National Convention for Dalit Rights on Nov 27

The Dalit Soshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) is organising a National Convention on November 27 in New Delhi at Constitution Club Annexe. In a press meet organised in New Delhi on November 3, 2014, the Dalit Soshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) has demanded the Central Government to call a Special Session of Parliament to discuss the issues concerning the dalits. They demanded a status report from the government on the number of Scheduled Castes employed in the private sector. The press meet was addressed by K Varadarajan and V Srinivas Rao. Those who were present at the press meet included
The Dalit Soshan Mukti Manch is a national level platform of organisations and individuals belonging to various states who have come together and have formed a national platform of action against caste discrimination and for social justice. The DSMM will fight against untouchability, social oppression, caste discrimination and attacks on dalits in various states and for economic empowerment of socially oppressed sections.
These organisations are:
• Pattikajathi Kshema Samithi in Kerala,
• Tapasili Jati Samanway Samiti in Tripura,
• Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TN)
• Kula Vivaksha Vyatireka Porata Sangham in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
• Dalit Utpeedan Virodhi Morcha in Himachal Pradesh,
• Karnataka Dalit Hakkagala Committee
• Jaathi Antha Sangharsh Samiti in Maharashtra
• Dalit Adhikar Manch in Haryana

And various other organisations in many states have been taking up issues of untouchability and atrocities on dalits and waging struggles. They have been organising various activities promoting the cause of social justice. The DSMM will also include people who have been consistently raising issues of social justice.
This Platform will also join the other socially oppressed groups and work in solidarity with those who are fighting for social justice.
In this endeavour, the DSMM seeks the support of all the democratic minded people to strengthen and galvanise the movement for social justice.
To fight social oppression and to promote unity among all dalits and other socially oppressed sections of the society, a National Convention is being organised on November 27 in New Delhi.
This Platform will be focussing and campaigning on the following issues:
• Untouchability
The inhuman practice of untouchability is still prevalent across the country making it impossible for the sense of brotherhood to prevail among the people. The eradication of untouchability is an important step towards attaining social justice.
• Caste discrimination
Various forms of caste based discrimination are practiced in our country. Right from tea stalls in villages to higher education institutes like universities, to disallowing dalits into temples, we find caste based discrimination on the people.
• Atrocities
Violence and atrocities on dalits are increasing. Whenever and wherever there is an assertion by the dalits for their rights, we see that they are being attacked. Incidents of ‘Honour’ killings are increasing across the country.

• Inequity and issues of land, wage and employment
There is a huge gap between the dalits and other sections of the society in terms of possessing assets. A large number of dalits are landless. They are economically exploited as a majority of them are agricultural labourers and there is discrimination in paying equal wages to dalits.

• Safeguarding MGNREGA
The rural employment guarantee Act has provided some amount of relief for the socially oppressed groups in the villages. To an extent, it paved way for lesser dependence on the upper caste/landlord sections. Now the government of India has decided to dilute it which is inimical to the interests of dalits. We need to protect MGNREGA and strive to ensure that the Act is further strengthened.

• Implementation of Civil Rights
Although the Constitution grants equal civil rights to all sections of the people, we witness that the situation in practice is not so. Dalits are denied these rights at every stage of life. Still many uncivilised practices are going on against the spirit of the Constitution.
• Issues of Reservation
There are many instances where the policy of reservations is not implemented properly. The rules are being flouted. Even now, there is no legislation for providing reservations in private sector.
• Recruitment
There are many posts lying vacant in the departments. A special drive must be undertaken to fill up all backlog posts.
• Non-implementation of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan
There are many instances where the PoA Act has not been implemented and there is laxity on the part of the authorities to invoke this Act. The SCSP is also not implemented as we see that the mandated allocations are never made in the budgets. For an effective implementation of SCSP, a law should be enacted to make this as a statutory one.
• Issues of Dalit women
The Dalit women face the worst forms of attacks and caste violence. Gang-rapes and rapes on Dalit women are increasing. They face the triple oppression based on caste, class and gender. This should end.
In their efforts to challenge and fight the scourge of caste and social oppression, the DSMM seekS the support and participation of all sections of people who believe in equality and democracy. It has appealed all the democratic minded people to make the November 27 Convention a huge success.

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