. for both communities.

As per the guidelines, each Ministry has to allocate fund under SCP/TSP but it is unfortunate that only 25 departments have allocated for SCs and 28 for STs. While all other departments like Energy, Coal, Industries 70-75 departments have not allocated any funds. Quality of allocation is less in the growth sectors and more in the survival areas.

If we calculate spending on SCs & STs in the Total Budget (Plan+Non-Plan) of Rs.14,90,925.29 cr, the share of both communities come to only 3.9%.

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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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How to stop another Gujarat?

Karthik Navayan

[Karthik Navayan wrote this article ten years ago, in 2002, after visiting Gujarat as a relief volunteer seeking to offer aid to the victims of the 2002 carnage. The one persistent thought on his mind after the experience was: how to stop Andhra Pradesh from becoming Gujarat? How to stop any other state from becoming another Gujarat? We think that question is still very relevant-- Round Table India]

gujarat_2002_copy

'Adivasis, or indigenous people, are not Hindus; they have their own culture and customs as well as festivals and gods. Organizations like Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are working on a mission to convert them into Hinduism since decades. They are using these innocent Adivasis in murders by luring them into Hinduism. These Adivasis did not participate in any earlier incidents of communal violence; in fact, communal violence is experienced only through the RSS and VHP'

 Champak, Coordinator, 'SAARTHI' (An NGO which is working for the rehabilitation of Adivasis since last 20 years).

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