India loses race on caste listing

Durban, Sept. 2: The controversy over inclusion of caste in the UN Conference against Racism took a new turn on Sunday when India strongly opposed Para 73 of the Programme of Action, which seeks to include discrimination based on work and descent.

Minister of State for External Affairs Omer Abdullah opposed Para 73, amidst strong protests from Dalit groups, at the plenary session of the working committee. He said the government was taking all mesures to eliminate caste discrimination.

It had constituted a national committee and deliberated on the issues relating to the conference and the committee was heartened by the widespread approbation of the constitutional and legislative provisions against discrimination and afformative action programmes.

The panicky official delegation described Para 73 as still-born and demanded its deletion on the ground that the Switerland had withdrawn it. Strangely enough, China supported India’s stand.

But, over 12 countries such as Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, Canada opposed the Indian stand saying Para 73 suits the goal of the Durban conference. In fact Chile, strongly objected the attitude of

India, and argued for retaining the Para 73.

The cornered delegation argued for bracketing Para 73, which tantamounts to postponing it for the time being. It is to be discussed later in the night on Sunday.

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Referred by: Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:3 Sep, 2001
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