Leaders accuse Centre of suppressing voice of Dalits

DH News Service

BANGALORE, Sept 18: The Dalit leaders who had taken part in the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban from August 31 to September 7 said today that the Indian government tried to suppress the voice of Dalits at the international conference.

Many participants of Durban summit, who had converged in the City today to discuss the post-Durban strategies for the Dalit campaign, alleged that the Indian government's delegation headed by former BJP National president Bangaru Lakshman and Union Minister Omar Abdulla made all out efforts to defeat the Dalit agenda at the summit.

Registrar of the National Law School of India University Babu Mathew, a participant of the Durban summit, said that the government delegation pressurised organisers not to allow Dalits to raise the issue of caste discrimination in the meet on racism stating that it was an 'internal matter'.

The stand of the government delegation was not surprising as it comprised organisations like RSS, VHP, Brahmakumaris and others, the leaders said.

Whereas the Dalits were represented by several non-governmental organisations such as the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), they noted. Flaying the government for calling caste discrimination as an internal matter of India, the Dalit leaders said that caste issue could also be discussed at the international platform if issues like health, literacy, poverty and other issues of the country could be discussed at an international platform of UN organisations.

Criticising the Indian government of being 'anti-Dalit' and 'pro-upper castes', the Dalit leaders pledged to give a new birth to the Dalit campaign in the country. After achieving an extraordinary victory by rising the caste discrimination in India at an international platform, it is time for Dalits in India to come out with a post-Durban action plan to carry out the movement at the national level, the leaders opined. Father Ambrose Pinto, one of the delegates to Durban, said Dalits have to unite and start the Dalit campaign once again.

Expressing happiness at the success of Durban summit, the leaders said it was a victory for Dalits at the Durban summit as the issue of caste discrimination was discussed at the international platform like never before. The participants and Dalit leaders unanimously pledged to carry forward the fight of the Dalits in the country at various levels.

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Referred by:Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:sep 19, 2001
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