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S e - Clarion Of Dalit - Weekly Newspaper On Web Working For The Rights & Survival Of The Oppressed

Editor: NAGARAJA.M.R VOL.7 issue.27 .03/07/2013


Take recent cases of Maryada Murders or Honour killings , rape cases of women . Decades old case of rape victim, SMT. Imraana has proved that how inhuman , illogical the fatwa & shariat laws of muslim community are. It remindsus of medieval times. The so-called ardent followers of shariat laws, only force it on their women folk. The shariat laws with respect to men folk like prohibition on drinking, smoking, adultery,etc & the punishments like public stoning to death are not enforced. The muslim men are authorised by shariat to marry more women but they must look after all their needs as per shariat. They can divorce their wives by triple talaq if they are not satisfied with them. This part of shariat is carried out by menfolk however the other part of shariat which stipulates paying back of dukthari, woman's belongings,her properties all to her after talaq are not at all followed. The male chauvinists in muslim community are the worst violators of shariat. They are suitably manipulating shariat to supress muslim women. The central government is also dancing to the tunes to safeguard it's vote bank. Take the case of shaa banoo during P.M. Rajiv gandhi's regime. Inspite of supreme court ruling to pay living expenses to her by her ex-husband, the govt passed a bill annulling the SC verdict. The govt gives subsidy to haj pilgrims, does it give the same amount of subsidy to kashi pilgrims, bodhgaya pilgrims, bethleham & Jerusalem pilgrims ? The women folk of different religions don't enjoy same property rights in their parent's property. The govt has enacted various laws which are itself unequal, illogical & violative of fundamental rights of citizens, all to appease a votebank.

All religions are based on humanity & equitable justice, are good, great & lead to the same supreme power. It is the subsequent interpretations which are inhuman. According to times, the medieval rituals which may be right at that time, at that place but now inhuman, illogical at this time & at this place-india, should be dropped. The religion must be within the confines of home. Before law, everybody is equal & must be treated as equals, both women & men. Hereby, HRW urges the honourable supreme court of india to order the govt of india to enact uniform civil code within a time frame. JAI HIND. VANDE MATARAM. Your's sincerely, Nagaraja. M. R .

PRACTICE OF UNTOUCHABILITY BY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN INDIA - VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS OF DALITS In india , rich people belonging to forward castes form educational trusts , proclaiming that they want to serve the society by providing education to all irrespective of caste or creed. By this declaration they get Civic Amenity sites from government authorities at concessional rates. Further they get tax , duty exemptions on materials , machines they import for the educational institution. However , while admitting students they are purely commercial minded , the highest bidder gets the seats.

IF AT ALL THE SOLE AIM OF THESE INSTITUTIONS IS COMMERCIAL LET THEM BE REGISTERED AS COMMERCIAL BODIES , ASK THEM TO GET SITES AT COMMERCIAL MARKET RATES , ASK THEM TO PAY TAXES ON MATERIALS , MACHINES & THEIR YEARLY INCOME. ENFORCE MINIMUM WAGES ACT , GRATUITIES ACT , P.F & ESI ACT TO THESE INSTITUTIONS WHO ARE PAYING A PITTANCE TO THEIR STAFF. Some institutions like industrial training institutes ( I.T.I) , polytechnics , engineering colleges & medical colleges run by trusts floated by forward castes lack basic infrastructure , to teach students properly , they only appoint staff belonging to thier castes. Dalits , minorities , weaker section people are not at all selected. They don't publicly advertise for vacancies. They fill all posts with

thier own caste people & finally even get government grant in aid. How ? These institutions are getting affiliations , yearly approvals form the government , how ? actually they should have been shut. These trusts want government backing for tax exemptions , lands at concessional rates ,monetary benefits , etc , however the same trusts are not willing to implement the social welfare objectives of the government , by providing seats to weaker sections , by providing appointments to dalits few posts in all category of positions ( not just group D - dalits are also brilliant & capable of performing all jobs, they have proved it ).

Hereby , we urge honourable prime minister of india , government of india & honourable chief minister of karnataka , government of karnataka to : 1. before giving lands at concessional rate , tax exemptions , to any educational trusts the government must ensure that the trust must adhere to the social welfare norms of the government from day one. 2. Before giving affiliations to educational institutions the govt must ensure , are the institutions are providing sufficient infrastructure to students ? 3. Before giving grant in aid to any institution , the government must ensure have the management provided jobs to dalits , minorities , etc as per norms from the day one . if not grant in aid should be rejected. Here there is no meaning in giving reservation of jobs in future appointments in those institutions , as all the posts are presently filled with forward castes , there is no expansion projects. So , dalits have to wait for another 30-40 years to get the vacancies in those institutions after the retirement of forward caste employees , which is not at all practical or realistic . 4. In karnataka state , numerous Industrial Training Institutes ( ITI) have mushroomed , some don't even have basic infrastructure. Still they are running the show , how ? these ITIs run by forward caste people have appointed only their caste people to all posts , not even a single dalit is there. Still they have got government grant in aid , how ? we urge honourable chief minister of karnataka , to look into this & in future to provide grant in aid in aid to only those I.T.Is which have proper infrastructure & dalits , weaker section employees on their pay-rolls. 5. To order all educational institutions to make public announcement of vacancies in their institutions even though not covered under grant in aid , as they have already taken sufficient monetary benefits from the government. 6. To order all educational institutions , to admit students as per government rates of fees. Some institutions are fleecing higher fees from the students , but are giving receipts for lesser amount only. 7. If any educational institutions don't agree with the government norms , those institutions must be asked to be registered as commercial bodies , no tax exemptions , lands at concessional rates , allotment of CA sites should be given to them by the government. By these measures alone poor & weaker section people will get justice . you are aware of merited

but poor students committing suicides year after year , CET fiasco - due to their financial inability to join medical or engineering colleges. Numerous similar cases are there with regard to admission to ITIs . polytechnics. The greed & casteism of these educational institutions is reigning high. In the positive hope that you will be kind enough to put an end to this menace.

ELIMINATE MANUAL SCAVENGING BUT NOT SCAVENGERS an appeal to honourable supreme court of India

In India, since independence certain affirmative actions by the government like job reservations , reservations in educational institutions , loan facilities , etc are extended to the backward class , oppressed people. However , the persons who have economically, socially become stronger on the basis of these government affirmative actions are not letting their own brethren scavenging community to utilize the same. The politicians are just making noises about sub caste reservation for scheduled castes & tribes , but doing nothing. As a result , today we find some subcastes & tribes of SC / ST better off than their previous generation, some other sub-castes & tribes of SC / ST are reeling under utter poverty , social ostracism , etc. A human being can be in a civilized form , healthy - if we have scavengers to clean our toilets , drainages , if we have barbers to cut our hairs. The very same people who keep us healthy & civilized are not treated in a civilized manner by the society , why ? most of the town municiapalities , city corporations are employing scavengers on daily wages without any statuotary benefits & are paid less than the statuotary minimum wages. every towns & cities in India are bursting with population growth , however the number of scavengers has not been increased in proportion to the growth of population , In most of the cases the existing scavengers are overburdened with the work load. , Most of them are suffering from occupational health hazards , are dying at young ages leaving their families in the lurch.

Hereby, we appeal to honourable supreme court of India to treat this as a PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION & to order government of India , all state governments , statuotary bodies 1. to regularize the jobs of all scavengers , to provide all statuotary benefits like ESI,PF, etc. 2. to take all necessary steps to eradicate manual scavenging carrying human excreta on heads. 3. to take all necessary steps to protect their health & occupational safety.

Bottomline : all the citizens , the society must learn to respect their brethren who keeps them healthy , tidy & civilized. JAI HIND.VANDE MATARAM.

Your's sincerely, Nagaraj.M.R.

Udit Raj's Fast For Reservation In Private Sector By Vidya Bhushan Rawat 16 December, 2009

Udit Raj on fast unto death against non implementation of reservation in private sector Jantar Mantar in Delhi is witnessing numerous hunger strikes and fast unto deaths these days. The Telengana verdict has suddenly focused on the power of self sacrifice for people's cause. Though essentially a Gandhian tool, fast unto death is becoming a new instrument to highlight the issue and compel the `insensitive' authorities to activate it.

In the post globalised India, when the government job sector is shrinking, it is important the challenges are tackled in the new way. The reservation debate can not remain the same as it used to be. Now, private sector constitutes a big chunk and the government has itself disinvested many of its public sector companies. Though Dr Udit Raj and the organization that he is president off, namely All India Confederation of SC/ST Employees Associations have always opposed privatization and globalization, yet they feel that despite their political opposition, it is time that government accepts their demand for reservation in private sector. Associations of SC-ST employees under the banner of Confederation as well as Indian Justice Party, are sitting on Dharana since November 19th in Delhi for speedy implementation of the quota, particularly completing the backlogs which are not being promoted. So, far no government official has visited them. Not a single member of parliament thought of this issue and political parties have not felt it an issue to be responded. ` it is rather unfortunate and painful, feel Dr Udit Raj, who decided to sit on fast unto death for this cause, which he feel is much bigger than being a prime minister or chief minister of a state. It empowers the entire community, it is not for some time and it does not just empower an individual, he emphasized. Udit Raj has been in the forefront of campaign to save reservation. The Confederation has been organizing rallies and protest marches, meeting ministers, planning commission members, Member of Parliaments and Group of Ministers. The UPA government formulated a bill in the fag end of its previous term which was produced in Parliament in February 2009. It was passed by Rajya Sabha but the Lok Sabha did not pass it. There were many objectionable points in the bill which again re-emphasized the issue of `merit', for the `creamy' positions. So, according to the bill, many of the `expert' positions would not have reservation in the name of `compromising' with merit. The Confederation opposed it but now the government in the new term is not interested at all to bring the bill. Udit Raj feel that the bill for ensuring reservation must come in parliament but not in its original form. They have given their suggestions to the government. In 2004, when the UPA government came to power, it had a lot of intention to listen to us. It started a dialogue on this with industries which were not supportive of quota but promised the following : Creating 100 entrepreneurs Supporting 500 professionals from SC-ST in better institutions nationally-internationally, supporting 10,000 students for coaching. The prime minister's office had been monitoring this for long but now, feels Udit Raj, one does not know what the status of these promises made by the industries. What have industries done so far voluntarily which they emphasised so much? That is why, he says, we oppose to these voluntary efforts which end up voluntarily without any accountability. `Now, Congress party does not want to speak on the issue. The Dalit parties are unable to go beyond their castes and Muslim reservations. No question is raised in parliament. The issue is completely suppressed. CII and ASOCHAM, FICCI became proactive against quota and emphasized on voluntarism again.'

Udit Raj feel that government should bring reservation act in this session only after correcting anomalies in it particularly no reservation in class I post in the name of compromise with merit. Reservation is not a compromise with merit, he says. The government must implement reservation as per law and there should be no dilution in it. Now, we have information that it has dropped filling backlog posts which is in lakhs. Its various departments and bureaucrats are playing dirty games to stop implementation of reservation. Udit Raj plunged into politics after much struggle for SC-ST employees and their rights. But the political games are different. At the grassroots, lot of issues, contradictions comes up and he too had to face these dark realities of caste and sub caste. Today he feel disgusted with all this though he continues to fight. He says ` Fighting for reservation in private sector is most important than fighting for becoming PM and CM, as it gives strength to entire community and not one individual. Secondly, it is permanent solution to our issues and all other positions are time bound and you may not be there the next time. He gives example of Sahara company which employ nearly 10 lakh persons. How many of them are Dalits ? If there is no fixed quota and no constitutional guarantee, there will not be many SC-STs. They may recruit one or two voluntarily but then who will stop the discrimination? Most of the HR people in private sector are dominated by high caste Hindus who have their own prejudices against us. `Why has he not been able to get political success', I ask. `Sub- castism and blackmoney are the factors that are influencing activists and leaders today. He complaint against Mayawati government in Uttar-Pradesh is that it is promoting predominantly belong to one community and now helping the upper castes. Secondly, due to consumerism, radicalism is lacking among people. He challenges those who claim to be Ambedkarites and still promoting their own caste interests and talks of caste identities. He says that Ambedkar stood for total `annihilation' of castes and caste identities do not help the Dalits at all. It may help them at first one to consolidate but at the end it helps the upper castes only. Dalits should come together under one identity of Dalits and not consolidate their own castes, as it would defeat Ambedkar's broader perspective of a common struggle against brahmanical system. He says that those who talk of identity politics among Dalits must understand the social struggles and movements and should not speak from ivory towers. `Do not divide dalits on caste and subcaste identities as it will kill the movement? He feels those who are talking of sub caste identities are actually making irresponsible statements. They do not face ground reality. They should see it and then talk. Caste identity helps individual leaders but at the end of the day it harms. Dalit community is emotional and any appeal on caste identity is based on that emotion and the political leader is not responsible for any other work. One of the major point of our discussion in the Jantar Mantar was about globalization. What do you think of globalization as many of our friends perceive it helping the Dalits, I ask. Udit Raj is very clear on these issues, actually much more then those who claim to have understood Ambedkarism. He says, not only as an individual but the Confederation and Indian Justice party is oppose to globalization and economic liberalization. Initially, some of us felt that globalization would help change in mindset of the people. People are adopting new technologies but not really changing their mindset. Secondly, the fact is that it is the Dalits and tribal who are losing their livelihood, their lands, their work, their forest, water and their jobs. So, how can we be

insensitive to not think of this massive onslaught on our right by them? International corporate works in close cooperation with their Indian counterparts, so where is Dalits in this entire agenda. He admits that it is the similar mistake that we made in understanding communism. We thought caste and class was same but it did not happen. We felt that the same would happen with globalization that it would lead to change in mindset and liberate them but mind never got globlised and upper caste hatred and prejudices remained same against the Dalits. Udit Raj also feels that the talks of smaller states are fraught with danger. How can any body who claim to understand the issue of Dalits think of dividing Uttar-Pradesh in to so many regions and disempowered them. Today, Dalits in Uttar-Pradesh are organized and can stand despite all our differences but if a Harit Pradesh come into being, will the Dalits remain the same. A Harit Pradesh is nothing but a dominant idea of a kingdom of high caste farmers who have always exploited Dalits and been ruthless in their violence against Dalits. Similarly it will happen in Bundelkhand where the Dalits remain predominantly landless. Both, western UP and Bundelkhand has high oppression of Dalits by the powerful farming communities. If these regions are made states, Udit Raj, says, the Dalits will go back to their early stages. Situation in Telengana is different then these areas. In Telengana, there is substantive Dalit presence and they have been part of the movement for long, fought different battles hence a demand for a separate state in Telenagna can not be equated to that of Western Uttar-Pradesh, Eastern Uttar-Pradesh and Bundelkhand. Dalits will have nothing in their hand politically, if these states come into being. Today Udit Raj decided enough is enough. The government does not listen to the genuine demands of Dalits and their empowerment. One must not ignore the cause of Dalit representation. Like land, reservation is a potential weapon to empower the Dalits. It gives them leverage to power structure. So, far only upper caste used to sit on fast unto death for their cause, what is wrong with Dalits doing the same for their cause. It is important Dr Udit Raj as cause of reservation in these times, when the government is diluting and political leaders remain conspicuously silent to get upper caste votes, some body has to do the needful. Time has come for the government of India to make the private sector accountable for the cause of Dalits. We must have reservation in private sector. Udit Raj needs your support for the cause. Vidya Bhushan Rawat Visit my blog at

India in Transition Reservations and the Dalits at the Crossroads

Christophe Jaffrelot 05/07/2007 India's Dalits (the former "untouchables") have risen considerably since Independence. The country has had Dalit chief ministers (such as Mayawati), Dalit ministers in the central government (beginning with Ambedkar as early as 1947), Dalit party presidents (like Bangaru Laxman of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Jagjivan Ram of the Congress), and one Dalit President of the Republic (K.R. Narayanan). Last year for the first time a Dalit (K.G. Balakrishnan) became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This is all the more remarkable as the judiciary is one of the few Indian institutions without an affirmative action policy. Recently, Dalits have also acquired new positions of power in the university system, with S.K. Thorat at the helm of the University Grant Commission, and Narendra Jhadav as the vice chancellor of the University of Pune. This is a remarkable achievement that requires an explanation. The emergence of some elite groups among the Dalits of India is primarily due to positive discrimination programs that have reserved a percentage of government jobs for Dalits (as well as Scheduled Tribes) since Independence. This is obvious in the case of the administrative and intellectual elites, but to some extent it is also true of the political elites. For instance, Kanchi Ram (the late founder and ideologue of the pro-Dalit Bahujan Samaj Party) was a beneficiary of the reservation system as a civil servant before turning to politics, and former President K.R. Narayanan was a member of the Indian Foreign Service before joining the Congress. The creation of such elite groups is precisely the first avocation of positive discrimination programs. Such programs are not aimed at developing a mass effect but to help the tiny "creamy layer," consisting of the wealthiest and best educated members of the target group. Quotas, which reserve fifteen percent of central government jobs for Dalits, remained unfulfilled for decades in the upper classes of the administration, allegedly due to an insufficient number of qualified candidates. Since the 1980s, however, quotas are gradually being filled in the top three categories of the administration, as evident in Table 1. Table 1: The Representation of Dalits in the Central Bureaucracy 1991 1991 1991 2001 2001 2001 Class Total Dalits % Dalits Total Dalits % Dalits A 62,560 5,689 9.09 104,642 11,950 11.42 B 102,532 12,115 11.82 158,154 20,274 12.82 C 2,402,089 376,015 15.65 2,468,060 400,978 16.25 This system of reservations has been extended over the course of time, such as the extension of reservations for promotions. Most recently, the Constitution of India has been amended three times in this respect. If the reservations are to continue to sustain the rise of the Dalits, however, they will have to address three issues. Since quotas have only been observed in the public sector, Dalits have tended to become state-oriented and have turned their back on the private sector, where they could have instead shown some of their entrepreneurial skills (in the leather industry, for instance, which is the traditional occupation of the Chamar caste). This is all the more problematic as the number of employees in the private sector has expanded since the process of

liberalization was initiated in 1991, whereas the public sector has shrunk. In 2002, the latter employed 18.2 million persons, against 19.5 million in 1995. During the same period, the private sector has slightly increased from 8.1 million people in 1995 to 8.4 million in 2002. This is only the beginning of a new trend that foreign direct investment will reinforce in both industry and the services. The policy of positive discrimination, therefore, must target the corporate sector if it is to retain some meaning. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said so more than once. Two strategies may be adopted in this domain. The first one is the introduction of quotas in the different categories of personnel, transposing the pattern at work in the public sector to the private sector. The second strategy would be the state's purchase of a certain percentage of products and services from firms owned by Dalits. That was one of the items of the Dalit Agenda that Digvijay Singh, the then chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, started to implement in 2000. Such a policy, aiming to stimulate the sense of entrepreneurship among Dalits, directly draws its inspiration from similar American initiatives. But will the Indian capitalists, who are so fond of the United States these days, look at this component of their model as "relevant for India"? The second problem posed by the reservation policies can be captured by one word: co-option. As mentioned above, these policies aim at generating elite groups; as a result, they are very vulnerable to the strategies of dominant groups, which can deprive the Dalits of their leaders by offering lucrative and prestigious posts in the establishment. This mechanism has been observed for decades in the political domain where the ruling party, the Congress, minimised the competition coming from Dalit parties by attracting the leaders of the latter in its rank. In the early 1970s, Indira Gandhi seduced B.P. Maurya, the most important leader of the pro-Dalit Republican Party of India, this way by promising him a ministerial portfolio. In one go, the Republican Party lost its momentum in Uttar Pradesh, the state where it had made its maximum gains in the 1960s. When the elite are tiny, such things can happen. And generating a tiny elite is in the nature of the positive discrimination programs. The third issue concerns the ambivalent relationship that the beneficiaries of the reservations entertain with their caste fellow. The reservation programs enable Indians of lower castes to join the privileged classes at university and in the administration. Their lifestyle changes- not only in terms of material gains, but also in terms of values. They tend to be cut off from their original milieu; moreover, successful Dalit men tend to marry upper-caste women. Today, some Dalits who behave this way are no longer ashamed of their attitude. Instead, they argue that by their personal ways and means, they prove that a Dalit can be like any upper-caste individual. While that may be a great achievement, severing links with their caste may deprive them of any substantial leadership. This last issue pertains to the notion of the "creamy layer." Today, quotas are cornered by those Dalits whose father and/or mother have already benefited from positive discrimination policies. These Dalits often come from one special jati, or subcaste, in a given region. In Uttar Pradesh, the Jatavs are in the forefront; in Maharashtra, the Mahars play a similar role. Such a situation tends to defeat an important part of the whole purpose of quotas, since it prevents other Dalit jatis from gaining substantial access to the reservations. Bhangis and Khatiks in Uttar Pradesh,

Mangs and Chambhars in Maharashtra remain massively under-represented in the state apparatus. In February, the Supreme Court suggested excluding the "creamy layer" of Dalits from the quotas. The whole political class objected to this move. However, to be fair to the nonelite Dalit groups, special provisions will eventually have to evolve. Christophe Jaffrelot is director of CERI (Paris) and author of India's Silent Revolution - The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India (Delhi, Permanent Black, 2003) and Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste (Delhi, Permanent Black, 2005).

Private Sector Its obligations to Dalits -- By Rajindar Sachar

A lively but in my view, ill-informed, discussion is taking place in public on the question of job quota in the private sector. The controversy has become sharper by the weight of legal opinion of the Attorney General that it was not possible to provide reservation for SCs and STs in the private sector without amending the Constitution. I have my reservation on the correctness of this view. I realize that emphasis is made on job quota possibility because of our feudal and hierarchical social system which puts a job in an office whether in private or public sector as the highest achievement. However, I feel that though emphasis on job may be kept up, the real battle dalits need to fight is to have a share in the expanding business opportunities and that too in proprietary capacity. It is in this context that I put forward an alternative which is immediately available and which can give more affluence, recognition and opportunities to dalits not only for jobs in private sector but for expanding the opportunities to share in the growth of Indian economy, and that too without amending the Constitution. It is well known that Central and State Governments award thousands of crores worth of public works and contracts to the private sector. All these activities flow from the Government playing a very crucial and significant role either to make a particular avenue open to the private sector like the privatization and modernization of airports, express highways Public Works Department, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi and similar ones in number of other States for roads or even construction of Govt. properties which are to be executed by the private contractors. I am of the view that if proper steps available even under the present legal set up are taken, a very large segment of dalits population can be absorbed and can take benefit of the rising economy. It is in this context that a reference to USA legislation called the "Public Works Employment Act of 1997" would be apt. That Act had a minority business enterprise clause which provided that 10% (minority population of USA) of the federal funds granted for local public works projects must be used by state and local grantees to procure services or supplies from business owned and controlled by "minority group members", the latter being defined in the Act as United States

citizens who are "Negroes, Spanish-speaking, Orientals.". This provision was challenged as denying an equal protection clause provided under the 14th amendment of the US Constitution (from which Article 14 of our Constitution has been adopted). The Court upheld the validity of the legislation as it contained provisions designed to uplift those socially-economically disadvantaged persons to a level where they may effectively participate in the business mainstream of USA economy. The arguments raised as to why the private contractors should be compelled and limit their choice in this particular manner as to from where the supplies will be received and whom they will sub-contract was rejected, by holding that "legislation When effectuating a limited and properly tailored remedy to cure the effects of prior discrimination, such "a sharing of the burden by innocent parties is not impermissible". Question of constitutional objection is totally off the mark. After 44th amendment Right to Property is no longer a fundamental right. Only Parliamentary legislation is necessary to deprive a person of it without compensation. It is also well settled that Article 19 confers no right on an individual to carry on business with the Govt. if it wishes it has to be on terms settled by Govt. As such, no objection can be taken by the private sector to the provision making it incumbent on it to share proportionately with Dalits the funds given to it by the Govt. or local body agencies. Similarly, governments could prescribe conditions as a part of scheme of disinvestment of public sector. It would then be permissible for the Central and State Governments to provide that out of these amounts the private contractor will have to ensure that a certain percentage which, to start with, could be fixed at 10% (though it is low as compared to the dalits population of 15-16%) to be made available to them either in the matter of sub-contracting or executing some works or in the matter of employment. Such a course would require not only no constitutional amendment but not even an Act of Parliament. The reason being that the Government, being the spending authority, it is permissible for it by executive orders to direct that a certain portion of this money available will be utilized either for providing employment or for sub-contracts to the dalits. This is what was done in USA and which while upholding the said legislation very eloquently observed "if we are ever to become a fully integrated society, one in which the colour of a person's skin will not determine the opportunities available to him or her, we must be willing to take steps to open those doors." The same principle aptly applies to the position of dalits in our country. Our Supreme Court has held that "economic empowerment of the poor, in particular the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, as is enjoined under Article 46, is a constitutional objective as basic human and fundamental right to enable the labourer, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to raise their economic empowerment." I see no reason why our Supreme Court which is far more progressive and poor-oriented than the USA's Supreme Court, will not reject similar challenge. But of course the overriding question still remains is there a political will and determination in the Central and State Governments to take on the combined forces of Big Business.

I am convinced that it is not only jobs but business opportunities that need to be opened to Dalits, to make a real change in their social and economic set up.

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