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Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK
Activist urges action over Dalits
A leading activist for India's suppressed castes, or Dalits, has called on international agencies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to bring pressure to bear on the Indian authorities to stop the widespread repression they suffer.

Bujja Tarakam, from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, told the BBC that such agencies should give India a clear warning that aid would be stopped if the untouchability of the Dalits was not scrapped.

Mr Tarakam, who is one of the caste activists taking part in the international conference on racism in South Africa, compared the treatment of the Dalits with apartheid.

He said it was common practice for restaurants in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh to have two different sets of glasses for high and low castes.

He said police also refused to register what he described as atrocities against Dalits and said there had even been instances of mass killings of people from the so-called untouchable castes.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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