Wednesday, October 6, 2010

[ZESTCaste] The ‘upper caste' renders Dalits of Saligrama jobless

Karnataka - Mysore

The 'upper caste' renders Dalits of Saligrama jobless

Special Correspondent

About 500 Dalits have been ostracised since September 26

'Authorities have not visited the village'

CPI(M) threatens dharna

MYSORE: As many as 500 Dalit families belonging to Saligrama village
in K.R. Nagar taluk have been in dire straits following social
ostracism by members of an "upper caste" community for the last two

K.R. Nagar taluk is primarily an agricultural region and Saligrama has
a population of nearly 10,000 people. Of them, 2,000, comprising about
500 families, belong to the Holaya community. What set it off

The immediate cause for the social boycott of the Holayas was a petty
incident. Some cattle belonging to the "upper caste" community was
found grazing on the land belonging to one Govindaraju, a Dalit.
Govindaraju took objection to the cattle being on his land as he was
entirely dependent on the land for his livelihood.

Govindaraju had an altercation with members of the "upper caste"
community on the matter, which led to him being assaulted. Govindaraju
immediately filed a police complaint seeking protection. The "upper
caste" members feeling that he had "exceeded his limits" by daring to
file a police complaint, decided to boycott the Dalits from September

The incident came into the public domain after a fact-finding
committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), led by State
secretariat member Maruti Manpade, visited Saligrama on Monday and
shared their findings with the media.

The team visited the village and discovered that all Dalits had been
dismissed from their jobs while those who employ their women folk as
housemaids were asked to pay Rs. 2,000 for not abiding by the diktat
of the "upper caste". "What is worse is that those who brought this
'violation' to the notice of the 'leaders' were rewarded with Rs. 500,
according to Varalakshmi, who was part of the CPI(M) team. The CPI(M)
members said the Dalits in Saligrama were being denied work in farms
while those who were working as lorry drivers, auto drivers and
electricians had lost their jobs.

No action

He said the police had failed to take action against the guilty. "We
tried to contact the officials but they said they were unable to
attend to the complaint immediately because of Dasara. They have not
bothered to visit the village," he added. The CPI(M) has threatened to
launch a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office if the
authorities fail to address the problem before Dasara.


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