Despite repeated appeals to the State Government, the Dalits of Saligrama village of K.R. Nagar taluk remain ostracised by ‘caste' Hindus for a trivial reason.
The Dalits are now becoming anxious as the social boycott cost them their jobs.
According to Srinivas, president, Bahujana Hitarakshana Vedike, “We were earning Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 a day by working in the village; now we are forced to trek 8 to 10 km to earn Rs. 50.
Authorities who promised to provide work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act have nothing to offer us,” he said.
Saligrama has a population of nearly 10,000 and Dalits make up 2,000.
The immediate cause for the social boycott was a silly reason. According to the Dalits, cattle belonging to ‘caste' Hindus were found grazing on land belonging to Govindaraju, a Dalit. When Govindaraju objected to it, he was assaulted. Govindaraju filed a complaint with the police and sought protection. This led to the Dalits being ostracised since September 26.
Meanwhile, Adaguru H. Vishwanath, MP, has taken exception to the apathy of the district authorities and district in-charge Minister S. Ramdas in finding a solution to the problems being faced by the Dalits.
He appealed to Mr. Ramdas to help the hapless Dalits and provide them an opportunity to live with dignity.
Commissioner, Department of Social Welfare, Manjunatha Prasad, visited the village three weeks ago and promised to ensure justice. But nothing has been done so far.
Regretting the apathy of the Government in addressing the issue, DSS leader Bettaiah Kote said the BJP Government was pushing the community backward, instead of working for its uplift, by supporting ‘caste' Hindus discreetly.