Video Volunteers Newsletter
April 2012 www.videovolunteers.org                                                     Empowering Community Voices
VV launches Article 17, a Campaign to End Untouchability

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Our community correspondents have spent the last two months documenting untouchabilty across the country. Because they are from the community, they have been able to capture intimate images, rarely witnessed by outsiders.
 
“As a child, I had experienced untouchability at school where I was forced to sit and eat separately from the children of 'upper caste' families," says 24-year old Community Correspondent Neeru Rathod from Limbdi village in Gujarat, one of the many activists trained by Video Volunteers and is part of the project. “We wanted to give viewers the responsibility, as witnesses, to end this age old oppression once and for all.”
 
Watch all the ARTICLE 17 videos here.
 
The videos will be broadcast on the following channels:
 
On CNN IBN: Saturday IST, 6.30pm and 9:30pm, and Sunday 11:30am and 5:30pm.
 
On NewsX, throughout the day as part of the daily news bulletins.
 
The campaign is also covered in this week’s issue of Tehelka, with whom we’re very pleased to announce an online collaboration to promote “News by Those Who Live It” on their website, tehelka.com.
 
Follow us on twitter @videovolunteers and on facebook where we will be analyzing and discussing each of the videos. Watch out for the announcement of a panel discussion on twitter which Stalin K. will be hosting in the coming days on how to end Untouchability.
 
Most importantly, please sign our petition to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, (the government body that is constitutionally appointed to direct and implement the safeguards against untouchability) wherever you are in the world.
 
The ARTICLE 17 Campaign is the beginning of our commitment to end the 2000 year old atrocity of untouchability, in all its forms. 
 
Thank you for lending your voice to the effort to end these crimes against humanity.

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Sign the ARTICLE 17 Campaign.
End Untouchability

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Dear Dr. P.L. Punia,
Resp. Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
 
I have watched the 22 videos included in the "Article 17 Campaign". I believe that they serve as evidence of the continuation of the criminalized practice of "Untouchability". Therefore, I urge you to investigate each of these cases and prosecute the responsible persons.

The 22 cases of "Untouchability" recorded include: 
 
1) Unequal treatment of people as they are denied the service of the local barber.
2) Discrimination of women who are forced to remove their sandals when walking in front of other people's homes.
3) Humiliation of families, where villagers clean public water taps after a Dalit uses them.
4) Segregation of students who are made to sit separately while eating their mid-day meal.
5) Denial of access to temples.
6) Violent reactions against inter-caste marriages where an intercaste couple and their unborn child were the victims of murder.
7) Mutilation in Haryana where one man took the courage to drink from an common water pot and had his hand chopped off. 
8) Hazardous conditions for the sanitation workforce who are forced to work in unsafe health conditions without any safety gear against infectious and contaminated water
 
In addition to prosecuting these cases, I urge you to order the police to proactively enforce Article 17, rather than merely wait for violence to erupt.
 
I also respectfully request the NSCS to undertake campaigns to raise awareness that "Untouchability" is a crime against humanity. Such campaigns should continue until we have ensured the end of "Untouchability". 
 
Looking forward to your urgent action.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
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