Dalit community protests following violence in Indian state of Maharashtra
- The violence arose during celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, where low-caste Dalits sided with the British colonial army to defeat the upper-caste rulers of the region.
- The rally was allegedly attacked by a right-wing Hindu nationalists, leading to the death of a 28-year-old man and protests throughout Maharashtra calling for justice for Dalits.
- Demonstrations in Mumbai blocked highways and train stations, leading to mass arrests and violent clashes with police.
“Dalit protests: How Mumbai was shut down” (Al Jazeera | January 2018)
“Bhima-Koregaon violence: 3,000 Dalit youths detained, no action against right-wing leaders, alleges Ambedkar” (Hindustan Times | January 2018)
“Caste violence erupts in India over 200-year-old faultline” (CNN | January 2018)
“Indian Dalit recalls protest that paralysed Mumbai” (BBC News | January 2018)
Indian state strengthens property rights for slum-dwelling women
- Women living in slums in the state of Maharashtra will now hold ownership rights equal to men thanks to a new land title plan.
- The plan comes as the government seeks to regularize slums in the state, giving families land titles with joint ownership between marital partners.
- Though the development has been lauded, advocates warn that women continue to struggle to exercise equal rights once gained, with lack of education and intimidation perpetuating gender-based legal inequalities.
“India’s Maharashtra state to give women slum dwellers joint ownership rights” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
(Image Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)
Indian court grants women access to famous Islamic tomb in Mumbai
- The Bombay High Court ruled that trustees of the Haji Ali tomb could not ban women from entering the tomb, though the decision was stayed in anticipation of an appeal to the Supreme Court.
- Although India’s constitution protects religious groups’ rights to manage their own affairs, the Court invoked an exception for matters that are not “an essential and integral part of the religion.”
- The ruling follows a similar one earlier in the year allowing Hindu women access to temples in the state of Maharashtra.
“Indian Court Orders Haji Ali Tomb to Give Women Full Access” (The New York Times)
“Women can enter Haji Ali sanctum, rules HC” (The Hindu)
“Haji Ali: India court says women can enter Mumbai shrine” (BBC)
(Image Credit: Punit Paranjpe/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)
Indian state government causes upset through exclusion of religious school-educated students from definition of school-going children
- Maharashtra’s social justice minister stated that any child obtaining full-time religious education would not be counted as educated or in-school, including the children enrolled in one of the state’s 1890 registered madrassas.
- After politicians from multiple political parties called the declaration unconstitutional, the minister argued that the designation has been one followed by previous governments.
- Last month, the government instated a rule requiring madrassas to teach math, science, social science, and English in order to be eligible for government grants.
“The decision is against the Constitution. A number of students who studied in madrassas have successfully competed in competitive exams. The government must roll back the decision.”
Read the full story at The Hindu.
(Image Credit: Vivek Bendre/The Hindu)
Maharashtra state government issues show-cause notices to 10 Mumbai schools classified as “minority schools”
- The notices have arrived as officials claim the schools have not enrolled any minority students in the last three years in flagrant violation of the 51% admissions quota required for the special designation.
- Schools designated as “minority schools” receive special government assistance with infrastructure.
- Four of the ten schools are designated for either the Christian and Parsi communities, with the rest identified in association with the Jain community.
- Maharashtra has 2,490 educational institutions with minority status designations.
More on this story at The Hindu.