District Social Welfare Officer and tahsildar say they do not know about it

As many as 21 Dalit families of Heggare village have alleged that they been ostracised by their own community people for the past one-and-a-half years.

Eighty families belonging to the Schedule Castes reside in the Dalit Colony in Heggare village, which is around 10 km from Tumkur city. Most of them work as labourers and construction workers, and struggle to get two square meals a day.

The problem started when a meeting was convened by a few Dalit community leaders to choose a person who to head the community. Basavaraju, a government school teacher and husband of Heggare village panchayat member Soubhagyamma, was one of the persons who convened the meeting. R. Narasaiah, a Dalit who retired as valve man in Tumkur, suggested that all people belonging to the community should be invited to attend the meeting. However, Mr. Basavaraju and his supporters went ahead with the meeting and ignored the suggestion of Mr. Narasaiah.

The tussle between Mr. Narasaiah and Mr. Basavaraju and his supporters began with the meeting and it later resulted in the ostracism of Mr. Narasaiah and his family. They were not allowed to enter the temple of goddess Maramma following which Narasaiah built a temple of goddess Lakshmi on the land he owned.

Warning issued

The families that are facing ostracism alleged that Mr. Basavaraju and his supporters ordered the rest of the community people to boycott Mr. Narasaiah and his family. The announcement was made with the accompaniment of drumbeats and community people were warned against interacting with Mr. Narasaiah and family. And, those who do so would be imposed a fine of Rs. 1,001, Mr. Basavaraju and his supporters allegedly said.

Subsequently, the 20 families of Dalits who spoke to Mr. Narasaiah and his family members were also ostracised. They were not allowed to enter the Maramma temple also besides not allowing them to take water from the public tap.

The boycotted Dalits alleged that the supporters and son of Mr. Basavaraju were picking up a fight with them over trivial matters and hurled abuses at them. Yet again the two groups clashed on January 13 near Maramma temple. As a result, Rajanna and Mr. Basavaraju were injured and admitted to government hospital in Tumkur. Cases have been registered against both the groups under IPC sections 143, 147, 323, 324, 504, 506, RW149 in the Tumkur Rural police station. Gowramma, a resident, told The Hindu , “Mr. Basavaraju’s son and his group have openly threatened us that they will rape young girls and spoil their lives if we went against them”.

Jayamma, a resident, said, “Mr. Basavaraju and his group have threatened us that they would kill us if we do not cast our votes in favour of persons they suggest.”

Mr. Basavaraju refused to comment on the issue.

However, Mr. Basavaraju’s family members and his supporters, including Nagaraju, alleged that false cases had been booked against them by the families who are making allegations against them.

Officers’ stand

District convener of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti M.D. Doddegowda said that earlier also complaints had been booked against both the groups. But, both the groups had been called to the police station and a compromise had been arrived at following which the cases were withdrawn.

Mr. Doddegowda urged officers concerned to take action against the people who have socially boycotted 21 Dalit families.

District Social Welfare Officer B.S. Pradeep claimed that the matter has not come to his notice. He, however, said that he would send his officers to the village to find out more about it.

Tahsildar B. Ahobalaiah said, “It has not come to my notice, I will find out”.

  • Dalit Sangharsh Samiti seeks action against people who are boycotting the families

  • They have not been allowed to enter Maramma temple and use the public tap to collect water