【Report】 2019 FINDAS Joint International Workshop “Dalits in India: Historical Reflections and Challenges”

掲載日 | 2019年10月17日
Workshop 20190921
Speakers: Mr. Rahul Singh and Prof. Shahana Bhattacharya


2019 FINDAS Joint International Workshop with Scientific Research Project (Tomotsune, Tsutomu)

“Dalits in India: Historical Reflections and Challenges”


Date/Time: Sat 21 September 2019. 14:00-17:00

Venue: Medium Conference Room on 2nd floor, Administration Building, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS)

Language: English

Number of Participants: 15


◆Speaker 1:

 Rahul Singh 

(National Program Coordinator, National Dalit Movement For Justice, NDMJ-NCDHR)

“Status of Dalits in Contemporary India: Issues and Challenges”


Despite constitutional safeguards and special legislation for the protection of the country’s 201 million ‘scheduled castes’ (the official term for Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Dalits), violations of their fundamental human rights continue on a massive scale in India. Caste-based discrimination takes multiple forms based on the underlying notions of purity and pollution. Despite safeguards, multiple forms of caste discrimination take place which includes social and economic exclusion, denial and restrictions of access to public and private services and employment, and traditionally prescribed occupations of the most demeaning and hazardous kind. Dalit’s are routinely denied access to water, schools, land, markets and employment. Key issues include access to justice, rising violence (Lynching’s and Mass Attacks), multiple discrimination against Dalit women, discrimination in education, judicial impunity and access to basic services including humanitarian aid, social and economic rights, shrinking space for civil society organizations and violence against Dalit human rights defenders. On the other hand, impunity within the Criminal Justice Administrative System is seen through the enforcement of law and response of machinery. There is ample evidence of non-registration of cases under appropriate sections of the key legislation meant to protect Dalit’s from violence i.e, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and Rules 1995. There are a number of ways in which registration of an FIR is avoided – discouraging to register FIR, neglect, encouraging compromise, direct threatening, blaming the victim and refusal to register FIR, calling the accused to create an intimidating environment in the police station and so on. The trend in the disposal of cases in the judiciary is also very low and recently the Supreme Court of India in 2018 came out with a Judgment diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 overlooking the historical context in which the Act was formulated. Thus, the enforcement of the PoA Act and Rules, the functioning of judicial and administrative mechanisms remain critical in the Indian context.  In this background, there is a need to develop a common approach across the Asia region to address caste and DWD based discrimination and violence as the same do exist in Asian countries including Japan where Burkumin community face discrimination. At the same time to ensure country-specific realities and strategies are foregrounded.



◆Speaker 2:

Shahana Bhattacharya 

(Associate Professor, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi)


 “Caste, Class and Stigmatised Work in Leather Production in India: Some Historical Reflections”


The presentation on “Caste, Class and Stigmatised Work: Reflections from a historical study of Technical Education in Leather Production in India” examined how the incorporation of hides, skins and leather production in India into the colonial economy led to a massive expansion and complete transformation of organisation of production from the late 19th century onwards, with significant implications for numerous outcaste workers, predominantly drawn as labour for leather tanning. Leather production came to be linked to considerable profits, while the work remained associated with ‘traditional’ notions of stigma and low caste and social status. The presentation focused on how state-organised technical education and modern skilling initiatives in the 20th century, introduced at least partly to counter these associations, went on to substantially reaffirm these caste based notions, structures and hierarchies.  



Toshie Awaya (Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

Maya Suzuki (Research Associate, Center for South Asian Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)



Tsutomu Tomotsune (Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)