Saturday, January 30, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Survey shows untouchability still rampant in Gujarat

Survey shows untouchability still rampant in Gujarat

Meghdoot Sharon

STILL OUT: The report lists many different practices of discrimination
against Dalits.
Ahmedabad: A survey on discrimination, conducted in the Gujarat, has
revealed that untouchability is still rampant in the state.

The survey done by NGO Navsarjan and the US-based Robert F Kennedy
Centre for Justice and Human Rights says untouchability still exists
in Gujarat even 60 years after India became a Republic.

The report lists about a 100 different practices of discrimination
against Dalits, relating from serving tea to entry in temples.

"It is the failure of the state system, failure of the judiciary and
administration. The policies of the government, its programmes and
policies seem to strengthen seclusion," says Navsarjan founder Martin

The 36-page report was compiled after collecting data for three years
in more than 1,500 villages of Gujarat. It also says discrimination on
the basis of religion is as high as 97 per cent, untouchability
practices as high as 50 per cent in government services like offices
schools and buses and there is even horizontal untouchability between
various sub castes of Dalits.

Some Dalit rights activists say abolishing untouchability has not made
any difference in Gujarat villages, and caste reservation has only
made matters worse.

"On the contrary, people who are elected on reservation seats are
those who deny the existence of untouchability. I would advocate that
reservation in government systems, electoral systems, must be
abolished," adds Macwan.

Navsarjan will share the report with all government agencies. But the
question is who will listen?

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