Dalit women victims of caste discrimination get caught up in prostitution to survive

13Apr07

The community of Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty(bollywood actress) ran ‘Bollywood’ dance bars in Mumbai where Dalit women worked as prostitutes, it has been claimed.

Dr Sanjay Aparanti, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai, who had the bars closed down, told Black Britain that there used to be several Bollywood dance bars in the area: “All these bars were owned by one community – that is, Shilpa Shetty’s community. None of these bars had any Shetty girls dancing, the girls who were dancing in these bars were all Dalits. It was a pick-up joint.”

Dr Aparanti said that the bars were forcing Dalit girls into prostitution. “They are made to wear provocative clothes- they are forced to wear those clothes so that they get customers and then money is collected by the Shettys.”

He said that the men who preyed on the bars had “no respect for women,” and that the Dalit girls were regarded as “commodities and object of exploitation.”

According to Dr Aparanti, over 90 per cent of the prostitutes operating in Mumbai are Dalits. “It is because this caste system is all-pervasive. Dalits, because they are denied the right to make their livelihoods by legitimate means are forced to take up the profession of prostitution.”

Dr Aparanti said that the Dalit women made virtually nothing out of selling their bodies to survive after “commissions” were paid to the dancer bar owners.He told Black Britian that he played a key role in closing the bars down and explained why he took this action:

“I shut these bars down because I know that all these girls, though it has been portrayed that they are earning lots of money, this is not true. I am deadly against it, because women are not to be used as commodities. I was absolutely hell bent on stopping this activity and fortunately it has been stopped.”

In May 2006, the Indian Supreme Court admitted an appeal by the Maharashtra Government against the Bombay High Court which struck down a ban on the dance bars a month earlier.

International community must take up the issue of caste discrimination

We need the support of the international community.

Dr Sanjay Aparanti, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai
Dr Aparanti gave the information in an interview with Black Britain at the inaugural event of the Dalit Social Action Forum held on April 5. It was an interfaith event designed to unite Dalits of various religions to fight against the scourge of caste discrimination.

In his speech, Dr Aparanti said that Dalits need the support from the international community to tackle caste discrimination, but it was slow in coming. He said that whilst the first generation of Dalits who came to the UK were committed to taking up the issue, the same cannot be said of the present generation of young people:

“If these people do not take up this issue because they feel their life here is not relevant to what is happening back home then it is a lost battle.”

He said that Dalits must re-dedicate themselves, whichever faith they belong to and work together to eradicate caste discrimination.

Dr Aparanti’s family were founding members of the Dalit Panthers, a political movement started in Maharashtra in the early 1970s that was inspired by the Black Panthers, Malcolm X and the Civil Rights Movement in the USA.

The International Dalit Social Action Forum received a message of support from the Black Buddhist Community in California, USA. Its founder, Paul Guthrie said: “We extend our offer of solidarity to the International Dalit Social Action Forum. The Black Buddhist Community in America wishes to work with groups and individuals dedicated to social peace and justice.”

Source: Blackbritain.com



4 Responses to “Dalit women victims of caste discrimination get caught up in prostitution to survive”

  1. 1 anuradha

    it is grt to read that Dr Aparanti is back in action If not in Mumbai in London. He respects the dignity n modesty of upper class women as same as the dalit Women But after reading this i get as he is working only for Dalits which is not true . Any way good to hear abt him…..

  2. 2 anuradha

    Would like hv word with Dr Aparanti Is it possible?


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