Thiruvananthapuram

Political twist to untouchability issue

Cong rallies behind community, CPI(M) says no such issue exists

The ‘untouchability’ charge raised by the residents of a Tamil-speaking Dalit colony at Govindapuram village has taken a political twist with the opposition Congress rallying behind the colony residents and the ruling CPI(M) claiming that there is no caste-based discrimination

Making things complicated, the colony residents have turned against local MLA and CPI(M) leader K. Babu accusing him of portraying members of Dalit families there as habitual drinkers. Though the MLA has denied the charges, a speech made by him on the issue is now turning viral in social media.

The Hindu had reported the issue recently. The fresh-round of troubles started last month when a Dalit girl eloped with an upper caste youth from the neighbourhood. A clash broke out between the members of the rival communities when the couple returned after marrying legally. Though the police ensured a truce between the communities, Dalit families have since then been sleeping on the premises of a local temple, fearing retaliation.

MLA’s charge

It was while addressing a public meeting organised by the party over the issue that Mr. Babu allegedly said that the colony residents were spending time on the temple premises to consume alcohol, that too after mixing it with water sourced from the public tap.

“The MLA and the party are supporting those who prevent us from fetching water from the public tap and entering shops owned by those outside our community,” said S. Senthil Kumar, a colony resident. The colony named after B.R. Ambedkar is located in the Tamil Nadu border on the way to Pollachi and 133 families of Chakliya community members live there.

Neglected

“Our houses construed about 30 years ago are badly in need of repair and the CPI(M)-ruled grama panchayat is delaying the funds citing one reason or the other. We are a totally neglected lot,” said 68-year-old Veerammal.

Sivaraman, another colony resident, said the Community was facing discrimination from 263 families of Goundars and Ezhavas.

The Dalits are running their own barbershop and tea shop and they constructed a temple recently as they are denied entry to the village temple.

After media reports on the issue, Congress leader V.T. Balram, MLA, visited the colony last Monday and took part in a ‘panthibhojanam’ (community eating). On Friday, the CPI(M) also organised a ‘panthibhojanam’ claiming no caste discrimination was prevailing.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:49:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/political-twist-to-untouchability-issue/article18960580.ece

Next Story