[ZESTCaste] Sudipto Mondal on Reservation norms violated, donation collected: report

*Date:04/07/2008* *URL:

Front Page http://www.thehindu.com/2008/07/04/01hdline.htm

21 PU colleges face action *

Sudipto Mondal

*Reservation norms violated, donation collected: report *

Deputy Commissioner formed the committee following complaints from civil
rights groups

PU Board official says some of these 21 colleges might lose accreditation

MANGALORE: Of the 69 accredited private and aided pre-university (PU)
colleges in Mangalore taluk, 21 have been found violating admission norms
prescribed by the PU Board. This is the conclusion of a 13-member committee
constituted by Deputy Commissioner M. Maheshwar Rao to look into the issue.

Deputy Director of PU Education R. Basavarajappa told *The Hindu* that
action would be taken against the colleges and some might even lose
accreditation. He said the report was received by him from the office of the
Deputy Commissioner and it would be forwarded to the PU Board in Bangalore
for further action.

The committee, which was formed after a few civil rights organisations
exposed gross violations by the colleges in the city, first short-listed 28
colleges for its survey.

Of these, only seven were found to be adhering to the rules.

Expert PU College in Kalakunj Road, St. Aloysius PU College on Lighthouse
Hill Road and St. Agnes PU College at Bendoor were the worst offenders,
according to the report, a copy of which is available with *The Hindu*.

In the case of Expert College, the report says: The prescribed norms and
procedures for admission have been flouted, not adhered to and violated to
the fullest extent possible.

About St. Aloysius PU College, it says: Total admission is not transparent
and must be looked into very seriously. St. Agnes PU College has been found
violating reservation norms, charging extra fees and forcing students to
buy its prospectus.

Expert PU College has been found charging extra fees and collecting donation
from students. The college has conducted its own entrance test for the
applicants, which was a grave violation.

The college has made it mandatory for its students to enrol for coaching

The college has not followed the calendar of events prescribed by the PU
Board and has failed to provide internal reservation, the report says.

According to the report, St. Aloysius PU College has been running 25
sections while there was permission only for 23 sections. It has illegally
admitted students directly from its high school.

The college has withheld the name and marks secured by the applicants in the
merit list put up on its notice board. It has flouted internal reservation
and other reservation norms for socially and educationally backward
sections. One of the committee members says he spoke to several parents of
the students studying in the college and they told him that they had to pay

St. Agnes PU College has admitted students belonging to socially backward
sections in the general merit category. Parents of students have been made
to pay large sums as donations, the report says.

Narendra Nayak, head of Expert PU College, said: Ours is a new college and
even colleges that are 100 years old find it tough to follow the rules. We
might have committed some minor mistakes and they will surely not be
repeated in the future.

The principal of St. Agnes College (Sister) Linette denied the findings. We
have followed all the procedures, she said. The other 18 colleges have been
found guilty of not adhering to the calendar of events.

The calendar of events stipulates all the important dates in the admission
process starting with the publication of the list of available seats to the
date of reopening.

The other 18 colleges are: Srinivasa College, Pandeshwar; Govindas College,
Surathkal; Bharat College, Ullal; Ashrat college, Ullal; P.A. College,
Nadapadavu; Narayanaguru College, Kudroli; Kapitania College, Nagori; Paduva
College, Nanthoor; Kittal College, Gorigudda; B.E.M. College, Rathabeedhi;
Milagres College, Hampanakatta; Ramkrishna PU College, Bunts' Hostel;
Victoria College, Lady Hill; Sharada College, Kodialbail; St. Anne's
College, Pandeshwar; Canara College, Kodialbail; St. Mary's College, Falnir;
and St. Raymond's College, Vamanjoor.

[ZESTCaste] Kantri gets into controversy

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

Kantri gets into controversy
Updated:  07-04-2008

HYDERABAD: Now it is the time for Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti
(MRPS) to raise controversy against Jr NTR's film `Kantri'. After 50
days of the release of the cinema, they found objection as the film
allegedly showing Dr B R Ambedkar in a poor light.
MRPS alleged that the producer of the film haddeliberately hurt the
feelings of the Dalits. Its leader Manda Krishna Madiga demanded that
the three-minutes scene be deleted completely. If the Censor Board did
not rectify the mistake, he warned that Dalit organizations would
organize protests in front of the b oard's office and the cinema halls
screening this film.

According to him, the very opening scene of the film showed the
henchmen of the villain seeking out youths loitering near the statue
of B R Ambedkar for distribution of counterfeit currency. As if this
were not enough, the director captures close-ups of the statue and, in
the given context, this was tantamount to nothing but insulting the
architect of the Constitution, he added.

Why didn't you show NTR's statue or Vangaveeti Mohan Ranga Rao's
statue, he asked. He demanded that the Censor Board members tender an
apology within 48 hours.

[ZESTCaste] ‘Untouchable’ Women Enjoy a Night of Fashion

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

July 3, 2008,  1:50 pm
'Untouchable' Women Enjoy a Night of Fashion
By C.J. Hughes

Dalits, or untouchables, strutted side by side with more
conventional models at fashion show held at the United Nations
building in New York. (Photos: Béatrice de Géa for The New York
Times)Tabla drums warbled and lights beat down as the woman glided
down the runway, her sari billowing loosely and hair pulled tight. As
fashion shows go, the sashay-spin-repeat sequence was fairly routine.
But the background of many of the models at this event on Wednesday
evening, held inside a fourth-floor dining room at the United Nations,
was anything but.
Known as Dalits, or untouchables, the women have such a low social
standing in their native India that they sit below the lowest rung of
the officially banned but still-present caste system.

Women dressed in pool blue, to honor the United Nations' official
shade.In fact, this particular group of women — 17 on stage, another
20 or so in the audience, all with dresses that were pool blue, to
honor the United Nations' official shade — once cleaned septic systems
for a living.
But for those who imagine that the indelicate task can somehow be
pulled off by sticking a hose from a truck into a tank in the ground,
guess again.
Using straw brushes, these women, nicknamed scavengers, would
hand-sweep the contents of often-dry latrines into bamboo baskets,
then cart away the results on their heads.
Reviled to the point where others would let them die in the streets
rather brush their skin, according to event organizers, theirs was a
grimy and dangerous existence that would make a Dickensian lifestyle,
in contrast, an improvement.
Gandhi had a wish to make a scavenger the president of India, said
Bindeshwar Pathak, a New Delhi businessman, at a panel that took place
before the event in an auditorium lined with ash wood.
Mr. Pathak, who is the head of an international company that
manufactures flush-style private and public toilets, has also built
four clinics across India to teach scavengers — there are an estimated
500,000, of 160 million untouchables, which make up 16 percent of the
population — basic hygiene, literacy and job skills, to better their
Indeed, Wednesday's fashion show was partly a tribute to Mr. Pathak
from the United Nations Development Program, which in a 156-page
report released Tuesday praised his for-profit, private-sector
solution to an intractable social problem.
Giving them this opportunity shows the world that scavengers are
equal to everybody else, Mr. Pathak said.
The former scavengers, none of whom had traveled outside India before,
also seemed to help publicize what the United Nations has decreed the
International Year of Sanitation.
This effort (earlier ones focused on peace, and microcredit) is to
reduce by half the 2.4 billion people who drink and bathe in dirty
water by 2015, though with just 300,000 aided so far, progress has
admittedly been slow.
It's a huge undertaking, said Vijay Nambiar, chief of staff to Ban
Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, at the preshow panel.
But we must raise awareness of sanitation with special attention to
the privacy, dignity and security of women.
Though the message was somber, the mood turned light after guests
adjourned to the Delegates Dining Room, which provided views of a
twinkling Queens.
Waiters in tuxedos balanced platters of wedge-shaped samosas by tables
of saffron chicken and lentil salad.
On the nearby 50-foot runway, the former scavengers strutted side by
side with more conventional models, whose bobbed hairdos and heavy
makeup balanced bright gold, pink and green chiffon gowns.
Some in the 175-person crowd leaped at the chance to meet Mr. Pathak,
whose social service may be as admired as his entrepreneurial talent.
Although his net worth hasn't been widely reported, his company,
Sulabh International, made a profit of $5 million in 2005, according
to the United Nations report, which is a Bill Gates-level sum in an
impoverished nation.
Much of that revenue presumably came from Sulabh's numerous public pay
toilets, which are also found in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Afghanistan;
Mr. Pathak also runs a popular New Delhi toilet museum.
I'm here because I think what he's done is remarkable, said Anjali
Sud, 24, of the Upper West Side, who works for a magazine publishing
company but volunteers at the United Nations in her spare time. As she
spoke, her sister Anisha Sud, 21, passed a pen to Mr. Pathak for an
Fawning, too, was Virender Yadav, 54, a New Delhi native who now lives
in Richmond Hill, Queens, and whose arms were piled high with free
brochures and books.
This is very unusual, I was very surprised, to learn that former
scavengers would be in New York City, Mr. Yadav said.
I am so glad they are bringing them up in the world, he added.
The culture shock wasn't lost on the former scavengers, either, such

[ZESTCaste] Khakhi-Clad Activists

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 27, Dated July 12, 2008


Khakhi-Clad Activists

Tamil Nadu deploys an unlikely weapon to counter caste discrimination
— 'social justice tea parties' hosted by none other than the state
police, reports PC VINOJ KUMAR

OF LATE, rural Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a strange sight;
policemen sipping tea and munching biscuits with villagers in local
teashops, trying to convince them that they should not discriminate
against Dalits. Through these 'social justice tea parties', the cops
are attempting to drive home the message that untouchability is an
offence and those practising it would be booked under law. Introduced
since last year, it is an innovative attempt to eradicate
untouchability by the Social Justice and Human Rights (SJHR) wing of
the State police, which deals with atrocities against Dalits. Till
date, the wing has organised over 500 tea parties, where both Dalits,
non-Dalits and representatives of NGOs are invited as guests.

Most of these parties are held in the vicinity of village teashops,
where in many places Dalits are served tea in separate tumblers.
Prateep Philip, IG of Police who is head of SJHR, identified teashops
as an ideal location to gather people and spread the message against
discrimination. Tea shops are village hubs, where people congregate
and socialise. They are also known to be epicentres of alleged
discrimination against Dalits through the twotumbler system. We chose
to convert the negative into positive by using the very tea shops to
fight against discrimination, he says. Through these tea parties, the
police want to promote confidence among Dalits and create awareness
about provisions in the law that protect them against discrimination.
They are educated about offences under the Protection of Civil Rights
Act, 1955, and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

According to Philip, the initiative has increased awareness levels
among Dalits about their rights and the obligations of others vis-avis
laws relating to discrimination and atrocities against them. He says
the number of cases registered under the SC/ST Act has increased from
851 cases in the previous year to about 1,359 cases last year. It is
the highest number of cases registered in a year in the history of the
Tamil Nadu police, says the officer, whose efforts in developing
community policing in the state got him the UK's prestigious Queen's
Award in 2002 from Queen Elizabeth II for Innovation in Police
Training and Development.

SJHR has now got the go-ahead to organise tea parties in about 37,854
of the 81,787 villages in the State in the next 12 months. The
government has allocated Rs 70 lakh for the programme. SJHR hopes to
take the campaign against untouchability to about 2 crore people
within a year. We can achieve the target if each person who attends
our tea parties takes the message to at least five others, says

The activism in the SJHR wing coincides with a period of intensive
campaigning against untouchability in the state in the last one year.
Social outfits have been holding protests against the two-tumbler
system. In August 2007, Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) published in
its party organ Periyar Muzhakkam the list of shops in some of the
districts where the two-tumbler system was being practised. PDK cadres
held demonstrations in front of the shops and broke the glass tumblers
as a mark of protest and courted arrest in large numbers.

The state unit of the CPM has floated the Tamil Nadu Untouchability
Eradication Front (TNUEF). In Virudhunagar district, the members of
the front identified teashops having separate tumblers for Dalits and
took up the matter with district authorities. Many shops stopped the
practice. Some closed down and others switched to serving tea in
disposable cups, says P. Sampath, state convenor of the Front.
Sampath welcomes the police tea parties but says unless such efforts
are combined with a broader, government sponsored mass campaign, the
results may not be sustainable.

HOWEVER, A. Kathir, director of Evidence, a Madurai based NGO that has
been exposing various forms of discrimination against Dalits dismisses
the police department's 'social justice tea parties' as humbug. These
parties won't serve any purpose, except give some publicity to the
police. If the government really is serious about eradicating
untouchability, it has to launch a mass movement on the lines of the
literacy campaign or the awareness campaign for AIDS that it conducted
in the past. In those campaigns, the messages were taken to nooks and
corners of the state on a war footing.

But Philip, who believes in the credo that the police must take an
active role as social reformers, thinks that he could bring a change
through the tea parties. He says police chiefs from about 15 out of
the 30 districts in the state have already 

[ZESTCaste] Teenager raped by MP cop

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

Teenager raped by MP cop

Khargone (MP), July 04: A 14-year-old tribal girl was raped, allegedly
by a head constable here on Thursday, police said.

The accused, Zakir Khan, forcibly entered the girl's house near
Bisthan police post when she was alone and raped her yesterday
afternoon, Bhagwanpura police station in charge P C Chastha said.

The victim was brought to the Khargone district hospital for medical
examination, he said. A case has registered against the policeman
under various sections of IPC and the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention)

Meanwhile, activists of the ruling BJP blocked the road leading to the
hospital alleging that police allowed khan to disappear after the

They also tried to set afire the Bishtan police post, but police
prevented them from doing so. Additional police force has been
deployed at the post.

[ZESTCaste] 'Murdered' girl's kin threaten stir

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

'Murdered' girl's kin threaten stir

Our Correspondent

Fatehabad, July 3 The issue of the alleged murder of a teenaged Dalit
girl in Ratia town in this district has taken a new turn with the
local Balmiki Sabha and kin of the victim threatening to launch an
agitation on the issue.

Hina, a 13-year-old girl from Jalandhar, who had come at Ratia to see
her maternal aunt, had disappeared on June 16 when she had gone to
purchase sugar from the market.

Her body was recovered by the police from under the bushes from a
vacant plot on June 23.

Her kin had lodged an FIR of kidnapping against two motorcycle-borne
youths, who, they alleged, murdered her after raping her. SP Saurabh
Singh, however, had ruled out the possibility of rape and had said the
youths named by victim's kin had been found innocent.

He had said that it appeared to be a case of animosity. A meeting of
the Balmiki Sabha was held on July 1 in the Balmiki Basti dharamshala.
Pawan Kumar presided over the meeting.

Talking to mediapersons. Pawan Kumar alleged that the family had
expressed its suspicion against two youths, who, allegedly lured away
the girl and killed her after raping her.

He said despite several meetings with the local police, the kin had
got nothing except assurances.

Harkesh Kumar, father of the victim, alleged that his daughter's
blood-stained body was found under mysterious circumstances, but the
police was treating it as natural death.

The girl's father and the Balmiki Sabha warned that in case the police
failed to do anything, they would meet the higher authorities in
Chandigarh and launch an agitation.

[ZESTCaste] Court dismisses police plea

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

Court dismisses police plea

Anju Agnihotri Chaba
Jalandhar, July 02 Police had sought cancellation of case against the
former SHO

In the case of Nurmahal suicides in which Sukhdev Singh and his family
took the drastic step after alleged police torture, Court of
Additional Sessions Judge BK Mehta today dismissed the police's
application in which they had sought cancellation of the case against
the former SHO.

Three members of the family had committed suicide after cousin of the
deceased allegedly eloped with a girl and the police tortured Sukhdev
to know the whereabouts of the runaway couple.

The court has also ordered reinvestigation of the case. Complainants,
Resham and Surjit Kaur, brother and sister of Sukhdev, filed a protest
petition against the cancellation report. They alleged that the facts
of the police reports were wrong and baseless. Resham said they had
never executed any compromise with SHO Shiv Dev Singh Kahlon. Resham
said, If the SHO was innocent, then why did he offer me Rs 10 lakh
and later issued life threats?

Notably, Sukhdev, 30, his pregnant wife and six-year-old daughter had
committed suicide by jumping in front of a train at Mahunwal village
in Nurmahal last year on June 8. The magisterial probe had indicted
the then SHO Shiv Dev Singh Kahlon of illegal confinement, torture and

Kahlon was booked under various sections, including 306, 120 (B), 217,
32 and 342 of the IPC and sections 3 and 4 of the SC/ST Act and the
Prevention of Corruption Act and was arrested on July 1, 2007. Now,
the police had stated in its report that the family had committed
suicide because of personal problems.

Kahlon was booked on the basis of inquiry report of Phillaur SDM
Pritam Singh. Earlier, the probe was to be conducted by the Jalandhar
Police, but later it was handed over to Kapurthala Police. DSP (D)
Harinderjit Singh conducted the inquiry and reported that the SHO was
innocent and the complainant had struck a compromise with him.

But Resham said the police took his signature on blank papers, which
they might have used in their favour. He added that they have full
faith in the judiciary.

[ZESTCaste] Dalits ask Government to abolish caste-based discrimination

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar
Dalits ask Government to abolish caste-based discrimination


Special Correspondent

India urged to ratify the U.N. Convention against Torture

More than 10 countries raised specific questions concerning
caste-based discrimination

It cannot be considered a form of racial discrimination: Solicitor-General

JAIPUR: Dalit activists who attended a dialogue on the Universal
Periodic Review (UPR) of the U.N. General Assembly's Human Rights
Council in Geneva this past month have called upon the Union
Government to take urgent steps to abolish caste-based discrimination
and ensure effective implementation of laws for protection of
Scheduled Castes.

A five-member delegation of Dalits took part in the debates on the
report of the Working Group on UPR for India in Geneva between June 9
and 13.

P. L. Mimroth, chairman of the Centre for Dalit Rights, Jaipur, led
the group, while India was represented by Swashpawan Singh, Ambassador
and Permanent Representative to the U.N. Office.

Mr. Mimroth said on his return here that India had for the first time
admitted in a U.N. forum the existence of discrimination and
marginalisation on the basis of castes and tribes. The Permanent
Representative to the U.N. also stated that action at the government
level to end discrimination was not enough and other stakeholders were
being engaged to address the gaps.

Mr. Singh's admission in the U.N. body is a long-awaited indication
of the Centre's intent to do something for protecting the rights of
Dalits, said Mr. Mimroth, adding that it was high time the Centre
initiated measures to stop violation of Dalit rights in the areas of
access to education, health care, housing, employment and freedom of

More than 10 countries raised specific questions or recommendations
concerning caste-based discrimination in India. This seemed to be a
strong message to the Centre that the international community was
deeply concerned about the persistence of this form of discrimination
that affected more than 16.7 crore Dalits.

Addressing the meeting, National Human Rights Commission's
representative Aruna Sharma called upon India to ratify the U.N.
Convention against Torture. She said policemen at the lower rung in
the hierarchy often resorted to torture and harassment of people
detained on suspicion of involvement in crimes.

However, Solicitor-General G. E. Vahanvati said the caste-based
discrimination could not be considered a form of racial
discrimination because the caste system, which was unique to India,
was not racial in origin.

The Dalit delegation affirmed that the change in India's stand in the
U.N. body had taken place following concerted efforts and strong
protests by Dalit organisations.

Only a decade ago, India's representatives in the global forums were
in a denial mode. They used to describe the occurrence of caste-based
discrimination as isolated incidents, said Mr. Mimroth.

The Netherlands representative, Robert-Jan Sieben, called upon India
to inform the Human Rights Council not only about the progress made on
recommendations it agreed to but also on the efforts on
recommendations it did not agree to.

Besides Mr. Mimroth, other members of the delegation were Manas Jaina,
Director, Development Initiative, Orissa; Bulu Sareen, national
coordinator, European Initiative for Democratic and Human Rights
(EIDHR) Project, New Delhi; Kewal Uke, State coordinator, EIDHR
Project, Maharashtra; and M. Thangave, convenor, Vijuthangal Sanstha,
Tamil Nadu.

They also attended a series of conferences on human rights, civil
rights, justice and discrimination held in the U.N. Office.

[ZESTCaste] Plan panel members to hit road for review

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

Plan panel members to hit road for review

Chetan Chauhan

New Delhi, July 04, 2008

The country's top plan body wants to gauge the impact of various
central government schemes on people just before the elections. So it
has decided to send its members to various states in the next
one-and-a-half months. Stated reason  mid-term appraisal of the
schemes. Probable reason  educating people about the benefits of these

In a first, a decision was made on Tuesday at an internal meeting of
the Planning Commission. We are in the middle of second year of the
11th plan in which special schemes have been launched. It is sort of a
mid-term review, the commission's deputy chairperson Montek Singh
Ahluwalia said when asked about the idea behind the decision.

Although technically the 11th plan is in its second year, it was
approved only in November last year. Most of the schemes envisaged in
the plan are still in the nascent stage whereas some have been
introduced from this financial year only. This makes it apparent that
the visits will provide the government more than just feedback on its

Normally, the commission hires consultations to conduct mid-term
appraisal of the schemes. But, the commission has decided to take a
break from this age-old tradition. Starting from mid-July, each
planning commission member will visit the states, for which he or she
is responsible in the commission. Ahluwalia said the members have been
asked to submit their report within a few months, probably before

During the visit, the members will also review implementation of
flagship programmes, which the UPA government believes has brought
change in rural lives and can help them in elections.

The government has been claiming success of National Employment
Guarantee Programme, under which more than 1.8 crore people have got a
bank account, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, which has brought 94 per cent
children to schools and inclusive development schemes for benefit of
SC/ST and minorities. Similarly, the government claims to have
provided Rs 1,32,000 crores for rural roads for connecting villages
with the mainstream.

[ZESTCaste] IIT-D takes back 2 Dalit students, but says no caste bias

2008-07-04 Thread Siddhartha Kumar

IIT-D takes back 2 Dalit students, but says no caste bias

Shreya Dhoundial / CNN-IBN

New Delhi: Under pressure from the National Commission for Scheduled
Castes/Schedules Tribes Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi had its
arm twisted to take back the students it expelled.

Akhilesh Kumar, a fourth year student of mechanical engineering at
IIT-Delhi is one of the 12 SC/ST students who were terminated from the
institute this year for poor academic performance.

Akhilesh was diagnosed with schizophrenia recently and says he
deserves a chance to complete his degree. He alleges that the reason
IIT-Delhi isn't showing leniency is because of his caste.

Professors forcefully asked me 'are you from SC/ST' and if you are
not able to answer them then they say that the only reason you are
here is because of reservation. You are like a sarkari jammaai
(government's son-in-law), Akhilesh alleges.

Worried about remarks like those of Akhilesh's at the country's
premier engineering institute, the SC/ST Commission had asked the IIT
to review the 12 expulsions.

IIT-Delhi set up a review committee headed by a retired Dalit
professor and revoked three expulsions, two of them of SC students.

But the SC/ST Commission is far from happy.

Chairman of the SC/ST Commission Buta Singh says IIT-Delhi is openly
flouting University Grants Commission's (UGC) guidelines on Dalit
students. He says he will now ask the HRD Ministry to revoke the
suspension of the remaining 10 students

Their review should be taken up by an outside agency because I have
lost my faith in the IIT, says Buta Singh.

IIT-Delhi has refused to comment on the issue. But in a press release
the institute says, All allegations of caste bias against the
institute are imagined. A special review committee went by the
rulebook, looked into each of the cases separately. No students or
parent bought up the issue of caste discrimination during the

Dalit students say it's not just this case and that they are often
made to feel guilty about being at IIT-Delhi and have no institutional
space here.

IIT-Delhi on the other hand is upset that a case of academic
incompetence is being twisted into one of caste discrimination and the
truth as always is in the middle.

And it is an inconvenient truth perhaps that both sides need to
confront sooner rather than later.