Members of the Dalit community dig wells, but they are not allowed to drink water from it; they also sculpt the idols you worship at temples, but they are not allowed to enter the premises – this discrimination was highlighted by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, The Indian Express reported on Monday. “Who will set things right?” he asked.

Gehlot told the daily on Sunday that with his remarks, he intended to convey the kind of discrimination BR Ambedkar must have experienced during his time, but that he also wanted to highlight the prejudice prevalent in society today. “I am a minister, I keep getting such reports. It [discrimination] may have come down, but it still exists in society,’’ the 68-year-old said at a national conference on Dr BR Ambedkar at Nagda, Ujjain district, on Saturday.

The social justice minister, who belongs to a scheduled caste, also recalled the inequality he faced during this youth. He recalled that “lower caste” students of a hostel in Ratlam had to be accompanied by security detail to visit a temple.

Even though caste-based discrimination has been illegal in India for decades, inequality on this basis is still prevalent in society, with Dalits and members of other “lower castes” being denied basic amenities. They are often attacked for using civic amenities, as highlighted by the minister.