CHENNAI: In this age of technology, caste discrimination had only got tech savvy, asserted Sampath, State president of Dalit Untouchability Eradication Front, on Sunday. Speaking at the North Chennai District Committee conference in Chennai, Sampath said, “As an organisation, we identified 85 different forms of discrimination suffered by dalits in various walks of life. In this age of technology, even discrimination is getting more tech savvy.”
Elaborating, he recalled a few incidents that relayed to him by those who reportedly suffered. He said, “A landlord in Coimbatore calls the agricultural labourer who works at his farmland on his cell phone. Hearing the caller tune landlord gets angry. This labourers caller tune was the famous MGR song ‘Naan Anai Ittal Athu Nadanthu Vittal’. The moment the labourer answered, the landlord abused him for harboring lofty aspirations.”
In another incident an advertisement in a popular matrimonial site said “The man about his expectations from the bride had listed ’caste no bar’. But at the end of the long passage of his expectations from the bride, in small letters was a disclaimer, PS: All are welcome, except Dalits.”
Sampath said, “This is the reality we live in. Untouchability and discrimination have not disappeared for the dalits. With the advancement of technology and globalisation, it is only taking new avatars. After the caste wall fell at Uthapuram, we see more such walls hidden from public view coming into spotlight.”
He also stated that the journey before the dalits is not an easy one. More than 85 per cent of the landless agricultural labourers today are the dalits. About 70 per cent of unorganised workers in the cities are dalits. Dalits who constitute the biggest chunk of BPL families. Sampath shot off a question to the audience, “Do you think this is all a mere accident? I would say no. This kind of socio-economic oppression designed to serve the caste Hindus is a 3,000-year-old planned strategy.”
In Tamil Nadu, the special component plan funds given by the central government to be used for the overall development of the dalits, were misused by the earlier DMK government for their free TV scheme and other freebies. He called upon the dalits to stand united and fight for their rights as humans.