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18th November 2019

Tamil Nadu, India: At the Extreme End of Exclusion

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A correspondent with personal experience of social exclusion observed, referring to this article:

“It brings home to me again the great need for sharing the Gospel attitudes & values , the mind & heart of Jesus in that vast multi-cultural , multi-linguistic country we call India where about 6th of our world population are saturated with this caste mentality that is so dehumanising”.

Santhi Polur was beaten up for bathing regularly, cleaning her children and doing her hair. The attack didn’t come from her enemies — it came from people of her own lower caste because they believed she was offending their lifestyle.

Her community, considered the lowest of the outcastes in India’s Tamil Nadu state, even serves Dalit People — the former untouchables outside the caste system — as their barbers, cleaners and undertakers.

“That makes their social status the worst,” says Salesian Father Arul Valan, who has been working with them in the southern state for the past 17 years.

“They are the Dalits of the Dalit people. Until some time back, they were not even allowed to go out and walk in the daylight.”

If touching a Dalit person was considered polluting for the higher caste, even seeing a member of this community was considered polluting, said the priest.Indian laws now prohibit the concept of “untouchability” in any form but caste-based discrimination continues.

In some interior villages, these people cannot venture onto main streets in daytime even now.

Source: UCANews

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