Skip to main content

Gujarat Dalit rally in Surendranagar takes strong exception to calling human rights NGO Navsarjan anti-national

Women pay homage to four Dalits massacred on January 25, 1986
in Golana village of Central Gujarat
By Our Representative
Scores of poor people from several towns and villages gathered in Gujarat's Surendranagar town on Wednesday to protest against the cancellation of foreign funding license of Gujarat’s most well-spread-out Dalit rights NGO, Navsarjan Trust, taking strong exception to the reason for the Government of India order -- “undesirable activities of the association detrimental to national interest.”
Demanding reversal of the order on Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license, the protest took place to mark the 31st anniversary of the massacre of four Dalits in village Golana in Central Gujarat on January 25, 1986.
The event became the main reason for founding Navsarjan as a Dalit rights organization in Gujarat. A separate commemorative gathering took place at Golana, where Dalits paid homage to their colleagues who were killed three decades ago. 
“Are we anti-nationals because we struggle for our rights?”, was the general view among those who had gathered at the well-organized meet in Surendranagar. Among those who addressed the gathering included Navsarjan founder Martin Macwan, well-known social activist Uttambhai Parmar, Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch's Jignesh Mevani, outgoing Navsarjan executive director Manjula Pradeep, among others.
Martin Macwan and Uttambhai Parmar
in Surendranagar
Working in Surendranagar district since 1994, Navsarjan is known to have identified 6,000 acres of land in 251 villages of Limdi, Lakhtar, Sayla and Wadhvan talukas, where the land was handed over  to Dalits under land reforms following NGO intervention. Most of the land was either encroached upon, or had still not come under legal the possession of the Dalits.
As an eight-year-long mobilization, which included several representations and mass protests, did not help, a Public Interest Litigation in the Gujarat High Court resulted in the transfer of land to the Dalits.
More recently, Navsarjan carried out an anti-manual scavenging campaign in Surendranagar town and nearby villages, ensuring that the local administration takes concrete steps against the despicable practice called by Mahatma Gandhi as “shame of the nation.”
Addressing the gathering, Macwan pointed to how Navsarjan identified more than 1,500 children in the region, who were singled out for being Dalit by teachers to force them clean school toilets and urinals. “We staged a campaign against this, and things changed”, he added.
Pointing out that Navsarjan’s would continue despite the financial constraint imposed upon it by the Centre, Macwan hoped, people would come forward to support continuation of the school for dropouts Navsarjan had founded in the district with the support of foreign funds.
Noting how Navsarjan organized "vociferous protests" after the flogging of four Dalits at Saurashtra's Una town mid-last year in Surendranagar district, where many Dalits here continue their caste occupation of skinning the cattle carcass”, Macwan said, this was "one of the main reasons why the state targeted Navsarjan."
Wondering whether this could be called an anti-national activity, Macwan recalled how Dalits in Surendranagar district, under the leadership of a Navsarjan activist, emptied a truck load of carcass in front the office of the district collector to protest atrocity of Una. 
Yet another reason, he opined, was Navsarjan spearheading an agitation, forcing the state to order reinvestigation last year into a 2012 case in which three Dalit boys were gunned down in broad daylight by cops in Thangadh, a small town in Surendranagar district. 
"The youngest to be shot was a 15-year-old student studying in a school run by Navsarjan", Macwan said, adding, “The promises of swift justice to quell the protest by the government proved to be a mirage.” 
“Three years later", said Macwan, "The state closed the case, filing a ‘C’ summary report. The investigators ignored the fact that the accused were cops and the weapons used in the crime belonged to the state. In fact, the state approached the court to close down the case because of non-availability of the witnesses.” 
Planning more protests, Navsarjan will be participating in a programme in Rajkot, the main town of Saurashtra region, on January 26, following which a meeting would be organized in Bhavnagar district in February first week, 

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.