Discrimination against Dalits in the workplace

Untouchability is a social killer – no one can disagree with this citation. But discrimination against Dalits still exists in varied forms including the use of two tumbler systems in tea shops, denial of temple entry, denial of use of public property, discrimination in schools, Dalit Panchayat presidents denied from sitting in their chairs, murders, destruction of Dalit houses, and sexual harassment against Dalit women.

Day by day, dalits face these atrocities and violations forced upon them in several forms. In to the Indian Constitution framed in 1950, article 17 states that untouchability is demolished and that practicing untouchability is a crime. 60 years have passed since the framing of this Constitution. Two special acts were framed to prevent atrocities and violations against dalits: the Protection of Civil Rights Act in the year 1955 and the Prevention of Atrocities Act in the year 1989.

Many social activists and human rights organizations have proclaimed that these rules are framed in name only, that our government has not taken the proper steps necessary to implement these rules. Yet the Indian government claims that it taking necessary steps, making plans to abolish untouchability. This argument between social activists and government reached its peak in year 2001. When the United Nations conducted an international level conference against the racism practiced in Turban, South Africa, many social activists insisted that “caste discrimination should be considered as racism.” But the Indian Government strongly denies this instance, behaving as if no such caste discriminations exist. Until now, these discussions and arguments have taken place at world level.

In addition to government denial, some general propaganda on caste has been converted to arguments of the public. Many argue that caste discrimination is no longer practiced as it was by previous generations; that this sort of discrimination occurs only in a few villages, and that some people falsely frame existing discrimination as a broader problem. They say that many dalits have become doctors with their reservations and that many dalits have become high court judges. They claim economic status is the sole extant cause for discrimination. Many give statements that “now that people have developed in different fields such as MNC, software, research study, and mass communication, the discrimination that might occur in any one village no longer affects such educated and developed people.”

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