[WSMDiscuss] Dalits in movement…, India in movement…. : Recall SC/ST Act order, creating anger, disharmony : Govt to Supreme Court / Caught in a spiral of assertion and insecurity, young Dalits in Madhya Pradesh are growing angry / ‘Dilution’ of SC/ST Law : Jignesh Mevani urges Dalit, tribal MPs to resign

JS CACIM jai.sen at cacim.net
Fri Apr 13 12:48:46 CEST 2018


Friday, April 13, 2018

Dalits in movement…, India in movement….

[Movements below, movements in the middle, and movements at the top…. India is continuing to roil as a consequence of the ‘extraordinary’ ruling of the Supreme Court about two weeks ago to roll back the very important piece of social justice legislation in the country known popularly as the ‘SC/ST [Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes, aka Dalits and Adivasis] Act and put fresh procedural hurdles into it.  Dalits, from central and state Ministers and Members of Parliament down to independent Dalit activists and organisations across the country, have demanded that the Supreme Court ruling be rescinded – and have a consequence, the BJP-led central government, which is looking at spirals of resentment and protest unfolding in the country even as it looks ahead to next year’s general elections, and before that to a number of state-level elections, and after prevaricating for quite some time, has clearly been forced to step forward and to file a review petition in the Supreme Court, as below…  What it will then do, is to be seen, but it is clearly being tamed and even humiliated, at this point…  by public action; by Dalit action.

[The flap of a butterfly’s wing can have huge consequences.  But where are the Adivasis ?  How and why is it that we’re not hearing anything about the reaction in their communities ? :

Recall SC/ST Act order, creating anger, disharmony : Govt to Supreme Court

Ananthakrishnan G, Indian Express

Caught in a spiral of assertion and insecurity, young Dalits in Madhya Pradesh are growing angry

Their resentment is directed primarily at the ruling BJP

Abhishek Dey, on Scroll.in

‘Dilution’ of SC/ST Law : Jignesh Mevani urges Dalit, tribal MPs to resign

“What are all the Dalit and tribal MPs in the Parliament doing there? They should resign, build pressure on (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji. Why is he not bringing in an ordinance," Jignesh Mevani said in a video message that was released on Monday

Express News Service (April 10)

            JS

 


Recall SC/ST Act order, creating anger, disharmony: Govt to Supreme Court

The Centre said the top court was not “filling in gaps” but was “amending” through judicial legislation, the Atrocities Act and the Code, thus defeating the salutary provisions of this law.

   Written by Ananthakrishnan G <http://indianexpress.com/profile/author/ananthakrishnan-g/> | New Delhi | Updated: April 13, 2018 7:12:14 am
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/recall-sc-st-act-order-creating-anger-disharmony-government-to-court-5135103/ <http://indianexpress.com/article/india/recall-sc-st-act-order-creating-anger-disharmony-government-to-court-5135103/> The Supreme Court order set off a political storm with the Opposition and allies of the ruling BJP calling it a dilution of the Act and questioning the government’s credentials on empowerment of Dalits. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that its judgment forbidding automatic arrest for offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 “has caused a lot of commotion in the country and is also creating anger, unease and a sense of disharmony”.

In a written statement submitted in court Wednesday in support of its petition seeking review of the March 20 order delivered by a two-judge bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit, the government said “the confusion created by this judgment may have to be corrected by reviewing the judgment and recalling the directions”.

It said the order on “an issue of very sensitive nature” had “diluted” the Act, “resulting in great damage to the country”. The statement underlined what Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench of Justices Goel and Lalit on April 3 during the hearing of the government’s review petition.

The government contended that the entire judgment was “vitiated” as it proceeded on the basis that it can legislate, and has the power “to make law when none exists”.

“ln India, separation of powers being part of the basic structure of the Constitution, there was no room for the court declaring that it could legislate and make plenary law.” It said the conclusions in the judgment were “in substance and effect, amendments made to the Atrocities Act, read with the Code (of Criminal Procedure, 1973)” and were “pure and simple, the exercise of the power of plenary legislation”.

Taking serious note of instances of abuse of the Act by “vested interests” for political and personal reasons, the Supreme Court, in its March 20 order, laid down stringent safeguards, including provision for anticipatory bail and vetting of a complaint to determine if a case is made out before registration of an FIR under the Act.

It also said that if the accused person is a public servant, arrest can be made only with the permission of the appointing authority, and where the accused is not a public servant, prior permission of the Senior Superintendent of Police of the district is necessary for arrest.

The order set off a political storm with the Opposition and allies of the ruling BJP calling it a dilution of the Act and questioning the government’s credentials on empowerment of Dalits. It led to nationwide protests by Dalit organisations.

On April 2, the Centre filed a petition seeking review of the order, saying potential for misuse was not a valid ground for reading down stringent provisions of the Act and that diluting it would deprive members of SC and ST communities the rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

In its written statement, the Attorney General said “it is essential that the conclusions drawn… be reviewed and recalled, so that no basis for misunderstanding the judgment or its impact on the implementation of the Atrocities Act would continue”.

The government said “the bland statement that ‘power to declare law carries with it, within the limits of duty, to make law when none exists’ is wholly fallacious, because we live under a written Constitution, of which separation of powers between the legislatures, the executive and the judiciary is the very basic structure and is inviolable”.

The statement asked “what else, therefore, does it mean, if in the teeth of the Separation of Powers, the highest court in the country says that the judiciary in the country, bound to uphold the Constitution and hence not to encroach upon that area reserved for Parliament and the legislatures, can lay down law contrary to a statute passed by Parliament”.

The Centre said the top court was not “filling in gaps” but was “amending” through judicial legislation, the Atrocities Act and the Code, thus defeating the salutary provisions of this law.


Caught in a spiral of assertion and insecurity, young Dalits in Madhya Pradesh are growing angry

Their resentment is directed primarily at the ruling BJP.

Abhishek Dey

https://scroll.in/article/875398/caught-in-a-spiral-of-assertion-and-insecurity-young-dalits-in-madhya-pradesh-are-growing-angry <https://scroll.in/article/875398/caught-in-a-spiral-of-assertion-and-insecurity-young-dalits-in-madhya-pradesh-are-growing-angry>

Injured Dalit youths Raju and Pradeep Jatav during the Bharat Bandh in Gwalior on Tuesday | HT Photo         
On April 2, Dalits from across India took to the streets to protest the dilution of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act by the Supreme Court. In many places, they were fired on by police as well as upper caste men. Nine people were killed.

In Madhya Pradesh, the protestors faced violence in Gwalior, Bhind and Morena, which have significant populations of the Dalit Jatav community. Three Dalit men were killed in Gwalior, four in Bhind. The community was still mourning its dead when upper caste groups called a strike on April 10. Fearing more violence, Dalits in the three districts locked themselves in their homes. The strike passed off largely without incident but it has left Dalits fearful. That the police maintain the violence unleashed by upper castes on April 2 was merely retaliation for their property being vandalised by the Dalit protestors has only heightened the dread.

“If Dalits were the cause of the violence, why did only Dalit men end up dying?” asked Kailash Jatav, 30, a resident of Gwalior. A sociology graduate who works as a skilled labourer in the construction sector, Kailash Jatav said, “Dalits are being targeted both by the authorities and the upper caste now.”

Many Dalits in this region in northern Madhya Pradesh share his anger. Beyond their personal experiences of caste discrimination, they speak about violent attacks against members of their community across the country – the savage beating of tanners in Gujarat’s Una <https://scroll.in/article/837738/metal-cows-and-attacks-ten-months-since-the-una-assault-cow-politics-still-stalks-gujarats-dalits>, the murder of a teenager apparently for riding a horse in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar <https://scroll.in/latest/873946/gujarat-dalit-man-killed-allegedly-by-villagers-who-were-upset-after-he-bought-a-horse>, the struggle of a Dalit couple to take their wedding procession through an upper caste neighbourhood in Uttar Pradesh <https://scroll.in/latest/874054/in-up-dalit-couple-fights-for-right-to-take-baraat-through-upper-caste-streets-indian-express>’s Kasganj.

Their anger is directed primarily at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. “Until five years ago, people used to debate on subjects such as inflation, health of the economy, rising petrol prices, but today all debate has come down to cow, caste and communalism,” said Vijay Nigam, 21, a Dalit resident of Mustara village in Bhind.

Arjun Singh, 27, who teaches at a school in Mehgaon, Bhind, has a similar complaint. “Look at the way BJP has treated Dalits,” he said. “Their ministers talk about changing the Constitution and equate Dalits with animals. After the April 2 incident, local BJP leaders came to convince us that the 16-year-old boy who died here should be cremated the same night so that the law and order situation does not go out of hand. We refused.”

He was apparently referring to central minister Ananthkumar Hegde, who said last year that the BJP would change <https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/anantkumar-hegdes-change-constitution-comment-provokes-anger-in-parliament-1792588> India’s Constitution and subsequently used the words “barking dogs <https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/anantkumar-hegdes-stray-dog-comment-angers-dalit-groups-prakash-raj-asks-if-bjp-endorses>” for Dalits who took exception to his threat.


'BJP leaders came to convince us that the boy who died here on April 2 should be cremated the same night so that the law and order situation does not go out of hand. We refused,' says Arjun Singh, a school teacher in Mehgaon. Photo credit: Abhishek Dey
Political disenchantment

The resentment among the Dalits could hurt the BJP’s prospects going into the Assembly election later this year. Gwalior and Morena have six constituencies each, Bhind five. In each district, one seat is reserved for the Dalits. The BJP currently holds 11 of these 17 seats, many of them Dalit-dominated.

The anger against the BJP could have worked to the advantage of the Bahujan Samaj Party, but the principal “Dalit party” in the region won itself no favours by initially asking its supporters to stay away from the Bharat Bandh of April 2, argued Dileep Bauddha, the party’s former district president in Bhind.

“Discouraging members from joining the protest could have earned the party an anti-Dalit tag, which had to be avoided at any cost,” Bauddha said. “Later, members were not discouraged from joining the April 2 protest but they were strictly asked to do so in their personal capacity, without the banner of the BSP.”

The Bahujan Samaj Party has considerable presence in northern Madhya Pradesh, especially in Morena where it won two seats and came second on three others in the 2013 Assembly election. It fared poorly in the other two districts, though. The reason, many local residents said, was the party choosing “wrong candidates”. “Dalits in these parts do not have an inclination towards any party as such, they vote primarily depending on the candidate,” said Arjun Singh.

Bauddha, however, is hopeful that the Dalit leaders who emerged from the April 2 movement could become “resources for the party” in the upcoming election.

According to the police’s records, around 5,000 people participated in the protests of April 2 in Gwalior, 6,000 in Bhind and 3,000 in Morena. Since then, the police have arrested 380 people, belonging to both Dalit and upper caste communities, in connection with 92 cases registered under a range of charges such as murder, rioting, damaging property, assaulting a public servant, causing disharmony and breaching peace through social media.

The young Dalits Scroll.in spoke to all claimed they did not participate in any protests that day.


Vicky Mandilya objected to a classmate using a casteist slur to address him and it led to a heated argument. Photo credit: Abhishek Dey
Rising insecurity

The anger among young Dalits, however, has deeper roots than grievances against political parties and the Supreme Court. “The dilution of the law meant to protect the Scheduled Castes acted as a vent for accumulated anger,” said Kailash Jatav. “It would be wrong to say the strike was exclusively in protest against the Supreme Court’s decision. There was more to it.”

A perception that Dalits are being increasingly targeted – a feeling fuelled by the vandalisation of BR Ambedkar’s statues and the Hindutva chorus against caste-based reservation – contributed to the anger as well.

More significantly perhaps, the social schisms are deepening at a time of rising economic insecurity. “A quick look at records pertaining to the number of Dalits in government jobs and in the organised sector will be sufficient to reflect the grim picture,” said Biren Singh Jatav, a sociology graduate who works with an ATM refilling agency in Gwalior. “It is thus absurd the way Dalits are being targeted by the authorities and the upper caste now.”

Vicky Mandilya, 23, a student at an Industrial Training Institute in Gwalior, said he became painfully aware of his community’s marginalisation when a classmate called after the April 2 violence to enquire about his whereabouts. The classmate addressed him by a casteist slur; Mandilya objected and it led to a heated argument. “I had to disconnect the call,” he said.

The fear of being targeted by upper caste groups has forced many Dalit to skip work. “Since April 2, most Dalit families have not opened their shops or let their children go to school and college, fearing attacks by upper caste persons,” said Brijesh Dirakar, another student in Gwalior. “Only daily wage labourers can be seen frequenting labour intersections amid such tension in the city.”


Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here <https://scroll.in/subscribe?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=scroll_article&utm_campaign=article_footer>. We welcome your comments at letters at scroll.in <mailto:?Subject=Caught%20in%20a%20spiral%20of%20assertion%20and%20insecurity%2C%20young%20Dalits%20in%20Madhya%20Pradesh%20are%20growing%20angry&to=letters at scroll.in>.     


‘Dilution’ of SC/ST Law : Jignesh Mevani urges Dalit, tribal MPs to resign

“What are all the Dalit and tribal MPs in the Parliament doing there? They should resign, build pressure on (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji. Why is he not bringing in an ordinance," Jignesh Mevani said in a video message that was released on Monday.

By: Express News Service <http://indianexpress.com/agency/express-news-service/> | Ahmedabad | Published: April 10, 2018 12:43:13 am

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dilution-of-sc-st-law-jignesh-mevani-urges-dalit-tribal-mps-to-resign-5130873/ <http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dilution-of-sc-st-law-jignesh-mevani-urges-dalit-tribal-mps-to-resign-5130873/>
 Jignesh Mevani took the opportunity to hit out at the BJP, accusing it of trying to repeal the SC/ST law altogether. (Express photo by Renuka Puri/File)

Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani on Monday urged Dalit and tribal MPs to resign from Parliament in order to build pressure on the BJP-led government at the Centre for undoing the changes made by the Supreme Court in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

This comes a day after the Dalit MLA from Vadgam asked the Centre to promulgate an ordinance by April 14 — the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar — nullifying the apex court’s order related to the atrocities prevention law, failing which, Mevani threatened to launch an agitation.

“What are all the Dalit and tribal MPs in the Parliament doing there? They should resign, build pressure on (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji. Why is he not bringing in an ordinance? Why all Dalit and tribal MPs are not moving an impeachment motion against those two judges (of the Supreme Court who passed the order),” Mevani said in a video message that was released on Monday.

Urging the Dalit and tribal MPs to speak out openly against the Supreme Court’s order, Mevani said: “If you remain silent, then the community will not tolerate this. You have to open your mouth, build pressure on Modi government to remove both the judges. If you do not do this, and there is no announcement in this regard before April 14, then no BJP leader would be allowed to touch Ambedkar’s statues on his birth anniversary,” he said.

Mevani also took the opportunity to hit out at the BJP, accusing it of trying to repeal the SC/ST law altogether. “The BJP government is trying to repeal the SC/ST Act. The way the Central government failed to present before the Supreme Court discrimination of Dalits and tribals taking place even today, shows that they have put all efforts to repeal the SC/ST law,” he added. He urged Dalits and tribals to observe Ambedkar’s birth anniversary as a “a day of resistance” and not a celebration.

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