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Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 16:56 GMT
Low-caste Hindu fined
A woman belonging to a lower Hindu caste in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal has been ordered to pay damages to a higher Hindu Brahmin community for breaking a statue.

Police in the Hoogly district near Purshurah village said members of the Brahmin community demanded $175 from the woman's husband.

The woman, who has mental difficulties, broke a statue of the Hindu goddess Kali in Purshurah village.

The police say the Brahmin community claim the money to " purify" the idol.

Under the traditional Hindu social system, the shadow or touch of a lower caste person is considered unclean.

But discrimination on the grounds of caste is now illegal in India.

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