Skip to main content

Dalits again forcibly displaced in Gujarat: Families of a Porbandar village "coerced" to migrate out

By Our Representative
In a fresh incident of forced migration, Dalit families of Bhodadhar village of Ranavav taluka, Porbandar district, were coerced to leave their place of living, following upper caste persons destroying their houses. Bringing the incident to the notice of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who is also chairman of the SC-ST monitoring committee of the state government, senior activist of the Navsarjan Trust, Kantilal Parmar, has alleged the house were destroyed with the “malicious intention to force the Dalits out of the village.” He added, “The houses were destroyed with by using JCB machines, and the reason was -- the Dalits had refused to take back their police complaint under the anti-atrocities law.”
The Dalits’ houses were destroyed under the pretext that these houses were constructed on government land, and it was “part of the effort to remove encroachments on the common village land.” The collector made this clear in a letter by AM Gandhi, district collector, to the village panchayat, who warned that the anti-encroachment drive resolution, passed by the village panchayat in April 2013, would lead to “serious law and order problems” in the village. Hence, he asked the panchayat to stop the drive forthwith. Yet, apparently, the upper caste persons continued with their so-called anti-encroachment drive.
Interestingly, an official document, signed by the taluka development officer, contradicts the claim of the village panchayat resolution. The document, dated January 1, 2002, says that the Dalits were being handed over 20 sq metres land to construct the houses under the Indira Awas Yojna, for which the government would provide sufficient subsidy to each of the families. The document specifically says that the houses were being allowed to be built because the Dalits’ houses were destroyed during the earthquake on January 26, 2001.
Parmar, who was in Porbandar to make an on-the-spot persons of the assessment of the situation, said, “In all, 14 Dalits who lived in four houses were forced to move out of the village following destruction of the houses on December 18, 2013, fearing for their life. Saying that this was a “clear violation of different sections of the Indian constitution”, including Article 14 (equality before the law), Article 15 (prohibition of caste based discrimination), Article 21 (right to live as dignified citizens), the anti-atrocities Act and its different rules, and several sections of the Indian Penal Code, Parmar has put up several demands.
Calling it a “serious violation of human rights”, Parmar said, each of these families should be given 10 acres of land to cultivate and make a living, even as asking the CM to ensure that deputy sarpanch Lakha Rajshi Bheda and panchayat member Kamlesh Meraman be “removed from their post” for taking part in the atrocity. At the same time, he suggested, the state government must take steps against the local police officials who did nothing to ensure that the situation did not go out of hand. “The police officials must immediately act by registering a case against those responsible for the atrocity”, he added.
Making a general demand, Parmar said, “The Gujarat government must come up with a contingency plan to ensure that the Dalits are not forced to migrate from their village in the state’s rural areas.” In all, so far, Navsarjan Trust – which is a Dalit rights organization -- has recorded nearly 75 cases of forced migration of Dalits in Gujarat, for which it has held at least two hearings. Wanting the state government to immediately ensure that the internally displaced Dalits are “properly rehabilitated, Parmar said, “Those who commit atrocities of this kind should be severely dealt with, even if they are forced to out of their districts.”
While the Dalit families from Porbandar were forced to leave their village on December 30, 2013, this was the second incident of imposed migration in less than then days in Gujarat. On December 22, 2013, as many as seven families of Morzam village of Nakhatrana taluka, Kutch district, were forced to migrate out and began living in makeshift tents in Makhana village. “At that time also we had demanded from the state government to come up with a contingency plan for the Dalit internally displaced persons. However, the officials have not taken any heed to this”, Parmar has pointed out.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen