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.

A short history of privatisation in the UK: 1979-2012


From the first experiments with British Aerospace through British Telecom, water and electricity to the NHS and Royal Mail by guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 March 2012

CONSUMER Stamps Photograph: Martin Keene/PARoyal Mail is being auctioned, and not necessarily to the highest bidder (and stamp prices are going up). The London fire brigade is outsourcing 999 calls to a firm called Capita, at the behest of the oleaginous chair of the capital’s fire authority, Brian Coleman. Multinationals are circling hungrily around NHS hospitalsSchools are already beginning to turn a profit. In the technocratic nomenclature of the IMF, this would be called a “structural adjustment programme”, but that doesn’t really capture the sweeping scale of the transformation. We can see this through a potted history of privatisation in the UK.

• 1979-81: Experimentation

Thatcher At Harrier Factory Margaret Thatcher inspects a Sea Harrier aircraft at a British Aerospace factory, 1982. Photograph: John Downing/Getty ImagesThe Tories had long been committed to some policy of de-nationalisation. In response to the prolonged crisis of the 1970s, in which the Tories had struggled to maintain their parliamentary dominance, the Ridley report devised for the Thatcher shadow cabinet recommended a policy of breaking up the public sector and dismembering unions. Privatisation was at first subordinate to other policy themes, above all wage suppression to control inflation. But the first Thatcher administration did successfully introduce a degree of privatisation in some large public sector companies, above all British Aerospace and Cable & Wireless. At this stage, however, the focus was on privatising already profitable entities to raise revenues and thus reduce public-sector borrowing.

• 1982-86: Lift-off

tell sid A still from the ‘Tell Sid’ ad campaign, which you can view here Photograph: screengrabAmid the early 80s recession, the Tories had begun to propose privatisation as a potential panacea. Conservative MP Geoffrey Howe extolled the “discipline” of the marketplace. The emerging doctrine was that privatisation would make the large utilities more efficient and productive, and thus make British capitalism competitive relative to its continental rivals. In this period, the government sold off Jaguar, British Telecom, the remainder of Cable & Wireless and British Aerospace, Britoil and British Gas. The focus had shifted to privatising core utilities.

This policy did not emerge out of nowhere; it was fully embedded in the Hayekian ideas that had guided Thatcher and her cohort in opposition. But it did develop in relation to specific policy objectives. It was not just a question of stimulating private sector investment, but also of culture war intended to re-engineer the electorate along the lines of the “popular capitalism” vaunted by Thatcher, and announced in the infamous “Tell Sid” campaign.

Read full article here

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