Minority rights: Dalits want greater share in census over upper caste Hindus

They feel their own community is discriminating against them.

Express July 25, 2011
Minority rights: Dalits want greater share in census over upper caste Hindus


Pakistan’s scheduled caste minorities, or Dalits, have expressed serious concern over discrimination against them, such as organised attempts to portray their numbers as less than they are in the upcoming census.

Dalit representatives spoke at a meeting of the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network held at the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler). Dr Sono Khangharani from the Thardeep Rural Development Programme, Karamat Ali and Zulfiqar Shah from Piler, Avinash Hari from the Upgrade Minorities for Integrated Development, chairman of the Scheduled Caste Rights Movement Pakistan Ramesh Jaipal and other dalit organisation leaders participated.

They claimed that political parties are giving reserved minority seats in the assembly to upper caste Hindus only. But this is hardly representative as the population of the scheduled castes is much higher than that of the upper caste Hindus, they added.

They also fear that the ratio of Dalits in the minorities will be reduced further as many of them include themselves in the Hindu category even though the religion column includes a separate category for the scheduled caste. The participants stressed the need for Dalit families to be aware of the fact that they can register under this category in the census.

There are an estimated two million Dalits living in Pakistan today. The gathering demanded that their shares in employment, scholarships, national resources, development schemes and parliament be raised based on their numbers.

Other issues such as forced labour, forced conversion to Islam and illegal occupation of religious places of minorities were also discussed at length. PRESS RELEASE

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th,  2011.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ