10 lakh Dalits to embrace Buddhism

Bhubaneswar, April 20: At least 10 lakh Dalits in the country, about 50,000 of them from Orissa, have decided to embrace Buddhism on October 14 next as part of a nationwide movement to usher in a caste-less society, according to the chairman of the all India Confederation of SC/ST organisations, Ram Raj.

Buddhism alone can create a caste-less society in the country, he asserted at a news conference yesterday. The Dalits, Raj said, did not favour a caste-based society and this movement would be the initial step towards abolishing the caste structure in the country.

Accusing the Centre of pursuing an anti-reservation policy, he said the Dalits' aim was not only to fight for reservation but also to create a Caste-less society. Raj said the Dalits would not demand for reservation in jobs and education if the Government evolved a mechanism to ensure compulsory and equal education.

Describing casteism as the principal cause of all kinds of problems and also lopsided development, Raj said India could become a superpower if this was removed.

He hit out against the Vajpayee Government for failing to honour its commitment to withdraw all the anti-reservation orders. Because of our pressure and movements, only two of the anti-reservation orders had been withdrawn while remaining three were still in force, he said.

Decrying the encouragement being given to multi-national companies and sale of PSUs, Raj said it was being done under the garb of globalisation as if the affairs of the country could not be managed without foreign investment. (PTI)

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: April 21, 2001
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