Wednesday, April 13, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Low-caste India man's office 'cleansed' with cow dung

Low-caste India man's office 'cleansed' with cow dung

(AFP) – 23 hours ago

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India — Officials in the Indian state of Kerala
said Tuesday they had ordered a probe into claims that the office of a
low-caste civil servant was "cleansed" with cow dung after he retired.

A.K. Ramakrishnan, who retired at the end of March as an inspector
general in the southern state's ministry of registration and
fisheries, complained to the Kerala Human Rights Commission that his
office, furniture and even his car had been washed with cow dung water
when he left.

Ramakrishnan belongs to the dalit, or "untouchable" community that
inhabits the lowest rung of India's caste system.

"On the day of my retirement, some of my colleagues burst crackers
outside my office as I had taken serious steps against their corrupt
practices, and on April 1, they cleansed my office and vehicle" with
dung, Ramakrishnan told AFP.

Many Indians believe that dung from cows, which are sacred to Hindus,
has strong purifying properties. Watered-down cow dung is often used
to wash a house after someone's death.

The state minister for registration and fisheries, S. Sharma, said the
government took the complaint very seriously and had ordered an
inquiry to submit a report within a week.

There are an estimated 165 million dalits in India, and while
officially banned, caste discrimination still pervades many aspects of
daily life.

Shunned by higher castes, dalits are usually limited to the lowliest
occupations and are the poorest in terms of income, literacy and land.


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