Skip to main content

Casteist? Gujarat official supported social boycott of Dalit fair price shop owner: RtFC

By Our Representative 

The civil rights group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has taken strong exception to the order given by the district collector of Patan, Gujarat, to transfer all the ration cards from the Dalit Fair Price Shop (FPS) dealer to another village based on the social boycott that has been continuing against a Dalit dealer by the Thakor Community (upper caste) in Kanosan village.
District Collector Arvind Vijayan transferred the ration cards of all 436 households in Kanosan to the FPS in Edla village in an order dated 12 September 2023.
In a media communique, RtFC said, “This order came after the majority of the non-Dalit community of the Kanosan village stopped taking their monthly ration from the FPS run by Kanti Parmar (a Dalit). The Kanosan village with a population of around 2,200 has more than 90 percent of the Thakor community. The Dalit FPS dealer has been running the dealership for the last 30 years but for the last two years, a negative campaign started after a Thakor leader of the village was denied ration because of the invalidity of his ration card.”
it added, “The boycott of the FPS first started when fake allegations were put in for the poor distribution of ration on the ration dealer with the signature of 371 people in the Kanosan village and through conspiracy ration were being distributed with the help of POS machine of savarna FPS dealer from the neighbouring village.”
Stating that this led to a mental trauma on Kanti Parmar due to which he tried to commit suicide by consuming poison during the month of May 2021, RtFC said, “The intake of poison led to a serious injury in one of his legs and it had to be removed. After this, a case was filed against 5 people and they were put behind bars.”
“But”, noted RtFC, “In a span of one month, they were released on bail and soon a mass social boycott of the FPS run by a Dalit where the majority of the households in the village coming from the Savarna community stopped buying ration from him and wrote a letter to the district collector to transfer their ration card to neighbouring Edla village. Currently, the licence of the Dalit FPS dealer is on the verge of getting cancelled.”
This kind of caste-based discrimination against a Scheduled Caste person is clearly an atrocity under the law
Claimed RtFC, “This kind of caste-based discrimination against a Scheduled Caste person is clearly an atrocity that comes under the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 amended 2015 and such an act of injustice by the district collector to transfer ration cards of the villagers to other FPS should immediately be taken up as a suo moto cognizance by the chief secretary of the Gujarat government.”
It added, “The mental torture of a Dalit FPS dealer is caste-based violence that also violates the National Food Security Act which upholds the democratic empowerment of Fair Price Shops in the village by advocating giving distribution control to the marginalised community of the society.”
According to RtFC, “As per the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 amended 2015, Section 3(1) under which; (r): When an individual gets humiliated, (s): When an individual gets abused, (u): Creating a feeling of enmity, hatred and animosity against Scheduled Caste person, (Zc): Social exclusion of a person, family or group of a specific caste, (Za)(e): economic boycott, damaging the profession, employment, business, shop or any job are applicable in this case and 3(2)(va) as in this case the person has been forced to commit suicide, therefore, crimes of serious nature as per the sections of IPC along with other sections mentioned above needs to be applied immediately.”



'Draconian' Kerala health law follows WHO diktat: Govt readies to take harsh measures

By Dr Maya Valecha*  The Governor of Kerala has signed the Kerala Public Health Bill, which essentially reverses the people’s campaign in healthcare services in Kerala for decentralisation. The campaign had led to relinquishing of state powers in 1996, resulting in improvement of health parameters in Kerala. Instead, now, enforcement of law through the exercise of power, fines, etc., and the implementation of protocol during the pandemic, are considered of prime importance.

Reject WHO's 'draconian' amendments on pandemic: Citizens to Union Health Minister

By Our Representative  Several concerned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister to reject amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted during the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA75) in May 2022, apprehending this will make the signatories surrender their autonomy to the “unelected, unaccountable and the whimsical WHO in case of any future ‘pandemics’.”

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Bihar rural women entrepreneurs witness 50% surge in awareness about renewal energy

By Mignonne Dsouza*  An endline survey conducted under the Bolega Bihar initiative revealed a significant increase in awareness of renewable energy among women, rising from 25% to 76% in Nalanda and Gaya. Renu Kumari, a 34-year-old entrepreneur from Nalanda, Bihar, operates a village eatery that serves as the primary source of income for her family, including her husband and five children. However, a significant portion of her profits was being directed toward covering monthly electricity expenses that usually reach Rs 2,000. 

Work with Rajasthan's camel herders: German scientist wins World Cookbook Award 2023

By Rosamma Thomas*  Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are the only awards for international food culture. This year, German scientist  Ilse Kohler Rollefson , founder of Camel Charisma, the first of India’s camel dairies, in Pali district of Rajasthan, won the award for her work with camel herders in Rajasthan, and for preparing for the UN International Year of Camelids, 2024. 

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.

Why is electricity tariff going up in India? Who is the beneficiary? A random reflection

By Thomas Franco*  Union Ministry of Power has used its power under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003 to force States to import coal which has led to an increase in the cost of electricity production and every consumer is paying a higher tariff. In India, almost everybody from farmers to MSMEs are consumers of electricity.

'Pro-corporate agenda': Odisha crackdown on tribal slum dwellers fighting for land rights

By Our Representative  The civil rights network Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), even as condemning what it calls “brutal repression” on the Adivasi slum dwellers of Salia Sahi in Bhubaneshwar by the Odisha police, has said that the crackdown was against the tribals struggling for land rights in order to “stop the attempts at land-grab by the government.”

Deplorable, influential sections 'still believe' burning coal is essential indefinitely

By Shankar Sharma*  Some of the recent developments in the power sector, as some  recent news items show, should be of massive relevance/ interest to our policy makers in India. Assuming that our authorities are officially mandated/ committed to maintain a holistic approach to the overall welfare of all sections of our society, including the flora, fauna and general environment, these developments/ experiences from different parts of the globe should be clear pointers to the sustainable energy pathways for our people.

Hazrat Aisha’s age was 16, not 6: 'Weak' Hadith responsible for controversy

Sacred chamber where Prophet and Aisha used to live By Dr Mike Ghouse* Muslims must take the responsibility to end the age-old controversy about Hazrat Aisha’s age at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) – it was 16, not 6 (minimum was 16, Max 23 per different calculations). The Hadiths published were in good faith, but no one ever checked their authenticity, and they kept passing on from scholar to scholar and book to book.  Thanks to 9/11, Muslims have started questioning and correcting the Hadiths, Seerah, and mistranslations of the Quran. Now, the Ulema have to issue an opinion, also known as Fatwa, to end it and remove those Hadith entries. Mustafa Akyol, a scholar of Islam, implores Muslims to stop deifying “the received traditions” and critically study their religious past, shedding rigid legalism and close-mindedness. Someone else used the phrase “copycat Muslims” to identify scholars who copied what was given to them and passed it on without researching or questioni