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The new report ‘Cotton’s Forgotten Children’, released by the Stop Child Labour Campaign and the India Committee on the Netherlands (ICN), finds that almost half a million children in India work as child labourers in the cottonseed production industry. Most of them are Dalits, Adivasis or other low caste children (OBCs). The report warns that most of these children are not in school and are subjected to hazardous work and harmful chemicals.
Discrimination and rejection are rites of passage for any Dalit, anywhere in the world. One Dalit-American artist contemplates all she has learnt from being branded untouchable. "It requires great will to take on the gravity of who you are in the face of a society that believes you are not equal. Every Dalit I know has had a turning point where they have rejected the stereotype and forged their own way. Whether it was my grandfather who walked 10 km each way to the only grade school that would enrol him, or the Dalit women who fight every day for justice in the Dalit Women’s Self-Respect yatra – this raw strength is what defines us as a community and is what I lean on in the hard times of my work."
By C. Jaisankar
The leaflet contains information on Dalit women’s human rights, key issues, cases, quotes from activists, INGOs, the UN and the EU and calls to action.
By Krishnar Pokharal and Tripti Lahiri