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Chidambaram tells state governments to help improve status of underprivileged.

New Delhi, Apr 17 ( ANI ): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said that the country can not grow without the development and improvement in the status of Schedule Castes (SCs) and Schedule Tribes (STs).

Addressing the conference of Home Ministers and Ministers of Social Justice of all states and Union Territories, which was attended by Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil besides others, Chidambaram expressed concern over the non access of Dalits to the Police Stations and termed it as the changing forms of untouchability.

Chidambaram further questioned why there was no outcry to seek justice for the 21 Dalits who were killed in Bihar's Bhojpur in 1996 compared to the citizens' movement that led to the conviction of Delhi model Jessica Lal's killer.

"Why is there no movement for the 21 Dalits who were killed but there was no conviction? Did no one kill these 21 Dalits?" In 1996, 21 Dalits were massacred in Bathani Tola of Bhojpur, Bihar," he added.

He said: "We talk about the plight of 25 per cent of the population, but we are in denial most of the time."

Speaking about the problems Dalits faced, Chidambaram said: "Untouchability is gone, but only on the face of it. It's definition has changed from time to time. Dalits are now allowed to enter temples. But banks still deny credit to Dalits that is another form of untouchability."

"The basic problem here is that we continue to regard them as children of a lesser god. We fully share the stain and shame and anger in this regard. I hope many of you share the anguish," he said.

"We have issued advisories and have done a lot to raise their status-both economically and socially. However, laws and advisories are not enough to tackle untouchability," he added. ( ANI )

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Apr 17, 2012
Words:319
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