S. Rajendran

Governor promises action after being

apprised of atrocities

Plea to set up police stations near major tandas

BANGALORE: The Banjara population in the State is gearing up for a major showdown with the authorities given the alleged increasing atrocities being perpetrated against the members of the community and the police reportedly remaining mute spectators.

This was brought to the notice of Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Thursday when leaders of the Karnataka unit of the All India Banjara Seva Sangha called on him to highlight the alleged atrocities against women of the community, particularly young girls.

Congress MLC and Banjara community leader Prakash Rathod led a delegation of the State Lambani leaders to draw the attention of the Governor to the instances of attacks against Lambanis in several parts of the State and in particular the rape and murder of two Lambani girls in Basavanabagewadi taluk of Bijapur district and another at a coffee plantation in Belur taluk of Hassan district.

The Lambanis have threatened to launch an agitation across the State if the authorities concerned did not take action.

The Governor, who heard the Lambani leaders, reportedly promised that he would take action in the matter. Among the other Lambani leaders who were part of the delegation were three former Ministers, M. Shankar Naik, B.T. Lalitha Naik and Babu Rao Chavan, and the former MLC Jalaja Naik.

Mr. Prakash Rathod told The Hindu that there were nearly 300 major Lambani tandas in the State and that the Government could either set up full-fledged police stations or at least police outposts for each major tanda.

The Lambani population in the State was around 40 lakhs and their economic condition had led to their exploitation at the hands of other communities.

With reference to the Hassan and Bijapur incidents of rape and murder, Mr. Rathod told the Governor that the kin of the victims should be immediately paid a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each. Both the families were in shock and distress.

In the Hassan case, Deepa, daughter of a coffee estate employee, was raped and murdered allegedly by the owner of a coffee plantation. The 14-year-old girl was killed as she initially resisted the rape attempt.

The poor plantation workers family has been running from pillar to post seeking help but action has not been taken by the authorities against the culprits, he alleged.

The Banjara community has said that a case should be registered against the owner of the plantation under the Child Labour Regulation Act as he had engaged the services of the girl as a maid while her parents were employed as plantation workers.