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The UK government plans to outlaw discrimination against Dalits,

(April 24, 2013) The UK government plans to outlaw discrimination against Dalits or ‘untouchables,’ in Britain, it was announced on Tuesday. The upper house, the House of Lords, has voted twice in a month for legal protection to be given to the estimated 400,000 Dalits in the country. The lower house overturned the first vote but after a second poll on Monday the government has made a U-turn. Dalit groups in Britain such as the Dalit Solidarity Network and Voice of Dalit International -VODI have long campaigned against discrimination. “We are very happy,” Eugene Culas, director of VODI, said on Tuesday and the people outside Parliament cheered and celebrated. The Times of India reported on Wednesday that the gathering outside parliament had been planned as a protest but turned into a celebration. “This is a major victory for us,” Davinder Prasad, general secretary of Caste Watch UK, was quoted as saying.
Campaigners say that in Britain’s many Indian-owned businesses, Dalits are forced to do lowly, poorly paid work and are denied promotion. In India such discrimination is illegal in theory, but remains widespread in practice.
In the parliamentary debate on the issue earlier this month, Equalities Minister Jo Swinson told MPs that legislation might increase stigma rather than ease the problem.
But a Conservative member of parliament, Richard Fuller, replied: “This is a straightforward issue. Caste discrimination in the workplace is wrong and the people who suffer from it deserve legal protection.


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