. . . . . . "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

Friday, September 29, 2006  
EU: EP adopts report on economic and trade relations with India

28 September 2006

Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on EU's economic and trade relations with India. The report calls on the EU to support India's international trade potential as well as efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in particular by stepping up trade-related aid to address infrastructure and administrative bottlenecks.

MEPs welcome both India and the EU's commitment to a successful and ambitious outcome of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Parliament calls to this end on India to use its position as leader of the G20 to reach, by the end of 2006, a balanced agreement favourable to development between the developed countries, the emerging economies and the developing countries.


MEPs call on the EU to offer to enter into a free trade agreement with India, along the lines of its agreement with Chile, which provides for duty-free entry for the exports of both parties on a reciprocal basis, and calls on the High Level Trade Group to explore mutual opportunities in this regard.


EU-India co-operation
MEPs welcome the fact that the EU and India committed themselves to strengthening dialogue and engagement, including on human rights, as strategic partners at the sixth India-EU Summit on 7 September 2005, as reflected in the Joint Action Plan, which also includes development cooperation, giving importance to environmental sustainability and to social and economic cohesion. MEPs ask that an ongoing dialogue be maintained in the field of human rights within the strategic partnership. The report in this context, congratulates India's National Human Rights Commission on its independent and rigorous work on these matters.The report stresses that meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and combating poverty should remain a central element of the EU-India Strategic Partnership. MEPs welcome the fact that the next EU-India summit on 13 October 2006 will address the issue of the MDGs. The House calls urgently for specific measures to be taken to ensure that minorities such as Dalits and Adivasis and other marginalised communities, tribes and castes, are able to close the wide gap with the rest of the population regarding the attainment of the MDGs.

India's economic and social situation
Parliament notes that international trade can be a powerful driver of economic growth and poverty reduction, but it is not a magic bullet, and trade reforms are complementary to development policies.

Development and Environment
Parliament acknowledges the important successes of the Government of India in the eradication of poverty, but notes that despite sustained economic growth, vast inequalities still persist, with about 30% of the Indian population still living below the poverty line. MEPs are particularly concerned about the situation of underprivileged sections of the population, in particular women, children, the disadvantaged and the rural population, e.g. Dalits and Adivasis (indigenous tribes and peoples). The Parliament calls on the Commission and the Council to work together with the Indian government to improve the situation of those groups and to examine future cooperation as to their contribution towards ending gender and caste discrimination.

MEPs emphasise that successive Indian governments have made considerable efforts to tackle the issue of caste discrimination. MEPs believe however that much more has to be done.

Parliament urges the EU to promote and implement measures to ensure the socio-economic development of minorities, who have largely been excluded from the new economy in India and are discriminated against in development programmes and disaster recovery through, inter alia, the promotion of equal opportunities in employment in private EU-based companies and investors, the encouragement of Dalit-inclusive development programmes and the use of indicators to measure Dalit inclusion in the new economy.


MEPs call for a parliamentary summit to be held annually to coincide with or immediately precede the annual EU-India summit, which usually takes place without the official participation of the European Parliament. Finally, the report considers that such summits would make it possible to develop the links between parliamentary bodies, improve understanding of our differences and bring the democratic systems of both sides closer together.

Read the full article

7:24 AM

Wednesday, September 27, 2006  
'Sheddu', the side-effect of quota

26 September 2006

Shreya Dhoundial

CASTE ON CAMPUS: Schedule Caste students are being addressed with a new slang - 'sheddu'.

New Delhi: The reservation debate may more or less be over, but it's side-effects are beginning to be seen across colleges and universities in the country.
Schedule Caste students are being addressed with a new slang - 'sheddu' and they are routinely abused by their upper caste colleagues. The caste lines have become stronger than ever.
Shy Jeetendra Kumar Meena left his hometown Dausa in Rajasthan to live his big city dream at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

However, for this young dalit, life has become a nightmare. He says he's abused almost every day.

In this nerve centre of anti-reservation protests, no upper caste wants to be Jeetendra's friend. He says no one even talks to him. And now he has to vacate his room, because hostel number one of AIIMS, where he stays is mainly upper caste dominated. "They ask me to leave this place and go to hostel number three or four. That is your place the upper caste students tell me," says he.

Jeetendra has complained, but says no one is listening. And since the key to his future lies here, he stays on - despite the humiliation. For dalit students like Jeetandra, hard as they might try, there's no escaping their identity on campus. The merit list announces it and so do introductions during the ragging sessions. The result - ghettos in hostels.

Records show that of the 45 SC/ST students who've been at AIIMS, this past year, 34 are living in clusters.

Says senior resident and general category student, Dr Kaushal, "Maybe it's just due to the inferiority complex that they want to live together."

It's not just a question of residence. Dalit students are seldom elected to union posts and of late there are CDs being circulated which show some students burning Ambedkar's books.
Professor of Surgery at AIIMS, Dr Lakhiram Murmu, is a tribal. He says the caste divide existed even when he was a student here, but post the reservation ruckus, more cases are being reported.

Says he, "The prejudice is very difficult to get rid of, but as far as the discrimination goes, that can be limited and that has been limited by the Constitution of India."

And it's not just AIIMS. In centres of excellence across the country, caste prejudice is a reality.
Official policy may try and create equal opportunities by reserving seats but social attitudes remain fixed, untouched by official declarations. Even in a world of young highly educated achievers, a casteless society is a distant dream.

Link to the article

8:11 AM

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