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Untouchability as practiced

When the Constitution of India outlawed untouchability in 1950 many believed that a centuries old practice has been brought to an end. But even after so many years there is no full eradication of untouchability in India. Millions of Dalits across the country who account for roughly 1/5th of the population continue to suffer birth based discrimination and humiliation.

Dalits have been deprived of their right to education and the right to possess land and other forms of property. Left with nothing but their physical labor to earn their livelihood they have all along forced to do the toughest and most menial jobs for survival.

They are denied access to public roads, tanks, temples and cremation grounds with segregation of Dalits is seen almost everywhere especially in rural India. The constitutional ban and compulsions of modernity and development have to some extent blunted its rigor.

Although all state governments claim that they have abolished manual scavenging reports reveal that this practice is very much alive in many parts.

There are also road transport related violations of the law against untouchability. Among them is the unwritten rule that gives caste Hindus priority over Dalits in boarding buses in many areas, transport employees picking up fights with Dalit passengers without provocation.

Teachers and fellow students belonging to upper caste Hindu social group often discourage the Dalit students. In many schools Dalit pupils are not allowed to share water with upper caste Hindus. There is also systematic refusal of admission to Dalits in certain schools.

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