India's Untouchable Apartheid

For decades, India championed from afar the anti-apartheid cause and supported America’s civil rights movement. But now India stands poised to block discussion of caste-based discrimination against its own 160 million Dalits — a Hindi word meaning “the oppressed” and which refers to its underclass of “untouchables”— at the UN World Conference against Racism (WCAR) to be held in Durban later this month. Employing the same tactic used by defenders of apartheid and of America’s Jim Crow laws, India’s government argues that “caste is an internal matter.”