Chicago, IL, Dec 17, 2003. International Association of the Advancement of Dalits, an international Dalit advocacy group, working to provide a rightful share for Dalits in India’s wealth, institutions, and capital, and Indian Muslim Council-USA, an advocacy group working towards safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, strongly denounce to the segregation of Dalit children, reportedly being practiced in Gujarat schools and call for an immediate end to it.
According to media reports, schools in Surendranagar district of the Indian state of Gujarat have been segregating Dalit children from children belonging to the upper caste communities and teachers who oppose such segregation have been punished with punitive transfers.
The constitution of India grants equal rights and privileges to all its citizens, including the Dalits. IMC-USA stands by Dalit Indians and IAAD in the fight against segregation and firmly believes that integration of all Indian communities is crucial to India’s future progress. IMC-USA and IAAD further call upon the Gujarat government to investigate the incident and initiate disciplinary action against officials who promote such practices.
Dr. K.P. Singh, Chairperson of IAAD said “the State Government of Gujarat must be condemned in strongest possible words for becoming idle on the growing crimes against Dalits and letting them to be oppressed and discriminated by the caste Hindus. Dalits cannot live in terror and their children cannot study in a horrified environment in which not only the non-Dalit students spread hate crimes based on the caste even supremacist Hindu teachers promote such inhuman practices against Dalits. The Dalit rights must be protected by the government of Gujarat as well the central government. Dr. Singh has expressed his deep sorrow on the pathetic conditions of oppressed Dalits who have been squeezed and crushed by the Hindutva fascist forces. Terming crimes against Dalits as the crimes against humanity, Dr. Singh has sought the intervention of Human Rights organization to find the truth so that justice could be rendered to the helpless and oppressed Dalits as soon as possible.
Commenting on the reports, Mr. Rasheed Ahmed, Vice President of IMC-USA said “Dalits have been forced to live under a system of apartheid for the last several hundred years. It is about time that this oppression is put to an end as demanded by the Indian constitution. Equal access to education is one of the hallmarks of any viable democracy, India’s vision of becoming a positive global power could only be achieved by living together, learning together and respecting each other.”
Since its inception, IMC-USA has been actively promoting values of pluralism and tolerance amongst the Indian Diaspora in the United States and is spearheading efforts to build bridges between the various Indian Diaspora communities in the USA.
For information on IMC-USA, please visit http://www.imc-usa.org
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Dr. K P Singh Chairperson, IAAD
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Vice President, IMC-USA