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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

Thursday, December 08, 2005  
Jury assails TN govt on elections to four Reserved Panchayats

7 December 2005

Chennai: An eight-member Jury today assailed the Tamil Nadu Government for ''lacking political will'' to conduct elections in four Reserved Panchayat constituencies in the state where Dalits were being prevented by caste Hindus from contesting polls.

The panel, including former Supreme Court judge V Ramasamy, former Madras High Court judge M S Janarthanam and former National Commission for Women Chairperson Mohini Giri, conducted a National Public Hearing on denial of political participation of Dalits in Keeripatti, Pappapatti, Nattarmangalam and Kottakachiyendal on June 14, 2005.

Releasing the report of the public hearing at a press conference here, Mr Justice Janarthanam said it was a 'national shame' that the political establishment had not found it necessary to draft a national policy for Dalits, promoting reservation, job opportunities, economic development, free education and ensuring political participation in all forms of Government.

Observing that the Dalits, who come forward to contest elections, were threatened by non-Dalits resulting in the resignation of the elected candidate in the four Panchayats, he said the dependence of Dalits on caste Hindus for employment was the major reason for the predicament.

In its recommendations, the jury urged both the Union and State Governments to strictly implement the right to equality and abolition of untouchability enshrined in the Constitution.

Exhorting political parties to evolve a strategy to conduct elections paving way for democratic governance, it also stressed that police officials and bureaucrats, who were found in connivance, should be prosecuted for dereliction of duty.

As many as 24 depositions, including ten Dalit victims and 14 representatives of various political parties, were made before the jury at the public hearing jointly organised by the Dalit Panthers of India, Human Rights Forum for Dalit Liberation, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and People's Watch-Tamil Nadu.

Link to the article

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