News Update 04/09/2004


Dalits seek share in `shamlat' land
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 8
A deputation of the Kirti Mazdoor Union, Punjab, led by Mr Hari Ram,
state secretary of the union, submitted a representation to
Additional Deputy Commissioner N.S. Walia here, demanding `due share'
from the shamlat (common land) of Cheema village in Barnala tehsil
for Dalits and ban on the construction of a place of worship on the
shamlat for being used by the Dalits the past several years.

Mr Iqbal Singh, district president of the union, alleged that without
taking the Dalits into confidence, the Panchayat of Cheema village
had given the shamlat, to a community for a gaushala where a
religious place was now being built.

The union also wanted the administration to give possession to the
Dalits of over 100 residential plots earmarked for them in the
village two decades ago.

Mr N.S. Walia, ADC, Sangrur, said he had forwarded the representation
of the union to the Barnala SDM for an inquiry into the matter and to
resolve the issue.


Dalit body to hold protest today
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 8
The All-India Confederation of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and
Scheduled Tribes Organisations, Punjab, will organise a march here
tomorrow to protest against the failure of the state government to
implement its accepted demands.

In a press note issued here today, the press secretary of the
confederation, Mr Harbinder Pal, said the state government was
pursuing anti-Dalit policies.

He said the withdrawal of facility of free treatment at government
hospitals and dispensaries and shagun scheme and the hike in fees at
school and college level were examples wherein the state government
had hit the Dalit community hard.


Dalits ostracised for voting against Rajputs
NDTV Correspondent

Thursday, April 8, 2004 (Simla):

For over a year, Dalit families in Dhar Kalana village near Simla
have been treated as outcasts by the upper caste Rajputs because they
voted against the Rajput candidate in the Himachal Assembly elections.

With elections round the corner, these Dalits say that free and fair
polls hold little meaning for them as they fear reprisal if they
don't do as dictated by the upper caste community.

Free ballot?

One such victim, Sarita, and others in her community had paid heavily
for casting their vote in favour of a candidate of their choice in
the assembly polls last year.

They were beaten up, and water supply to their homes and fields
stopped. They are now not even allowed to walk on the village paths
just because they had voted against the wishes of the dominant Rajput

"Three of our crops have gone waste That is our main source of
livelihood. They have uprooted our irrigation pipes. We are incurring
huge losses. They had stopped the supply of our drinking water also,"
lamented Sarita Devi.

No reprieve

The authorities have been of little help to them.

"We went to the government but there is no justice. The government
officials have refused to listen to us," said another villager, Dhani

It has been over a year since the assembly elections, but these
villagers say that the police have not caught any of the culprits who
beat them up.

Officials say that they have ordered an enquiry to find out the
guilty party.

The most sensitive polling station is Dhar Kalana and we will try to
ensure that there is no such incident," said S K B S Negi, Deputy
Commissioner, Shimla.

The Dalits now fear that unless they caste their vote in these Lok
Sabha elections as dictated by the Rajputs, they will be ostracised

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