India’s caste system is one of the world’s oldest forms of social stratification. Its most egregious manifestation is untouchability, which deems certain people “impure” and forces them into a life apart. Despite the fact that caste discrimination has been illegal in India since 1950, untouchability is still a part of modern Indian society.  

Since 2010, Video Volunteers has been documenting untouchability across the length and breadth of the country.  Correspondents have reported extensively on caste discrimination and caste violence There are reports on ‘manual scavenging,’ the inhumane caste-based occupation of cleaning and handling human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. There are testimonies of Dalit farmers whose crops or homes are burnt simply because of their caste; of tribal leaders killed for protesting their rights; young students forced to do maintenance jobs in schools because of their Dalit background.

These reports form the basis of a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court, filed by the Human Rights Law Network, which demands that the government take proactive steps to implement the constitutional prohibition of untouchability. VV’s reports are a unique record, in part because untouchability itself is often hidden from public view, and thus can only be captured by someone from the community.

Governement turns blind eye towards the manual sacengers

/ May 11, 2016

Three young sanitation workers enter a sewer in Dhrangadhra town in Gujarat without any protective gear. This practice of manual cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling, human excreta from dry latrines, open drains or pits  and sewers without protective gear is criminalised by The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and...

Benefits denied due to Absence Of Caste Certificate

/ April 7, 2016

Sewan Munda of Badanuangaon village in Sundargarh District of Odisha belongs to the Munda(Tribal) community. In 1962, during land settlement, the caste mentioned on his land document was recorded as Munda Christian and not Munda, because of which he is unable to get a valid caste certificate made. A Caste...

Turbans reinforcing caste system and identities

/ March 18, 2016

Who knew tying a turban can be a way to reinforce caste identity in a society! In Delwara village of Rajasthan, different communities tie their turbans differently as a sign to indicate which caste they belong to. This different turban style helps people decide their interactions towards people belonging to...

Dalits: Threatned and beaten by Upper caste men

/ February 7, 2016

Ramavati Devi and her family have been victims of caste violence for a long time. She along with her family in Bihar is being harassed by those belonging to the upper caste. Their house was burned by these people; they have time and again abused, threatened and beaten up members...

Dalits left vulnerable due to lack of ownership documents

/ October 30, 2015

“People belonging to the Yadav community threaten to evict us from our lands”, says Kamala Devi, a member of one of the 50 Dalit families residing in Dhakwal Bigha village. These people have not received their documents regarding ownership of the land they have been living on for the last...

Oppressed Dalits: Abused, beaten up by the upper caste

/ October 30, 2015

Romiya Devi and her family from Gaya in Bihar were attacked by the upper caste people on the 3rd of March 2015. Stones, cow dung and bad words were thrown at her house. When she and her husband asked them to stop, the upper caste people barged into their house...

Caste based discriminated in Classroom

/ September 17, 2015

Mansi has a startling revelation: the principal forced her to dispose of the carcass of a puppy. When she refused to do so she was brutally caned. That is not all, she is also regularly made to sweep the school premises. Investigation reveals that many children like Mansi are forced...

Escape from Trafficking: 16 year old rescued from trafficking racket

/ September 17, 2015

Behulia Paharin of Boriya village, Sahebgani went missing in May 2014. Correspondent Shikha made a video about the issue and showed it to Boriya police officers but no action was taken.