UPDATE: SAJAer and Fordham University law professor Anil Kalhan has written in response to the HRW report on Dalits, focusing on its comparisons of India to South Africa under apartheid.
UPDATE: Read a recent apology to Dalits from the US-based Hindu group Navya Shastra. The progressive group consistently highlights injustices against Dalits and says it was dismayed at the feeble response to its 'apology project'. (On a filmi-er note, read the group's condemnation of the Bachchans and Aishwarya Rai revolving around her engagement to Abhishek Bachchan).
Original post follows...
A new 113-report from Human Rights Watch flays the Indian government for how it deals with Dalits. The report is titled 'Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India's Untouchables.' The word 'apartheid' is a running theme of the report, intending to drive home the idea that the Indian government actively helps, as co-author Smita Narula says, 'in maintaining a system of entrenched social and economic segregation.'
Narula notes the recent words of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when he compared untouchability to apartheid, but she challenges him to start protecting Dalits by providing them with equal access to education, health, housing, property and freedom of religion. Another issue is equal treatment before the law: of the many crimes committed against Dalits, most go unreported, and the ones that go to trial almost always end in acquittals.
What is noteworthy about the report is that it is accompanied by two audio commentaries in MP3 format: one in English and the other in Hindi.
We asked Smita about this, and she said that Human Rights Watch has long published releases in multiple languages, such as French, Spanish an Arabic.
"It's harder to get a quick turnaround on a Hindi written translation and is also not as critical given the breadth of the English media in the country. We are however going to have a short backgrounder on the report translated in Hindi for distribution in India. I've always done interviews in Hindi/Urdu and English. What's new here is the pre-record broadcast bit.... The hope is to reach Hindi radio - and I did a call with VOA Hindi Service this morning).
You can contact Smita Narula (who's also director of NYU's Center for Global Rights and Human Justice) at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, read a recent SAJAforum guest post by Arthur Dudney: Courting Dalit Readers