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House Passes Resolution Addressing “Untouchable” Castes in India

On July 23, the House approved, by voice vote, a resolution (H. Con. Res. 139), sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), addressing the problem of “untouchability” in India. The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the resolution on June 26 (see The Source, 6/29/07).

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) stated, “Discrimination inflicted against people known as Dalits and Tribals in India is solely based on being born into a certain family. This is an unethical practice and is outlawed under the Indian Constitution. The whole concept of untouchability itself is banned by the Indian Constitution. However, enforcement of this law ought to be strengthened, and crimes against Dalits ought to be prevented, more vigorously investigated, and prosecuted.”

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) asserted, “…Dalit women are all too often the victims of rape and exploitation at the hands of cruel human traffickers. Tragically, they also suffer disproportionately from the ravages of HIV/AIDS,” and added that for Congress “not to acknowledge these extraordinary issues would be an error.”

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