By A.V. Ragunathan
SALEM May 1. Six persons suffered bleeding injuries and property was damaged in attacks on Dalits at Chukkampatti near here last night. Some of the articles were taken away and thrown into a farm well, it is said.
The police have secured 24 persons. A strong posse of police, including a contingent of women police, has been deployed in the village.
All along, the people of the village had been living in amity. But the peace was marred over collection of money for an ongoing temple festival.
According to Sakunthala, a widow, a gang armed with pipes and stones attacked her house. Spitting vengeance, it started breaking television sets, electrical fittings, utensils, steel cots and almirahs. Another group climbed the roof and broke almost all tiles. What was left now was a wooden frame.
Chellammal, wife of Palanisamy, said only recently did the family complete the terraced house by raising loans. It became a target, because the attackers could not tolerate a Dalit family living in a pucca house. Even her cow and two calves were mercilessly beaten up. Mrs. Chellammal's house on the main road was also ransacked and all vessels beaten out of shape. Other huts and banana trees were also pulled down, and at least six more houses attacked.
The village leader, S.A. Arunachalam, said this was the first time such an incident occurred at Chukkampatti . For the past three years, the local Mariamman temple festival had not been conducted for paucity of funds. Hitherto, the festival was organised with funds, acquired through lease of a 14-acre temple land. However, as none came forward to take the land on lease for the past couple of years, the temple lost its revenue. Still, the people decided to celebrate the festival this year by collecting funds. But the organising committee did not cherish the idea of accepting money from the Dalits, who wanted to contribute.
Following a verbal duel, the Dalits attacked two intermediate caste youths. In retaliation, a 150-strong group swooped down on the Dalit habitations.
By Roy Mathew
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM MAY 1. The encroachments at Mathikettan mark the undermining of the one of the major initiatives of the UDF Government by the political class and the bureaucrats.
Quick implementation of a masterplan for tribals was one of the commitments made by the Antony Government. Through his pronouncements, the Chief Minister had made it a prestigious project of his Government.
As it stands now, Mr. Antony has been forced to go slow on the masterplan. Moreover, the future of the plan itself would become uncertain unless Mr. Antony is able to address the issues thrown up by Mathikettan.
In this regard, Mr. Antony had taken an unequivocal stand that all the encroachers would be evicted. However, latest signs are that his officials and he himself would be giving in to political pressures. It may be a little surprise that bureaucrats gave advice and later recommendations that would ruin the project despite the resolve shown by Mr. Antony. Decisions to allocate forestlands were taken disregarding the warnings of Forest Department. The risks of allocating land, especially forestland to tribals, without addressing the issues of alienation was well-known. But the Government seemed to be in a hurry and vested interests cashed in on it.
When it came to identifying the land, District Collectors identified lands disregarding need for conservation of the forests and laws governing forests. As if there was a conspiracy, encroachments by outsiders began as soon as the Government took decisions on allocation of the land. Idukki was not an isolated case. Attempts to encroach land were made at other places earmarked for allotments to the tribals also such as Pooyamkutty and Peechi. In Idukki, the Collector allegedly connived with the encroachers. It was the first time that a Collector got involved in such an issue in Kerala.
And he had the political support he needed.
At the same time, the Tribal Resettlement and Development Mission started charting out typical and grandiose development schemes for the tribals. The forests were actually to be turned into villages with construction of roads, water supply and irrigation schemes, soil conservation works and the like. Huge investments were proposed this way, though history had shown that such schemes never benefited the tribals. Now, the Tribal Development Department has been forced to apply breaks on the mission.
All this had happened when the Government could have the choice of other lands.
There are Government lands in possession of plantations in Idukki district which could be resumed. There are also at least 6,000 hectares of forests encroached after 1977. The Government is legally required to evict the squatters there.
The term of several Government lease agreements entered into in the past had expired and the Government could have taken over these lands. Some cardamom leases had been converted. As per cardamom rules, the Government is empowered to resume ownership and control over those lands. If these lands were taken over by the Government, at least part of them, which do not have any forest cover, would have been suitable for allocation to the tribals.
Besides, a few Government corporations had lands, which were suitable for allocation to tribals. Actually, only the forest dwelling tribals, who constituted only 23 per cent of the total tribal population, needed to be allocated land within the forests. However, the Government seemed to forget all that
SANGH PARIVAR AND BJP ARE ANTI MUSLIM, ANTI DALIT, ANTI POOR, ANTI CONSTITUTION, ANTI NATION AND WE VOW TO FIGHT TILL THEY ARE OVERTHROWN.
INEFFECTIVE OPPOSITION PARTIES, LEADERLESS MUSLIM SOCIETY AND BETRAYAL BY BSP HAVE COMPELLED US TO GO FOR POLITICS
New Delhi, April 2, 2002
Save India Front (SIF) declared war against communalism in today's mammoth rally at Ramlila Ground, New Delhi. The Dalits and Muslims participated overwhelmingly in addition to people from all walks of life. The magnitude of participation has established beyond all doubt that now common people of the country have got new hope from the S.I.F. to save country from the clutches of Hindutva forces.
Maulana Asad Madani, President of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, said that the Sangh Pariwar is continuously spreading slander against Madarasas without evidence whereas the Institutions and schools run by them like Shishu Mandir are the bases of spreading slander against Dalits, Muslims and backwards. Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind was a political outfit before independence but subsequently it became a social-cultural organisation. It will still be non political but the way the things are moving, wehave to think of political power. State power has become extremely necessary to cater to the interest of Muslims in particular and to strengthen the cause of nation.
The convenor of the S.I.F. Udit Raj (Ram Raj) - Chairman of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations said that Gujarat incidents apparently look like conflict between Hinduism and Islam but it is nothing more than a game of power. If today's hatred, violence, and abhorrence against Muslims in Gujarat is due to religion then why Dalits and backwards have been subject of same or more discrimination for centuries despite being Hindus. After independence, Christian Missionary Schools and Institutions were well respected but when Sonia Gandhi took over the command of the dying Congress, the Sangh Pariwar started attacking Christians so that Sonia Gandhi, being President of the main opposition party, would react and the BJP get an opportunity to brand her as an Italian Christian. The Hindutva forces are against common people and that is why they are privatising and selling Govt. assets in the hands of multinational companies so that job opportunities for common people and reservation for Dalits are finished. They are against modernization, freedom, quest and dignity of individual. The present constitution is in danger. The behaviour of the higher judiciary is in tune with Hindutva forces and hence representation of Dalits, Muslims and backwards in this institution only can give justice to them. Mr. Udit Raj further appealed to Muslims and Christians not to enter into any dialogue with RSS as a representative of Hindu community because supporters of Laloo Yadav, Mulayam Singh and SC/ST Confederation and like forces had not delegated jurisdiction to them to articulate anything on their behalf. They are representing a microscopic number of people. The BSP is silent on all life and death issues concerning Dalits like reservation, constitution and privatisation. It has betrayed the cause of Dalits and now entered into an alliance with Hindutva forces which are against minorities and humanity.
Mr. Udit Raj said that we never thought of politics because other dalit leaders were there to take care of the interests of dalits. But betrayal by BSP and unreliability by Ram Vilas Paswan have compelled us to think and finally help in creating political platform which can protect the interest of dalits in particular and rest of the society.
The convenor of SIF Maulana Mahmood Madani- General Secretary of Jamiat-Ulama-E-Hind said that whatever happened and is happening in Gujarat and elsewhere are not only the concern of Muslims but of every civilized citizen of this country. Jamiat-Ulama-E-Hind had fought against divisive forces before independence and vows to fight in future also. For political gains, Sangh Pariwar and Narender Modi's Govt. in Gujarat are murdering, raping, destroying property and terrorising Muslims. They are trying to send the message across that Muslims are outsiders but at least they were here before Aryans, and got converted into Islam just to escape from the tyranny of caste system. Even Political parties in opposition are not effective to fight communalism because they are afraid of losing Hindu votes.
The Rashtriya Pracharak of Lord Buddha Club Bhante Buddha Priya Rahul said that Dalits and Buddhists should realise that only Sangh Pariwar created hindrances when about a million Dalits were going to assemble at Ramlila Maidan on November 4, 2001 for conversion to Buddhism. Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan resigned after two months of barbaric onslaughts on Muslims in Gujarat. If he was sincere, he would have resigned at the outset itself. Since BSP has joined BJP, therefore, the likelihood of his ouster was the only consideration for resignation and not the interest of minorities and the country.
Mr. Sam Paul, leader of All India Christian Council, said that Hindutva forces are against choice and freedom of religion which is contrary to the constitution. Every body must have the right to choose his own faith. The NDA allies like T.D.P., J.D.(U), T.M.C. etc. are not different from BJP. On the one hand they are asking for resignation of Modi and on the other hand they are supporting Vajpayee Govt. in the house; they should stop befooling the people of the country. The following resolutions were moved and passed unanimously at the rally :
1. Stop killing, murder, rape, house burning, and destruction of property of Muslims and Dalits in Gujarat. The riot victims must be adequately compensated and resettled immediately. Mr. Narender Modi should be removed with immediate effect and be tried under criminal proceedings. National Human Right Commission, National Commission for Minorities, European Union and Intellectuals of this country have given clear findings that the Gujarat Government machinery under the leadership of Mr. Narender Modi is mainly responsible for ghastly, barbaric and inhuman acts.
2. The Indian Constitution created by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar shall not be changed and any sinister move by Sangh Pariwar to do so will be rebuffed and opposed. The rights of Dalits enshrined in the constitution like reservation, education and employment must be implemented in letter and spirit. The Anti Reservation orders issued by the Deptt. of Personnel and Training should be withdrawn and Reservation Act enacted and put in the 9th schedule of the Constitution so that judicial interference is stopped.
3. Indian Constitution guaranteed rights to minorities to maintain their own culture, language and religion but Sangh Parivar and BJP are maligning Madarasas that they are harbouring undesired elements without any clinching evidence, even the Home Minister has endorsed this view in the House. Indian state does not have enough educational infrastructure to educate the poor, Muslims and Dalits and if in such a situation, Madarasas are educating Muslims, what is the harm ? Yes, one harm is there as per Hindutva forces that they are imparting education, ethics, culture to the Muslims and without them it would not have been possible to educate them. Who does not know the contribution of Darul Ulema, Deoband which produced fleet of freedom fighters.
4. The Hindutva propaganda has created confusion that the Muslims are pampered at the cost of Hindus just to create hatred against them. At the time of independence, their participation in administration was about 35% which has now come down to less than 2%. According to Census, the Muslim population in the country is 12% but their participation in Parliament, Assemblies, Panchayats, education, Army, Police and other important fields is about 1%. Hence the rally demands the participation of Muslims in every field according to population ratio.
5. Dalits have been discriminated in this country for about 3000 years and if they have to be brought into the mainstream of the country, reservation in Private Sector, Higher Judiciary and Army is to be extended to them. The BJP Government is in a hurry to privatize Govt Deptts. & Public Sector Undertakings just to finish reservation and sell out the economy of the country.
6. The rally resolved that RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and other like forces should be immediately banned. It is RSS outfit only which killed Gandhiji, destroyed Babri Mosque and is hatching conspiracy against Dalits, Christians, Muslims, Educationalists, Journalists and all those who believe in reason and justice. Several commissions have indicted RSS for creating communal outbreak and hatred in almost all incidents. They are openly distributing spears, knives and other weapons. They are the source of terrorism and hence they should be banned.
7. The rally resolved that victims of riots should be immediately compensated and rehabilitated. The officers responsible for riots should be exclusively tried under criminal proceedings. The Save India Front appeals to the Congress particularly that wherever they are in power, special law may enacted to give a speedy relief to riot victims. In the given situation, the Army and Police have been communalised and therefore, recruitment of Dalits and Muslims in the forces has become extremely necessary to curb the riots. The POTA is like blind law which can be misused against Poor, Minorities and Dalits and therefore, it must be done away with. The experience of TADA is very horrifying and mostly poor were the victims.
The Save India Front vows that it will continue its struggle till divisive and communal forces are overthrown. It will plan rallies like today in all capitals of all the states and subsequently Districts and Town levels.
TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ THURSDAY, MAY 02, 2002 10:45:37 PM ]
NEW DELHI: Nearly 50,000 people, mostly Muslims and Dalits, gathered in Ramlila ground on Thursday, under the aegis of the ‘Save India Front’ to protest against what they said was the communal politics of the BJP and Sangh Parivar in Gujarat. Terming the BJP ‘‘anti-Muslim, anti-Dalit, anti- poor and anti-Constitution’’, the meeting took a vow to fight against divisive forces. A large number of the demonstrators had come from Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing the gathering, the former BSP leader Arif Mohammad Khan said, ‘‘What is happening in Gujarat is not a communal riot but violence managed and sponsored by the state.’’ He also stressed that the Godhra incident and subsequent violence in Ahmedabad should not be seen separately. He highlighted the ‘‘doublespeak’’ of senior BJP leaders like Prime Minister Vajpayee and L K Advani. ‘‘Advani first said ISI is behind Godhra and retracted few days later. Similarly, Vajpayee has been speaking in different voices in Gujarat and Goa. They themselves do not know who did it.’’ Khan demanded that Modi should be tried for the killings in Gujarat and blamed leaders in Delhi for allowing the situation to get out of hand.
Udit Raj of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Employees emphasised the need for ‘‘mass action’’ against the ‘‘anti-Dalit and anti-Muslim policy’’ of the BJP and Sangh Parivar. ‘‘Every time the BJP has faced a political challenge, it has played the communal card. When Mandal report was implemented, Advani went on a Rath Yatra. When Sonia Gandhi joined politics, Christians were attacked systematically all over the country.
Lucknow,Thursday, May 02, 2002: BSP leader Mayawati will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the third time tomorrow heading a coalition government amidst indications that six BSP MLAs would also take the oath of office.
Mayawati told a BSP legislature party meeting here today that six party MLAs would be sworn in as ministers Friday, party legislators told waiting media persons after the meeting at the BSP headquarters.
However, she said the ministry would be expanded in three weeks after proving its majority in the assembly, party
Mayawati apprised the members about the circumstances in which the party forged an alliance with the BJP.
She also issued directives to the legislators about their role in the BSP-BJP-led coaltion government and asked them to work for the amelioration of the deprived sections of the society, they added.