Dalits ostracised in Navalgund
August 18, 2011
Aug. 17: More than twenty dalit families in a tiny hamlet of Nayakanur
in Navalgund taluk, are facing social boycott by a landlord, for
refusing to work in his house. The landlord instructed shop owners in
the village, not to provide any foodgrains and tea to the dalits. They
were prevented from fetching water from the tank, and threatened with
hefty fine and other punishment for disobeying him. This prompted all
dalits to desert the village, and evoked strong criticism from
religious heads and the public.
"We don't have any agricultural land, and earn our livelihood by
working under the landlords, as bonded labourers. All dalit men are
working as farm labourers, in the lands of landlords, and women are
employed as maids in their houses. Our children are also employed in
the houses of landlords. They get food grains instead of wages in
return. We have been living under fear, and the harassment has been
going on for many years," said forty-two year old Dalit Basappa Madar.
The district administration has beefed up security in the village,
after dalits staged a protest against the atrocity of the landlords.
They lodged a complaint against the culprits at Navalgund police
station. All dalit families returned to their village, after assurance
given by the officials to protect them. The police have arrested six
persons from the upper class in this connection, including main
culprit Andanigouda Patil. Deputy Commissioner Darpan Jain, and SP R.
Dilip, held a meeting with the villagers and appealed to them to
maintain harmonious relations. Dr Siddalinga Swamiji of Gadag
Tontadarya Mutt visited the village, and sought punitive action
against the landlords. Consoling the dalit families, the pontiff
assured them free education and accommodation for their children.
"Dalit families can live without fear in the village, as measures have
been initiated to safeguard them. Legal action will be taken against
the guilty. All facilities of the government will also be provided to
them. Employment will be given to them under National Employment
Guarantee Scheme," DC Darpan Jain said.
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