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AsiaNews – In November, the US Congress is set to debate a resolution about untouchability in India . The resolution, “ India ’s Unfinished Agenda: Equality and Justice for 200 Million Victims of the Caste System”, was prepared by the US House Committee on International Relations and US Human Rights Committee.

The document and its signatories will ask the Bush administration to “encourage” the World Bank to consider “caste discrimination when funding development projects in India ”. The “atrocities and discriminations” against members of the lowest castes and tribals are highlighted in the resolution, which proposes job reservations for Dalits and tribals in US business ventures in India .

John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union, told AsiaNews: “This is a historic moment in our struggle for equal status for Dalit Christians in India . The dogma of untouchability is a humiliation and a shame caused by deep-rooted prejudice, which does not disappear with a change in faith.”

Congressman Christopher Smith, who chairs the US Commission on Global Human Rights, said: “Converts to Christianity and Christian missionaries are particularly targeted, and violence against Christians often goes unpunished.” Smith said the caste system and poverty which springs from it, “force thousands of women, tribal and Dalits, into prostitution”, adding that India “leads the world” in its tolerance of selective infanticide and abortions. Although both practices are legally forbidden, “there is virtually no enforcement of these laws”.

Another American resolution will also call for “monitoring of the activities and funds of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS)”, the two largest Hindu, nationalist paramilitary groups in the country.