D. Raja, National Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), said that the caste system and untouchability are deep rooted even among the Indian diaspora.

He was speaking at the State conference of the CPI at Chidambaram near here on Saturday to mark the birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar.

In an era of neo-liberalism, Dalits were put to hardship and the new economic policy had worsened their plight. Mr. Raja said that communists were fighting social ills and if Ambedkar were alive, he would have associated with the communists because he had striven to create a casteless society.

State Secretary of the CPI, D. Pandian, said that caste had become inalienable from birth to death. Even after conversion, it would not fade away.

Horrendous crimes were committed in the name of “honour killings” to do away with youngsters who married ignoring caste delineations.

Unless a genuine social transformation occurred, it was difficult to eradicate untouchability, he said.

Veteran communist leader R. Nallakannu deplored the double-tumbler system and denial of entry to temples that still existed in Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Nallakannu said that the Dalits could not wage a solitary battle; they had to align with like-minded organisations.