Dalits demand reservations in private sector, threaten violence

http://www.dailypioneer.com/archives/secon33.asp?cat=\nt4&d=Nation&t1=Jan2301
Pioneer News Service/Hyderabad

Dalit organisations in the country on Monday kicked off their campaign to demand reservations in the private sector organisation here with a group of Dalit intellectuals and writers and representatives of several organisations submitting a memorandum to the Federation of AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

They demanded, that on the lines of the diversity department in United States of America, which ensures justice to all sections of society, particularly in private sector jobs, a diversity department should be set up in the country by the Central and the State Governments to ensure that all weaker sections get their due share and adequate representation in the private sector.

The delegation, comprising writers, journalists and activists, was led by Mr Mallu Ravi, former Congress member of Parliament and now associated with Forum for Dalit Intellectuals.

The Dalit intellectuals and organisations have decided to intensify their fight for the due share in an era of privatisation and new economy by coming together under the banner of "AP Dalits". The Dalit intellectuals warned that if the just demands of the weaker sections continued to be ignored, the country would witness a serious crisis and an outbreak of violence similar to the one seen in the USA between the Blacks and White in 1960s.

The memorandum in fact quoted at length from the experience of America where the white Americans were forced to accept the reality on injustice and exploitation of Hispanics and the African-Americans and give them their rightful share in the national wealth.

While appreciating that the Constitution had provided reservations to the Dalits in the elected bodies and the Government jobs, the memorandum said that they had still not got any representation or share in the private sector.

They urged the Government as well as the private sector companies to come "forward" and join hands with the Dalits to ensure peace and prosperity to all. "India as a nation will remain only an idea unless we are not made partners in the wealth and institutions of India, both State owned-run and private owned-run," the memorandum said, warning that the crisis and tensions would aggravate if the Dalits remained unrepresented.

"When we are importing technology from US, let us import this concept too from them," Mr Mallu Ravi said. "The institutions-the corporate offices, stock exchanges, factories, show rooms, educational institutions, centres of art and culture you command and exhibit are all lifeless, like dead bodies dragged for miles, for centuries," the strong worded memorandum told the private sector.

Citing example of the social tensions being created by the injustices meted out to the weaker sections and by the growing divide between haves and have nots, Mr Ravi further said that the extremist violence in Andhra Pradesh was one manifestation of it.

As Andhra Pradesh was in the forefront of privatisation, he wanted the State Government to take initiative in this regard. The memorandum was signed by the representatives of Centre for Dalits Studies, Forum for Dalit Intellectuals, Human Rights Forum, Human Rights Watch, columnist Chandra Bhan Prasad and Dalit writer Kalekori Prasad.


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