Dalit Sthree Sakthi has organized its 8th State Annual Conference on 4th March 2014 at Ravindra Bharathi, Hyderabad. The conference was presided over by Smt. Jhansi Geddam, Convener, DSS. The dignitaries on the dais were:
1. Sri B. Udaya Lakshmi, IAS, Commissioner-Tribal Welfare Department
2. Sri RS Praveen Kumar IPS-Secretary, Social Welfare Society
3. Sri Narra Ravi Kumar, Director DICCI
4. Sri Dr N Siddhoji, Officers Forum
5. Sri Anitha Mahadas, General Manager, Rail Tel
6. Sri Bobby-Pilot
7. Sri Padmavathi – GM, BSNL
Dalit activists, Dalit leaders and DSS Women Collective members from 7 districts have participated in large number. The conference commenced on a grand note at 10.00am with motivational songs sung by DSS cultural team.
Jhansi Geddam, Convener DSS has given the inaugural speech and thanked one and all who attended the conference wishing success of the movement of DSS which is for Equality, Equity and Equal Rights of Dalit Women. She said that though there are many other organizations which are working on different aspects, DSS is the only organization in the state which works exclusively for Dalit, Adivasi Women and Girl Children. She stated that the aim of the movement of DSS is to ensure that Dalit, Adivasi Women live like a powerful woman but not in an oppressed and depressed state.
Sri B Udaya Lakshmi IAS-Commissioner, Tribal Welfare Department has addressed the
conference and appreciated the efforts of DSS and its special focus on SC/ST (PoA) Act and suggested to provide more accessibility on schemes and entitlements for dalit women and also ensure that every dalit girl is educated. Government has introduced schemes like mid-day-meals and Pre-Metric scholarships for children up to 5th standard to avoid child laborers. She reminded that 122 Sub-Centers have been provided for medical accessibility to Tribal community. They can access medical services by using “Rajiv Arogyasri” card, similarly “Bangaru Talli” scheme. The land in Tribal areas cannot be occupied by others and it must belong to the Tribal community only.SC, ST Corporations can be used for the economic development. These corporations also provide various types of loans and trainings for youth based on their skills. She said that Government has arranged Residential Schools with a budget of Rs. 12 crores ech and all should join their children in these Residential Schools even if these schools are far away. In this conference awareness was given to make the people in villages aware of all such schemes so that they can access them. She appreciated various efforts of DSS and asked to concentrate more effectively on dalit women rights and entitlements. She reminded that implementation of SCSP/TSP Act is responsibility of all.
Sri Anitha Mahadas, General Manager, Rail Tel in her speech said that Dalit Adivasi women face problems like lack of education, health and discrimination. She said that everyone should focus more on education, health without wasting time for unnecessary things. We should utilize the schemes and entitlements provided by the government. She reminded that many cases of rapes, murders, cheating in the name of love etc were presented in the previous General Body Meetings and assured that she will always be ready to support the movement of DSS.
Sri Bobby, Pilot said that we need to initially change ourselves to bring up change in our children. In order to adopt the technology we need to change ourselves. If we have confidence, we can pass it over to our children. One should have belief in oneself. We should think for our growth. We should keep guiding our children about what is right and what is wrong. We should punish them when they do wrong and appreciate them when they do well. The words “Sthree Shakthi” itself indicate that we are powerful. First of all we should come out of the negative feeling that we are Dalits, we belong to a lower community and should come forward and take part in all the aspects.
Sri Padmavathi – GM, BSNL spoke about the vulnerability of dalit women and appreciated the women collectives for coming all the way to this conference at this juncture of uncertainty in the state. She desired that the dalit women present in the conference will march ahead in mainstreaming the dalit women cause.
Narra Ravi Kumar - Director, DICCI said that earlier we used to see the outer world only during pilgrimage but now we are able to see the entire world in our palms with the help of TV, cell phone, computer etc.The world has changed completely. We need to think about what our role in this change is and where we are. We are being treated as untouchables and living in poverty since long back. Even Gods and Goddesses we pray are since ages but we could not change our vulnerable scenario with prayers or devotions. Hence we instead of wasting time and money in worship, prayers etc should use the same time and money for the growth of our children. Though there were many great leaders in our country, Dr. B R Ambedkar was the
the only one who strived hard for better lives of dalits. Unless and until we, being half of the part of society, fight and achieve our rights we cannot get into mainstream. So we should first learn to question the evil without thinking that the issue does not relate to us. Usually we approach sarpanch or other political leaders if any problem arises but we can question them intensively only when we do not vote them just for money or liquor.
GDV Prakash- Program Manager of DSS has shared that DSS has made a research study
on the number of atrocity cases registered in the past three years (2010, 2011 & 2012), what is the present status of these cases etc. Addl. DG - PCR Cell has helped us in procuring the information of the cases from Police department. The total number of cases registered is 2587 out of which information of only 500 cases is furnished and the remaining was not available. On 4th February 2014 DSS has organized the Legal Clinic workshop with victims, witnesses and advocates from various districts and presented 22 major cases addressed by DSS to the Heads of PCR Cell, DoP and SWD departments and the officials promised to solve the pending cases immediately and to take forward the findings of the study.
Sri RS Praveen Kumar – IPS Secretary, Social Welfare Society has explained that his mother in her childhood used to do labor works. She was very much interested in education which was noticed by two teachers who got her educated. Later she secured a job as a teacher at Nallamalla forest of Mahaboobnagar district. As she knew the value of education she got
her 4 brothers educated and are in government departments. He said that his mother has made him to study in a hostel far away from their home for higher studies. During that time he thought that his mother was so impolite to leave him there. But later when he made his children to study far away from him, he came to know how painful it was for his mother when she left him in the hostel. He narrated how hard he studied and became IPS officer and how great life he is living today. He reminded that his mother used to make the children in their village to educate, but their parents stopped their studies. Among those students one named Vishranthamma was found as widow with two children who is of 18 years old when he recently visited the village. That is because Vishranthamma was forcibly made to stop studies, got married to an alcoholic. He quoted such few examples of how parents are wasting the lives of their children in the name of marriages. Therefore he advised never to disturb the studies of the children at any cost for worthless reasons and never step back to send the children far away for their studies.
Similarly he briefed few examples how liquor which is now available at a very low cost is ruining our lives and stated that it is nothing but the cultural oppression which we must think about and be careful.
He recommended that if we could take the successful dalits to their own villages and make them to tell their story about how hard they studied, worked and came into such position then the children and the youth in the villages might get inspired and confident which can lead to their success also.
He said that in the next 20 years the world would change very much and 47% of the jobs will be done by computers only. Today only 30% of the population is living in cities which will rise to 50% by 2034. Most of the labor and agricultural work will be done by machines. 50% of the army will be machines. “Hence no matter how poor you are and how hard you need to work, you should make your children well educated in cities, Universities etc so that they could live a good life in future” he advised.
Katam Raju a senior dalit leader appreciated the efforts of DSS and said that there are no basic facilities available in the government schools for our children. Girls are facing many problems in government Hostels. He appreciated DSS for its efforts and suggested DSS to work more intensively on these issues.
Siddhoji Rao from SC, ST Officer’s Forum said that Women are of three types. They are:
1) The women who have “feeling of differentiation”.
They feel more for even smaller injustice.
2) The women who feel according to the injustice.
3) The women who care very less for even major injustice.
To understand women one should understand these three aspects. Similarly domination is also of three types. They are Caste, Patriarchal and Class based domination. People who hold more responsibilities will dominate the people who hold fewer responsibilities. The more we hold responsibility the more we receive respect from the society. Only then we can achieve good results. We should not consider the dalit women equally to the dominant caste women. We should fight to eliminate caste system and untouchability.
Kancharla Seshu-RPI, respecting all the activists who are striving hard for the welfare of SCs and STs, said that Ambedkar has fought for our welfare and if only we follow his ideology, we can get a change in the society. He has also read a poem on dalit women.
Later DSS 8th Annual Report was released in the program. The English report was released by Sri B Udaya Lakshmi IAS-Commissioner, Tribal Welfare Department and the Telugu report was released by G Gnaneswar General Secretary of RPI.
DSS will work to provide qualitative childhood to dalit adivasi girl children and empower the dalit adivasi women towards sustainability.
To provide a conducive environment free from violence and vicious culture for dalit adivasi girl children
To strive for providing a violence free society for dalit adivasi women having equality in the aspects of socio, political, economic and cultural aspects.
To provide awareness on Acts, schemes and the prevailing conditions.
To provide awareness to the larger civil society on gender concepts and formulate strategies for prevention of violence.
To create awareness on prohibition of liquor and prevent the youth from falling prey to bad habits
To strive for coordination among the concerned departments and ensure that better services are provided for dalit women and girl children.
Keeping in view of the formation of new states, DSS will strive for the formulation of policies favorable for dalit, adivasi women and girl children.
The conference was concluded with the vote of thanks by P Susanna – State Coordinator.