10/04/2017 8:45 AM IST | Updated 10/04/2017 8:46 AM IST

'You Make Us Dig Your Wells, But Stop Us From Quenching Our Thirst', Says India's Social Justice Minister

A very important point about social discrimination.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot addresses a press conference on completion of 100 days of his ministry at Shashtri Bhawan on September 16, 2014 in New Delhi, India.

A central minister on Saturday made a very important point at a seminar in Nagda, Ujjain, on social discrimination. Highlighting the plight of Dalits in India, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, said that the people from the so-called lower castes are not allowed to reap the benefits of the very things they build.

The Indian Express quoted him as saying that it is the people who dig wells that are not allowed to drink from them by the upper castes. "You make us dig ponds that we urinate in, perspire in, spit in, but when the water's ready for drinking, you keep us away," he said.

Despite a ban on caste-based discrimination since 1955, those from the so-called lower castes are often denied access to basic amenities, and injustice against those at the bottom of India's social hierarchy is rampant. Dalits often come under attack by upper-caste Hindus for using common civic amenities.

"Aap mandir me jakar mantrochchaar kar praan-pratishtha karte ho, uske baad ve darwaje humare liye bandh ho jate hai. Akhir kaun thik karega isse? Murti humne banai, bhalehee apne paarishramik diya hoga, par darshan to humme kar lene do, haath to laga lene do (we make the idols that you worship, yet the doors of the temples are closed to us)," Gehlot said.