The attack in a  Sikh temple in Vienna and the subsequent clashes in Punjab have brought renewed focus on the internationalisation of what many Indians see as a domestic problem.

In August 2001, I heard Martin Macwan, a human rights activist, talk about raising the issue of caste at international forums, specifically in the context of the U.N. race summit in Durban that year. The move was however opposed by the government.

Macwan spoke movingly about how fellow activists had been killed while agitating for their rights.

Nearly a decade later, the debate on how to tackle caste still rages.

Those who want to highlight the issue on international forums, like at the Durban Review Conference at Geneva last month, see no problem in linking it to race since racial discrimination is a widely prevalent practice that helps people understand other kinds of discrimination as well.

Media reports say the Indian government remains opposed to this.

Some experts and newspaper columnists say caste and racial discrimination are similar.