“Key national priorities to improve the situation of Dalits in Bangladesh should be set in a comprehensive national action plan to eliminate caste, work and descent based discrimination.”
“Social distancing also has a dark and ominous side. In South Asia, where it has unfurled into a spider’s web of practices, it also directs violence, exclusion and bigotry upon marginalised people whose only ‘sin’ is caste, occupation or descent.”
Indian waste pickers are struggling to obtain information or equipment to inform and protect them during the coronavirus pandemic. Thomson Reuters has run this article by IDSN Ambassador Aidan McQuade and IDSN’s Ritwajit Das, looking at the current challenges faced by Dalit waste pickers in India. While this article looks at India, similar situations are found in other South Asian countries.
Lawmakers and human rights campaigners on Monday called for taking collective efforts by all concerned to root out all sorts of discriminations against downtrodden (Dalit) people in the subcontinent.
Reveals survey by Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad, Friends Association for Integrated Revolution, Manusher Jonno Foundation: Some 52.09 percent of Dalits faced discrimination at tea stalls and salons after disclosing their identity, 48.1 percent in getting jobs other than their traditional ones while another 51.9 percent stated that they were barred from taking meals with others, said FAIR Director Dewan Bkhtaruzzaman. “Dalit students face discrimination in society, state and even in schools from their classmates and teachers regularly.”
Ten-year-olds are made to clean their school toilets by the teachers. The elders in their families cannot have tea at local stalls or a haircut at the barber’s, and they are not invited to any social event. All these because they are from a caste considered low in the local Hindu community.
Ashok Das, the secretary of Bangladesh Dalit Parishad, which represents Dalits in Bangladesh, said: "We are submitting a 10-point memorandum to the government which includes passing an act to eliminate racial discrimination, to have quotas for their representation in all elected bodies including the National Parliament and to have quota in the higher education institutions."
By Sally Hayden. "There is no future for us here," Ratan Basfur says angrily. Basfur is an "untouchable," a member of one of Bangladesh's lowest castes, and his surname cements it. The Basfurs are part of the "sweeper class" that live in Horijon Polli, a densely packed slum in Mymensingh District that contains 1,200 households, with an average of five inhabitants in each. unni Basfur works three cleaning jobs. She wakes at 4am to clean the street, employed casually by the city government. Then she moves on to a pharmaceutical company to do a two-hour cleaning shift, and does another half an hour's work in a store. She spoke about one of the biggest concerns of the sweeper class — the fact that they've condemned their offspring to a life in the lowest caste. There have even been reports of untouchables sending their children away and encouraging them to change their names, in the hopes that the next generation can escape the stigma that has plagued their parents.
Several Dalit organisations in Bangladesh including BDERM and FAIR held rallys and other events to spread awareness of discrimination against Dalits in Bangladesh on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Seminar organised by Bangladesh Dalit Parishad and NGO Parittran
The hearing was held by the Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement.
Kabir Akon, a child rights campaigner who works for Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, says that the complexity of class and caste is one of the main reasons it is so hard to improve labor conditions.
On the occasion of World Dignity Day, Bangladesh Dalit rights organisations arranged a colourful rally, human chain, road strikes, street gathering and mass mobilization to protest against caste discrimination highlighting the demand of immediate enactment of anti-discrimination act.