Annoyed with Ms Mayawati's style of functioning, and impressed with the policies and leadership of the Apna Dal, three Bahujan Samaj Party leaders including a former minister, a former MLA, and a party office-bearer said good-bye to the party of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram and joined Dr Sone Lal Patel and Atique Ahmad here on Wednesday.
At a Press conference, convened by Atique ahmed, State president of the Apna Dal, former minister Heeramani Patel, former MLA Rajbali Jaisal and Purshottam Nishad expressed faith in the leadership of Dr Sone Lal Patel and Mr Atique Ahmad. They said that Mr Kanshi Ram had closed his eyes in the matters of Uttar Pradesh. According to them the devoted followers of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar are finding it difficult to stay in the party under the leadership of Ms Mayawati.
Mr Atique Ahmad, who represents Allahabad City West Assembly constituency termed the recent statements by the Prime Minister, Home Minister, and the Defence Minister regarding teaching Pakistan a lesson, as a political move with an eye on UP elections. He insisted that such petty politics was not in the interest of the country.
He also said that no party barring the Apna Dal is gaining seats or vote percentage. He continued that the Apna Dal was the only party which had been marching forward by utilising each day and every minute.
Projecting the Apna Dal as a movement, Mr Ahmad said that they had been fighting for 90 per cent participation in every field by the Dalits, Backwards, Kayasthas and Vaishyas. Commenting on the promise and assurance campaign launched by the Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, the Apna Dal state chief said that it would boomerang as the Chief Minister would not be able to do what he promised.
The BJP was also trying to play the communal card once again, but in the absence of mass support this time, the party leaders were quite worried. He quoted a reported statement of Mr Advani in which he had supported Hindu fanaticism by terming it as cultural nationalism. Though the Apna Dal has to strengthen its organisation in western parts of the State, it would contest all the Assembly seats on its own without going for a pre-poll alliance, Mr Ahmed said and predicted that no party would be able to form a Government singly in UP.
Dalit family on fast over land dispute www.timesofindia.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=1683962443 TIMES NEWS NETWORK
HMEDABAD: Life turned into a nightmare for Suresh Mangalbhai Valmiki of Kotha village in Gandhinagar district after he ignored a notice slapped on him on September 17 by the village talati asking him to pull down his house or face action.
Suresh decided to stick on with his extended family of nine, including a wife and two small kids, till they faced ostracism. On October 4, the family fled to Gandhinagar town and is on a protest fast demanding justice against the atrocities allegedly meted out on them by the higher castes dominating the village.
"First they stopped all rations, then the milk supply and then threatened to burn me alive inside my house," he told TNN on Tuesday from the canopy where the family is parked since 19 days. Suresh's only bane is that he was born a Dalit. His is the only Dalit family in the 5,000-strong village comprising Patels, Prajapatis and Darbars in Kotha which occupies some four units in the village. He claims they have been restricted entry into the village except for sweeping.
The Valmikis lodged a complaint on Tuesday at the office of the Superintendent of Police Gandhinagar district accusing six persons including the village administrators of having assaulted them and abused them on the basis of their caste.
Those named in the complaint are administrator of Kotha gram panchayat Manharbhai Gordhanbhai Patel, talati-cum-secretary of Kotha village Kevalbhai Prajapati, former sarpanch Jivanbhai Girdharbhai Patel, gram panchayat clerk Pravinbhai Mohanbhai Prajapati, Bhikhabhai Karsanbhai Patel and Ramabhai Varvabhai Prajapati.
The fight is not just over the house, but over a 47x49 feet plot of land adjacent to where the Valmikis stay. "We have inherited this land from our ancestors and use it for our community functions because they don't let us into the village," says Amrutbhai Mangalbhai Valmiki. Suresh's wife Usha, breaks down when narrating the way in which her husband was beaten "till he almost went insane". Taraben Babubhai Valmiki is a widow who joined the exodus while her daughter was still taking exams. They claim to have met the chief minister, minister for social justice Fakir Vaghela and several other government functionaries.
"We have the tax receipts with us which prove our rights on the property, how can they throw us out?," questions Suresh. Volunteers from the Ahmedabad-based Navsarjan Trust who are stationed in the area second these testimonies. "We went first to the Nardipur police station and then to the Kalol taluka police station but got no response," he says. "They threaten to break down the houses that we helped build in the same site after the earthquake damaged them," says Prahlad Parmar from Navsarjan.
According to him, the village functionaries lodged false criminal cases against them. When contacted, the talati Kevalbhai Prajapati told TNN that the land belonged to the panchayat. "They have encroached upon it and so we issued the notice," he said. He denied that the Valmikis had been ostracised from the village. "The land matter is under appeal in the Mehsana court," said Prajapati, adding that Suresh was doing this 'stunt' only to escape from the criminal investigation.
The villagers have made a 10-point representation before Gandhinagar district collector S J Haider demanding a livelihood, police protection, withdrawal of police cases against them, among others. "I have already directed a team of the mamlatdar, a police inspector and the taluka development officer to visit the village on Thursday and submit a report within 48 hours," Haider told TNN.
Dalits plan big rally, VHP wants it banned
ALARM BELLS are ringing in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) over a massive rally of Dalits in Delhi next month where lakhs of people are to be converted to Buddhism. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders suspect a Christian design behind the event and have demanded that the government ban the gathering as a "conspiracy" is on to lure away these people to embrace Christianity.
VHP senior vice president Acharya Giriraj Kishore also asked the government today to order an inquiry into the conduct of a senior income tax official, Ram Raj, who is playing the main role in organising the conversion rally at the Ram Lila grounds on November 4.
He charged that the official was in league with several Christian organisations, which planned to present the Dalits with an option to embrace their religion at the rally.
The VHP leader even distributed literature from the web sites of such organisations to journalists stating that this was a major opportunity to "influence" the gathering and, through them, the larger Dalit population of 300 million in the country.
The web sites belonged to organisations like 'Bibles for the World', 'Christian Broadcasting Network' and 'Gospel for Asia'.
Acharya Giriraj said such activity would lead to widespread communal tension and disturbances in the county and warned the Christian missionary organisations to desist from any such attempts.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad would write to the police asking them to refuse permission for the rally.
It would also write to Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha urging him to order an investigation into the activities of income tax deputy commissioner Ram Raj who, according to Acharya Giriraj, had been on leave from the job for the past four years.
UBLI: Two dalit girls are undergoing treatment at the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Hubli, after allegedly being raped by two youths, who have been remanded to judicial custody.
The accused are Mutanna Phakiraiah Iligera and Suleiman Babasab Nadaf, both 18 years of age.
The incident occurred on Thursday night, when the two girls went to the fields to relieve themselves.
Both the victims and the accused are residents of Hiremullalli village in Savanur taluka. It is said that Mutanna and Suleiman, who were waiting in the fields, dragged the two girls and raped them.
The Savanur police have registered a case and further investigation is on.
Asoka flayed by historians in Orissa
Shahrukh Khan's film Asoka, which was released today, has elicited sharp reactions in Orissa. "Who has given Shahrukh Khan the license to distort history?" asks noted historian Manmath Nath Das while calling for a ban on its screening. Das, a member of the Rajya Sabha and a former vice chancellor of Utkal University, has authored a two-volume historical document on Emperor Asoka.
Calling the film an affront to Orissa's history and culture, Das castigated the filmmakers for portraying an imaginary character known as king Suratha as the King of Kalinga. Das said when Asoka invaded there was no King of Kalinga.
"I hold the Union Government responsible for causing harm to India's national honour, for the Asokachakra is our national emblem and it has allowed the depiction of Asoka is such poor light," the historian said
Animal sacrifice rampant in Orissa
Thousands of animals were sacrificed at various places in Orissa to propitiate gods and goddesses during Durga Puja this week. Despite strong opposition from animal rights organisations and efforts by the administration, the practice is rampant in several towns and villages. On Mahashtami day, at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district, thousands of goats were sacrificed on the occasion of 'chhatar yatra' of Goddess Manikeswari. Devotees brought these animals for slaughter for fulfilment of their wishes.
Around one lakh people visited the Manikeswari temple on the occasion. In Satbhaya in coastal Kendrapara district, over 100 animals were sacrificed at Panchubarahi temple the same day.
According to villagers, mass sacrifice is conducted twice every year, during Durga Puja and 'Chaitra Purnima'. The practice gained popularity at Satbhaya village which is threatened by an advancing sea, which has gobbled up large acres of land in the area. Thus villagers take recourse to animal sacrifice to appease the deity to escape nature's wrath.
"None can force us to abandon this practice as it is being done as per desires of Goddess Panchubarahi," a villager said. The practice began in the village in the 18th century when the zamindar of Kanika installed the idol there. About 1,000 goats were slaughtered at Sirlo in Cuttack district on Mahashtami day in the presence of a large crowd.
Animal sacrifice is widely practised during Dussehra in tribal areas and selected places in western Orissa. But the practice was stopped in Kandhamal district after intervention from authorities. Sacrifice was stopped at the Cuttack Chandi temple after campaign by former CM Harekrishna Mahtab.
Govt urged to bring fishermen under ST
National Association of Fishermen (NAF) has urged the Union Government to pass a Bill in Parliament to bring the various groups of fishermen under Scheduled Tribes.
The State Government has unanimously resolved and recommended that 52 groups of fishermen's community in Karnataka be reserved under ST category, three years back. The Union Government should also take it up seriously, the NAF said.
Submitting a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissioner, NAF executive chairman and MLA U R Sabhapathi, working chairman Rama M Mogera, DK district president Bharat Kumar and others, said that mechanised fishing boats were exempt from State Commercial tax on diesel. But an exemption of Central excise on diesel has not been addressed by the Centre, they said.
The NAF has also appealed to the Union Government to increase the quota of kerosene oil to the country boat owners from 200 litres to 400 litres. The Food and Civil Supplies Minister may be given direction in this regard. The NAF leaders also wanted an immediate technology upgradation to switch over from diesel to CNG gas, as diesel costs were becoming prohibitive for mechanised boats. They also wanted amendments to the Coastal Regulation Zone notification rules which resulted in fishermen being harassed.
Besides, the NAF wanted a separate cabinet-level ministry to be formed exclusively for fisheries and urged teh government to fix a minimum selling price for fishes.
Co-op society members urged to work hard
Youth Services and Sports Minister SS Mallikarjun opined here recently that it is easy to start a co-operative society but difficult to sustain it. In this regard, he called upon all the members to work hard to develop the society. He was speaking at the Hirekalmath community hall after inaugurating the
Devaraj Urs Backward Community Co-operative Association. He announced that the Davangere district would soon have a DCC Bank.
Sri Odyar Chandrashekhara Shivacharya Swamiji of Kanakaguru Peeta Kaginele also spoke on the occasion. Local MLA DG Shanthanagoud, Harihar MLA Y Nagappa, MP G Mallikarjunappa, MLC Shanthaveerappa Goud K Mallappa, ZP Stayi Samiti President G Dyamappa were present.
Chief Promoter H Basappa presided over the function. Earlier, the minister also inaugurated a business complex at the bus stand and laid the foundation-stone for a market.
A godman and a political storm
The Ekta Parishad, an organisation that upholds the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan, organises a month-long padayatra in some districts of Bihar to mobilise support for the cause of the landless and deprived people.
Kerala's Adivasi Dalit Action Council ends its struggle over land and livelihood issues following an agreement with the State government.
Villagers go hi-tech with Internet kiosks
Hyderabad, Oct. 28: They may not have gone to school and may be toiling their guts away in abject poverty but the spirit to learn has seen these poor Dalit and tribal women emerge as a major economic force in the countryside. They will now embark on an IT journey by manning specially-designed Internet kiosks.
After creating a world record in thrift, women's self-help groups are all set to change the face of rural Andhra by utilising information and communication technology. The kiosks will be utilised to reduce poverty and foster economic dependence among rural women.
The ICT project - a first of its kind in the country - will be taken up on a pilot basis in 50 villages covering the districts of Srikakulam, Adilabad, Anantapur, Chittoor, Mahbubnagar and Vizianagaram. It will be extended gradually to far-flung rural areas all over the State.
Each kiosk will be maintained by a village organisation consisting of 10 to 15 women self-help groups. The State-run Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty will provide the necessary support including development of software and training and loan assistance from banks to SHG members.
Chief Executive Officer of SERP K Raju told Deccan Chronicle that the kiosks would not only provide communication access in inaccessible areas but also serve as poverty alleviation agencies for those living below the poverty line in rural areas. The project would be ready within a month.
A notable feature is the development of software in Telugu. The SHG women will have access to the latest news, remunerative government prices for farm products, day-to-day prices of vegetables and fruits, mandal and village information and details about various government services.
According to Raju, the key aspect of this programme is provision of communication, education, e-governance and entertainment and improvement in the economic condition of the poor.
The programme also involves e-mail, chat, voice mail, voice chat, VoIP, focus on English and mathematics through Telugu, availability of important forms online, an online grievance system with the local administration, improving agricultural outputs and reducing input costs and other crucial information.
The investment in equipment is around Rs 40,000. The revenue stream for the kiosk is Internet usage, telephony - local and STD, movies on VCD. Even at the very basic levels, the break even for the kiosk is one year.
Naidu told to focus on abolition of untouchability
Hyderabad, Oct. 28: The CPI-M requested the State government on Sunday to evolve a comprehensive programme to abolish untouchability from society. In a letter to the Chief Minister, CPI-M Secretary, B V Raghavulu asked the government to focus on untouchability alone and not add other social evils like superstitions, child marriages, child labour to the programme, as it would hamper the successful implementation of the programme.
Raghavulu, in his letter doubted the intentions of the government as it did not publicise the Punnaiah Commission Report.
He also criticised that the government accepted the suggestions of the report without any discussions. It said that report contains many loopholes and they have to be discussed threadbare.
Going by the statement of the Chief Minister while participating in video conference, it was very clear that the government was paying only lip service to the social evil, he said. The State government had allocated just three days for abolition of untouchability and that too in three villages, he said. Raghavulu said the government piggybacked other social evils which sidelined the campaign against untouchability.
The CPI-M criticised the government that the scheme in its present form was aimed at diverting the attention of public from the "stubborn attitude" of government with respect to the RTC employees' "just" demands. It also criticised the government for involving police personnel in the campaign for abolition of untouchability.
Landless woman stripped, beaten up
Bhubaneswar, Oct 28: The stripping of a landless married woman and the silence of police in the matter have rocked Mayurbhanj district of Orissa.
According to reports, on October 9, a gang of three men and four women dragged the victim out of her house, in Kadipada police station limits, stripped her and beat her severely.
They also pierced needles into her body. The incident took place in front of a school which had all the teachers and students of the school witnessing the act.
In a petition submitted to Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, the victim said her husband and children, who tried to rescue her, were also beaten. The victim said that one of the culprits even took nude photographs of her.
The woman, who rushed to the nearest police station in Kadipada, however found nobody to hear her case. It was left to the Udala police station authorities to come to her rescue.
The victim, in her complaint to the Chief Minister said she, along with her family, had now been admitted in hospital. The accused persons, whom she alleged were highly influential, even threatened the truck driver who took them to the hospital.
"Our house was burnt down. Me and my children are helpless. All the accused are influential in the village. The police do not pay heed to us. I had no option left but to plead you," said in the letter, and asked for immediate action against the culprits and the police officials.
She said she was subjected to the cruelty because she had earlier filed an FIR against the accused in relation to an earlier dispute.
Caste compulsions forced change?
By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, OCT. 28.It now seems `almost' certain that Mr. Bhagat Singh Koshiari, Uttaranchal Minister for Power, will be the new Chief Minister of the State after Mr. Nityanand Swami, the present incumbent, resigns. The State legislature party of the BJP is expected to meet in Dehra Dun on Tuesday to formally elect a new leader.
Party sources here said Mr. Koshiari is `almost certain' to become the new Chief Minister, although the final decision will be taken in Dehra Dun after consulting party MLAs. Mr. Kushabhau Thakre, former party president now in-charge of Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, has left for Dehra Dun and will be the party observer for the election of the new leader.
The caste compulsions of the State also forced the BJP to change the Chief Minister. It was felt that the State leadership was totally in the hands of Brahmins - besides Mr. Swami, the State unit president and the Speaker of the Assembly were also Brahmins - although Rajputs constituted a significant percentage of the population.
Till two days ago it seemed almost certain that Mr. Bachi Singh Rawat, Minister of State for Science and Technology, would emerge as the winner. He is also a Rajput and was reported to have the strong backing of Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Human Resource Development Minister, but apparently the outgoing Chief Minister, Mr. Swami, strongly insisted that the new man must be selected from amongst the MLAs.
Among the prominent candidates for the top job in the State were two Union Ministers of State, Major General (retd.) B.C.Khanduri and Mr. Rawat, the Uttaranchal State Power Minister, Mr. Koshiari, and the Rajya Sabha MP, Mr. Manohar Kant Dhyani.
Fresh lease of life for Dalit women
Monday, October 29, 2001 (Nizamabad):
Becoming a demure bride was something Lakshmi had thought would happen only in her dreams. When she was three, Lakshmi was made into a jogin by a symbolic marriage to God, which meant she could be exploited sexually all her life. Today, that has changed. "I never thought anyone will come forward. He came, so I am getting married,'' observed Lakshmi.
Lakshmi like many others had been condemned to live the life of a jogin, who by social custom is a village asset and is not allowed to marry. The children of a jogin never have the father's name.
Jogin women have the social sanction to beget children. According to the Indian Evidence Act, children are legitimately fathered only by a man to whom the mother is wedded or the two should be known to have been publicly living together.
Three other couples like Balamma and Raju, who have been living together and have children, have taken the brave step to legalise their relationship. "The exercise that was undertaken today is an attempt to change the mindset of the people, especially the women themselves that they can marry,'' explained Ashok Kumar, Collector, Nizamabad district.
Though the administration has taken over the role of a parent in solemnizing the marriages, they have an arduous rehabilitation task ahead with as many as 5,000 jogins reported in Nizamabad district alone.
Include Jats among OBCs: Paswan
Union Minister for Coal and Mines and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan has advocated inclusion of Jats in the category of other backward classes (OBCs). This would extend the benefit of reservations in Government jobs to the Jat community as per the recommendations of the Mandal Commission.
Addressing a massive rally organised by the Haryana LJP president Capt. Shamsher Singh Malik at the local Jat college ground on Sunday, Paswan said that Jats were educationally backward and engaged in farming. Therefore, they deserved to be included in the list of OBCs in all the States, including Haryana, on the same pattern as had been done in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Paswan pointed out that he had favoured inclusion of Jats in the OBC category when Mandal Commission report was discussed in the Cabinet at the time of its implementation during the V. P. Singh regime. The LJP president also demanded enactment of a law for clearing the backlog of posts reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in various Government departments at the Centre and in all the States.
There should be provision of punitive action against the States which did not fill all the backlog vacancies reserved for SC and ST candidates, he emphasized. Calling upon farmers and labourers to unite, Paswan said the two sections could get their demands fulfilled only when they got united.
A resolution demanding inclusion of the right to employment, right to education and right to health in the category of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and participation of poor and weaker sections of society in governance was passed at the rally attended by thousands of enthusiastic LJP supporters.
Paswan complimented State Shamsher Singh Malik for organising massive rally within a few months of his appointment as Haryana LJP president. Addressing the rally, Shamsher Singh demanded completion of Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, regular supply of power and water, withdrawal of certain taxes, acquisition of land at prevailing market price and compensation for poor whose houses were demolished in the anti-encroachment drive.
The rally was also addressed by LJP vice president Ramvir Vidhuri, general secretary Lalit Gautam. and State LJP general secretary.
The police on Friday provided a security guard to a prominent orthopaedics specialist of the city following the receipt of anonymous extortion calls demanding Rs 12 lakh from him.
According to sources, Dr Ishwar Singh a prominent orthopaedic surgeon, received a letter at his DLF Colony residence. The unknown sender of the extortion letter also threatened to kill the doctor in case the matter was brought to the notice of the police. Later, the doctor also received an anonymous telephone call asking him to make the payment or face the consequences.
The doctor informed Rohtak SSP A.S. Ahlawat about the threatening extortion calls and sought police protection.
Nawanshahr, October 28
Mr Kanshi Ram chided Sainis by branding them as "habitual betrayers" stating that they had betrayed their own Guru.
"I have no trust on them and no hope from them. The BSP can form a government in Punjab without them", he said.
The BSP supremo, holding the arm of Mr Gurmail Singh Saini, who was standing on the stage during the address, held him responsible for ignorance among Sainis about Mahatama Jyotiba Phule. He said with a view to forming a Dalit-friendly government in Punjab, he was favourably disposed towards the Panthic Morcha.
Though due to the struggle of the BSP the Centre had implemented the Mandal Commission report yet in Punjab neither the Congress nor SAD had implemented it.
He said if Jats of Punjab wanted to avail the facility of reservation on the pattern of Rajasthan, they should join hands with the BSP.
He said the BSP would contest all Assembly seats in Punjab.
Tallest Buddha peace pagoda built
Construction of the tallest peace pagoda in the world, the 41.5-metre Lumbini Peace Pagoda in western Nepal, has been completed at the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
One of the 73 peace pagodas built by Japanese Buddhist association Nipponzan Myohoji, the Lumbini Peace Pagoda, with a diameter of 59 metres, took seven years to complete using special marble brought from Rajasthan and 900 metric tonnes of cement and 411 metric tonnes of steel.
The pagoda has four gold-plated bronze statues of Lord Buddha on four sides depicting his four stages of life: birth, enlightenment, first sermon and Nirvana.
Former Prime Minister of Nepal Girija Prasad Koirala will inaugurate the peace pagoda on November 3, at a special function to be attended by several hundred monks from around the world including India, Japan, Thailand, Myanmar and the US.
A world peace march is underway and is expected to reach Lumbini on November 1, covering a distance of 440 km, to participate in the opening ceremony of the peace pagoda.
The march started from Akchheswor Mahavihar in Patan, six kilometres east of Kathmandu, on October 8 and reached western Nepal town Tansen on Saturday via Pokhara.
Nipponzan Myohoji was founded by Japanese monk Nichidatsu Fuji Guruji, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.
Guruji, who witnessed the devastation caused by atom bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, turned to the teachings of Buddha and decided to construct peace pagodas in Japan and other parts of the world. (PTI)
The BSP today accused the police of killing its worker and former gram pradhan Rifakat in a fake encounter in Kharkhauda area of the district. An FIR has been lodged against the erring cops while the police also have registered a counter FIR against the killed BSP worker. The BSP leaders and workers however had declared to stage a protest against the killing of Rifakat in broad daylight.
Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the killing. The police have allegedly begun working to declare Rifakat a hardcore criminal wanted in several cases.
"We are working on every aspect of the matter and a magisterial inquiry has been ordered by the ADM (E),"said SSP Daljeet Choudhary who initially tried to sidetrack the matter saying the incident was of local level not to be covered by the national media.
"The brother of Rifakat has given an application against the cops involved in the incident'', confirmed the SSP adding that the body is being sent for the post-mortem. He also that the deceased was wanted in many cases.
The fuming BSP leaders have threatened to launch a movement if justice is denied to them. They have decided to expose the brutal face of the police. They alleged that the police officers were working on the direction of BJP leaders.
According to district BSP president Mukand Ali, Rifakat was on the way to attend a party convention in Kharkhauda area when he was nabbed by a joint police team. An altercation ensued, and a bullet fired by a policeman hit Rifakat's leg. Then the police took him away in a jeep. He cried for help when the jeep passed the venue of the party's convention.