Dalit (the oppressed), name given, by themselves, to the untouchables of Hindu society, about a quarter of the whole. Their organization into a politically coherent group owed much to S. R. Ambedkar, and serious riots broke out in 1997 in Maharashtra state when a statue of Ambedkar was desecrated. In 1997, K. R. Narayanan became the first Dalit to be president of India.
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