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India Riots: Privileged Patels Use Caste Supremacy To Demand … More Privileges

GUEST: Thenmozhi Soundararajan, a Dalit-American filmmaker and Transmedia artist, co-founder of the international women’s media technology collective, Third World Majority.

At least three people have been killed in the Indian state of Gujarat over caste-related protests. Upper caste Gujaratis, known as Patels or the Patidar community, have brought their state’s main city, Ahmedabad, to a stand-still over what they perceive as unfair treatment.

India’s affirmative action programs aimed at tribal and Dalit people are aimed at undermining casteism. But now, Gujarat’s Patels say they have had enough. According to the BBC, “Internet services on mobile phones have been suspended. Schools and businesses are closed and public transport cancelled in Ahmedabad and other parts of the state.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hails from Gujarat, appealed for calm saying, violence had “never done good for anyone.” Ironically it was under Mr. Modi’s watch that Gujarat saw its worst violence more than a decade ago when a pogrom by fundamentalist Hindus against the state’s Muslim community left thousands dead.

Follow Thenmozhi’s Twitter @dalitdiva.