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Fwd: Caste-driven victimization (fwd)

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  • Goldy George
    This is yet another of the papers that how the caste system in India works at large.. Goldy Shiva Shankar wrote: Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2005
      This is yet another of the papers that how the caste system in India works at large..

      Shiva Shankar <sshankar@...> wrote:
      Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2005 10:01:35 +0530 (IST)
      From: Shiva Shankar <sshankar@...>
      To: Undisclosed recipients: ;
      Subject: Caste-driven victimization (fwd)


      Caste-driven victimization in India, System is based on teachings of

      By Dr. Kwame Nantambu, June 15, 2005

      Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Satnarayan Maharaj has
      publicly stated that Indian- Trinbagonians "are fighting discrimination",
      while Opposition leader Basdeo Panday corrobates by emphasizing that "we
      have seen blatant acts of discrimination and victimization in the country"
      against Indians.

      It is against the backdrop of such real and/or imagined charges that it
      becomes very instructive and illuminating to look one's self in the mirror
      and examine the comparable plight of a particular segment of India's
      society today.

      According to Hillary Mayell of National Geographic News in an article
      titled "India's 'Untoucables' Face Violence, Discrimination" dated 2 June

      "More than 160 million people in India are considered 'untouchable'---
      people tainted by their birth into a caste system that deems them impure,
      less than human."

      "Human rights abuses against these people, known as Dalits, are legion. A
      random sampling of headlines in mainstream Indian newspapers tells their
      story: 'Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers'; 'Dalit tortured
      by cops for three days'; 'Dalit 'witch' paraded naked in Bihar'; 'Dalit
      killed in lock-up at Kurnool'; '7 Dalits burnt alive in caste clash'; '5
      Dalits lynched in Haryana'; 'Dalit woman gang-raped, paraded naked';
      'Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits.'"

      " Dalits are not allowed to drink from the same wells, attend the same
      temples, wear shoes in the presence of an upper caste or drink from the
      same cups in tea stalls."

      "India's untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs and live in
      constant fear of being publicly humiliated , paraded naked, beaten and
      raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their
      place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a
      life-threatening offense."

      "Nearly 90 per cent of all the poor Indians and 95 per cent of all the
      illiterate Indians are Dalits."

      "Statistics complied by India's National Crime Records Bureau indicate
      that in the year 2000, 25,455 crimes were committed against Dalits. Every
      hour two Dalits are assaulted; every day three Dalit women are raped, two
      Dalits are murdered and two Dalit homes are torched."

      "No one believes these numbers are anywhere close to the reality of crimes
      committed against Dalits, because the police, village councils and
      government officials often support the caste system, which is based on the
      religious teachings of Hinduism. Many crimes go unreported due to fear of
      reprisal, intimidation by police, inability to pay bribes demanded by
      police or simply the knowledge that the police will do nothing."

      "There have been large-scale abuses by the police, acting in collusion
      with upper castes, including raids, beatings in custody, failure to charge
      offenders or investigate reported crimes."

      In 2000, "68,160 complaints were filed against the police for activities
      ranging from murder, torture and collusion in acts of atrocity, to refusal
      to file a complaint. Sixty-two per cent of the cases were dismissed as
      unsubstantiated; 26 police officers were convicted in court."

      "Lack of enforcement, not enforcement of laws designed to protect Dalits,
      is lax if not non-existent in many regions of India. The practice of
      untouchability is strongest in rural areas, where 90 per cent of the
      country's population resides. There, the underlying religious principles
      of Hinduism dominate."

      "Hindus believe a person is born into one of four castes based on Karma
      and 'purity'---- how he or she lived their past lives. Those born as
      Brahmans are priests and teachers; Kshatriyas are rulers and soldiers;
      Vaisyas are merchants and traders; and Sudras are laborers. Within the
      four castes, there are thousands of sub-castes, defined by profession,
      region, dialect and other factors."

      "Untouchables are literally outcastes; a fifth group that is so unworthy
      it doesn't fall within the caste system. Although based on religious
      principles practiced for some 1,500 years, the system persists today for
      economic as much as religious reasons."

      "Because they are considered impure from birth, untouchables perform jobs
      that are traditionally considered 'unclean' or exceedingly menial and for
      very little pay. One million Dalits work as manual scavengers, cleaning
      latrines and sewers by hand and clearing away dead animals. Millions more
      are agricultural workers trapped in an inescapable cycle of extreme
      poverty, illiteracy and oppression."

      "Although illegal, 40 million people in India, most of them Dalits, are
      bonded workers, many working to pay off debts that were incurred
      generations ago."

      "In 1999, these people, 15 million of whom are children, work under
      slave-like conditions hauling rocks or working in fields or factories for
      less than US$1 a day."

      "Dalit women are particularly hard hit. They are frequently raped or
      beaten as a means of reprisal against male relatives who are thought to
      have committed some act worthy of upper-caste vengeance. They are also
      subject to arrest if they have male relatives hiding from the

      "A report released by Amnesty International in 2001 found an 'extreme
      high' number of sexual assaults on Dalit women, frequently perpetrated by
      landlords, upper-caste villagers and police officers. The study estimates
      that only about 5 per cent of attacks are registered and that police
      officers dismissed at least 30 per cent of rape complaints as false." "The
      study also found that the police routinely demand bribes, intimidate
      witnesses, cover-up evidence and beat up the women's husbands . Little or
      nothing is done to prevent attacks on rape victims by gangs of upper-caste
      villagers seeking to prevent a case from being pursued. Rape victims have
      also been murdered. Such crimes often go unpunished."

      "Thousands of pre-teen Dalit girls are forced into prostitution under
      cover of a religious practice known as Devadasis, which means 'female
      servant of god'."

      "Within India, grassroots efforts to change are emerging, despite
      retaliation and intimidation by local officials and upper-caste

      "In August 2002, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial
      Discrimination (UN CERD) approved a resolution condemning caste or
      descent-based discrimination (in India). But at the national level, very
      little is being done to implement or enforce the laws" that would prevent
      or eradicate rampant, blatant acts of caste-based-driven

      "In some states, caste conflict has escalated into caste warfare and
      militia-like vigilante groups have conducted raids on villages, burning
      homes, raping and massacring the people. These raids are sometimes
      conducted with the tacit approval of the police."

      Truth Be Told: The stark reality is that ethnic-caste-based discrimination
      /victimization do exist in India; however, racial discrimination
      /victimization does not exist because all the castes /groups are of the
      same racial hue, namely, non-white, people of colour.

      Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

      Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani Labour College.

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