Pandemic reverses caste discrimination advances
Migrants expected to be pushed into abject poverty despite policies that helped many overcome social oppression
New Delhi — Millions of migrant workers made arduous journeys to their villages after India imposed the world’s largest lockdown in March. Back in the rural hinterland, many say caste discrimination is reversing even the small economic and social gains they eked out in the cities.
In the village of Aston, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, Raju Banskar, 33, says the double stigma of coming from a lower caste and having travelled from New Delhi where the coronavirus is spreading has made it impossible to find a job. In the city, construction work fuelled by India’s decades long economic boom brought him 250 rupees to 300 rupees ($3-$4) a day, and few paid attention to his caste...