Social boycott and death of a woman: CasteVirus 002KT’08
Suicide of a Dalit woman raises a stink over the humiliation and injustice being meted out to the community people in Lakkasandra panchayat
Political luminaries of the state congregated at a socialist forum’s convention in the city on Tuesday to raise a toast to Barack Hussein Obama for transcending the racial divide and make it to the helm of the most powerful nation on the earth.
None of these politicos shed even a tear to the plight of 15 Dalit families of Lakkasandra, about 40 km from the city, who are facing social ostracisation after one of them, 24-year-old Gangamma, ended her life after she was harassed by the caste Hindus of the village.Six months ago, another Dalit Najundappa was fined for drawing water from the same tank.
“After Gangamma’s suicide, Dalits are facing an undeclared social boycott in Lakkasandra. All the Dalits here are agricultural labourers working in the fields of upper caste Vokkaligas. No one in the village or even from the neighbouring village is willing to give jobs Dalits,” said Mallige S, secretary, Samanatha Mahila Vedike told mediapersons in Bangalore on Wednesday.
The Vedike, Swabhimani Dalit Shakti, Karnataka Dalit Mahila Okkutta and Navajagruthi Mahila Sangha released a fact-finding committee report on what led Gangamma to take the extreme step and resultant backlash the other Dalits of the village are facing.The fact-finding committee has found out that Gangamma allegedly paid with her life for fetching water from a well belonging to a dominant community.
“There are two water tanks in Lakkasandra. One belongs to the Dalits and other to the Vokkaliga community. When there is no water in their tank, Dalits go to fetch water from the other tank. But Gangamma was verbally abused by Bhagyamma, a Vokkaliga woman, for drawing water from the Vokkaligas’ tank on October 20,” said Sivalingam S, general secretary of Swabhimani Dalit Shakti, a Dalit organisation.Gangamma retaliated and said she should be allowed to draw water from the tank. Bhagyamma immediately got a panchayat meet convened on the next day.
At the panchayat meeting, Gangamma was slapped with a fine of Rs 101, Mallige said. A humiliated Gangamma hanged herself on October 22, the report said.Six months ago, another Dalit Najundappa had been fined for drawing water from the same tank. According to Swabhimani Dalit Shakti, around 140 cases of atrocities on Dalits had been recorded in the past four months.A memorandum demanding jobs to Dalits and immediate action against the accused will be submitted to the Governor soon, the activists of the four organizations said.
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