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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

Friday, August 11, 2006  
'Sophisticated Indians' not bothered about untouchabiliy

Indo Asian News Service
10 August 2006

Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh feels sad to see the disinterested attitude of 'so-called sophisticated Indians' towards the social scourge of untouchability.

'The agony, expectation and ecstasy of a large section of the country (Dalits) are not evoking any feelings of the so-called sophisticated Indians. I feel sad to see that we are not standing up against it,' the minister said at a book release function here Thursday.'Even 59 years after the independence, the social malice is still prevalent in our society. It is not there in any other country or society but it refuses to go away from our country,' he said.

He was speaking at the launch of 'Untouchability in Rural India', co-authored by Ghanshyam Shah, Harsh Mander, Satish Deshpande, Amita Baviskar and University Grant Commission chief S.K. Thorat and published by Sage Publication.Singh's efforts earlier this year to expand the scope of reservations for marginalized segments of the society in institutions of higher education were fiercely opposed by many students.

Making a cursory remark on his initiatives to increase education quotas, he said a section of the society that considers itself 'informed and educated' never stands up for a social cause and 'that's a danger'. 'They don't stand up about the problem that is affecting a vast majority. It's a scourge and we need to take affirmative steps to do away with the problem.

'Thorat said that the reservation policy and other affirmative actions were necessary to bring some relief to dalits.'

The book brings out the contradiction between the constitutional provisions on equality and its practice in reality,' Thorat told IANS. The book gives 'empirical evidence' of the plight of Dalits and the malice of untouchability in 11 states including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service
Link to the article

NB: To order this book in North and South America visit www.sagepub.com and in UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East visit www.sagepub.co.uk

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