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Vikaspedia: Reaching the ‘un-reached’ communities of India

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Untouchability and discrimination

In the name of untouchability, Dalits have faced work and descent-based discrimination at the hands of the dominant castes. Instances of this discrimination at different places and times included:
  • Prohibition from eating with other caste members
  • Provision of separate glasses for Dalits in village tea stalls
  • Discriminatory seating arrangements and separate utensils in restaurants
  • Segregation in seating and food arrangements in village functions and festivals
  • Prohibition from entering into village temples
  • Prohibition from wearing sandals or holding umbrellas in front of higher caste members
  • Prohibition from entering other caste homes
  • Prohibition from riding a bicycle inside the village
  • Prohibition from using common village path
  • Separate burial grounds
  • No access to village's common/public properties and resources (wells, ponds, temples, etc.)
  • Segregation (separate seating area) of Dalit children in schools
  • Sub-standard wages
  • Bonded labour
  • Social boycotts by other castes for refusing to perform their "duties"
Government action in India

The 1950 national constitution of India legally abolishes the practice of untouchability provides measures for positive discrimination in both educational institutions and public services for Dalits and other social groups who lie within the caste system. These are supplemented by official bodies such as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Despite this, instances of prejudice against Dalits still occur in some rural areas, as evidenced by events such as the Kherlanji massacre.


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National Commission for Schedule Castes