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Untouchability rampant in Gujarat: Survey


Meghdoot Sharon,CNN-IBN
Jan 29, 2010 at 09:09am IST

Ahmedabad: A survey on discrimination, conducted in the Gujarat, has revealed that untouchability is still rampant in the state.

The survey done by NGO Navsarjan and the US-based Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights says untouchability still exists in Gujarat even 60 years after India became a Republic.

The report lists about a 100 different practices of discrimination against Dalits, relating from serving tea to entry in temples.

STILL OUT: The report lists many different practices of discrimination against Dalits.

"It is the failure of the state system, failure of the judiciary and administration. The policies of the government, its programmes and policies seem to strengthen seclusion," says Navsarjan founder Martin Macwan.

The 36-page report was compiled after collecting data for three years in more than 1,500 villages of Gujarat. It also says discrimination on the basis of religion is as high as 97 per cent, untouchability practices as high as 50 per cent in government services like offices schools and buses and there is even horizontal untouchability between various sub castes of Dalits.

Some Dalit rights activists say abolishing untouchability has not made any difference in Gujarat villages, and caste reservation has only made matters worse.

"On the contrary, people who are elected on reservation seats are those who deny the existence of untouchability. I would advocate that reservation in government systems, electoral systems, must be abolished," adds Macwan.

Navsarjan will share the report with all government agencies. But the question is who will listen?

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