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Dalit Buddhists killed because of their caste

Editorial, The Buddhist Channel, Oct 22, 2006

Kherlanji, India -- Like many Indians, their hopes of a good life were basic: a decent education, a life that was lived with self respect and a livelihood which disturbed no one. But in India, Surekha and her family were tortured for many years because they chose to live the "basic life". The reason - because they were Dalits, untouchables in the eyes of Hindu purists whose status are merely better than animals.

On September 29, 2006, in the town of Kherlanji, near Nagpur - a new center of Buddhist movement in India - Buddhists Surekha and her daughter Priyanka were beaten, paraded naked and gang-raped in full public view for an hour before they fell dead.

"Sticks were pushed into their private parts," said a policeman, who asked not to be named. Around 50 to 60 women were involved in the barbaric, inhuman act.

Surekha's husband, Mr. Bhotmange was forced to witness his wife and child's being brutally hacked to death in full view of his entire village. Not only were the female members of his family tortured, his sons were stabbed repeatedly and their private parts mutilated as they refused to rape their sister.

Intriguingly, the post-mortem report says the women were not raped. "Doctors were managed and the police bribed," whispered another voice who requested that his name not to be revealed.

We are publishing this article to highlight the unimaginable atrocities commited in the name of religion in today's "modern India". While we respect traditions and local customs, we cannot condone such mindless brutality, committed against persons who have been immorally branded as "less than pure".

For details of the report submitted, please go to this link (Be warned: Article contains graphic images):

We would like to appeal to the international Buddhist community to please use your connections and networks and forward this information to all Human Rights Organizations and Government and Non-Government Agencies.

It is time that the suffering endured by the multitude of Dalits - the so called untouchable caste of India - be highlighted to the international community so that the voice of reason can be pressed upon the Government of India to put a "practical" stop to such inhumane act once and for all.

For more information on how you can help, or to enquire about the Dalit situation, please contact the following:

The Jambudvipa Trust
'Manuski', Deccan College Rd
Tel/Fax +91-20-2669 6812  /  +91-98506 66479
Yerwada, Pune
411 006, India

The Ambedkar movement

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