American Congress wakes up to Dalit call

18May07

Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02)  introduced a Concurrent Resolution of which he is the original sponsor, “expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should address the problem of untouchability in India.  In accordance with the Resolution, Congressman Franks offered the follow speech on the Floor of the House:

am.jpg
Pic01: Amrican Congress

The Resolution

 

“Mr. Speaker,
“This afternoon, I introduced a resolution calling for the United States to address the ongoing problem of untouchability in India.  Last December, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recognized the similarities between untouchability in his country and apartheid in South Africa.  It is now time for this Congress to speak out about this ancient and particularly abhorrent form of persecution and segregation – even if it is occurring in a country considered to be one of America’s closest allies.  This Congress must urge an end to the social discrimination and injustice faced by the nearly 250 million people known as Dalits and Tribals in India.

“Although the Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms for all Indians, the untouchables continue to face widespread social and caste injustices.  Article 17 of the Constitution outlaws untouchability; however, despite numerous laws enacted for the protection and betterment of the Dalits and Tribals, they are still considered outcasts in Indian society and are treated as such. 

“At best, untouchability involves social segregation, including separate educational facilities, drinking water, and restaurants. This is a sad and familiar tune to many of us in our own country.  At worst, untouchability entails widespread violence against untouchable women – especially in the form of rape with impunity, being targeted for abortions, and comprising the majority of temple prostitutes and women trafficked from India.  

“The untouchables are poor, their most basic needs are not fulfilled, and they face great difficulties in accessing employment, education, food and healthcare.  Most are among the poorest people in the world, living on less than $1 per day.  Moreover, Dalit women are often sold into bonded prostitution and there is increasing religious persecution against untouchables who change their faith.  In 2005, USAID stopped funding an organization after it was revealed that they were preventing many of these women from leaving prostitution.  In a recent instance, a whole Dalit village was forced to leave their tribal land because they had converted to Christianity in a state that had laws against conversion. 

“This resolution is a direct statement by Congress that untouchability is an unacceptable practice in America’s largest trading partner and close ally.  We appreciate that Prime Minister Singh and many others have recognized this as a serious social problem that needs to be confronted and we urge the rest of Indian society and American diplomats, aid workers, and businesses working in India to do the same, and work toward the eradication of caste discrimination in India.
“This resolution encourages our government to work with India to find new approaches to an age old problem. 

“Moreover, this resolution will ensure that we as a government and as a people in no way encourage or enforce caste discrimination and untouchability through our policies with India or through our foreign direct aid.  I urge my colleagues to join with me in calling on the Indian government and the world community to look with compassion upon India’s untouchables and reach out to one of the most oppressed peoples on earth.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”

Congressman Franks is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Readiness Subcommittee, Committee on the Judiciary, and is Ranking Member on the Constitution Subcommittee.

  
 

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Thanks, Atrocitynews American Correspondent fo providing this input!! This is good start for a progressive democracy like USA to respond to critical yet breathtaking situation in another democracy, the suffering lot appreciates the concern shown by the democratic world!

Atrocitynews thanks Honourable member of Congress, Mr Trent Franks  on their behalf!



One Response to “American Congress wakes up to Dalit call”

  1. 1 Bikash Siwakoti

    Hello sir,
    I am Bikash Siwakoti from Nepal ; I am 28 years guy,
    I am very happy to see your work in your web page, sir you are doing a great work.
    I am very happy and I can say you are a great person for this world.
    Sir I am also wanted to do some things for this world to make it better so I am doing social work for 8 years with different- different social organization.
    sir i hope you know the condition of nepal, in 12 yeras country conflate.
    at the time nepal is in peace process, so we have to do many more to do sir i have so many good project plan for them for these childre who have lose there family, those woman who have lose there husband in conflate, self depanded program and many more so sir i am looking a good teem to work so please tell me what can i do for your organization from nepal, i am ready to do that.
    Sir I want to work with you and your organization so please tell me what can I do for you and your organization please tell me, I hope I will show you a great result.
    I have a dream to be a man like you. At the time I am looking a hard working teem to work with them so sir if you have any way than please tell me I hope I will give you a great help in your future.
    I want to request you please don’t work hard and care your health, if I can do any work for you than I will work around the clock for you.
    Thank you, be happy
    Bikash Siwakoti
    Kathmandu – Nepal


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