Dalits face social boycott in Prakasam village

Dalits face social boycott in Prakasam village

They are denied water medicines, groceries and other essential commodities

Fifty-year-old Kondalu, a Dalit, used to mingle freely, eat with his friends from upper caste groups in the hotel in the village square till the other day at the remote Gonugunta village, near Chimakurthy, in Prakasam district. But it is no longer so with “caste” Hindus allegedly implementing an unannounced social boycott denying Dalits water, medicines, groceries and other essential commodities.

Trouble began after the village caste Hindus excluded the two Dalit hamlets attached to the main village from the “Bottu Rayi” installation function on April 21, praying for the prosperity of all the villagers. They allegedly incurred the wrath of the “caste” Hindus after they objected to fixing the village boundaries excluding the two Dalit hamlets. Consecration of “’Bottu Rayi”(sanctified stone) is a Dravidian practice to ward off evil forces and ensure prosperity of residents of the village. Eight stones are also placed in eight different directions as advised by Vasthu experts to fix the village boundary.

Pouring out their woes, a group of Dalits said: “We are also born and brought up in the village, but are not treated as part and parcel of the village now. Even dogs are allowed to roam freely in the village. But we are disallowed for questioning them. We are not allowed to board the autorickshaws plied by “caste” Hindus, who have stopped talking to us now.”

“They do not sell milk to us any longer,” complained K. Kalyan, on whose complaint the Chimakurthy police registered a case under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

They now have no option but to go all the way to Chimakurthy or K.V. Palem to purchase essential commodities, added sarpanch K. Venkaiamma, also a Dalit.

“We are also not allowed to work in the farms of upper caste people,” complains a Dalit youth Vinod, getting ready to move out to Hyderabad where his friends eke out a living doing sundry jobs.

Only in 2008, the Dalits were allowed entry into the temple after the Kula Vivaksha Porata Sangam (KVPS) took up their cause.

Police watching situation

Ongole Rural Circle Inspector M. Muralikrishna, who visited the trouble-torn village, said: “We are keeping a close watch on the situation by sending police personnel in plainclothes to the village every now and then.”

Ongole Deputy Superintendent of Police G. Srinivasa Rao, who has been asked to probe the case, said: “I will sit with the groups involved on Wednesday and bring about rapprochement.”

Fact-finding team

Meanwhile, a fact-finding team of KVPS, led by its district secretary B. Raghuram, urged Prakasam District Collector V. Vinay Chand and Superintendent of Police C.M. Trivikram Varma to visit the village to assuage the ruffled feelings of the Dalits and arrange for supply of ration in the two hamlets from next month.

The Government should also post a police picket in the village for six months, shift the Anganwadi centre to one of the Dalit hamlets and sanction a separate water treatment plant for the Dalits, added KVPS district president A. Raghavulu.

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