10/29/2007, 00.00
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Some 25,000 Dalits march for land, stopped by police

by Nirmala Carvalho
The ‘untouchables’ began their march on October 2, Gandhi’s birthday, setting off from different parts of the country to meet in New Delhi. They want land redistribution and an end to marginalisation. Stopped by police, they are now going home.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Indian police prevented some 25,000 ‘untouchables’ from reaching Parliament House where the demonstrators intended to end their protest march against the government’s agricultural policies and the marginalisation they experience every day.

Marchers came from around the country and reached the Indian capital after a 325-kilometre march that lasted almost a month. They want land redistribution and accuse the government of neglecting them whilst the country’s economy boomed.

Setting off on October 2, the birthday of the Mahatma Gandhi who was both father of the nation and champion of their cause, Dalits walked in an orderly fashion, waving flags all along the march route, shouting “Give us land; give us water.”

The government promised it would set up a commission to examine land reform, but also ordered police into action to expel protesters from the government district in New Delhi.

At present, demonstrators are making their way home.

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