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Untouchability is a blot on humanity, says Manmohan

Special Correspondent

"The Government will take all steps for the empowerment of Dalits"

— Photo: R.V. Moorthy

FOR ENDING DISCRIMINATION: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, garland a portrait of B.R. Ambedkar at the `Dalit-Minority International Conference' in New Delhi on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: Inaugurating the Dalit-Minority International Conference here on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it was necessary to make a distinction between the problems faced by Dalits and those by minorities.

"Dalits have faced a unique discrimination in our society that is fundamentally different from the problems of minority groups in general. Untouchability is not just social discrimination. It is a blot on humanity," Dr. Singh said.

Dr. Singh pointed out that even after 60 years of Constitutional and legal protection and State support, Dalits still faced social discrimination. He called for a continued political, social, cultural and intellectual battle against the practice. The Government would take all necessary steps to help in the social, educational and economic empowerment of Dalits.

He said: "In fact, our Government has taken several steps in the past two years to empower the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes both through affirmative action and by reinforcing our Constitutional commitment to reservation and empowerment through education.

"The principle that explicit measures should be taken to protect the interests of minorities is an idea embedded in our political discourse and in our Constitutional provisions."

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