“Three Dalit officers, a Deputy Commissioner, a Superintendent of Police and a Tahsildar, in Chitradurga district have defied the directions given by Social Welfare Minister A. Narayanaswamy to protect 37 Dalit (Madiga) families facing boycott from Lingayats and Vokkaligas in Majure village of Hiriyur taluk for nearly two months”, alleged Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Prof. B. Krishnappa) president T.D. Rajagiri before presspersons in the chambers of Mr. Narayanaswamy at the Vidhana Soudha here on Wednesday.
Mr. Rajagiri said that he had gone to the Inspection Bungalow at Chitradurga when DSS leaders narrated their woes and requested him to help remove the boycott, but in vain.
The families had come all the way from their village and were waiting for the Minister to receive their memorandum, but he did not turn up, he said.
Mr. Rajagiri said that the Minister, who also belongs to the Madiga community, telephoned the Deputy Commissioner asking him to take action. But, there was no relief to the Dalit families who were staging a dharna in front of the Tahsildar’s office in Hiriyur demanding land, compensation and relief under the law.
He said that caste Hindus had imposed a boycott on these families following the appointment of Lakshmamma from the Madiga community as a cook in the anganwadi there.
He said that upper caste politicians of the village did not want a Dalit woman to cook food and feed their children and they succeeded in getting her resignation from the post.
The Dalits, he said, had approached a landlord who was ready to sell the land to the government for distribution among Dalits. However, caste Hindus had opposed the acquisition of the land by offering more money to the landlord, Mr. Rajagiri alleged.
Citing an attack on Dalits in the village in 1998 following which caste Hindus were arrested, Mr. Rajagiri said that Majure village Dalits did not want to lodge any complaint against them as they wanted harmony in the village. They approached Murugha Sharanaru and Adijambava Math Swamiji for a dialogue with the caste Hindus in the presence of the officers, but the caste Hindus did not relent.
The Dalit officers in the district were either scared of upper caste politicians or had lost all sensitivity, he added.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLC and former DSS leader D.S. Veeraiah alleged that the shops in the village refused to sell provisions and other essential commodities to Dalits and landlords denied them work.
Mr. Veeraiah, also a member of the high power committee on prevention of atrocities on Dalits, demanded immediate relief to the Dalits, including land, punishment to those who had imposed the boycott and the officers who had defied the Minister. He said that the Dalit families would meet Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and present a memorandum seeking justice.