“It's proof how deep-rooted untouchability is in our society”

Published - November 04, 2011 09:21 am IST - CHENNAI:

The complaint by a sitting judge of the Madras High Court that he was subjected to harassment on the ground that he was a Dalit demonstrated how strong and deep-rooted untouchability was in our society, the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, affiliated to the CPI (M), said on Thursday.

“How disgraceful it is to note that even a High Court judge has been a victim and that the alleged perpetrators are his colleagues on the Bench. No greater proof is needed to show that the shame of untouchability still remains in our society,” the Front's State president P. Sampath said in a statement here.

The sad and painful aspect of this issue was that judges who were in a position to consider appeals arising from verdicts of subordinate courts in cases involving untouchability and caste atrocities were themselves facing such charges, he said.

If despite the existence of stringent laws against untouchability such practices were still rampant, the responsibility for that should not only be borne by society, but should also be shared by limbs of the State such as the judiciary, executive, police and legislature, he said.

Along with advancement in science and technology, even forms of untouchability appeared to have become modern, Mr. Sampath said, adding that this was revealed during field investigation by the front.

Some of the forms of untouchability that activists had come across included a Dalit being chastised and punished for speaking on a mobile phone in front of a caste Hindu, another being pulled up for having a song with assertive lyrics as his phone's ringtone and even matrimonial advertisements that sought alliances with the tag ‘caste no bar' making an exception for Dalits.

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