Thursday, January 16, 2003

Chargesheet filed against 30 in Jhajjar

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 15: Exactly three months after five Dalits were lynched at Dulina in Jhajjar, chargesheets against the 30 accused in the case were filed at the sessions court today.

The court had granted anticipatory bail to all the accused last week on the grounds that the case did not come under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1987 and that ''it is not possible for any public man to influence such police official witnesses.''

''Despite the bail, we are not going to let go of the accused. We are going to challenge the bail at every step,'' said Jhajjar SP Akil Muhammed. Proceedings have also begun to chargesheet 15 police and administrative personnel, including the City Magistrate present at the spot. ''The one-man inquiry team had indicted the police and the authorities and hence we have to take action,'' said Muhammad.

The court order said there was nothing to show that the applicant knew the victims were Harijans. ''It appears that there was mob violence and people belonging to many communities participated in the alleged commission of the offence. Even four Harijans have been arrested in the case,'' said the six-page order.

The accused were asked to furnish a bond of Rs 10,000 each and directed to join the investigations as and when required. The trial is expected to start on February 5.

Source: The Indian Express, January 16, 2003

Mystery shrouds death of Dalit couple

Manu Sharma

Thursday, January 16, 2003 (Saharanpur):

A small village in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh is tense after a young couple died there three days ago. There are different versions about what happened. Some villagers say Rajesh and Sunayana were beaten and then burnt alive by the girl's family because they eloped. However, the police insist it was suicide.

Crowds around 25-year-old Rajesh's house are the only indication of the tension in the village simmering just below the surface.

The villagers allege that Rajesh had to elope with a pregnant Sunayana to get married as her parents were against the marriage. And when the couple returned, they were brutally beaten and burnt to death.

Even though both of them were from the Dalit community, since the incident occurred in Mayawati's area, it has assumed even greater significance.

"The girl's family set the two on fire without letting anyone know. The family supports the BSP and some of them are senior leaders in the BSP," alleged Arvind, Panchayat member.

The incident is being discussed in every corner of the village, especially at tea stalls. But when NDTV questioned a local, he refused to respond.

"We don't know anything," said another.

While the fear of the administration has ensured that no one wants to openly talk about the incident, even the police seem to be covering up the issue. They claim that the two committed suicide by consuming poison.

"The doctors say that both of them died due to consumption of poison," said a police official.

The incident has acquired political colours, which is sure to keep it in the headlines for some more time.

Source: NDTV, January 16, 2003

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

`Two-tumbler system still prevails in 15 Cuddalore villages'

By S.Dorairaj

CUDDALORE JAN. 6. Alleging that the `two-tumbler' system prevails in teastalls in 15 villages in Vriddhachalam taluk, Cuddalore district, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has sought the intervention of the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, and the National Human Rights Commission to put an end to "atrocities committed against Dalits".

The Cuddalore CPI(M) secretary, S.Dhanasekaran, said here today that a party team led by him on Saturday visited several villages, particularly those around Vilakkapadi, and found that the Dalits lived in "perpetual fear".

The party would organise a picketing programme at Vriddhachalam on January 10 protesting against the two-tumbler system and other forms of discrimination and atrocities perpetrated on the Dalits, who were treated as "second class citizens".

The feedback from local residents revealed that the sorry state of affairs existed, particularly at Vilakkapadi, U.Adhanur, Siruvarappur, Peruvarappur, Ottimedu, Perundurai, Periakottumulai, Siriakottumulai, Devankudi and Sathapadi, he alleged.

Vilakkapadi in Kammapuram block was the native village of the Pattali Makkal Katchi MLA, representing Vriddhachalam, R.Govindasamy. Even in stalls at Vilakkapadi, where 50 Dalit families resided, tea was served to the Dalits in separate glasses, Mr. Dhanasekaran said. They were made to stand outside the stalls while drinking tea and asked to wash the glasses after drinking tea, he claimed.

The CPI(M) team shuddered at the "social injustices" perpetrated and "uncivilised restrictions" imposed on the Dalits in all these villages, despite tall claims made by the State Government, the district administration and the police.

The Dalits lived without house sites, supply of potable water, road facilities and health and hygiene was not maintained.

Even ration cards were not issued to them, he said.

The CPI (M) submitted memoranda to the NHRC, the Chief Minister, the Home Secretary, the DGP, the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police.

The party urged the State Government and the district administration to arrest persons who practised the two-glass system and other forms of untouchability, under the SC-ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.

Convening an all-party meeting to discuss the issue, reconstitution of anti-untouchability panels at all levels and streamlining the functions of the protection of civil rights wing of police by appointing efficient personnel were among the suggestions made by the party, he said.

Source: The Hindu, January 7, 2003