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H.Res. 1346 (110th): Recognizing that more than 160,000,000 people in India are considered untouchable and dehumanized by the caste system.

The text of the resolution below is as of Jul 15, 2008 (Introduced).


IV

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. RES. 1346

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 15, 2008

submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Recognizing that more than 160,000,000 people in India are considered untouchable and dehumanized by the caste system.

Whereas the caste system, which dates back more than 2,000 years, divides the population into higher castes which include priests and warriors and lower castes such as laborers;

Whereas the untouchables’ most basic needs are not fulfilled, and untouchables face great difficulties in accessing employment, education, food, and health care;

Whereas most untouchables are among the poorest people in the world, living on less than $1 per day;

Whereas India’s untouchables are relegated to undesirable jobs and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place;

Whereas the police, village councils and government officials often support the caste system, which is based on Hindu religious teachings;

Whereas many crimes go unreported due to fear of reprisal, police intimidation, inability to pay bribes demanded by police, or simply the knowledge that the police will do nothing;

Whereas at the bottom of the untouchable caste are Dalits;

Whereas nearly 90 percent of all poor Indians and 95 percent of all illiterate Indians are Dalits;

Whereas every hour two Dalits are assaulted and every day three women are raped, two Dalits are murdered, and two Dalit homes are torched; and

Whereas the caste system, a powerful tool for social segregation, runs deep in the minds of Indians and has implications in everyday life: Now, therefore, be it

That the House of Representatives, acknowledging that caste-based discrimination is institutionalized throughout India and that its corrosive influence on the Indian people must be effectively addressed, recognizes the caste system’s debilitating influence on the daily lives of millions in India and encourages the United States to work with India to find new approaches to this age-old problem.