Dalits protest outside embassy in Washington
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON, July 4 - Representatives of various Dalit organisations protested outside the Indian embassy in Washington yesterday against Indian government's decision not to discuss caste-based discrimination issues at a forthcoming UN world conference in Durban.
The groups say the Dalits continue to face discrimination in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka but the government chose not to discuss the problems at the UN Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in August.
The Dalit groups presented copies of a memorandum to embassy officials, signed by the Ambedkar Memorial Trust of America chairman, Dr Laxmi Berwa. The protesters addressed copies of the memorandum to the President, Mr KR Narayanan and Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.
"India has become a suspect in the eyes of the world by vehemently opposing caste-based discrimination at the upcoming conference. With this type of attitude, India cannot stand on the high moral ground when it confronts the issue of human rights violations by other countries" at the conference, the memorandum says. Dr Berwa had organised the first Dalit protest outside the White House when Indira Gandhi met President Reagan in 1983.