MANGALORE, August 25, 2011
Dalits boycott meeting after being made to wait by tahsildar
Dalit activists walked out of the monthly meeting organised at the
taluk level here on Wednesday after being made to wait for nearly an
hour by the tahsildar.
The monthly review meeting for schemes meant for the development of
Scheduled Castes was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and was to be
chaired by the Assistant Commissioner of Mangalore. Members of the
Dalit organisations had started arriving at the taluk panchayat well
before the stipulated time.
Around 11.30 a.m., a few people demanded to know why they were being
made to wait. Taluk Social Welfare Officer Reddy Naik tried to pacify
them saying that the tahsildar Ravichandra Naik would arrive shortly.
After another 15 minutes, the murmurs grew stronger with several
people saying they felt humiliated.
Gurupura Pirka, a member of the Dalit Abhivridhi Samiti, said: "We
drop everything to attend these meetings. Why do we have to keep
waiting like this?"
Soon after, all the members of the Dalit groups walked out of the
panchayat office and raised slogans against officials who did not come
to the meeting.
Mr. Naik's efforts to pacify them went in vain. Even as they raised
slogans, the tahsildar arrived and walked into the building without
even glancing at the protesters. This made the gathering more furious.
Shankuntala, a member of the samiti, said: "He did not even spare us a
glance and went inside. We will not come inside now." Several others
demanded that the tahsildar should come outside and explain the delay.
Soon Mr. Ravichandra Naik came and apologised saying that he had been
deputed to go to Ulaibettu for a spot inspection on behalf of the
Deputy Commissioner. "I did not go to attend personal work, it was on
official duty that I went, which caused the delay," he said.
However, the protesters were not willing to be mollified. They pointed
out that neither the Assistant Commissioner of Mangalore nor the
Assistant Commissioners of Police were present and walked away.
Mr. Ravichandra Naik told presspersons that Assistant Commissioner
Prabhulinga Kavalikatti had asked him to chair the meeting. Asked what
the Ulaibettu spot inspection was and whether it could not have been
put off, he said he had been asked to go to the spot by the Deputy
He said it would be recorded in the proceedings that the Dalits had
boycotted the meeting.
Among the people who had come to discuss their problems were a group
of migrants from Koppal district.
They had been living on land belonging to the railways at Yekkur and
had been victed from that place.
After that they shifted to Mudipu where the panchayat officials asked
them to leave the spot in 10 days, said a member of the Dalit group.
Now, they did not know where to go, he added.
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