Mumbai Shuts Down as Protests Erupt Over Caste Tensions

Source: The New York Times

Unrest in India fanned out to Mumbai, the financial capital, on Wednesday, and schools, trains and businesses shut down there. CreditPunit Paranjpe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

MUMBAI, India — Mumbai, India’s bustling commercial hub, came to a standstill on Wednesday as protesters called for a general strike and thousands took to the streets.

The catalyst for the strike was violence against members of the lower-caste Dalits, or so-called untouchables, that occurred when several hundred thousand gathered on New Year’s Day at a monument southeast of Mumbai to commemorate the victory 200 years ago of a British-led force against high-caste Hindus.

But as marchers blocked train tracks and highways, they also expressed deeper frustrations with both of India’s major political parties, which they accuse of failing to improve the lot of the hundreds of millions of Indians who have traditionally been stuck at the bottom of the country’s economic and social hierarchy.

“We are here to demand justice,” said Jitender Nikalje, a Dalit protester.

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Categories: Asia, India

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