Minorities In India

Human rights watch in its february 2007

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Unformatted text preview: ndu temples, and they are considered to be so low on Indiaʹs social scale that they are outside of the caste system. The Untouchable Dalits and Sudras (another low caste) make up 70 percent of the population of India. Most live in very impoverished conditions. At least half the population of India lives below the international poverty line. Forty percent live on less than two dollars per day. Discrimination against Dalits includes education inequality, economic disenfranchisement, religious discrimination, a poor system of medical care, and targeted violence against women. Dalit students are often denied the opportunity to receive the public education guaranteed by the Indian constitution. Rape is widespread and massively underreported. • On August 31, 2005, upper‐caste villagers in the village of Gohana burned more than 60 Dalit residences, driving over 2,000 Dalit families out of Gohana. 3 • In 1998, a judge in Allahabad cleaned the courtroom with blessed water from the Ganges River because it was previously occupied by a judicial officer belonging to a Scheduled Caste. When Dalits are walking in the presence of a Brahmin, they can be beaten or killed with impunity. Under strict interpretation of the caste system, Dalits are obligated to perform certain manual duties for upper‐caste families without compensation. These duties include cleaning latrines, skinning dead animals, and crafting leather shoes, and other menial tasks. SIKHS: Sikhs are also highly victimized by the Indian government. According to Inderjit Singh Jaijee, over 250,000 Sikhs have been killed since the military attack on the Golden Temple in June 1984 (reported in his the book ‘The Politics of Genocide’). The figures were compiled by the Punjab State Magistracy, which represents the judiciary of Punjab. A report issued by the ‘Movement Against State Repression’ (MASR) showed that India admitted to holding 52,268 political prisoners. Amnesty International reports that tens of thousands of other minorities are also being held as political prisoners. How can a democracy hold political prisoners? Amnesty International reported last year that tens of thousands of minorities are being held as political prisoners. According to many reports, some of these political prisoners have been in custody for almost two decades. These prisoners continue to be held under a law called the “Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act” (TADA), even after it expired in 1995. TADA empowered the government to hold people virtually indefinitely for any offence or for no offence at all. • • In June 2005, at the observance of the Indian governmentʹs 1984 military attack on the Golden Temple, a group of Sikhs demonstrated, then made speeches in support of independence for Khalistan, the Sikh homeland that declared its independence on October 7, 1987, and hoisted the Sikh flag. For this they were arrested. This followed the arrest of 35 Sikhs in January 2005, when they made speeches...
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