When Manmohan singh equated untouchability to apartheid, I felt good that someone at the top is finally calling a spade a spade. I felt that international pressure be put on India to take some concrete steps to improve the conditions of Dalits. As Nitin pointed out in the comments section that sanctions against India might not be the right thing for it, I wonder what else can be done. For years, Dalit activists have tried to equate the plight of dalits to that of racism and the Indian delegates have always defended arguing caste is not same as race.
Now when CERD slams Indian on dalit violence, I take it as a good sign.
A UN committee has equated violence against Dalits in India with racial discrimination and questioned the country’s record on treatment of the socially marginalised.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has called upon the Indian government to ensure an immediate end to the violence on Dalits
The report further confirms that systematic segregations of Dalits very much exists. This is nothing new to us but when a UN body accepts it, it is a big achievement for the activists.
The report also mentioned “the Indian delegation’s arrogant rejection of well-documented abuses against Dalits before UN experts in Geneva” and added that it “mirrors India’s systematic denial of Dalit rights at home”,
What was the Indian delegation trying to say by rejecting the abuse cases? Prove that Dalit attrocities don’t happen? Even in the light of events like Khairllanji, these guys have the audacity to refute it? Not only that, as usual they tried to deflect things by getting into a semantic between between race and caste.
The report said the Indian delegation resorted to a semantic debate on the difference between caste and race.
I understand that untouchability is not an official state policy, but I hold the state equally responsible because it is an unofficial state policy and that is even worse. The police doesn’t file complaints, the media doesn’t give them proper attention, the politician just consider them as vote banks, the NGOs can do only so much and the elite doesn’t understand what social justice is all about.
I still think that International pressure when put on India, only then will the state really act. Till then it is difficult to wake this giant from slumber.
cross posted here.