In India, hundreds of Harijans, also called Untouchables, protested against what they see as the injustices of their position in a march through Bombay on Monday (2 October).
In India, hundreds of Harijans, also called Untouchables, protested against what they see as the injustices of their position in a march through Bombay on Monday (2 October). The Harijans are India's lowest caste and as such they have been a deprived group for centuries. The Janata Government's attempt to redress the inequalities by promising them government jobs has been met with violent reaction from Indians of higher castes.
SYNOPSIS: The marchers gathered at Bombay University to start the protest march through the city to the State secretariat to deliver a message to the Chief Minister. They demanded land, better housing, financial help and basic amenities like water, electricity and agricultural implements. Attempts to redistribute land in other states has met with violence.
The demonstration fell on the birthday of former Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. He named the Harijans the "Children of God" and devoted himself to their emancipation. The Indian constitution banned untouchability, but the practice persists. They are being urged by their leaders to actively campaign for their rights.
The organisers said that during the 18 months of Prime Minister Morarji desai's government, atrocities against the Harijans have increased.
The marchers were warned not to go beyond the Oval Park grounds, so they could not deliver their message to the Chief Minister. Watched by police, they instead listened to speeches.