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ARTICLE 17: Our First Call to the National Commission of Scheduled Castes

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Published on May 3, 2012

ARTICLE 17 is a campaign launched by Video Volunteers on April 14th, 2012, to urge the National Commission for Schedule Castes, to prosecute cases of untouchability. Community Correspondents across the country have documented 22 video testimonies of different forms of Untouchability. Hundreds of viewers have signed the petition urging the Commission to take steps to end this unjust practice.

On 23rd April, 2012, Video Volunteers couriered copies of the signed petitions along with a DVD containing all 22 videos of active caste practices and a covering letter by Video Volunteers Director Stalin K. addressed to Dr. Punia, Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

On the noon of the 25th April, 2012, Stalin K, Director, Video Volunteers, decided to give Dr. Punia's office a call to check if the DVD had been reached.

Among the first lessons quickly learnt was that if you need to send anything to a government office, it is better sent by speed post. Courier parcels rarely reach the intended office and are mostly dumped at another location. We were given a fax number over which we faxed a letter requesting Dr. Punia to look into the campaign.

Since then, we have heard from sources within the NCSC office that Mr. Punia has looked at the fax and passed it to his secretaries after commenting on them. The secretary office has passed it to the relevant division but as of today, in spite of repeated calls, we still could not find out what the Commission's response to the campaign is.

Meanwhile, the earlier courier has now been re-dispatched as a speed post parcel. Director Stalin K. is planning to go to the Delhi offices of the NCSC and file a report of the untouchability incidents caught on camera. While in Delhi, he will try to meet Dr. Punia in person and try to get his response to the campaign.

ARTICLE 17, the campaign to end Untouchability continues. As an organization and as individuals it is our commitment to keep the flame of this campaign burning until we reach our goal. We hope that you will be with us every step of the way. You can take the first step by signing this petition.

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