Swachchakar Dignity

A blog to give you first hand reports on the conditions of Swachchkar community, their issues and concerns. A campaign for complete abolition of scavenging practices and brigning forth the growing voices of change with in the community.

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Learning through working. Working at the grassroots made me realise the big difference between those who claim to represent communities as well as the communities themselves. Common man is crushed between the ambitions of various individuals to lead and dominate. The dominant and high numbered communities will always dominate our discourse and the most marginalised are losing in this entire discourse. That is the reason why Mushahar remain at the marginalised and the issue of manual scavenging still not on our top agenda and to eliminate that the community has to decide its own organisations..

I am devoted to freedom of ideas and expression. I personally feel that we in the subcontinent want to dominate and control our discourse and each one of is a ultra nationalist in terms of their caste and community. Nationalism is not just national and political but it is equally in term of religion and caste. I feel each kind of nationalism is a dominant discourse which deny the dissenter a right to speak.

At the end, we all want to listen the truth suitable to us.. we have become expertised in the art of speaking truth of convenience. As long as that remain hall mark of our society and we speak to already converts, this society will remain stagnant, it will always try to control our ideas and choices. We need to oppose any such perception, ideas that want to control our mind and victimise us.

To understand India further, I feel, it is good to do foot walk, ( Padyatras) to various parts of the country. I have so far done it thrice covering nearly 1500-2000 kilometers. It is always interesting to see how people are coping their issues and what is the reason of their exploitation.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Parliamentarians Speak against atrocities on Dalits

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MPs unite to protest atrocities against dalits
TNN, Aug 31, 2010, 03.52am IST


Tags:sonia gandhi|dalits|chidambaram

NEW DELHI: In a debate that saw MPs from almost all parties registering their strong protests over rising incidents of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes, home minister P Chidambaram said district judges needed to ensure proper and speedy disposal of such cases in their jurisdiction.

Chidambaram pointed to a high pendency of more than 70% for cases relating to dalits and tribals and said these were adversely affected by delays, witnesses vanishing or turning hostile or indifference of police investigators. The role of the district judge in holding monthly meetings to assess progress of cases and pushing DMs and SPs to ensure quick disposal was necessary, the minister said.

Replying to a debate in Lok Sabha on Monday, Chidambaram pointed out that cases of atrocities against SCs/STs had risen over 2006-08 and while this could be because of higher registration as these sections assert themselves, 33,000 cases in 2008 was a matter of deep shame. "Some of this crime is aimed at crippling SCs economically," the minister said.

Though he refrained from naming states, he alluded to a recent incident in a neighbouring state, clearly Haryana, where dalits had to flee from the village they inhabited. He pointed to a circular issued by the home ministry on April 1, 2010 outlining guidelines on how such cases were to be dealt with, pointing out that the "will and intent" of state governments was crucial.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi was present through the discussions on Monday as the home minister responded to MPs who said district administrations often lacked the will to pursue accused, often powerful local upper castes. "It is not a matter of pride that so many cases are registered, it is deeply disturbing," Chidambaram said.

The minister also said there were some lacunae in the public order act as courts did not take cognizance of a case until a magistrate committed it to trial. He said some states had set up special courts but these also looked at several other cases apart from those relating to dalits and STs. "Often there is nothing special about these cases." Some states had been better than others, like Andhra Pradesh has set up 22 mobile courts, Tamil Nadu has focused on districts where caste violence is severe while West Bengal has asked district judges to double up as special judges.

Read more: MPs unite to protest atrocities against dalits - India - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/MPs-unite-to-protest-atrocities-against-dalits/articleshow/6462965.cms#ixzz0yAjB4abw

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Supreme Court slams Haryana on Mirchpur

Supreme Court slams Haryana over Mirchpur

J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI: Taking a serious view of the Haryana Government's failure to arrest the perpetrators of atrocities against the Dalits of Mirchpur village, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the State to arrest by this coming Monday all those who are wanted in the case by the police.

A Bench of Justice G. S. Singhvi and Justice A. K. Ganguly is hearing a writ petition filed by Jaswant Singh and others seeking relief and compensation for the Dalit families whose houses were burnt down on April 21.

Justice Singhvi observed, “If those responsible for committing atrocities could not be arrested then what right does the Director-General of Police have to continue in office? If Haryana Police is incapable of arresting those wanted in the Mirchpur violence, then we will ask some paramilitary forces to arrest them.”

When it was submitted on behalf of the State that 52 people involved in the incident had been arrested and the others would be arrested soon, Justice Singhvi asked whether the remaining accused had gone to Dubai or fled to other States in the country. Expressing serious concern over the State's inaction, Justice Singhvi wondered what the State Chief Secretary was doing.

The Bench made it clear that all those wanted in the Mirchpur case should be arrested by Monday. It said all those who had committed the crime should be brought before the law and be made to account for their sins.

Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves submitted that Dalit children were not going to school and that a 14-year-old Dalit girl died of shock after she was scolded and humiliated in school. He said Dalit families were starving as no food was being provided to them.

Justice Singhvi told the State Advocate-General: “Such incidents of killings are taking place for the last five years. Apart from legal issues we are concerned with the humanitarian aspect of the victims. All the people who are uprooted should be settled and protected. They should not live under threat.”

The Bench in its order directed the State Government to provide two quintals of wheat to each of the Dalit family in seven days. It asked the State to furnish all the records in support of its claim that it had given 65 people 100 days' employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on September 10.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweeping the Gold from dust...


Interesting story in live mint. One hope if sweeping does not remain cleaning of dirt and filth. How could it change the caste structure if sweeping produce gold from dust.. see the change in the behavirial pattern of people towards this work..


In Ahmedabad, sweepers help jewellers make gold out of dust
Soumitra Trivedi, soumitra.t@livemint.com

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Eighty-year-old Ganga Gohel painstakingly sweeps the narrow streets of Sheth Ni Pol in the Ratan Pol area in the walled city of Ahmedabad, well before the municipal corporation workers turn up. To all intents and purposes, she looks like an old lady eking out a living by keeping the 25m-long street clean.

The truth is that she pays `6,000 for the privilege. For that money, Gohel gets to sweep three streets for gold twice a day. Her monthly takings after that fee—`15,000.

Gohel is a dhul-dhoya, literally dust-washer in Gujarati. She is one of around 200 people who comb Manek Chowk and Ratan Pol, which has more than 5,000 jewellery manufacturing units, shops and bullion trading houses.

“I collect and sieve dust from the garbage and sell it to a bigger dhul-dhoya (a wholesale buyer),” Gohel says. “They refine the dust and turn it into gold and sell it to the jewellers.”

Gohel has been doing this job for over four decades and the income has helped her raise two daughters after her husband died some 30 years ago.

According to Shree Choksi Mahajan, Manek Chowk, an association of bullion traders and jewellers in Ahmedabad’s walled city area, the total daily turnover of the Manek Chowk and Ratan Pol bullion and jewellery industry is about `25 crore per day.

“As a manufacturing house, when we make jewellery or refine gold, some portion of the precious metal is lost as it turns into fine dust, flies out in air and gets mixed with dust in the street,” says Bababhai Soni, owner of Ambica Touch, a bullion-testing lab in Ratan Pol. “We cannot get this lost portion back as we don’t have people and time to sweep streets.”

Soni has also been operating gold refining and jewellery manufacturing facilities in the same area for the last three decades.

The sweepers earn `15,000- 20,000 a month and have become an integral part of the century-old bullion trade in Ahmedabad.

The wholesale buyers pay `800-1,000 per 500g of washed dust depending on the potential of gold recovery from it.

“After the sweepers sell the dust to us, we wash it and mix it with mercury, which helps us to separate metals from the dust,” says a 30-year-old wholesale buyer, who did not want to be named. “This metal dust is further washed with nitric acid, which melts other metals, but keeps gold and silver intact.”

The fine gold dust that they get after the nitric acid wash is melted in a furnace for around 10 hours until the temperature reaches 1,000 degrees Celsius. The molten metal is cooled and turned into a plate of raw gold.

“First we get the raw gold tested in the lab. The grade is digitally measured. Once we get a certificate (of caratage), we sell it to the jewellers at the prevailing gold prices,” says another wholesale buyer of dust based in Ratan Pol, where the old Ahmedabad Stock Exchange building is located.

On an average, wholesale buyers have to refine as much as 2-3kg of dust to get 10-15g of gold.

“Some jewellers collect dust from their shops for years and then sell it directly to wholesale buyers for lakhs of rupees,” says Hiren Soni, who owns a jewellery shop in Sheth Ni Pol. “Wholesale buyers of dust also buy old cushions, doormats and carpets from us and pay us a lump sum, which runs into thousands of rupees.”

Not only do they pay for such items, from which they hope to extract gold dust, they also replace them with new ones.

While Bababhai Soni contends that the dhul-dhoya tradition benefits all participants in the system equitably, his son Nitesh says that occasionally the dust-gatherers can get lucky.

“Though rarely, we do lose small nuggets of gold or smaller loose parts of jewellery in the basin at times while washing it with chemicals,” says the younger Soni. “These sweepers who clean the drainage often find these lost nuggets. It’s like a jackpot for them.”

But, like much else, the advancing tide of technology could spell the end of the dhul-dhoyas.

The new methods minimize metal loss during the manufacturing process, says Harshwardhan Choksi, president of of Shree Choksi Mahajan, Manek Chowk. That will make it more difficult to find gold in the dust of Ahmedabad’s streets.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hands destined to hold broom instead of pen..

It is not destiny but our failure. In our aim to make the headline looks more sensitive we misuse the terminology. It is the failure of India as a nation that young children are still in the sanitation. As one of my friends wrote long back that to call it a profession is an insult to work. It is slavery. India must show its spine to eliminate this slavery.


Hands destined to hold broom instead of pen
TNN, Aug 21, 2010, 10.53pm IST

Tags:varanasi nagar nigam|safai karamchari

VARANASI: For Priya (name changed), a nine-year-old girl who studies in one of government primary schools in Durgakund, sweeping roads and removing garbage in the morning hours has taken precedence over regular attendance in school. What is shocking is that it is her 'Nani' (maternal grandmother) who has pushed the little girl into work, putting broom in a hand that should be holding pencils and books.

The grandmother of the poor girl is a safai karamchari (sanitary worker) of Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN) and the girl is doing work allotted to her grandmother. She is not alone. There are a number of other young children in the vicinity, one of the slum areas behind the famous Durga Temple, who are engaged in all sorts of work, including rag picking, working in garage and shops. They are all already enrolled in different schools with some of them even admitted to a special school run by NGO for them.

When team TOI spoke to Madhuri, the safai worker and grandmother of the girl, she at first tried to deny that the young girl was involved in such work. Later, she claimed the girl was destined for the work and educating her would not help in earning bread and butter for the family.

It may be mentioned here that there are over 3,000 safai workers in VNN, out of which more than 1,200 are permanent employees deployed in five different wards of the city.

According to nagar health officer SK Singh, stringent monitoring of cleanliness and sanitation work is being maintained in the city, especially during the Shrawan month. He also said if the safai workers were found absent from duties, strict action would be taken against them, which would include suspension and termination.

Recently two safai workers were removed from service after the death of a woman from diarrhoea in Bazardiha. Meanwhile, basic shiksha adhikari Pradeep Pandey maintained that retention of young children and their regular attendance in government schools would be ensured in the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

Times of India, August 21st, 2010

Read more: Hands destined to hold broom instead of pen - Varanasi - City - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/Hands-destined-to-hold-broom-instead-of-pen/articleshow/6388871.cms#ixzz0xJSAXBnB

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Karanata CM calls Dalits as Useless people..

Karanatka's Hindutva protogonist Yedyruppa has shamelessly called Dalits a useless people without acting on the demand to eliminate manual scavenging. Rather than developing a concrete rehabilitation plan to eliminate this dirty racial practice of scavenging which has been reserved for a particular community. it is time when Yedyruppa must be asked to apologise for his remark. We all know that these people have something else in heart and something different outside it.

India Today India South Story Courtesy: Mail Today

Karnataka CM calls Dalits 'useless people'
Aravinda Gowda
Davanagere (Karnataka), August 3, 2010

Chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa landed himself in trouble on Monday after he allegedly insulted Dalits and the state police while addressing a BJP rally in Davanagere, a central town in Karnataka.

According to the Dalit Sangharsh Samithi (DSS), the CM termed its activists as "Congress agents" and "useless people" when they tried to approach him at the rally for fulfilment of their demands.

The CM also reportedly called the police "donkey grazers" for not controlling the protesting Dalits.

Enraged by Yeddyurappa's sudden outburst, the Dalits planned to lodge an FIR. But the police convinced them not to complain against the CM. DSS activist K. Sannappanavar said the organisation would now launch a state-wide agitation in protest.

The drama unfolded soon after the rally started. The DSS activists stormed the venue demanding an end to manual scavenging, which is widely prevalent in central Karnataka.

The issue had come into prominence after the Dalits highlighted the evil practice by immersing themselves in human waste two weeks ago in Savanur. Since then, they had been trying to meet the CM in vain.

At the rally, the activists raised slogans against the CM and the BJP government for neglecting their problems. Their commotion attracted the attention of Yeddyurappa, who snatched the microphone on the dais and started hurling abuses.

He said: "Meet me personally if you have problems. Why are you disturbing my party's rally? Your problem is no greater than that of the two lakh people who have gathered here to listen to me. Your problem is more than 60 years old. I cannot solve it in 25 days."

The CM's statement further enraged the protesting Dalits, who started shouting slogans again.

Yeddyurappa, who is under considerable pressure because of internal bickering in the state BJP, then lost his cool and shouted at the protesters: "I know you are here to create trouble. You are not genuine people… You are useless people. All of you are Congress agents. Get lost. Go away from here in five minutes. "He also shouted at reporters for listening to the Dalits. "Get away from there. You should not be standing near them. All this is happening because of you (media)…" he added.

The CM next called the senior police officers to the dais and abused them. "You are useless. Are you here to graze donkeys or provide security at the rally? I want the protesters out of the venue," he shouted.

Subsequently, the police evicted the Dalits. The rally also brought to the fore the widening gap between Yeddyurappa and the Bellary Reddy brothers, who did not turn up at the event.

They instead organised a public meeting in Bellary to condemn the Congress leaders' rally seeking a CBI inquiry into illegal mining.


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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sub Quota for Valmikis in Punjab ?

Will this open a new series of demand for separate quota among quota in other states ? Punjab government is going to Supreme Court for a 12.5% quota for Valmikis in the state. what will be repurcussion of it in other parts of the country. Will it divide the already divided movement ? Or do Punjab government know that this will not stand in the Supreme Court... politicians know things better than us as how to betray people ?


Punjab to file petition in SC on quota for Valmiki Sikhs
Press Trust Of India

Chandigarh, July 25, 2010First Published: 21:29 IST(25/7/2010)
Last Updated: 21:33 IST(25/7/2010) in The Hindustan Times

'Valmiki' and 'Mazhabi' Sikhs on Sunday called off their proposed bandh on July 27 after being assured that the Punjab government would file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking restoration of 12.5 per cent quota for them in various jobs and educational institutions. An assurance to this effect was given by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to a delegation of about 200 members of 'Valmiki and Mazhabi Sikh Arakshan Bachao Morcha', and other organizations, who called on the Chief Minister here today, an official release said.

Badal also assured the delegation led by Vijay Danav, National President of 'Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj Bhavadhas' that he would certainly take up this matter with the Prime Minister and the Law Ministry for a permanent solution.

Expressing gratitude to the Chief Minister, the 31-member Committee of the morcha called off its proposed state-wide bandh on July 27.

Dwelling on the plight of Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs, the Chairman of the Morcha Purshotam Chhabra demanded wholehearted support of the state government to resolve this issue on priority.

Badal said that the state government would leave no stone unturned to resolve the issue and esnure the uplift of the 'Valmiki' and Mazhabi Sikh communities in the State.

Badal said that he had already ordered closure of the ongoing process of counselling for the recruitment of 7654 teachers in the Education Department where Valmiki/Mazhabi Sikh applicants were not being given their due share of 12.5 per cent reservation.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Be ware of those who sells dream

Hi, this is a story of the women from Arundhatiyar community, a majority of who are into scavenging work. How they have been duped by fictitious people who sale them dream and then disappear with their money. This is a reality in other parts of the country too.


Dalit women taken for a ride

M Rafi Ahmed Express News ServiceFirst Published : 25 Jul 2010 03:45:12 AM ISTLast Updated : 25 Jul 2010 08:36:17 AM IST
COIMBATORE: A trickster played the trick on 150 dalit women at Ammankulam area in the heart of the city promising them to get micro finance. However, he left them in lurch after he fled away with the collection.

The incident came to light through R Murugan, a dalit panchayat president and taluk organiser of Vizhuthugal, an NGO working for the cause of Arunthathiyars when the women members poured out their woes to him during his visit to the colony.
It was T Gomathy, a resident of the locality who enrolled women members by issuing application forms of ‘Pothigai Thendral’, a selfstyled service organisation located at RS Puram.
Since Gomathy had helped them get micro finance from other sources earlier, the dalit women believed her and joined the scheme after remitting anywhere between Rs 150 and Rs 300.
The ‘Pothigai Thendral’ service organisation was run by Sreenivasan alias Raja and the office was located at RS Puram.
To their disappointment, the person never kept his promise of getting them micro finance.
Sensing trouble, the dalit women along with other members from Ammankulam, Balasubramania Nagar, Puliyakulam, Pappanaickenpalayam went to the office of the service organisation only to infer that the office was vacated.
Sheela, who runs a roadside eatery at Ammankulam told Express that she was repeatedly scolded by her husband for her foolish act.
Frequent squabbles between the couple became a regular feature during night hours.
Gomathy told Express that she made frantic efforts to locate the person who was running the service organisation besides the collection agent. After much pain, she was able to zero in at the house of the promoter at Karamadai. And she was shocked to see the house locked.
Later, she came to know that he had fled away from the place without vacating the house. Aggrieved women members knocked the doors of B2 RS Puram Police Station seeking help. But they failed to entertain their complaint.
A police constable is understood to have told them that the trickster Sreenivasan alias Raja had obtained anticipatory bail. Vizhuthugal organiser Murugan said that they have planned to stage a demonstration in front of Red Cross building on July 28 demanding police action against the culprit who cheated the dalit women of Rs 76,000.

Express Buzz, July 25th 2010

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