According to a new study in India, Dalits account for over a third of the homeless, double their share of India’s population. The European Union-funded study by the NGOs Indo-Global Social Service Society and Organisation Functioning For Eytham’s Respect (Offer) surveyed over 400 homeless people in 15 cities across five states. The survey found that the Scheduled Castes (Dalits) made up the highest proportion of the urban homeless at 36 per cent, followed by the Scheduled Tribes at 23 per cent. “It clearly shows that the caste system in India makes people economically, socially and politically deprived and pushes them to the margins and an inhuman condition,” the report states.
"Before, I was not aware of my rights. Now, I am aware of all of them. I have the courage to stand up for myself and to ask for my rights when I am denied them," says Premalatha Tamilselvan, a Dalit woman who took part in a human rights training programme offered by IDSN member People’s Watch as a child and is now defending human rights and fighting to end caste discrimination. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights documents her story.
“Living in India and being a Dalit woman myself, I have always been exposed to Dalit literature, activism and everyday life discrimination. To find instances of transnational solidarities of India with its neighbouring country of Nepal, where Nepali Dalit women’s lives too are intertwined with gender roles, casteism and patriarchal subordination, startled me.” Pragya Roy takes a look at the status of Dalit women in India and Nepal and the bonds that join them together in solidarity.
Born into a Dalit family that had been engaged in manual scavenging for generations, Bezwada Wilson channelled the outrage that stemmed from witnessing the injustice faced by his community to launch a movement to end this abhorrent practice. India Development review details this story on the Feminism in India platform.
Christians want Scheduled Caste status to be granted regardless of religious affiliation. Changing religion does not end the discrimination imposed on the Dalit community. For years, the Church has asked for the revision of a 1950 presidential order that excludes converts to Christianity from quotas in public administration. IDSN has also brought up the issue of unfair treatment of Dalit Christians on many occasions. Read the Asia News article for an overview of the issue.
The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2018 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The European Parliament’s report notes “with great concern the scale and consequences of caste hierarchies, caste-based discrimination and the perpetuation of caste-based human rights violations, including the denial of access to the legal system or employment, continued segregation, poverty and stigmatisation, and caste-related barriers to the exercise of basic human rights and facilitation of human development”.