Skip to main content

Caste 'discrimination' of Dalits, Adivasis in quarantine centres: Demand for inquiry

Quarantine centres in Jharkhand: Representative image
Counterview Desk
A civil rights organization, Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JMM), has taken strong exception to what it calls “contradictory statements by government officials in caste-based discrimination case in the Hazaribagh Banaso Panchayat quarantine centre, demanding the state authorities must seek clarification from officials concerned as to “why the dry ration was arranged in the quarantine centre and why confirmation regarding the incident was given to media.
In a statement, JJM said, the whole matter should be re-investigated, and if found guilty, action should be taken against all those concerned people, and there should be strict monitoring in the entire state that there are no instances of discrimination in the quarantine centres.

Text:

On May 25, 2020, Prabhat Khabar reported that four Brahmin migrant labourers staying at the quarantine centre of Hazaribagh, Banaso Panchayat, Bishnugarh Block, refused to eat food cooked by a Scheduled Caste (SC) person. The Brahmins demanded the administration to give dry ration instead of cooked food. Thereafter, separate dry ration was arranged for these four by the Mukhiya.
In the report, the deputy commissioner (DC), Hazaribagh, Bhuvnesh Kumar Singh has been quoted as confirming that he talked with the block development officer (BDO) and for the four Brahmin migrant labourers, who had refused to eat dry ration was arranged. This news was also published in the "Times of India", along with the same statement by the DC confirming the incident.
When the administration arranges for separate ration rather than taking action in such a situation, it encourages discrimination and casteist thought and behaviour and is also complicit in the same and is as much of a culprit.
The issue was tweeted by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha and it was demanded that action should be taken on those who refused to eat, as well as on the administration, that was complicit in the discrimination, as it arranged for separate dry ration in the quarantine centre.
Other journalists, social workers, and aware citizens also raised this issue on Twitter. After this, the Jharkhand Police tagged Hazaribagh Police and asked to take cognizance of the case and to take action. On the same day, a video of the cooks in the quarantine centre of Banaso Panchayat also made rounds, in which they are saying that the newspaper report is concocted, and no such incident took place.
In that video, it is also clear that someone is dictating from behind the camera what to say. By the evening, the DC, Hazaribagh retweets Mahasabha’s tweet saying that the matter was investigated by the Additional Collector, after which the case was found to be baseless.
The next day, on May 26, 2020, "Prabhat Khabar" reported that everyone is having food in the quarantine centre, along with DC's statement that the situation is normal there and the caste discrimination issue has been found baseless in the Additional Collector's investigation.
Information has been received about caste-based discrimination in quarantine centres  of Bishnugarh, Simdega and Bolba blocks
Question arises: What was the foundation of the statement by DC on the previous day confirming the incident and stating that dry ration was arranged. The “Times of India” report also clearly stated that DC Bhuvnesh Kumar Singh had confirmed the incident. If the situation was normal, on what basis were the newspapers given the confirmation of the incident?
Information has also been received from other areas in Jharkhand about discrimination against Dalit/Adivasi people in quarantine centres (e.g. in Karbeda Panchayat of Simdega and Bolba Block). The Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha is against any kind of discrimination and strongly condemns it. In this event where the facts do not match, and the matter seems doubtful, Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha demands the following:
  • Clarification should be provided by the DC, BDO, and the Mukhiya as to why the dry ration was arranged in the quarantine center and why confirmation regarding the incident was given to the newspapers? Deputy Commissioner, Hazaribagh should provide clarification for his contradictory statements.
  • The information about the procedures adopted in the investigation by the Additional Collector should be made public. 
  • This case should be re-investigated, and if found guilty, action should be taken against all concerned people. 
  • There should be strict monitoring in the entire Jharkhand state that there are no instances of discrimination in the quarantine centres, and strict action should be taken if found. In any case, the constitutional and human values of equality should not be violated.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.