People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 38

September 28 , 2008



CPI(M) Organises Demo On Dalit Issues

THE CPI (M), Delhi state committee held a protest demonstration on September 16, 2008

at the Delhi Secretariat against discrimination and lackadaisical attitude towards the rights of dalits in the city of Delhi. This was the second state level demonstration held by the CPI (M) on this issue this year. Hundreds of affected people from across the city participated in the demonstration.

The main demand of the protestors was for the educational advancement of dalits in Delhi and against the non-implementation of the schemes earmarked for them. The demonstration was based on the findings of a state wide survey of government and government-aided schools in dalit majority areas in Delhi by the CPI (M). Such areas suffer from a lack of adequate schools, discrimination during admissions, poor infrastructure and quality of teaching, lack of adequate schools offering science and commerce streams, mistreatment of dalit students (giving them the task of cleaning schools as part of NSS activities), and a virtual non-implementation of scholarship and freeship schemes. Even government statistics show that out of the 1,34,750 scholarships earmarked for SC students in Delhi during the 10th Five Year Plan, less than 40 per cent was actually disbursed.

The gathering was addressed by Vijender Sharma, Rampal, secretariat members of CPI(M), M L Malkotia (CITU), Albeena Shakil (JMS), Surender Rajak (DYFI) and Rohit (SFI). The speakers highlighted the persisting discrimination against dalits in areas of residence, infrastructure, health facilities, and governance and sharply criticised the state governmentís callous attitude to the plight of the dalits.

A memorandum was submitted to the chief minister of Delhi. Additional secretary, Anita Diwan received the memorandum. She failed to provide any explanation for non-action on the memorandum since February this year. She assured the delegation that there would be follow-up on the CPI (M)ís demands this time. The apathy of the Delhi government in this regard is disappointing.

The demand charter raised the following 21 points.

  1. Increase the outlay on the Special Component Plan(SCP) for the welfare of dalits to 17 per cent and ensure that all departments take up specific schemes for socio-economic development of the daltis based on their needs.

  2. Ensure full and proper expenditure of funds allocated for welfare schemes for dalits.

  3. Set up a state level commission to oversee the implementation of all schemes connected with the SCs including reservation.

  4. Increase number of scholarships; ensure proper availability of books and uniforms; build more hostels for dalit students. Implement central government scheme of free education from 9th class onwards up to Ph.D level for all dalits children whose family income is less than Rs one lakh a year and in the case of professional higher education for those whose family income is less than Rs two lakhs a year.

  5. Due to high fees, dalit students cannot take admissions in the colleges of Delhi University and therefore face many problems. Under a central government scheme, the colleges get back these fees after a few months and the colleges return the same to these students. In view of this we demand that the dalit students should not be asked to pay the fees at the time of admissions. This should be ensured at the time of admissions in the next academic session.

  6. Implement reservation for dalit students in private schools, colleges, technical/professional institutes. Introduce special professional training schemes for dalit students.

  7. Stop discrimination against students from dalit bastis in admission to schools.

  8. Introduce employment training programmes for modern professions like information technology, repair of electronic/electric goods, accountancy etc. for dalits.

  9. Simplify procedures of availing financial assistance by dalits for self-employment and technical training.

  10. Investigate anarchy and corruption in the SC/ST welfare department and the DSCFDC and rectify their functioning.

  11. Stop discrimination against dalit bastis in providing basic civic amenities like power, water, roads, drains, sanitation etc.

  12. Take steps to immediately implement schemes for making chaupals, public baths and latrines and ensure their cleanliness. Repair dharamshalas in dalit bastis.

  13. Construct new dhobi ghats and undertake repairs of existing ones.

  14. Implement scheme of providing financial aid for construction of houses by dalits.

  15. Reserve 17 per cent for daltis in allocation under government housing schemes, based on priority to their lowest earning sections.

  16. Provide greater financial assistance for improvement and upliftment of dalit bastis.

  17. Ensure speedy action against those guilty of perpetrating sexual harassment and violence on dalit women. End discriminatory attitude of the police in dealing with such cases.

  18. Provide dispensaries and primary health centres in dalit bastis and jhuggi clusters.

  19. Provide life saving drugs to dalits at subsidised rates.

  20. Bifurcate the Delhi SC/ST/OBC/Physically challenged financial development corporation and set up a separate corporation devoted exclusively to SC/ST welfare.

  21. Widely propagate declared schemes for dalit welfare, especially in dalit bastis, schools and colleges.