This Policy Brief reports on oppression and discrimination against Dalits (the ex-untouchable castes) and Adivasis (tribal groups) perpetuating labour exploitation and land alienation, entrenching poverty and inequality in India. Dalits (officially called Scheduled Castes by the Indian Government) and Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), account for 200 million and 100 million people respectively, together making up one-quarter of the Indian population, and one in twenty-five of the global population. This brief is based on research carried out across India by the Programme of Research on Inequality and Poverty, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics.
While companies are increasingly aware of the need for a 'feminist' narrative within the organisation, the corporate sector as a whole ignores the reality of caste and the effect this has on the workplace.
The Dalit female farmers of India’s Tamil Nadu state are working together to overcome a daunting set of challenges.
While 84% and 89% of those in general and OBC categories, respectively, received the government-announced immediate assistance, the percentage of Adivasis and Dalit Christians, who received the assistance, were 62% and 68%, respectively. The last minute changes in the eligibility criteria made the assistance inaccessible to a large number of the marginalised people, the fact sheet said.
IDSN member National Dalit Watch-NCDHR has taken part in a vulnerability mapping initiative, identifying areas where marginalised communities in four districts of Kerala have been excluded from the rescue operations and relief activities following devastating flooding in the area. IDSN members in India are responding to the reports of discrimination with relief measures, fact-finding and supporting those affected by the flooding, to claim their rights.
Dalits in India have for centuries been forced into working without proper tools or protective gear to clean dry latrines, sewers and septic tanks, a practice known as ‘manual scavenging’. This is not only demeaning but also extremely dangerous work and activists have been campaigning for many years for the proper implementation of laws banning the practice and rehabilitating those who have been engaged in it. This past month it has been uncovered that in the Delhi municipality alone, there has been an alarmingly high number of deaths of sanitation workers lowered into the city’s sewers with no equipment to protect them. Activists are sending the message that India must #stopkillingus and that the caste-based practice must end now.
Dalit children being made to sit and eat separately from other children, being beaten, abused and forced to do humiliating tasks, form part of the cases uncovered during the ‘Zero Discrimination in School Education’ campaign in India. These cases are highlighted in the report ‘Exclusion in Schools – A Study on Practice of Discrimination and Violence’ by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR) and the Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion.
In its statement for the pre-session of the UN Universal Periodic Review of Japan the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) highlights the violation of the right to privacy for the Buraku people, who suffer caste-based discrimination.
The government’s decision to build houses for Dalit families of Arnaha Rural Municipality, Saptari, under the People’s Residence Programme has fallen flat. Dalit families of the locality are disappointed as construction work has yet to begin though the current fiscal year is coming to an end. Local Lalaku Sada said, “The government’s false promise has disheartened our impoverished Dalit community.” The government’s apathy in constructing the residences has let down Dalit families of around 50 Village Development Committees across the district.
Nande Luwar, 70, of Jukot in Swamikartik Rural Municipality, Bajura has voted many times in his life. But, due to some reasons Nande could not cast his vote freely. “I will vote where the upper caste people ask me to vote,” he added.This is a common trend among Dalit families of Jukot, Bajura.
A local fined Prem Bahadur BK of Chhededaha Rural Municipality with Rs 2,000 for touching the former’s cowshed in Bajura. Rajendra Bahadur Singh of Chhededaha, Biradi fined BK the amount just for touching his cowshed during the door-to-door election publicity campaign on Friday.
A person from the Dalit community was thrashed mercilessly in Bode Barsain Municipality, Saptari, yesterday for entering a temple to perform puja. Liladhar Das (Tatma) of Bode Barasain Municipality was beaten black and blue by the local non-Dalits. According to eye-witness Laxmi Ram, locals Raj Kumar Yadav, Kasindra Yadav, Ramchandra Yadav and Sakaldev Yadav, among others, had attacked Das when he reached the local temple to perform Asare Puja.
Minna Havunen, of the Dalit Solidarity Network-Finland, traveled to Nepal and met Dalits in the villages of Rautahat. She heard first-hand stories of discrimination and segregation and met Dalit teenage girls at a NNDSWO centre, who were learning about their rights. Read her blog post about the visit here. Photo from DSN-Fi blog post.
BBC Asian Network’s host of the Big Debate, Nomia Iqbal, led a live debate on the caste legislation in the UK. Satpal Muman, Chair of CasteWatch UK and Satish Sharma, from the National Council of Hindu Temples, were in the studio and DSN-UK Director, Meena Varma called in.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, has released a report on housing in India. The report draws attention to the alarming state of Dalit houses and the need for Government action to improve housing and end discrimination.