India urged to include caste oppression issue at UN Durban meet

New Delhi: India should treat 'caste oppression' in the country at par with racism and press for its inclusion in the agenda of coming United Nations Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance, social and political activists insist.

They have launched a campaign under the banner of ''Durban Abhiyan'' and dispute Indian government's contention that 'casteism' is an internal matter of the country and has no relevance at the International level.

They oppose the government's stand that both casteism and racism are different forms of social oppression, evolved in different social milieu and operative in different ways and parts of the world. ''How can suppression of human rights anywhere be treated as purely 'an internal' matter by India,'' they say, arguing that India's condemnation of apartheid in South Africa, support to the Palestinian cause and military intervention in Bangladesh would then be called illogical.

Government's apprehension, that raising the issue of dalit oppression at the International forum would be an aspersion on the country's sovereignty, does not hold, when issues of nomadic Roma of Europe and the Buraku of Japan are coming up for discussion at the conference, they said in a statement here yesterday.

Those who joined the campaign included eminent journalists Sumit Chakravarty (Editor Mainstream), Rajendra Yadav (Editor Hans) and Praful Bidwai, noted writers Vishnu Nagar, Maitreyi Pushpa, Uravashi Butalia and Uday Prakash, eminent historian Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar, besides Vimal Thorat of Dalit Mahila Andolan, Bhagwan Das from Indian Social Institute and Mimroth belonging to National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights.

The Durban Abhiyan is planning to hold public meeting from July 25 in the Capital to press their demand, Campaign spokesperson Anil Chmadiya said.

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Referred by:Benjamin Paul
Published on: July 21, 2001
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