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INDIA

Cut! Barber 'for all' ends discrimination against Dalits of India

CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The struggle to get a haircut during the coronavirus lockdown has led to a rare victory for India's marginalised Dalit community - a barbershop.   Scheduled to open for business next week, the "salon for all" in Idukki district of Kerala state in southern India has brought cheer to more than 200 Dalit families refused haircuts by their neighbourhood barbers in keeping with ancient caste bias.   "I am against discrimination and wanted this practice to end," said P. Ramaraj,  president of Vattavada village council, which is funding the new shop.   "We tried to negotiate with the two barbershops in the village and eventually had to seal them (shut) because they refused to cooperate. But people need to get a haircut and shave so we decided to open a new salon, where everyone will be welcome."

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