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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

Tuesday, June 22, 2004  
22 june 2004

Caste action group sets out its aims Jun 21 2004

By Fiona Scott

A new organisation which is campaigning to stop people being discriminated against in Britain on the basis of the Indian caste system is to hold its first major conference in Coventry.

CasteWatch UK is expecting guests from across the country at the conference in St Mary's Hall where speakers will include Coventry North-east MP Bob Ainsworth and Warwick University lecturer Dr Eleanor Nesbitt.

The voluntary organisation was formed nine months ago and is campaigning for caste discrimination to be included in the Equality Bill. It is also targeting trade unions to raise awareness of the issue.

Chairman Pashori Lal said: "Here in the UK there is no room for the caste system - or in India, or other places." The caste system dates back centuries on the Indian subcontinent and although it is often associated with the Hindu religion, it also affects the Sikh community.

It is rooted in a system under which society was divided into groups which had higher or lower status according to their jobs, with those carrying out the most menial tasks such as clearing drains being classed as "untouch-ables."

People were born into a caste for life and were not supposed to marry outside their caste.

CasteWatch UK said the system still operated in Britain and some people from lower caste families suffered discrimination as a result.

The conference is being held on Saturday, July 3.

Link to the story

7:05 AM

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