In the land of Gandhi and Modi, Dalits still render water ‘impure’ for others #WTFnews


 

 

Dailybhaskar.com | Jun 13, 2013,

 

Ahmedabad: Just 45 kms from the cosmopolitan hub of Ahmedabad, a village in Bavla Talika district has been found to be using caste as a parameter for distribution of water supply. On the scale, the highest castes of Rajputs and Patels have exclusive access to the well in the morning from 8 to 10 am, with Bharwas and Vaghris using the well from 10 to 12 am. Dalits, or Harijans as they are locally known, are only allowed access after 12 am till 2 pm.
According to a report, the pipelines carrying water are also arranged so each caste has a different one for their exclusive use. While the two upper castes can and do use each other’s water interchangeably, graphic warnings levying ‘strict penalties’ on Dalits if they are caught using others’ water decorate the surrounding walls.
In fact, a DNA correspondent notes that so ‘derogatory are the pictorial prohibitions and the language used in them that the person who wrote them could be easily charged under Atrocities Act.
Surprisingly, the casteist practise has the backing of village panchayat.
“We have put up the notice to streamline water distribution as we have separate pipelines for areas where people of different castes reside,” Pratapsinh Dodia, the husband of sarpanch Nimisha Dodia was quoted saying by DNA.
“And people don’t like when those from other communities use the same well. Villages are different from cities,” he conceded.
Throwing light on what upper castes call ‘tradition’,  local NGO Navsarjan Trust workers told DNA that even Dalits have stopped protesting against ‘inferior treatment’ as they have become used to it. Startlingly, coordination officer of the NGO Ramila Parmar was quoted by DNA claiming that such water distribution procedure can be found all over the state.
“We have lodged a complaint with the chief minister via e-mail. We are surprised by such things happening in the constituency of panchayat minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama,” said Navsarjan project director Kirit Rathod.

 

 

Dalit boy forced to carry footwear on his head as punishment, wary Dalits flee #WTFnews


By Harish Murali | ENS – MADURAI

08th June 2013

Pechiammal (61), the grandmother of Dalit boy Arun Kumar who was forced to walk on streets where caste Hindus reside carrying his footwear on his head at Vadugapatti near Usilampatti, is worried about the future of her grandson.

“After my daughter Nagammal gave a police complaint against a caste Hindu youth for humiliating her son Arun Kumar, both have left for our relative’s house fearing for their lives,” said Pechiammal, who was seen sitting alone in the house at Vadugapatti. The village wore a deserted look on Friday, while the caste Hindus ‘closely monitored’ the movement of those Dalits who dared to venture out.

Narrating the atrocities that happened to Arun Kumar, Pechiammal said, “My grandson went to the Kallar Government High School to check his annual exam result. When he was returning, he walked barefoot following the ‘dictum’ of the caste Hindus, carrying his footwear in his hand. However, when he saw a group of students playing cricket, he stopped to watch the game. Unable bear the heat, he put the footwear down and stood on it. It was then that caste Hindu youth Nagamaalai spotted my grandson and forced him to walk carrying the footwear on his head.”

“What happened to Arun Kumar is not unusual. Since Nagammal filed a police complaint, the caste discrimination in our village has come to light,” said a cross-section of Dalits.

About 70 Dalit families live in a ‘colony’ (secluded area earmarked for Dalits) in the village. However, none of them are allowed to walk wearing footwear in the streets of caste Hindus. “We also walk barefoot to a ration shop which is located in the caste Hindu area,” said Alagar (33), a resident.

Violence in Dalit hostel: NHRC issues notice to HRD Ministry


BS|  New Delhi  June 5, 2013

The National Human Rights Commission today issued a notice to the Union HRD Ministry over alleged caste-based discrimination and violence in a hostel of Dalit students in Patna University.

According to an NHRC statement, the Commission issued notice to the Secretary of the ministry and has given him four weeks time to respond.

The notice was issued after the rights panel took cognisance of a media report alleging fierce caste-based discrimination and violence in the PU hostel accommodating Dalit students.

The panel has also received a complaint from an NGO, Navsarjan Trust of Ahmedabad, quoting media reports that 18 Dalit students committed suicides during the last four years in premier educational institutions including IIT-Mumbai, IISc-Bengaluru, IIT-Kanpur, AIIMS, the statement said.

It has observed that the news report, if true, reflects widespread prevalence of discrimination towards Dalits in the educational institutions driving them to take extreme steps.

“The state has the responsibility and duty to ensure that an atmosphere is created in educational institutions wherein everyone, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, can pursue studies. The Constitution has also elaborate provisions to stop discrimination against the Dalits,” the statement said.

 

UN calls for strengthened protection of more than 260 million victims of caste-based discrimination


United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

 

 

 

 

Continued plight of the ‘untouchables’

UN experts call for strengthened protection of more than 260 million victims of caste-based discrimination

GENEVA (24 May 2013) – They occupy the lowest levels of strict, hierarchical caste systems founded on notions of purity, pollution and inequality. They face marginalization, social and economic exclusion, segregation in housing, limited access to basic services including water and sanitation and employment, enforcement of certain types of menial jobs, and working conditions similar to slavery.

They are the Dalits of South Asia, who constitute the majority of victims of entrenched caste-based discrimination systems which affect some 260 million stigmatized people worldwide, people considered ‘untouchable’.

Caste-based discrimination remains widespread and deeply rooted, its victims face structural discrimination, marginalization and systematic exclusion, and the level of impunity is very high,” a group of United Nations human rights experts warned today, while urging world Governments to strengthen protection of the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who suffer from discrimination based on work and descent.

“This form of discrimination entails gross and wide-ranging human rights abuses – including brutal forms of violence,” they said. “Dalit women and girls are particularly vulnerable and are exposed to multiple forms of discrimination and violence, including sexual violence, on the basis of gender and caste. Children victims of caste-based discrimination are more at risk to be victims of sale and sexual exploitation.”

On this day, two years ago, the experts recalled, Nepal adopted the ‘Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability Bill’, a landmark legislative piece for the defense and protection of the rights of Dalits. A recent decision by the British Government in April 2013 to cover caste discrimination by the Equality Act serves as a good practice to protect Dalits in diaspora communities.

“We urge other caste-affected States to adopt legislation to prevent caste-based discrimination and violence and punish perpetrators of such crimes, and call on world Governments to endorse and implement the UN Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent.”*

The UN experts expressed concern about a serious lack of implementation in countries where legislation exists, and called for effective application of laws, policies and programmes to protect and promote the rights of those affected by caste-based discrimination. “Political leadership, targeted action and adequate resources should be devoted to resolving the long-standing problems, discrimination and exclusion faced by Dalits and similarly affected communities in the world,” they stressed.

“Caste-based discrimination needs to be addressed as a major structural factor underlying poverty,” the expert said, while welcoming the acknowledgment of caste-based discrimination as a source of inequality by the global consultation on the post-2015 development agenda.

However, they expressed hope that the agenda will also include specific goals for the advancement of Dalits and particularly affected groups. “Their specific needs require tailored action to lift them out of poverty and close the inequality gap between them and the rest of society,” they underlined.

“We will pay specific attention to the particularly vulnerable situation of people affected by caste-based discrimination and advocate for their integration and inclusion so that they can fully enjoy their human rights in accordance with international human rights law and national legislation”, the UN independent experts said.

“No one should be stigmatized; no one should be considered ‘untouchable’”.

The experts: Rita IZSÁK, Independent Expert on minority issues; Rashida MANJOO, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Gulnara SHAHINIAN, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and its consequences; Najat Maalla M’JID, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; Mutuma RUTEERE, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Catarina de ALBUQUERQUE, Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; Magdalena SEPÚLVEDA, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

(*) UN Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent:
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session11/A-HRC-11-CRP3.pdf

For further information on the experts mandates and activities, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Marta Franco (+41 22 917 9268 / mfranco@ohchr.org) or write to minorityissues@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

 

 

 

 

Haryana- Dalits flee Haryana village after upper caste attacks


, TNN | Apr 16, 2013, 0

Dalits flee Haryana village after upper caste attacks
More than 100 Dalits fled a small Haryana village after being chased by upper caste goons, angry that a Dalit man had dared to marry one of their girls.
KAITHAL: As politicians and administrators in many northern Indian states were preparing to celebrate Dalit icon B R Ambedkar’s 122nd birth anniversary this weekend, more than 100 Dalits were fleeing a small Haryana village after being chased by upper caste goons, angry that a Dalit man had dared to marry one of their girls.

Meena and Surya Kant of Pabnama village in Kaithal were in a relationship for the past two years and they tied the knot on April 10. But their happiest moment in life turned tragic for the entire village. The marriage – with Meena, from a community called the Rods and Surya, a Dalit – led to a bloody clash on Saturday that forced Dalit men and women to flee, fearing violent reprisals. Members of the Rod community attacked Dalits, injuring 10 people, including seven cops.

The couple has been living in a Kaithal town under police protection following instructions from the Punjab and Haryana high court last week.

Even two days after the violence, Dalits are still in a state of shock and not ready to return to the village. Except a few youths and elders, no women and children were present in the village. Several have gone to their relatives’ places and a few are living in dharamshalas in Kurukshetra.

Ram Swaroop, a Dalit, said, “We agree that the marriage was against social norms. But why is the family of the groom and the entire community being targeted as we have no role in their marriage?”

He said it had become difficult for their families to return to the village under the circumstances as they could be assaulted again.

However, peace brokers were trying to calm things down. The two communities have formed separate committees to hold talks to sort out the differences and to restore peace in the village. Realizing that the couple could not be separated, the villagers on Monday started compromise talks.

Sarpanch Husan Singh told TOI, “As the couple remained firm on their decision to stay together, the villagers, including their family members, have left them to their fate. Members of both the communities held peace talks and I am hopeful that both would reach a compromise soon,” he said.

A villager, who had talked to the couple, said both of them ruled out any possibility of parting ways even though the Rods had been pressuring them to break off. During a meeting of village elders, 20-year-old Meena, a student of BCom final year in Kaithal College, made it clear that “she would prefer to die rather than separating from her husband.”

The sarpanch said it was impossible for the couple to enter the village as they did not abide by the sentiments of the villagers. Recalling the violence on Saturday, he said, “Some youngsters have attacked Dalit houses in a fit of rage but the village elders have sorted out the issue now.”

However, a Dalit youth, Lakhmi Chand, alleged that there was pressure on the Dalits to strike a compromise and not to press for arrest of the attackers.

“Both the communities have formed peace committees which met today to discuss the issue. The Rods are persuading us to withdraw the cases and assured that our security would be ensured in the village. But we are still unsure and our women and children are still away,” he said.

Kaithal SP Kuldeep Singh said the situation was under control on Monday and police personnel were deployed in the village. “The villagers from both the communities are making efforts to sort out the issue. The administration is cooperating with them in this initiative,” he said.

 

#India – A love affair is the reason for denial of work to Dalits #Vaw #WTFnews


R. ARIVANANTHAM, The Hindu 

Dalit women explaining their woes of discrimination at Deveerahalli village on Thursday. Photo: N.Bashkaran

Dalit women explaining their woes of discrimination at Deveerahalli village on Thursday. Photo: N.Bashkaran

Over 300 Dalit families of Deveerahalli Village, of Kudimenahalli Panchayat, in Krishnagiri district allege that they are being denied work by intermediate castes of the village and of six other nearby villages. The reason behind this, they say, is that a Dalit youth in their area had fallen in love with a girl of an intermediate caste from Sathinayakkanpatti under Damodarahalli Panchayat.

The girl is back with her parents after the youth’s parents wanted her to go back, as they feared the type of mob fury which was unleashed on three colonies in nearby Dharmapuri district, over a similar issue in November last year. But, the boycott of the Dalits of the Krishnagiri village continues though the affair had come to light in December and the girl had gone back to her home.

Intermediate castes have banned Dalits from working on their agriculture fields, brick kilns and other income-earning activities since then. The decision to bar them from such forms of employment was allegedly taken by a ‘khap panchayat’ — a council of older persons who issue decrees to their community members on matters such as marriage — consisting of the leaders of seven villages, in and around Sathinayakkanpatti and Deevarahalli, on December 24 last year, alleged A. Manikandan, district convener of Naam Tamizhar Katchi.

Many Dalits, who have also taken up the lands of intermediate caste on lease, for cultivation of crops, lost lakhs of rupees due to the economic boycott. They were not allowed to step into the farm lands. M. Kumar (37), who is District president of HIV Positive Network, said, “After the incident in December, the neighbouring landowner refused to give water for irrigating my ragi crop, cultivated on half an acre. I was forced to buy water from another village and bring it by tractors to save my crop’’. S. Salamma (45) of Deveerapalli village says she has two young sons to take care of. As her husband, a daily wage earner, has been rendered jobless because of the boycott, the family is totally dependent on the earnings from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) works and the free rice distributed through the public distribution system.

M. Chitra (30), mother of two male children, said, “There is no discrimination at the MGNREGS worksite, but the intermediate castes stopped speaking to us after the order of the khap panchayat”.

The decision taken at the khap panchayat allegedly ordered that Dalits should not be employed under the MGNREGS also. But, it was rejected by the village panchayat president K. Murugesan. Himself a member of an intermediate caste, he told the village leaders that he could not indulge in discrimination as the head of a local body. The parents of the youth and the girl could not be contacted for their comments.

X. Irudayaraj, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, and G. Sekar, District Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), added the police and revenue authorities should take action against those indulging in the boycott of Dalits, which denied them livelihood.

Stating that his inquiry found a boycott of the Dalits, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bargur, G. Gajendran said, on Saturday, that he would conduct a meeting between the Dalits and caste-Hindus. As for the love affair, Mr. Gajendran said that even before a formal complaint was lodged by the girl’s family, a police team visited the village and took all possible measures to prevent any untoward incident, and the girl returned to her parents.

UK wakes up to caste bias


Shalini Nair : London, Tue Mar 26 2013, IE
FP

For a place that is only one-fifteenth the size of London, Coventry has a large number of gurdwaras. Even that might not have seemed so incongruous considering that Sikhs are the largest ethnic minority in this Midlands town — but for the fact that caste-based, dividing lines are drawn within and among these places of worship.

Earlier this month, Britain took the first step towards formally acknowledging that caste-based discrimination exists, with the House of Lords voting in favour of including the concept in the Equality Act of 2010. If it gets the approval of the House of Commons, it will become unlawful to discriminate on the basis of caste in areas of employment, education and the provision of services.

“Caste will be added to the list of nine ‘protected characteristics’ in the equality legislation which at present includes race, sex and religion,” said Lord Eric Avebury, a Liberal Democrat peer, who was among those instrumental in moving the amendment. “The government’s inadequate proposals so far only advocate education as a means of eradicating caste, without providing for legal safeguards.”

The amendment has tread a protracted path due to the government’s reservations in the face of opposition from two influential Hindu organisations, and denial among dominant Sikh groups about the prevalence of casteism.

Discrimination in the UK is the result of tenaciously holding on to a sense of caste-based identity in a new homeland, with the hostility continuing from one generation to the next.

Ram Lakha, former mayor of Coventry, explains how since the establishment of the town’s oldest temple, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash, in the ’60s, there has been a gradual alienation of the lower castes who soon set up their own temples. Thus emerged the two Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha temples and Maharishi Valmiki temple besides several others.

Lakha himself battled caste prejudices when he was first elected a councillor from an area with a sizeable South Asian population in 1989. “When the local Brahmin leaders got to know that I am from a Dalit community, they started lobbying against my candidature. The only option for me was to contest the next election from the predominantly white neighbouring constituency,” said Lakha, a Labour councillor for 23 years now.

Besides Coventry, UK‘s estimated 480,000 Dalit population is mostly concentrated across 22 areas including Birmingham, Leicester, Bedford, East London and Southall.

At work and at school

As the House of Lords debated the amendment this month, scores from most of these places gathered at Parliament Square to make their voices heard. Most were first- or second-generation immigrants from Punjab with stories to tell — about being denied the right to distribute prasad in a gurdwara or perform puja in a temple in the UK, about children facing bullying in schools, about people being singled out at the workplace despite having adopted caste-neutral last names, about businessmen who found that their success couldn’t protect them from prejudices.

Legal recourse has not been an option, for local officials or office managements often don’t even understand the connotations of caste.

Anita Kaur, 40, of Leicester was born in Britain and raised with a surname that doesn’t reveal much about her ranking in the caste hierarchy. Nonetheless, she faces brazen queries about her caste at community clubs and temples. Her attempts at shielding her daughter from all this have not been impenetrable either.

“Sikhism doesn’t recognise caste. Page 349 of the Guru Granth Sahib says, ‘Do not enquire about one’s caste’,” says Kaur. “Still my daughter gets asked about her caste at school by other children from the community. And when she replies that she doesn’t know, she is told, ‘Go home and ask your parents’.”

The first case of alleged caste discrimination to be reported in UK newspapers was in 2010, that of Vijay Begraj and his wife Amardeep, both 34. In the absence of any legal framework on caste, they are still contesting their case at a Birmingham employment tribunal. As a business and finance manager at a law firm, he had worked his way up for six years, the same firm where she was a solicitor. Born in Britain, they believed this alone was their identity until it was redefined for them the day they decided to get married. Since then, he has been a Hindu Dalit and she a Sikh Jat.

“Our parents had absolutely no problem with our alliance,” says Vijay, whose father had emigrated from Punjab four decades ago and thought the baggage of caste hierarchy was behind him. “But then my three bosses found out that a girl from their community was planning to marry someone from a ‘lower’ caste.” He says that from warning her that “these people are different creatures” to sending him emails with excerpts from the scriptures reminding him of his ascribed subordinate status, his superiors at work did everything to dissuade them from marrying. Their detailed account — harassment, snide remarks, denial of pay hikes and promotions, culminating in his dismissal after seven years in service and her resignation — has been placed before the tribunal.

Satpal Mumum of Caste Watch UK says a member of his group deposed as an expert witness in Vijay’s case to explain the connotations of caste to the court. “In the evening when he returned home, the windows of his house were smashed,” he said.

Foreign concept

The government’s reluctance over discrimination legislation for caste was largely based on the uncertainty over its prevalence in the UK. The Government Equalities Office commissioned a report to establish the extent of such discrimination if any. The report, released in December 2010, was emphatic in its finding that there is a need for both discrimination and criminal legislation. It notes that while the caste system had its origins in Hinduism, in the UK it is particularly entrenched in Sikh communities. It cites several cases of alleged discrimination, overt and subtle, against Ravidassias and Valmikis by Jat Sikhs.

A 2009 study by the Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance, with academics from three British universities, found 58 per cent of the 300 people surveyed confirming they had been discriminated against because of their caste, and 79 per cent pointing out that the UK police wouldn’t have understood if they had reported such discrimination as a ‘hate crime’.

Another study, in 2006 by the UK Dalit Solidarity Network, went into caste prejudices in temples, the workplace, politics, health care and education. In a foreword to the report, Jeremy Corbyn, DSN chairman and MP, notes that prejudice “has been exported to the UK through the Indian diaspora. The same attitudes of superiority, pollution and separateness appear to be present in South Asian communities now settled in the UK.”

Corbyn told The Indian Express, “I represent a constituency in Central London where this is much less prevalent unlike in many other places outside where it is a serious human rights violation, one that is difficult to prove unless the legislation is in place.”

 

Press Release-We have to move beyond Ambedkar for realization of the Dalit emancipation


 

Press Release
(Press release in hindi and punjabi are attached)
Last day of the national level seminar on “Caste Question and Marxism
We have to move beyond Ambedkar for realization of the Dalit emancipation
Chandigarh16 March.Ambedkar waged a fierce struggle against the caste question and untouchability and created a new awakening in the dalits but he failed to put forward a all-out project for emancipation of dalits and from Ambedkar’s philosophical, political, economic and social thought, no pathway is possible to draw out for the dalit emancipation. So, for taking the struggle against caste system and untouchability to its end, we have to move beyond Ambedkar.
            While presenting his write-up on the topic “Ambedkar and Dalit Emancipation” in the Fourth Arvind Memorial Seminar going on here in Bhakna Bhavan, editor of Punjabi magazine ‘Pratibadh’ Sukhwinder said that while achknowledging the historical progressive role of the Ambedkar and the social-reformist movements in their leadership, it is not possible to ignore his limitations.
            He said that today there are attempts going on to forge a compromise between Marxism and Ambedkarism but there are fundamental differences between the two ideologies. Marxism puts forward the pathway of Class struggle for ending the class divisions, exploitation of one man by other man and taking the socialism to the stage of classless society whereas Ambedkar’s politics does not move an inch beyond the policy of some reforms while remaining a part of the capitalist system. In his detailed paper Sukhwinder presented well elaborated analysis of philosophy, politics, economics and historiographic ideas of Ambedkar and said that while achknowledging the historical progressive role of the Ambedkar and the social-reformist movements in their leadership, it is not possible to ignore his limitations.
            He said that dalits have to remember the words of Shaheed Bhagat Singh that path of slow reforms will give nothing to dalits, they have to get ready for a social revolution and a political & economic revolution.
            Famous writer and professor in Jawahar Lal Nehru university, Prof. Tulsi Ram said that greatest contribution of Ambedkar lies in the fact that he attacked the divinity of caste system. Criticizing the paper presented by Sukhwinder, he said that the paper has overlooked the revolutionary role of Buddhist philosophy. Ambedkar too has to be understood while considering the historical limits in which he lived. He talked in detailed about the evils of Hindu religion and said that brahmanists destroyed the Buddhist religion because it opposed the caste system. Prof. Tulsi Ram said that the state capitalist model proposed by Ambedkar was not less progressive than the state socialist system of Russia in any respect.
            Disagreeing on many points with Prof. Tulsi Ram, editor of Ahwan magazine Abhinav said that his explanation is not in unison with the historical facts. Ambedkar said fought against the caste system but this does not prove that his project of caste emancipation was the correct path. Who has the correct understanding of the problem, only that person can propose the correct way for solving that problem. But this is the thing that is lacking in Ambedkar. He strongly criticised the idea of Prof. Tulsi Ram that social movements should be given more importance than the political movements. Social movements always remain confined to the reforms while keeping the question state-power on the fences.
            In the evening session yesterday, Prashant from BR Ambedkar college, Delhi presented his write-up on identity politics. Ninu Chapagai, Shivani, Asit Das, Shabdeesh, Tapish Mandola, Dr. Sukhdev, Kashmir Singh, Satyam were among many other participants who took part in intense discussions that continued in late evening.
            Today’s session was presided over by Prof. Tulsi Ram, poetess Katyayani and Debashish Barat from Chintan Vichar Manch, Patna.
            — Meenakshy (Managing Trustee), Anand Singh (Secretary)
Arvind Memorial Trust
For more information, please contact:
Katyayani – 09936650658, Satyam – 9910462009, Namita (Chandigarh) –  978072412

 

No escape from caste prejudice even in UK #discrimination #humanrights


By, TNN | Mar 16, 2013,

No escape from caste prejudice even in UK
Many Indians in the work place say they have faced a great deal of harassment from other Indians on grounds of caste.
LONDON: If you happen to be of Dalit origin, or from the so-called lower castes, migrating out of India may not help you escape discrimination. India’s infamous caste system has reared its ugly head in the United Kingdom.School children from the lower castes have been taunted with casteist slurs like “bhangi” and “chamar” from other Indian school children of a higher caste. Many Indians in the work place say they have faced a great deal of harassment from other Indians on grounds of caste.

This has resulted in widespread protests across England. Human rights activists and Dalit organizations in the UK are campaigning for the enforcement of a clause in UK Equality Act that mentions the Indian caste system.

One of the worst instances of discrimination took place in central England, in a city called Coventry. “An elderly Dalit lady was receiving home care from the city council, who would send a council worker to her house to bathe her. One of the council workers happened to be an Indian of a higher caste. When she discovered the lady was Dalit, she refused to give her a bath,” says Lekh Pall, an activist with the Anti-discrimination Alliance.

Harbans Lal Bali, a retired employee of UK’s Royal Mail, who lives in the suburbs of London, recalls the harassment he faced at the Post Office when he was temporarily promoted to the post of supervisor. “I got to know that some of the people under me, who were Indians of a higher caste, complained to the management about my promotion. They said that they were not used to taking orders from people of my caste,” he says.

There has also been an instance where an Indian of a lower caste was in a relationship with another Indian from a higher caste in the same office. Both were asked to leave their jobs by their employer, who was an upper caste Indian.

Lekh Pall was amongst those who campaigned for the inclusion of caste under the Equality Act 2010, as a form of racial discrimination. “We presented the House of Lords with a great deal of evidence when the Bill was being passed. They made an amendment to the Bill and included caste as an aspect of race. When the Bill was sent to the House of Commons, ministers were in favour of conducting their own study on the subject before including it in the law,” he adds.

The UK government commissioned a nation wide study on the issue and came out with a report showing that there was “evidence suggesting caste discrimination” in the UK with regards to “work (bullying, recruitment, promotion, task allocation), provision of services and education (pupil on pupil bullying)”. Though the Equality Act does mention caste, Dalit organizations say they are upset that this clause has yet to be enforced.

#India- inter-caste marriage- couple faces threat to lives



Tribune News Service

Priyanka and Suresh fear threat to their lives due to their inter-caste marriage.
Priyanka and Suresh fear threat to their lives due to their inter-caste marriage. A Tribune Photograph

Sirsa, December 16
A newly wedded couple is facing threat to its lives for breaking customs and marrying outside their castes.

Priyanka Kaswan, who belongs to a Jat family from Panniwala Mota village in Sirsa, married Suresh, a Dalit youth from Kheowali on December 14.

Since their marriage, the couple is living under threat from the girl’s family members and some other close relatives.

“When we went to the district courts to seek security for us immediately after our marriage, Raja Kaswan, my close relative, came there and warned us that both of us will be liquidated,” Priyanka alleged in her complaint addressed to the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA).

Both Priyanka and Suresh have given identical complaints to the CJM-cum-secretary of the authority to Advocate Usha Kaswan, a lawyer on the panel of the DLSA.

The couple said they had again received threatening calls from Priyanka’s brother. He threatened to kill them once they came out of the protection home. Suresh has also expressed apprehension of threat to the life of his family members.

Meanwhile, couples staying in the protection home complained of poor amenities, broken windowpanes, and lack of cleanliness. “There is no kitchen where we can cook food and we have to order food from outside,” alleged the couples.