Friday, March 16, 2012

[ZESTCaste] In Solidarity with the Dalits of Bolangir! Down with dominant, upper caste violence! Smash Feudalism!

15 March 2012
In Solidarity with the Dalits of Bolangir! Down with dominant, upper
caste violence! Smash Feudalism!

By now we are aware of the heinous and brutal atrocities perpetrated
by the feudal upper caste marauders under the tacit consent of the
administration in Lathor in the Bolangir district of Odisha.
Retaliating against Dalit assertion in response to assaults and
humiliation by the upper castes, the latter razed to ashes an entire
Dalit basti as the inhabitants managed to flee. Still the Dalit
villagers are homeless, camped in a high school without adequate
relief and rehabilitation. DSU appeals to all students to
unequivocally condemn this upper caste violence and stand in
solidarity with the Dalits of Bolangir. The following is an appeal
from the Dalit activists of Lathor who continue to brave upper caste
intimidation and administrative apathy.

An Appeal from the targeted ones in Lathor for Solidarity and Aid:

Caste atrocity in Lathor, Bolangir district of Odisha.
More than 50 houses burnt by upper castes on 22/1/12.

The background of the incident is that a 9th class Ganda (Dalit) boy
Ganesh Suna went to purchase a T-shirt. He used to wear 2 shirts every
day but on that day he wore only a shirt. He went to buy a shirt.
Instantly the shopkeeper Bharat Meher and his brother Daya Meher,
called him back and accused him as a thief and beat him. When the boy
was on his way back home he met with an elderly man from the
community, Gouranga Suna, to whom he narrated what happened with him.
The elderly man asked the shopkeeper why he beat the boy. He also said
that if he stole the shirt the money could be have been paid instead
of manhandling the boy. But instead of paying attention to what the
elderly person said, the shopkeepers beat him (Gouranga Suna) too with
their footwears. The elderly person reported this to his family
members followed by which 4-5 Dalit youths went to the shop and had a
fight with them.
The upper castes reacted to this and went on a rampant attack on
Dalits in their Basti with weapons and sticks. Because the Dalit were
minority in number, so they could not face the violent force of the
upper caste mob. So they ran off their homes. Some of them went to the
forest, some went to the nearest villages and the women ran to the
Ghasia Basti (Scavenger) to save their life.
Taking advantage of the village being empty they went of to loot the
gold ornaments, expensive materials and set ablaze the entire Dalit
lane. They burnt all the certificates and valuable documents of the
students. The mob abused all Dalit women with derogatory language. The
Marwadi Agrawal traders distributed liquor and petrol free to ruin the
houses. Meanwhile some community members tried to register a FIR at
Lathor police station but the police refuse to register the case. The
incident became very serious and when media persons came to cover the
story, they beat the news reporter of Kanak TV and threatened the
Dharitri reporter Bhubaneswar Barik. They burnt tires to block all
road communication and further dug the road to prevent any vehicles
into Lathor.
According to OTV news the fire continued for more than 6 hour. The
upper caste mob attacked the fire brigade and burnt their vehicle so
that the fire was not extinguished till all the Dalit houses were turn
to ashes. From the current report there is not a single commodity or
food grains left. A case was registered and the police arrived there
at midnight.
On the 23 January morning the DIG reached the spot with another
battalion and ordered the fire brigade commandos to act. When the fire
stopped there was nothing left. Later between 10-11 am the
administrative officers like Tahasildar and BDO reached to have a
stock of the situation. A makeshift relief camp has been put in place
and the victims were distributed some biscuits, shawls and beaten
rice. The relief provided by government is insufficient. The
victimized and homeless Dalits need proper rehabilitation, adequate
help and psychological support.
They lost their houses, property, wealth, clothes, bikes, books and
they now are hopeless and homeless. It is estimated that wealth worth
more than 4 crores has been lost in this pyre show. The whole Dalit
Vasti is burnt, where more than 50 fifty families were living. The
children, women and men are displaced from homes. The situation is
very pathetic. In the face of this brutal attack by the caste Hindus,
the Police and the administration are unable to deliver justice to the
victims.From TV report the Odisha Chief Minister declared a
compensation of 1 lakh to each family. This is too less for restarting
their lives in a proper manner.
Details of the victims staying in Lathor Durgeswari High School in
temporary relief camp:
Number of victims:
Males: 60; Females=70; Boys =35; Girls=28 [Total=193(pre-natal=2,post-natal=1)]
Males above 50 yrs=10; Females above 50 yrs=13; School going students
below eight standard =28; Eight to +3 students=25
Minimum requirement per victim:
Male: Trouser: Rs.300; Shirt: Rs.250; underwear: Rs.50; Vest: Rs. 45;
Towel: Rs.70 [Total: Rs. 715]
Females: Sari: Rs.450; Inner garments: Rs.300 [Total: Rs.700]
Expected Aid in Solidarity:
Females: 70*Rs.700 = Rs.49,000; Males: 60*Rs.715=Rs.42,900
Boys: 35* Rs.400= Rs.14,000; Girls: 28*Rs.450=Rs.12,600 [TOTAL = Rs.1,18,500]

All Organization Meeting
30th January, Monday,
at 11am, in Teflas
Agenda: Plan a coordinated solidarity and aid campaign
for the targets of upper caste violence in Bolangir.

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