Full Text of the Indo Pak Joint Statement at Sharm-el-Sheikh

Full Text of the Indo Pak Joint Statement at Sharm-el-Sheikh

The two prime ministers had a cordial and constructive meeting. They considered the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a view to charting the way forward in India-Pakistan relations.

Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries. Both leaders affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and to cooperate with each other to this end.

Prime Minister Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its power in this regard. He said that Pakistan has provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information/evidence. Prime Minister Singh said that the dossier is being reviewed.

Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats.

Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.

Both prime ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these should not be bracketed.

Prime Minister Singh said that India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues.

Prime Minister Singh reiterated India’s interest in a stable, democratic Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Both leaders agreed that the real challenge is development and the elimination of poverty. Both leaders are resolved to eliminate those factors which prevent our countries from realising their full potential. Both agreed to work to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.

Both leaders reaffirmed their intention to promote regional cooperation.

Both foreign secretaries should meet as often as necessary and report to the two foreign ministers, who will be meeting on the sidelines of the forthcoming U.N. General Assembly.

Report on Untouchability

Report on Untouchability

Union social justice ministry has commissioned a study of impact of Protection of Civil Rights Act on untouchability. A survey has been initiated by National Law School, Bangalore. The survey was carried out in six states and 24 villages, a mix of those with highest and lowest crimes under PCR Act. S Japhet, director, Centre of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, said, “No study can claim to be totally representative because of social and regional diversity. But this is as comprehensive as it can be as an empirical study. The methodology is scientific.” Its findings…

Out of 648 Dalits,
516 were not allowed to enter temples
151 were not allowed to take processions of their deities
581 were allowed drumbeats during marriage processions

591 were invited for wedding feasts
29% wait for others to finish eating before taking food
20% non SCs expect SCs to wash their plates after eating

7% are barred from entering main street of villages
7% can not walk in front of a dominanat caste member
9% have to talk with folded hands
29% have to stand up in respect

82% SCs are allowed in non Dalit houses
18% are not allowed inside the non Dalit houses

20% Dalit house maids are not served food and water in non Dalit homes
24% are served in separate vessels
25% non -SCs concurred with these claims

16% were barred from temple activities
13% refused to comment – showing bias continued to be strong

Out of 553 Dalits

154 performed drumbeating,
42 grave digging
97 were into making chappals
78 said they were asked to carry out animal sacrifice
57 said they were sweepers.

40% of the non- Dalit respondents agree that they dont have SC teachers

Non SCs also confirmed denaying Dalits entry to temples. Dalit children are still growing with the stigma of being from inferior class. While seating arrangements are common in schools, SC kids in many cases are asked to take the back benches. Also, many are served midday meals separately from other children. Vestiges of mediaeval society became apparent when upper castes and OBCs, if only a handful, revealed they served SCs in towels or their upper garments; while some poured water directly into the cupped Dalit hands for drinking instead of giving a tumbler. A few cases showed that barbers used separate instruments for haircut of Dalits. Dalits in the countryside are still forced into services seen as “menial” – Untouchability is alive in the countryside though fear of law and rising Dalit assertion seem to have curbed its crude manifestations.

Not surprisingly, the biggest improvement in Dalit rights is in politics – SCs are active in politics, are invited to functions and get elected too. The negative is that their elections are limited to seats reserved for them. “It shows that political empowerment of Dalits through affirmative action is confined to the reserved seats,” says the report.