The report on India circulated by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission on the eve of Independence Day is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the country.
The AHRC statement is based on developments in a village in Tamil Nadu.
A resolution, recently passed by the Naloor panchayat in Narikudi block of Virudunagar district in Tamil Nadu state is the quintessence of caste based discrimination in India. The panchayat convened a meeting a few months ago and resolved that the proposed construction of a public library building in the panchayat must not be permitted.
The minutes of the panchayat meeting reveal the reason for the council decision. The council and its members feared that the library would be of use to the Dalits (lowest caste/untouchables) in the locality and that the Dalits might get enlightened by accessing knowledge through the public library.
Not stopping at the resolution the council had the audacity to approach the Tamil Nadu High Court with an application seeking the direction of the court to the government to prohibit the government from constructing the library building against the wish of the panchayat. The court while expressing anguish about the very nature of such a resolution dismissed the application. While dismissing the application the court also expressed its concern that such decisions would in fact lead to social unrest and is fundamentally against Article 17 of the Indian Constitution. MORE