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Dalit
August 23rd, 2001, 03:28 PM
'India is censoring discussion of caste'
Smita Narula is a senior researcher at the New York office of Human Rights Watch and coordinates their South Asia programme. Author of the organisation's book-length report, Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's Untouchables, she will represent Human Rights Watch at the United Nations Conference Against Racism to be held in Durban, South Africa, from August 31 to September 7. She spoke to Arun Venugopal from Lisbon, Portugal. Excerpts:

What is Human Rights Watch?

Human Rights Watch is a monitoring and advocacy organisation that investigates human rights abuses in over 70 countries. We are the largest human rights organisation in the US and second largest in the world after Amnesty International.

How are you different from Amnesty?

We do a lot of book-length reports. Amnesty has more of a campaigning mandate. Their mandate is also narrower than ours. They focus almost exclusively on civil and political rights. We can do more socioeconomic work. But the two organisations complement each other very well.

What's the purpose of the UN Conference Against Racism?

It's the third of its kind, after conferences in the 1970s and 1980s. It's the first post-apartheid conference. It's a forum to discuss concrete remedies for transnational problems.

What is the charge against India?

The charge is that India is censoring any discussion of caste-based discrimination. And that their tactics in the preparatory meeting so far have been aimed at dalit and Indian activists and also to take out of the agenda issues that affect people in many other countries. Caste-based discrimination affects approximately 250 million people worldwide -- untouchable castes and their equivalent in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and several countries in West Africa. It's far more insidious in the country [India], but the discrimination happens wherever there's a South Asian diaspora.

India's quota or reservations system for the scheduled castes and tribes is among the most ambitious in the world. What more can they do?

It's true that the affirmative action programme is among the most ambitious, and it's also been pioneering. However, taken as a whole, the system of reservation affects no more than 3 per cent of the dalit population. There's also a great deal of under-enforcement in civil-sector jobs and in higher education, and the government also refuses to reveal statistics on the extent of implementation of reservation in this area.

The only area it's been fully implemented is in legislation and that's because it's so public. Given all of that, affirmative action is certainly a step in the right direction, but in another way does it compensate for the thousands of atrocities that take place on a daily basis?

What sort of atrocities?

Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in slave-like conditions, and routinely abused, even killed, at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state's protection. Dalit children are frequently made to sit in the back of classrooms, and communities as a whole are made to perform degrading rituals in the name of caste. Dalit women are frequent victims of sexual abuse. Over 100,000 cases of rape, murder, arson, and other atrocities against dalits are reported in India each year, but the actual number of abuses is presumably much higher.

How has India tried to keep caste off the agenda?

They have exerted their economic and political influence with other Asian countries. Asian countries typically vote as a bloc. Also with the US government, [using] its newfound strong alliance with the US to pressure them into a partnership of silence. Sadly, for many issues that NGOs have been trying to get on the agenda have been horse-traded by governments who are looking to hide their own dirty laundry.

India has also been sending many individuals to preparatory meetings who purport to belong to NGOs, but who in fact are there to disrupt NGO meetings and who have clearly received a government brief. They say there is no problem and that everything's fine. They actually use the same language as the government.

The United States is trying to avoid discussion of slave reparations and Europe is mute on gypsies. Are there any countries willingly including their own problems on the conference agenda?

Very few. On the caste issue Nepal has been quite forthcoming with UN human rights bodies and at the conference itself.

What do you make of that?

It's unclear. I think Nepal has a lot to gain by showing themselves as being more progressive.

Outside of the conference, how are you trying to address the problem of caste discrimination in India?

We've been asking for international assistance to help India with national programmes that are devised to combat caste discrimination. India fears scrutiny, but they also fear an international backlash. No one has suggested an economic boycott. Not a single sanction. However, both internal and international pressure is still needed to generate the political will in the country to actually enforce its own laws.

What is your projection of things to come?

Despite the government's attempt to keep this off the agenda, the conference itself has helped to generate a national and international movement against caste discrimination worldwide. The conference is really just a first step toward a much larger, sustained campaign to bring international awareness to this issue


http://www.rediff.com/us/2001/aug/23inter.htm

Dalit
August 23rd, 2001, 03:30 PM
It's true that the affirmative action programme is among the most ambitious, and it's also been pioneering. However, taken as a whole, the system of reservation affects no more than 3 per cent of the dalit population. There's also a great deal of under-enforcement in civil-sector jobs and in higher education, and the government also refuses to reveal statistics on the extent of implementation of reservation in this area.

the system of reservation affects no more than 3 per cent of the dalit population:smash: :smash: :smash:

the system of reservation affects no more than 3 per cent of the dalit population:smash: :smash: :smash:


the system of reservation affects no more than 3 per cent of the dalit population:smash: :smash: :smash:

GpeL
August 23rd, 2001, 03:34 PM
Did you know that 3% of water and 75% of alcohol make a good cocktail.. I am telling you.. you should try that. The net effect of the alcohol in that cocktail is equal to a cylinder full of helium gas. Another version is available which is areated and the gas exhaust is so powerful that it is known to have allowd man to fly without any jet equipment on. It also lasted longer than the commercial jet packs available which last for only about 21 seconds. How you can control and navigate is still under investigation.

Shringarey
August 23rd, 2001, 03:46 PM
Dalit,

There is certainly a need for reparations. The only problem is that reparations should be:

i) Just. Given to those who had sufferred.
ii) Retributive. Paid by those who gained
iii) Equitable. Same reparation for same crime. Whether a man is rich or poor is no consideration for reparation. This is where the problems arise -

1.Americans usurped lands from Native Red Indians. There is a great noise about it. When Black Africans overran and stole all africa from brown Kushans, it is quietly forgotten. Why? Becos America is rich and Blacks are poor? Thats looting then.

2. Some Gaudis did well in US and created the 'reparation fund' to help Yadavs whom they screwed 300 yrs back (they have accepted liability). However, Chamars wanted a stake. Since Gaudis did not harass chamars, should the stake be given to chamars? The govt banned the fund calling it divisive. Chamar's demand for a part of the fund should be considered as greed - nothing else.

3. Why should rich Gujjus pay for Dalits in South whom they never harassed? Gujjus are not allowed to create the local "Dalit Unniti Ve Vikas Manch" calling it regionally disturbing.

4. When Dhurandhar Randive (??) gives free education to Dalits as a means of reparation - he gives only to Marathi Speaking Dalits. Fair enuf - hois forefathers hurt them. But Dalit migrants from Bihar protest and call it unfair.

What is your thinking on these issues?

Shring

echarcha
August 23rd, 2001, 05:18 PM
What does this Smita Narula say about the human rights of our soldiers and more so of the innocents killed n Kashmir by militants? Just wondering....

Netra
August 24th, 2001, 12:40 AM
Dalit, my uncle who is a retired prof. from VJTI (Engineering Institute in Bombay) was telling us that there are 16 teaching posts vacant in that institute becaused they were reserved for Dalits and OBCs. As they cant find anybody from those categories to fill up those posts, they have been kept vacant. What a shame!!!

risingsun
August 24th, 2001, 03:37 AM
pyare dalit, use idhar bula lo, aur dikhao, koi censor nahi hota hai caste discussion, dikhao tum jaise log jab bhi post karte ho tab reply milta hai.

ek baat mai soch raha tha, jab 3% log hi use karte hai reservations, why not reduce it to 3% instead of 52%? that will be fairer.

viking
August 24th, 2001, 06:08 AM
India is censoring discussion of caste
Well then the pro's should get into action..Karuna, Dalit ..ready..steady..gooo :D

amal
August 24th, 2001, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by Netra
Dalit, my uncle who is a retired prof. from VJTI (Engineering Institute in Bombay) was telling us that there are 16 teaching posts vacant in that institute becaused they were reserved for Dalits and OBCs. As they cant find anybody from those categories to fill up those posts, they have been kept vacant. What a shame!!! Netra..... It is matter of shame for India.There is a poverty in uppercaste people too and they need these jobs. Why to keep these jobs for sc. Reservation is bullshit. I like american system everybody is equal, job should be filled on the basis of merit.

Shringarey
August 24th, 2001, 11:13 AM
Amal,

Saaley - u want american system? Fatttt jayegi. Marks dont count so much rey. All education is private man. Pay $150000 for Engr. $ 100000 for MBA.

Fattt jayegi betey.

Shring

amal
August 24th, 2001, 05:15 PM
u did not get me Shringarey i am talking about equal oppurtunities. American system means jobs should be filled on the basis of ability or merit. There should be no reservation for sc or st or dalit etc.

Shringarey
August 24th, 2001, 05:24 PM
Amal,

I understood u re. But even if there is no sc/st quota in India, there will still be discrimination - based on academoc prowess!!

Shring