Caste oppression

Published : Aug 11, 2006 00:00 IST

CASTE oppression in remote villages of India is not new ("Defying casteism", July 14). The caste system is one of the world's longest surviving forms of social stratification. Dalits are shunned, insulted, banned from temples and higher caste homes, made to eat and drink from separate utensils in public places, and in extreme but not uncommon cases, are raped, burned, lynched, and gunned down despite several constitutional safeguards enacted for the protection of their life and property. The responsibility lies with the local administrations, which ignore these oppressed people. A circular of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment dated October 31, 2001, recommends weekly visits to villages under the supervision of mandallevel officials along with policemen to investigate atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. But these instructions of the Central government are never acted upon. No followup action is ever instituted to see how far the guidelines are put into practice.


INDIA's commercial capital needs better security infrastructure and crisis management strategy (Cover Story, July 28). Mumbaikars have learnt to live on the edge, but romanticising their toughness amounts to letting the government off the hook.

It was not out of `bravery' that Mumbaikars were out to work the next day. They have no option but to set out for their daily bread. Is this how the people of a great city are meant to live? The administration must provide them comfort and security, physical, economic and psychological.

Dr. Vitull K. Gupta Bhatinda, Punjab* * *

I CONGRATULATE Frontline for having brought to the fore the heroic deeds of the common people, men and women who transcended their ordinariness in the moment of crisis ("United they stand"). It was extremely encouraging to see two young girls from the Ram Mahal Housing Society, Mahim, among those who rescued victims of the bomb blasts.

Amitab Thakur Lucknow* * *

THE serial blasts were yet another reminder of how vulnerable the common man is even as India makes rapid progress on the global stage. The realignment of the international system against all forms of terrorism has ensured that the country will remain a prime terrorist target. We need to accept that terrorism is here to stay and work to lessen its impact.

V. Sai Kishore Guntur, A.P.* * *

THE people of Mumbai cannot be intimidated by cowardly acts of terrorism. It is highly admirable that people from every walk of life came forward to help the victims of the blasts.

P.V. Prasad Rao HyderabadHarmful asbestos

THE article "Unlearned lessons" (July 14) highlighted the health hazards posed by asbestos. Asbestos was used extensively for generations for its fire resistance and durability for thermal insulation, ceiling tiles, wall-boards and a host of other applications in factories, buildings and also in ships. The blue asbestos known as crocidolite and brown asbestos known as amosite were banned in the United Kigndom in 1985 and all forms of asbestos were banned in 1999. The European ban came only in 2004. Obviously any ship made before that date must be having asbestos in varying amounts.

Asbestos is being removed all over the world from old buildings, factories and ships employing trained personnel with safety gear.

The Alang shipyard, which is a major facility for breaking ships, must be encountering this problem in almost every ship it breaks, though the quantity might vary. The issue that needs emphasis is the safety of the workers and it must be ensured that they are equipped with safety gear so that they do not inhale the fibre.

M.M. Gurbaxani BangaloreANNOUNCEMENT

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