New forms of untouchability
Express News ServiceFirst Published : 21 May 2010 02:14:00 AM ISTLast
Updated : 21 May 2010 09:04:31 AM IST
CHENNAI: 'Other' chairs in barber shops, bar on wearing polyester
dhoties, opposition to rear pedigree pets and postmen not knocking on
their doors are some of the new forms of untouchability that SCs in
rural Tamil Nadu face, even today.
A survey conducted by the CPM-backed Tamil Nadu Untouchability
Eradication Front over the past seven to eight years has revealed that
Dalits living in various parts of the State are subjected to different
forms of inhuman discrimination.
"We have identified 80 forms of untouchability, apart from 23 forms of
atrocities prevailing in Tamil Nadu," P Sampath, State Convener of the
Front, told newspersons in Chennai on Thursday.
"Dalits in Aandarkottaram and Thaniamangalam villages falling under
Melur Panchayat Union in Madurai district have to go to the post
office to collect letters or money orders as postmen won't step into
Similarly, Schedule Caste people in Velayudhapuram village in
Thoothukudi district don't have the right to rear pedigree dogs." Some
other unusual practices that figure in the report include disallowing
Dalits to ride bicycles and bullock carts, keeping separate almirahs
for stacking Dalit clothes at laundries, ban on bursting crackers
during temple festivals, refusing permission to watch shows on public
panchayat television sets and forcing Arunthathiyar students to clean
toilets in schools.
Refusal to call Dalits with 'respectable' terms in their names is
another common practise – in names like Madasamy and Munniyasamy, the
'samy' is omitted and they are called Madan or Munni.
Some of the cruelties identified are feeding Dalits with human faeces,
sexual abuse and foisting of false cases. When the survey was
presented to district collectors, they categorically denied existence
of any such discrimination.
Sampath said. "Perhaps, police are hand in glove with dominant communities."
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