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To meet the demands of global markets, Indian manufacturers have replaced adult workers with teenaged, mostly female, workers drawn from agriculturally impoverished regions and disadvantaged castes.
“We realize this is a battle that we cannot win by ourselves,” said Asha Kowtal, General Secretary of AIDMAM, explaining the reason for the tour. “The movement needs global solidarity from oppressed communities across the world and allies who will stand with us in this struggle to overhaul institutions reeking of caste and patriarchy.”
Kowtal links the Dalits’ message to the message of American activists fighting for racial justice, explains that “the failure of the Indian government, not only their failure to protect us [in India], but their continual process of blocking our advocacy at the national and international level in the UN has forced us to seek out solidarity with other communities impacted by state violence. In this tour we have met with folks from #SayHerName #BLM, Dreamers, Incite Women of Color Against Violence, Afi3rm, Youth Incarcerated by Police, Trans activists and others.”
“The programme is very exciting in terms of breaking both the glass as well as class and caste ceilings and demonstrates that there is a dignified place for working women in today’s society,” Dunu Roy of NGO Hazard Centre said. However, he says the sheer numbers may defeat the venture. “The government is looking at a maximum of 3,000 taxi drivers’ jobs, when the number of safai karamcharis in Delhi is officially 60,000. This means that not more than 5% of the acknowledged workforce will benefit.”
“It is crucial that the enormous amount of media attention on this case does not distract from the issues it has raised – the realities of caste and gender discrimination that exist in India, and the serious consequences that those who violate these unwritten codes of conduct must face."
“To create awareness among Dalit women about their rights, women activists of the National Conference of Dalit Adivasi Organisation (NACDOR) and Rashtriya Dalit Maha-andolan (RDM) today started its 11-day “Mahila Samman Yatra”
The girl, employed by a spinning mill was brutally attacked by the mill owners after trying to escape – says NGO demanding the arrest of the owners.
"On February1 2014, my 17-year-old daughter was raped by a gang of four men, who later dumped her in a garbage site in our village. It has been a year since we last went to the village, because the villagers accused my daughter of being in love with a boy outside our caste. The accused were also later released on bail,"
Bitiya, who is from the bottom of the caste system, is fuzzy about her age but thinks she was 13 in 2012 when four upper-caste village men grabbed her as she worked in a field, stripped her and raped her. They filmed the assault and warned her that if she told anyone they would release the video and also kill her brother. So Bitiya initially kept quiet. Six weeks later Bitiya’s father saw a 15-year-old boy watching a pornographic video — and was aghast to see his daughter in it. The men were selling the video in a local store for a dollar a copy. Bitiya is crying in the video and is held down by the men, so her family accepted that she was blameless. Her father went to the police to file a report. Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times
Dalit women allege the State police were indifferent to the sufferings of victims belonging to the lower caste