India: Application of the caste system outside of Hinduism; treatment of lower castes by society and the authorities; availability of state protection for lower castes; ability of lower castes to relocate and access housing, employment, education and healthcare in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore (2015-June 2020) [IND200260.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Application of the Caste System Outside of Hinduism
1.1 The Caste System

According to sources, Hindu tradition separated society into hierarchical groups, commonly referred to as castes (BBC 19 June 2019; Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 2.7). According to a country information report on India by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), "[t]he caste system had four principal groups: Brahmin priests and teachers, Kshatriya warriors and rulers, Vaishya farmers, traders and merchants and Shudra labourers" (Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 2.7). According to sources, the principal castes also included thousands of sub-castes (BBC 19 June 2019; Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 2.7). According to the same sources, the Dalits or the Untouchables fell outside of the caste system (BBC 19 June 2019; Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 2.7). For further information on the treatment of Dalits by society and authorities, see Response to Information Request IND106277 of January 2020.

1.2 Application Outside of Hinduism

According to sources, castes have become a phenomenon that also exists within other religions in India (Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 2.7; Navsarjan Trust n.d.a; Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). However, the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment states that only Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists can be regarded as members of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) (India n.d.a). According to a joint report to the UN Human Rights Committee by the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) [1] and the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) [2], the SCs are included in the "Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, which provides greater protection and access to justice for caste-based discrimination and violence" (NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 12).

1.3 Treatment of Converted Dalits

According to sources, there are Dalits that have converted from Hinduism to escape discrimination (ThePrint 26 Dec. 2019; India Today 12 Feb. 2020; Dinesha P T Mar.-June 2016, 145).

However, sources report that conversion from Hinduism to a different religion does not end discrimination for Dalits (Asia News 9 Jan. 2020; Navsarjan Trust n.d.a; NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 13). In an article on the socio-economic status of Dalit Muslims in India, Dinesha P T, an assistant professor and the Assistant Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) at the University of Mysore (Karnataka), indicates that "[a] Dalit is a Dalit whether he/she is a Hindu or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Christian" (Dinesha P T Mar.-June 2016, 146). Similarly, the report by NDMJ and IDSN states that

[e]ven upon conversion to Christianity, Dalit Christians continue to face discrimination similar to other Dalits, including being prevented from using upper-caste streets, sharing sources of drinking water and other public resources, and being made to walk around with brooms tied to their waists. (NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 13)

In an interview with the Research Directorate, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, who is a researcher in the field of caste, race, and ethnicity studies, and who has published a book on caste in India, explained that the system of caste is carried with a person even after they convert, and that a Dalit continues to face caste-based discrimination after conversion (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020).

Sources report that Dalit Muslim and Christian converts are not considered SCs (NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 12; MRG and CSSS June 2017, 6). According to sources, Muslim and Christian Dalits are excluded from the affirmative action benefits provided to members of the SCs (UK May 2018, para. 2.3.3; NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 12; MRG and CSSS June 2017, 6, 10), including reserved jobs and educational positions (UK May 2018, para. 2.3.3; NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 12).

A report by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) and the Center for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) [3] states that Dalit Christians and Muslims "face high levels of intersectional discrimination" (MRG and CSSS June 2017, 6). According to the NDMJ and IDSN report, Dalit Christians face physical violence and discrimination (NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 12, 13). The article by Dinesha P T reports that Dalit Muslims face exclusion from the socio-economic process of decision making, discrimination, and communal violence (Dinesha P T Mar.-June 2016, 145). According to the NDMJ and IDSN report,

[t]he claim – regarding a better economic and social situation on conversion – has been consistently proven to be false by several government commissions, such as the Mandal Commission in 1980, the Sachar Commission in 2006, and most recently by the National Commission for Minorities in 2008. (NDMJ and IDSN [May 2019], 12)

An article by IndiaSpend, a data-driven journalism nonprofit organization that provides analysis of the Indian economy, education, and healthcare "with the broader objective of fostering better governance, transparency and accountability in the Indian government" (IndiaSpend n.d.), reports that, according to analysis of 2011 Census data, Dalits who have converted to Buddhism have higher literacy rates and work participation than SC Hindus (IndiaSpend 1 July 2017). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

1.4 Other Religions and Castes

The BBC reports that "[c]aste-related prejudices are found among all religious communities – including Sikhs – in India. Parsis are possibly an exception" (BBC 10 May 2016). The Navsarjan Trust organization [4] reports that "[i]n India, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity (among other religions) maintain some form of caste despite the fact that this contradicts their religious precepts" (Navsarjan Trust n.d.a).

1.4.1 Christianity

The Hindu, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, states that, according to two advocates, Caste hierarchy operates in Christianity even though it is prohibited in Christianity (The Hindu 8 Jan. 2020). Similarly, the Indian news agency Express News Service reports that, according to a member of the Dalit Liberation Movement, "[a]round 80 percent of Dalit Christians suffer from caste discrimination in the Church" (Express News Service 24 June 2015). The postdoctoral fellow indicated that there are places of worship that are reserved for Dalit Christians because they are not allowed to worship with the upper castes (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020).

1.4.2 Islam

Sources report that there is no recognized caste system in Islam (BBC 10 May 2016; Jaaved 11 June 2019; Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). However, according to sources, in practice there is a system that divides Muslims into hierarchical castes in India (Jaaved 11 June 2019; BBC 10 May 2016; Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). According to a report by the Cabinet Secretariat of the Indian government on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community, aspects of the Hindu caste system are also found amongst Muslims in India including hierarchical organization of groups, endogamy, and inherited vocations (India Nov. 2006, 192). ThePrint, a digital newspaper headquartered in Delhi (ThePrint n.d.), reports that Indian Muslims are divided into three principal classes: the Ashraf Muslims (the highest in status and are similar to the Brahmins in Hinduism); the Ajlaf (backward Muslims); and the Arzal (Dalit Muslims) (ThePrint 13 May 2019).

In an article published by Modern Diplomacy [5], Amjed Jaaved, a freelance writer who has published in dailies in different countries, including in Nepal and Bangladesh, reports that, similar to the caste system in Hinduism, the Muslim caste system governs social relations and imposes restrictions such as access to places of worship, and segregated housing, and cemeteries (Jaaved 11 June 2019). Similarly, the article by Dinesha P T indicates that Dalit Muslims face discrimination and segregation by upper caste Muslims "in rural areas in the private sphere, in everyday matters such as access to eating places, schools, temples and water sources. It has largely disappeared in urban areas and in the public sphere" (Dinesha P T Mar.-June 2016, 146). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

For additional information on the treatment of Muslims in India, see Response to Information Request IND200257 of June 2020.

2. Situation and Treatment of Other Backward Classes (OBCs)
2.1 Demographics of OBCs

According to the BBC, the OBCs are comprised of people who "fall between the traditional upper castes and the lowest" in the caste hierarchy (BBC 19 June 2019). Some members of SCs who have converted to Islam and Christianity are members of the OBCs and are eligible for OBC benefits (The Indian Express 16 Dec. 2016; US 10 June 2020, 8). According to sources, the exact number of members of the OBCs is unknown (The Wire 1 Mar. 2020; ThePrint 23 Oct. 2019). In an academic article on traditional hierarchies and affirmative action in India published in World Development, Ashwini Deshpande and Rajesh Ramachandran, two economics scholars, report that there is very limited data on the OBCs because they have not been treated as a distinct category in recent national-level censuses (Deshpande and Ramachandran 2019, 65). Similarly, sources report that there has not been a caste-based census since the caste census conducted by the British in 1931 (ThePrint 23 Oct. 2019; The Economic Times 31 July 2019). A 2011 survey conducted by India's National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), on employment and unemployment, found that OBCs accounted for around 43 percent of India's population (India Jan. 2015, i).

According to 2019 media articles, there are 2,633 OBC castes (Hindustan Times 31 Dec. 2019; The Indian Express 9 May 2019; The Times of India 11 Jan. 2019) on the central list of the Indian government (Hindustan Times 31 Dec. 2019; The Indian Express 9 May 2019). Sources report that the OBCs are a heterogeneous population (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020; Deshpande 20 May 2020; Mosse 2018, 424). The postdoctoral fellow indicated that the category of OBCs is a very vast category, and that while some OBCs are well-off, other OBCs have socio-economic circumstances similar to Dalits (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, Ashwini Deshpande, a professor of economics at Ashoka University (Haryana), who has been studying the economics of discrimination and affirmative action with a focus on caste and gender, stated the following:

The group of OBCs is a very large, heterogeneous group of castes and communities created for the purpose of affirmative action. These communities lie roughly in the middle of the larger caste hierarchy – in between the so-called "upper" and "lower" castes. Many of these communities are landowning and powerful in their individual villages, several of these are poor. … A given community could lie at [the socio-economic] extremes or somewhere in between. (Deshpande 20 May 2020)

Sources report that an important distinction between OBCs and the SCs is that OBCs are not considered to be Untouchables and do not face the stigma of untouchability (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020; Deshpande 20 May 2020).

2.2 Legislation

India's 1949 Constitution indicates the following about discrimination based on caste and special provision for citizens considered to be socially and educationally backwards:

15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.— (1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to—

  1. access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or
  2. the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.

(4) [Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Schedules Castes and the Scheduled Tribes].

16.

(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

… (India 1949, Art. 15-16, emphasis and square brackets in original)

According to the Indian Constitution, certain castes, races, tribes, or groups within castes, races, or tribes can be designated as SCs and Scheduled Tribes (ST), as per the following:

341. (1) The President [may with respect to any State [or Union territory], and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof,] by public notification, specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to that State [or Union territory, as the case may be].

342. (1) The President [may with respect to any State [or Union territory], and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof,] by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Schedule Tribes in relation to that State [or Union territory, as the case may be]. (India 1949, Art. 341-342, emphasis and square brackets in original)

Article 366 of the 1949 Indian Constitution provides the following definitions:

24. "Scheduled Castes" means such castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within such castes, races or tribes as are deemed under article 341 to be Scheduled Castes for the purposes of this Constitution;

25. "Scheduled Tribes" means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution;

… (India 1949)

According to the Indian National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), SCs and STs are communities that "were suffering from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of [the] age-old practice of untouchability" (India 13 July 2006, 1).

According to the Indian government report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community, unlike the specific definitions that were provided of the categories of SCs and STs in the Indian constitution, the category of "'backward classes'" was vague (India Nov. 2006, 190). The report indicates that, "[i]n its early usage, the 'backward classes' was an all-encompassing category that would include the underprivileged and the marginalized castes, tribes, and communities" (India Nov. 2006, 190). The report also states that, over time, the use of the term "backward classes" evolved from an all-encompassing category "to specifically refer to those caste groups that occupy the middle position in the social hierarchy and lag behind in terms of economic, educational and other human development indicators" (India Nov. 2006, 192). According to India's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,

Backward Classes means such backward classes of citizens other than the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as may be specified by the Central Government in the lists prepared by the Government of India from time to time for purposes of making provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of backward classes of citizens which, in the opinion of that Government, are not adequately represented in the services under the Government of India and any local or other authority within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India. (India n.d.b)

According to the same source, the Backward Classes Division of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is responsible for policy and implementation of programs concerning OBCs (India n.d.b). It is also responsible for managing the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), two institutions that were created for the welfare of OBCs (India n.d.b).

The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 established the NCBC (India 1993). The National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 provides the following description of the functions of the Commission:

9. Functions of the Commission.–(1) The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate.

(2) The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Central Government. (India 1993, Art. 9)

Article 338B of the Indian Constitution, as amended in 2018, states the following regarding the NCBC:

338B. National Commission for Backward Classes].— (1). There shall be a Commission for the socially and educationally backward classes to be known as the National Commission for Backward Classes.

(5). It shall be the duty of the Commission—

  1. to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
  2. to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the socially and educationally backward classes;
  3. to participate and advise on the socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
  4. to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  5. to make in such reports the recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes;
    and
  6. to discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.

(8) The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to in sub-clause (a) or inquiring into any complaint referred to in sub-clause (b) of clause (5), have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:—

  1. summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
  2. requiring the discovery and production of any document;
  3. receiving evidence on affidavits;
  4. requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
  5. issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents;
  6. any other matter which the President may, by rule, determine. (India 1949, emphasis in original)

Livemint, the online news website of Mint, an Indian business news publication (Livemint n.d.), reports that, according to a former member of the NCBC, constitutional authority gives the NCBC more power than it previously had, including the authority to hear complaints from OBC members similar to the authority held by the SC/ST commissions (Livemint 24 Mar. 2017). ThePrint reports that the NCBC now has the authority to make recommendations regarding the socio-economic conditions of OBCs and to investigate complaints concerning violations of the rights of OBCs (ThePrint 9 Nov. 2018). In an interview with Press Trust of India (PTI), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s OBC leader indicates that constitutional status gives the NCBC the same authority as the NCSC and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) and gives it the power to address the grievances of OBC employees (PTI 12 Aug. 2018).

2.3 Treatment by Society

Information on the treatment of OBCs by society was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The postdoctoral fellow indicated that he was not aware of reports of harassment or violence against OBCs (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). For its part, the Australian DFAT indicates that

Dalits and other people considered to be of a low caste continue to face a moderate level of … societal discrimination, including social segregation, exclusion from temples and educational institutions, difficulties in finding employment, and sexual assault in the case of women and girls. (Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 3.53)

2.4 Treatment by the Authorities

Information on the treatment of the low castes outside of Hinduism and OBCs by the authorities was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The postdoctoral fellow indicated that a minority of OBCs are harassed and mistreated by authorities, but that OBCs are also in political power in many regions (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). The Australian DFAT mentions "a moderate level of official … discrimination" against low castes (Australia 17 Oct. 2018, para. 3.53). Ashwini Deshpande indicated that "[t]he response of the police [when receiving a complaint or request for assistance] would depend on the actual socio-economic position of specific communities" (Deshpande 20 May 2020). The same source stated that, because these communities are very "localised, i.e. they might be listed in a central list, their actual social clout" depends on their position in a particular local hierarchy (Deshpande 20 May 2020). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. State Protection
3.1 Implementation of Legislation

Information on the implementation of legislation related to OBCs was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. However, the following information may be useful.

Sources indicate that the wealthy OBCs are excluded from quotas in government-run institutions of higher education and in government jobs (Deshpande 20 May 2020; Hindustan Times 31 Dec. 2019). Ashwini Deshpande added that these quotas "are routinely followed with … bureaucratic zeal/apathy" (Deshpande 20 May 2020). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3.2 Other Support Services

Information on other support services could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4. Ability of Low Castes Outside of Hinduism and OBCs to Relocate to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore
4.1 Ability to Relocate to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore

An article published in the academic journal World Development by David Mosse, a professor of social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, who has published a book and several articles on caste in India (University of London n.d.), states that "[c]aste effects are not locational; they travel from the village to the city and into virtually all markets" (Mosse 2018, 422). The postdoctoral fellow explained that if a person comes from a rural area and does not have a network, then it is very difficult, as for anyone in India, to relocate, but, if a person has a network, then it is easier to integrate in major cities (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). The same source also explained that the economic deprivation of OBCs is "severe" and that this can make it difficult for OBCs to relocate (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). However, an IndiaSpend article on the impacts of caste on migration indicates that "[t]here are overlaps between a migrant's social and economic status. People from the general category and Other Backward Classes (OBC) have higher chances of migrating and bearing the cost of migration. The disadvantaged castes are often unable to gain the benefits of migration" (IndiaSpend 16 Jan. 2020).

According to sources, one barrier to inter-state migration in India is that [many (World Bank Nov. 2017, 4)] social benefits are implemented at the state level (ORF Mar. 2020, 7; World Bank Nov. 2017, 4). A World Bank working paper that uses interstate migration data from the 2001 census indicates that interstate movement is restricted by the fact that numerous social benefits issued by state governments are not transferable to other states (World Bank Nov. 2017, 4, 6).

4.2 Access to Housing

Ashwini Deshpande indicated that OBCs do not face restrictions based on their caste in accessing housing (Deshpande 20 May 2020). In a 2015 study on discrimination in the rental housing market in Delhi, Saugato Datta, a managing director at ideas42 (ideas42 n.d.a), a project that started at Harvard University and now has offices in Boston, New York, Washington, DC and New Delhi that applies "behavioral sciences to today's most complex social problems" (ideas42 n.d.b), and Vikram Pathania, a reader in economics at the University of Sussex (US n.d.), found that there is "no clear evidence that landlords are less likely to respond to Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes" (Datta and Pathania May 2016, 1, 10).

4.3 Access to Employment

Ashwini Deshpande indicated that OBCs do not face restrictions based on their caste in accessing employment (Deshpande 20 May 2020). An article by Kaivan Munshi, a professor of economics at the University of Cambridge, published by Livemint, reports that, while there is evidence of discrimination against the lower castes in the labour market, "evidence from surveys of nationally representative samples indicates that there has been convergence between the upper castes and the lower castes on education and occupations over the past decades" (Munshi 16 Aug. 2017). Mosse states that "[i]n the industrial workforce, rural migrants experience mobility, mixed-caste working/living spaces and friendship groups" (Mosse 2018, 427). However, according to Mosse, there is labor market discrimination where "[a]pplicants are sorted explicitly by caste (and religion)" (Mosse 2018, 428). The postdoctoral fellow explained that if a person has a network then it is easier to access employment in cities (Postdoctoral fellow 23 May 2020). The World Bank working paper reports that government jobs, which comprise more than fifty percent of employment prospects for individuals with secondary education and higher, are restricted to state residents (World Bank Nov. 2017, 4).

4.4 Access to Education and Healthcare

The World Bank working paper reports that state residents are favoured for admission to governmental post-secondary education institutions (World Bank Nov. 2017, 4). Ashwini Deshpande indicated that OBCs do not face discrimination or restrictions based on their caste in accessing education and healthcare (Deshpande 20 May 2020). Corroborating information and further information on access to education and healthcare could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ) is a "movement of Dalits survivors, defenders, academics and organisations headed by Dalits to initiate, advocate and involve in mass action to address the issues of caste[-]based discrimination" (NCDHR n.d.).

[2] The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) is a Copenhagen-based international advocacy network for Dalit human rights (IDSN n.d.).

[3] The Center for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), a civil society organization based in Mumbai (CSSS n.d.). The CSSS promotes public awareness about secularism through research, publications, and training (Oxfam India n.d.).

[4] Navsarjan Trust is a grassroot organization in the Gujarat State which aims to "eliminate discrimination based on untouchability practices" through programs and campaigns; it is active in more than 3,000 villages and in major cities in Gujarat (Navsarjan Trust n.d.b).

[5] Modern Diplomacy is an online "platform for assessing and evaluation complex international issues that are often outside the boundaries of mainstream Western media and academia. [They] provide impartial and unbiased qualitative analysis in the form of political commentary, policy inquiry, in-depth interviews, special reports, and commissioned research" (Modern Diplomacy n.d.).

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Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: International Dalit Solidarity Network; associate professor researching identity politics in South Asia at a university in Canada; professor of social anthropology at a university in London who studies caste in South India; professor of anthropology at a university in New Jersey who studies caste in India; associate professor of political science at a university in Uttar Pradesh who researches caste among Muslim communities in South Asia; professor at a university in Maharashtra who researches caste and development.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Asian Centre for Human Rights; Bertelsmann Stiftung; Brookings Institution; Centre for Dalit Rights; Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; The Diplomat; ecoi.net; The Economist; Factiva; Freedom House; Human Rights Watch; Ideas for India; India – National Commission for Backward Classes, National Commission for Minorities, National Crime Records Bureau; India Migration Now; Indian Institute of Dalit Studies; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Outlook; The New York Times; Peace Research Institute Oslo; UN – Refworld; US – United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.