Dear Mr. President:
Indian Lincoln Dr. Ambedkar—father of modern India and the Indian constitution, graduate of Columbia University, Oxford-educated scholar, and the first law minister of India after its independence—was from a Dalit community and so created constitutional rights for these poor people. This Indian constitution guarantees equality, liberty, fraternity, and social justice; however, the subsequent state and federal governments have utterly failed to protect Dalits by not following the constitutional codes.
A recent study of untouchability in rural India that covered 565 villages in 11 states found the following:
1. Public health workers refused to visit Dalit homes in 33% of villages.
2. Dalits were prevented from entering the police station in 27.6% of villages.
3. Dalit children had to sit separately while eating in 37.8% of government schools.
4. Dalits did not get mail delivered to their homes in 23.5% of villages.
5. Dalits were denied access to water sources in 48.4% of villages.
6. Half of India’s Dalit children are undernourished and 21% are severely underweight.
7. Literacy rates for Dalit women are as low as 37.8% in rural India.
As an American and on behalf of more than 260 million Dalits (untouchables of South Asia) who live in India, I plead to the President of the United States— the leader on human rights issues and pioneer in protecting suffering humans -— to honor the Indian Lincoln Dr. Ambedkar and to call on the leaders of India including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ask them why pervasive human rights violations persist. As the President of United States, I hope you feel the moral responsibility to protect the innocent and persecuted Dalits. I am confident the U.S. government can do a lot to change the Indian administration and hope to see an investigation into thegross violation of human rights. Dalits in India seek justice from the Indian government under your tutelage.
Note: This letter was published in the Imphal Free Press on 2010-11-01: http://www.ifp.co.in/shownews.php?newsid=13131