. . . . . . "Dalit Solidarity News" is an information project run by the International Dalit Solidarity Network. News stories are extracts from online newsservices. Link to the full story is found at the end of each blog. Visit the International Dalit Solidarity Network at www.idsn.org

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Formed in 2000, the IDSN is a network of international organisations, national solidarity networks and affected country groups, campaigning against caste-based discrimination throughout the world, from the dalits of South Asia to the Osu of Nigeria and the Burakumin of Japan. Visit our website International Dalit Solidarity Network for more information. SUBMIT DALIT NEWS HERE

Wednesday, January 14, 2004  
Dalit youths denied entry into Rajasthan temple
Press Trust of India, January 13

A Dalit body on Tuesday alleged that its members were denied entry into the famous Shrinathji Temple in Nathadwara in Rajasthan by upper caste Hindus.

About 35 volunteers of the Centre for Dalit Human Rights were not allowed to enter the temple on January 2 by upper caste Hindus, CDHR convener PL Mimroth told reporters in Jaipur.

The CDHR volunteers, who were participating in the 'National Dalit Swadhikar Rally' passing through the town, wanted to have 'darshan' in the Temple and had informed the local police of their desire well in advance, he said.

Despite this, they were prevented by upper caste Hindus from entering the Temple, Mimroth alleged.

Police failed to facilitate their entry though the Rajastha High Court had, in 1988, directed the state government to ensure entry of Dalits into Temples, he said.

The CDHR has submitted separate momoranda to Rajsthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, besides Chairmen of National SC/ST Commission, National Human Rights Commission and Rajasthan Human Rights Commission in this connection.

The CDHR has demanded strict enforcement of article 17 of the Constitution to ensure Temple entry of dalits, he said.

Asking Hindu organisations like the VHP to come forward to get entry of Dalits into temples, Mimroth said otherwise Dalits would be forced to think why they remained in Hindu fold facing such discrimination.

He expressed regret that none of the major political parties included the issues raised in Dalit manifesto, released by CDHR, in their poll manifestos in the recent assembly elections.


7:55 AM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004  
channelnewsasia, 12-01-2004
India's caste system under fire at anti-globalisation meet

NEW DELHI : India has for years fought to keep caste discrimination off the international agenda. But starting on Friday in Bombay, Hinduism's centuries-old social hierarchy will be a focus of fury for thousands of global activists.

The World Social Forum, the annual convention of the anti-globalisation movement which is being held in Asia for the first time, will take up caste as one of five main themes for its panels and protests.

By the estimate of New York-based Human Rights Watch, more than 100,000 atrocities including murder and rape are committed each year against Dalits, who in the view of Hindu traditionalists should not be allowed even to sit on the same bus seats as higher-caste Indians.

The Indian government, always sensitive to international criticism, in September 2001 moved to block caste from the agenda of the UN Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, arguing that it was already tackling a problem which was not racism.

Omar Abdullah, who headed the Indian delegation to Durban as junior foreign minister but is now out of the federal government, said he was not bothered by the focus on caste at the World Social Forum.

"At that time I was representing the government of India's position. But as an individual I recognise there is a problem," Abdullah told AFP.

"If there is an international forum that discusses caste discrimination, then fine," said Abdullah, who leads the main opposition National Conference party in Indian-administered Kashmir.

It is domestic concern that Dalit activists are hoping to spur by the high-profile meet in Bombay.

"Untouchability has been officially abolished for 50 years. Fifty years should be sufficient time to get into the bloodstream of the country," said Paul Divakar, convenor of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

For the full story, go to http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/65865/1/.html

9:27 AM

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