Workshop on SC/ST institutions on Nov 4
DH News Service

In order to discuss and draw the attention of the Government and find possible solution in respect of the SC and ST administered institutions established before June 1987, a one-day workshop has been organised on November 4 at BAJSS Women's College here. The workshop is being conducted jointly by the Belgaum Division of Karnataka State Teachers' Union Federation, Belgaum division, of the State unit of Secondary School Teachers' Association, District unit of permanent unaided schools and colleges' and Educational Institutions' Federation, according to the vice-president of Belgaum Division of Karnataka State Teachers' Union Federation.

Gadag MLA D R Patil will inaugurate the workshop. Former Minister Basavaraj Shivanna will inaugurate the membership registration of Union Federation and Teachers' Association. Mr F H Jakkappannavar, the president of State SC/ST Employees' Association and who recently represented the country in a conference on opposing the communal disparities in South Africa, would be felicitated.

Mr Kuberappa, thanking the Government for having responded positively to the efforts of Teachers' Union Federation, expressed his gratitude to Minister for Water Reserouces H K Patil and others in getting grants for SC/ST institutions and also said the Federation will now start the second phase of its agitation to get the grants for the institutions of general body administrations. MLA K B Koliwad, Byadgi MLA Rudrappa Lamani, Belgaum Joint Director of Public Instruction G V Nayak, DDPI H Jayappa, Block Education Officers A M Akki and M D Bellary, unaided schools and colleges' Mahamandali president C H Goudar will also participate. Similar workshops would be held in Gadag, Dharwad, Karwar, Belgaum and Bijapur districts as well, Mr Kuberappa added.

Stop 'provocative' Dalit conversion plan: NCM

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 31: In a curious development, the National Commission of Minorities has voiced its concern over a rally here on Sunday at which Dalits have planned a mass conversion to Buddhism, saying it could provoke communal tension.

And NCM vice-chairman Tarlochan Singh said changing one's religion was not a solution to the problems of any section of society.

Reacting to this, Ram Raj, chairman of the Confederation of SC, ST Organisations (which organised the rally) told The Indian Express that the NCM's business was to protect the interests of minorities and not worry about law and order.

Ram Raj - who discussed the rally with Minister of State for Home I.D.Swami today - also accused the body of playing a ''communal card'' to create differences between the government and Dalits. But, he asserted, Dalits would go ahead with the rally.

Calling the Dalits' move a 'deep-rooted design' that could provide ''Hindu fundamentalists'' a handle to ill-treat minorities, the NCM shot off a letter to Home Minister L.K. Advani asking the government to ensure that ''national security at this perilous juncture is not affected by any community, whether it be in a majority or minority''.

In a bid to explain the NCM's decision, its vice-chairman Tarlochan Singh said the commission was concerned that the "mass display" of Dalits - ''who were also Hindus embracing Buddhism "could provoke the majority community."

"We are all for the minorities. Tomorrow they should not become targets for the majority community which also has its militant sections. Why should organisations like the Bajrang Dal be given an excuse?" he said.

The decision to write to Advani, Singh said, was taken after a two-hour meeting of the NCM yesterday. ''We have a Buddhist member among us, who got in touch with the Dalai Lama. Even the Dalai Lama is against this mass display of Dalits embracing Buddhism," he said.

Incidentally, the NCM's view coincides somewhat with that of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's. Besides demanding that the rally be banned as it would lead to communal disturbances, the VHP has suspected a "Christian conspiracy" behind the Dalits' move.
Child Labour: Exploitation at Sivakasi continues as new ways to evade law devised
Saturday, October 28, 2000 (Bangalore):

The industrial belt of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu has long been known for its exploitation of children as labour in its match and fireworks industry. Although in recent years the administration has cracked down hard on the units, it has now begun to come to light that while children are being pushed out of the factories they simply continue to work out of their homes.

Exactly five years back the NDTV bureau had visited Sivakasi where they were confronted with distressing scenes of children below the age of 14 working openly in fireworks and match units. The children were being openly ferried in buses to the factory to work in these hazardous units. Sixteen-year-old Muthu had to opt out of school after the fifth standard and start working here. He had been working there for six months and was earning Rs. 22 per day. When doubt was expressed as to Muthu's age the owner of the factory responded, "Yes, he is 16 years old. I can prove it with doctor's certificate."

Hundreds of children like Muthu work up to 10 to 15 hours a day for wages as low as Rs. 20 to supplement their family income. A recent study conducted by the district administration sponsored by the International Labour Organization reveals that out of 1,29,000 houses surveyed they found that 6473 children were still working. They also found that around 10,000 children were neither in schools nor at the work place giving rise to the suspicion that these children were now working on contract from the homes.

M Saikumar , District Collector, Virudhunagar said, "We found that the strategy could be now that they don't employ the children as such because legally and you know enforcement wise things have become pretty hard for them so maybe they'll give it on a piece-rate contract give it on a contract to the parent and the parent asks the children or the child to work at home and then the final product is delivered to the factory."

The NDTV bureau came across many children doing piece meal contracts from the house for the factory owners. They met this brother and sister duo, Mahesh and Thangamani who were hard at work to earn Rs. 10 after school hours. According to the girl, Thangamani, "As soon as I return from school I make 144 boxes." Mahesh added, " Only when we work, we get food in our stomach. If we don't work there is no food. Can we eat if we don't work? We cannot."

The industry claims that there is no child labour in the factories but continues in the "D" category units which are not registered under the Factories Act. Mr. G Athipathy, Vice President of the All India Chamber of Match Industries, said, "Recently there was an accident in a "D" class unit where three children died. Only because of that now the government has started enrolling certain "D" class units in Koilpatti areas. However, in Virudhanagar District even today the government has done nothing to bring them under the Factories Act."

Nevertheless, there are signs of hope for these young ones. The central government have opened 80 schools in the district under the National Child Labour Project to rehabilitate working children and bring them back to school.

Mr. M Saikumar, District Collector, Virudhunagar, said, "There are about 4000 odd children who are already going to these schools. We give them good uniforms and books and all these schools are run by the non- governmental organizations (NGOs). They are not run by the government and we give them a stipend of Rs. 100 a month so that it acts as an incentive for the parents not to send them to the factories."

However, in these schools too there were children who said that they were still working after school hours and over weekends to earn some kind of livelihood. One of the students, Mariyappan said, "After I finish school and return home. I start working and I work till 7 to 7
Non-tribal hegemony
Virginius Xaxa, Professor, DSE

Individuals have been identified as tribes because they belong to a group or community which have been enumerated as the Scheduled Tribes in the Indian Constitution. The groups or communities in turn are scheduled as tribes not because they practice a particular religion but because they constitute a particular community distinct from the dominant regional community. They speak their own language and have distinct organisation and way of life. Even when they have been drawn into the larger social structure and have become considerably differentiated among themselves in terms of income, occupation, religion, worldview, etc., they do not cease to be members of the community they belong to, in the same way as the members of the dominant linguistic community do not cease to be a member of that community, howsoever differentiated they may be.

The demand for the Scheduled Tribe status by certain groups and communities has been made from time to time. Such processes had been at work even in the pre-independence period but have been more widespread after 1947. This is due to the fact that the Schedule Caste and Tribe status gives those falling into these categories certain political and administrative concession and advantages. However, Such demand has however invariably made at the level of group or community.

Along with such demand and articulation, there have also been counter movements in the form of petitions, memoranda and protests by tribal groups against move of the Government to schedule certain other groups or communities as the Scheduled Tribes. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order (Amendment) Bill 1996 which sought to include the Koch-Rajbongshis community (treated as the other backward caste so far) to the list of the Scheduled Tribes in relation to the state of Assam may be taken as pointer in this direction.

In the case of Ajit Jogi, however, the tribal issue has been dragged at the individual level. It is not the tribes or tribal organisations that are at the root of it. Rather it is the political parties such as the BJP and some disgruntled elements within the Congress that have been playing the lead role in de-recognition process of the Scheduled Tribe status of Jogi. This is not to say that tribal politicians have no hand whatsoever in this process. Such elements are surely there but the process has been primarily mobilised by the non-tribal political elements from both within the BJP and the Congress. The controversy has little to do with the consolidation of tribal vote behind this or that party, but perpetuating non-tribal hegemony. The issue being contended is whether he really belongs to a tribal community. In the process the genuineness of his ST certificate is being questioned and plea is being taken to initiate criminal proceedings against him.

This is not the first time that Ajit Jogi's status of being a tribal has been challenged. Such challenge has been heard earlier in the court. In fact, the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court (1989) and Jabalpur High Court (2001) had deliberated on the matter and the verdict had been passed in Jogi's favour. Notwithstanding these judgements the National Commission for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entertained the complaint and has given a ruling that Jogi is not a tribal, and hence his election from a tribal constituency should be nullified and criminal case be registered against him for using "false" caste certificate.

At the centre of this legal entanglement and controversy is not Ajit Jogi per se but Ajit Jogi, a tribal, and a leader of tribals. Whether he is a tribal or not, and whether the certificate he holds is genuine or false, surely requires investigation. That he is enjoying the benefits extended to the tribes without being its member is surely to be addressed and if found guilty, the criminal proceedings are to be initiated. But what is important is that the whole episode speaks volume of the attitude and conception that non-tribals have of tribals, whether they are politicians, administrators, academicians or others. They all share a fixed notion about the tribes. Their representation of tribes is that they are backward, illiterate, incompetent, inarticulate and hence far from capable in managing and governing especially the state affairs. The problem with Jogi is that he does not fit into the stereo-type of tribes that the non-tribal politicians have of tribals.

Jogi's fault is that he is young, dynamic, articulate, and seems to have a vision for the new state of Chattisgarh. He has not used his caste certificate for admission into engineering college or selection into IPS/IAS. Of the newly created states of Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, the latter indeed seems to have the most promising future. At the helm of Chhatisgarh's prospect is Jogi, a tribal. It is indeed difficult for non-tribal politicians to reconcile with this image that Jogi has provided for the tribals.

This being the case, the chorus being sung is that Jogi is not a tribal because a tribal cannot do the kind of thing he is doing. He has posed a challenge and threat to non-tribal leadership in Chattisgarh in the recent years. The politicians within the BJP and a section even within the Congress are hence keen on ensuring that he is out from the helm of the affairs so that non-tribal hegemony is restored. Therefore, the Jogi controversy is not about catering to the tribal constituency; the real struggle underlying this is the struggle of the non-tribals for control of governance over Chattisgarh.,%20K atti%20Padma%20Rao%20tells%20Babu
Remove caste suffixes, Katti Padma Rao tells Babu

Vijayawada, Oct. 31: Andhra Pradesh Dalit Maha Sabha founder general secretary Katti Padma Rao demanded that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu delete the suffixes in his name and those of his ministerial colleagues like Naidu, Raju, Reddy and Goud before taking up untouchability campaign in the villages from November 1.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Padma Rao alleged that the State government was not sincere in taking up the recommendations of Punnaiah Commission which made 42 suggestions to eradicate untouchability in the State.

He said the government took up only three aspects out of 42 recommendations and ignored the rest. He said there are many important recommendations in the report like distribution of lands to the landless Dalits, providing free education, allotting house sites and taking stern action against the accused under SC and ST Atrocities Act, 1989.

He said according to the Act, the government should rehabilitate the victims who suffered from the attacks of forward caste landlords. He recalled that the hearing into the Tsundur incident was not over so far and the accused were moving freely. He demanded that the government speed up the hearing and punish the culprits in the case.

Referring to land distribution, the Dalit leader said the government distributed 12.84 lakh acre since 1979 to the landless poor and the Dalits did get below 3 lakh acre.

He urged the government to distribute the 3.65 lakh acre endowment land to the Dalits and evolve a plan to distribute one crore acre waste lands in the State to the Dalits. He alleged that Naidu hatched a plan to divert the main issue by taking up the untouchability programme. He stressed that the government should implement the other recommendations before the programme commencement.

On education, he said the government was closing social welfare hostels when it should rejuvenate them and provide free education to the Dalit students. He said there is no Dalit producer in the films and the Dalits should be promoted culturally by providing special theatres for them.

He said untouchability could be eradicated through enriching the Dalits by economical, cultural and educational means. Stating that there was no university in the name of a Dalit, he demanded that the government christen one of the existing universities after Gurram Jashua in the State or change the name of Guntur district into Jashua district.

Padma Rao said Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments implemented several Acts to eradicate caste discrimination and asked Naidu to bring an Act to punish the sarpanch if the two-glass system prevailed in any village.

He suggested that political parties give good posts to the Dalit leaders in the party. Hailing the movement of the CPM against caste discrimination, he urged the Communist parties to keep the books of Dalit poets and writers in their publishing houses.
Custodial death sparks protest
By Our Staff Reporter

KHAMMAM, OCT. 31. A joint action committee of Dalit organisations and political parties staged a protest here today denouncing the lock-up death of a Scheduled Caste youth, picked up by the Khammam railway police in connection with a case of chain- snatching.

They prevented postmortem till late in the evening demanding a judicial enquiry into the incident besides booking the railway sub-inspector and constables concerned responsible for the incident under Section 302.

The protesters alleged that the youth had been in wrongful confinement for the past 12 days before he was tortured to death even after yielding to the demands made by the police. Some elected representatives also had campaigned for the release of the youth from the illegal confinement of the railway police, but to no avail. They wanted payment of an ex gratia of Rs. 5 lakhs to the bereaved family. As the protesters laid siege to the mortuary at the district headquarters hospital, the situation turned tense and police were deployed in a big way to avoid untoward incidents.

Iteri Tara, wife of the deceased who joined the protest with her two children, charged the police with murder. She said three policemen whisked away her husband from their house in Kothagudem at 8-20 p.m on October 19. She said she and her children prevailed upon police constables in a bid to prevent them from picking him up in night time but in vain.

She tried to know his whereabouts but the police kept her in the dark. They did not inform her about the death of her husband even though she happened to visit the station on Tuesday morning. She said she would not settle for anything less than immediate arrest and dismissal of the police personnel responsible for the murder of her husband.

The Khammam Revenue Divisional Officer, Mr. Koti Reddy, who conducted the preliminary enquiry, recorded her statement and assured her of the assistance she was entitled to from the administration. The Railway authorities assured the protesters of immediate action against the policemen concerned.

Mr. Govind Singh, Railway Police Superintendent, said he would recommend action against the sub-inspector, Ravider Reddy, and two constables - Sivaji and Koti Reddy of the railway police station. Leaders of all political parties condemned the lock-up death.

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Published on: November 01, 2001
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