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#India- #Dalit teacher denied housing, #Gujarat HC steps in #discrimination #gender #caste

TNN | Dec 14, 2012, 05.59 AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court has taken suo motu cognizance of the scourge of untouchability because of which a female teacher from the community was denied residence inKutch. The local residents’ prejudice and the government’s apathy forced her to quit her job.Jetal Rushi from Bharuch was appointed as Vidhya Sahayak in Gelda village near Bhuj. But since she belonged to the Valmiki community, villagers in and around Gelda refused to give her accommodation. The girl made a representation to the state government and requested that she be transferred to another place.

Since the government did not respond, Jetal resigned and went back to . Perturbed by the girl’s agony, her grandfather wrote a letter to the high court narrating how the girl was forced to give up her job. He complained that the girl was posted in a village where she could not secure help from any government office because none existed there. A bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala filed a public interest litigation on its own on perusal of the letter. Advocate Hemang Shah, who is part of this proceeding, said that the Article 17 of the Constitution provides for the eradication of the practice of untouchability and denying residence to a member of the community — which is in the profession of scavenging — was nothing but violation of the constitutional provision.

Shah said that in 2008, a PIL was filed on the problems faced by the Valmiki community — people do not allow them to live in their vicinity.

The state government then took a stand that it would give priority to the community in providing housing facilities and a resolution too was passed. The high court has sought explanation from home secretary, director of primary education and the secretary of social justice and empowerment department asking them to file answers by December 27.

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