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A village on the brink

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LIVING IN HARDSHIP: Lalitha (right), with a packet of rice in her hand, explaining the plight of her family, in Dasikan village in Udupi district on Thursday. Her daugther Shantha is seen.
LIVING IN HARDSHIP: Lalitha (right), with a packet of rice in her hand, explaining the plight of her family, in Dasikan village in Udupi district on Thursday. Her daugther Shantha is seen.

Staff Correspondent

Casteism still plagues this border village

  • Poor villagers complain of police oppression
  • Frequent visits by naxalites to the village

    DASIKAN (UDUPI DISTRICT): Petty disputes, the overbearing nature of the rich, the careless attitude of the authorities and a lack of the basic facilities are some of the problems which confront the poor people living in the remote villages on the border areas of Udupi district. Feudalism of a kind still does exist in these villages and the high castes often find ingenious methods to browbeat the lower castes into submission. The picture at Dasikan village in Kundapur taluk is no different. The village is about 70 kilometres from Udupi.

    Annaiah Naik is a small farmer, who grows arecanut on two-and-a-half acres of land at Dasikan. He also owns a small piece of land which provides him half a "murra" of rice. He belongs to the Marathi Naik community, which is a Scheduled Tribe (ST). The police suspect that naxalites frequent his house.

    Lalitha, wife of Annaiah Naik, said, "We felt humiliated when 18 members of the Anti-Naxalite Force (ANF) rushed into the house recently and ransacked it. They dragged my husband out by the scruff of his collar and accused him of sheltering naxalites. They threw away the three kg of rice we had bought yesterday. My daughters collected the rice after the police left. The ANF should treat us with dignity." The couple has three daughters and a son. One daughter has been married, while the two other daughters, Shantha and Shyamala, stay with them. Both have passed the seventh standard. The couple's only son Raju has passed his first year pre-university course (PUC) examination. Now he assists his father in his business.

    Naxalite visits

    According to Lalitha, naxalites have been frequenting the village for last two years ever since an "influential" person blocked the water supply to their field. This person had placed `Devara Kallu' (divine stones) at the source to prevent the other two houses in the village from using the water. It was then that the naxalites had made their appearance. They threw out the `Devara Kallu' and made water available to the villagers. "In a way, the naxalites helped us," Lalitha said.

    The villagers also experience great difficulties in their daily lives.

    "We have to travel 12 miles to Hanchikatte to get provisions. We have to travel four kilometres to catch one bus, which passes this way only twice a day," Lalitha said.

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