In an effort to abolish practices of untouchability and put pressure on government agencies to take action, a campaign against untouchability is to be undertaken in the five districts of Madurai, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Dindigul and Theni.
At a planning session held here on Sunday, it was decided that a group of non-governmental organisations, including Madurai-based Evidence, would initiate this campaign which will run for three years.
The campaign would have field workers at panchayat, block and district level who will collect data and document evidences of such practices in these districts, said A.Kathir, executive director, Evidence. The campaign would also involve in providing support to victims of caste atrocities, and spread awareness of legal provisions to fight against such practices.
Speaking at the meet, Mariswari of Chinnamanur, Theni district, said in village panchayats where Dalits are discriminated, people should defy social ban imposed on them and participate in gram sabha meetings without fail and tell the district administration about their woes and get it recorded in the official minutes of the meeting.
Prema of Kalligudi panchayat in Madurai said villagers, especially women, should be explained about the forms of untouchability practiced and what practices amounted to untouchability as they were not aware of them. Micro-level issues never get noticed, she said.
The speakers alleged that post-Dharmapuri violence against Dalits, and the formation of Anaithu Samuthaya Iyakkam (conglomeration of various non-Dalit caste organisations led by Pattali Makkal Katchi), there was a tendency to oppress Dalits and treat them differently.