Dalits In Big Trouble Under Naidu’s Dispensation
Garagaparru: A little over 200 families of Dalits from this small village of West Godavari district were ostracized by the members of other castes. The dominant Kshatriya community led the ostracism uniting the other castes using political power and their caste domination. These Dalits were not allowed to speak to others. Others also were not allowed to speak to the Dalits. No provisions were sold to them. No medicines were given. The only Rural Medical Practitioner (RMP) in the village was forced to leave as he gave first aid treatment to a Dalit woman defying the ostracism. The APSRTC buses were diverted to other routes and auto rickshaws were not allowed to ply. The lands on which they have been working as tenants were taken away by the respective owners. They suffered for two months and finally reached out to the Dalit and human rights organisations due to starvation.
It is now more than a month that the world came to know about the ostracism. The officials and Ministers have descended on the village. Leader of Opposition Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy too had visited them and offered to build peace. The main accused Balarama Krishna Raju and three others were arrested under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, but were surprisingly released on bail. The ostracism continues with the influential and rich Kshatriayas being firm on it.
The crime that led to this heinous act by the Kshatriyas was that the Dalits have installed a life-size statue of Dr B R Ambedkar in the village on the bund of local irrigation tank. The statue was put up next to Alluri Sitaramaraju, a freedom fighter, whom the Kshatriayas own up as their leader. The Kshatriayas were angry at the Dalits for installing the statue of Ambedkar and at one night they have removed it and threw it on the roadside. The angered Dalits held a protest and forced the officials to come to their rescue. The statue was finally kept at the village panchayat office. This had angered the Kshatriyas to rally the remaining castes against the Dalits and impose social boycott on them for their revolt. Nothing is coming to the rescue of the Dalits to correct the system. The officials who visit them only promise better roads, drinking water connection and other benefits and refuse to talk about social boycott.
There is another case at Devarapally village of Prakasam district. The Dalits in the village were given 43 acres of land in 1970s for undergoing family planning treatment. The land was separated from the existing irrigation tank. The Dalits have been cultivating there for all these years and the lands went into the heirs. The local revenue offices have the records of allocation of these lands to the Dalits and their enjoyment for all these years. But, the Neeru-Chettu programeme of the government had denied the entry of these Dalits into the lands and the officials under pressure from the ruling party leaders, declared that the lands are part of the village irrigation tank. The Dalits protested. The Left parties and the YSRCP supported the protest. But, nothing happened. The Dalits were arrested during the night and shifted to a local police station. On Thursday morning, machines were deployed and the lands were destroyed to be made part of the local irrigation tank.
“This government is working against the interests of the Dalits. It does not want the Dalits to assert themselves. Social boycott and arrests have become the order of the day,” complained the Kulavivaksha Vyatireka Porata Samithi (KVPS) State leader Andra Malyadri. The police have behaved in a crude manner while dealing with the protesters.