Fear of HIV drives villagers to empty only water source

In a classic example of how misconceptions about HIV/AIDS remains deep-rooted in our villages, a tank is being drained out in Morab village in Navalgund taluk of Dharwad district because of the fear over HIV.

Trouble began in the village after the body of a woman infected with HIV was found floating in the village tank last week. Rumour mills got to work and lack of awareness only added to the fear among village residents that HIV could spread to the whole village.

The residents stopped using water from the tank and elders of the village decided that pumping out the water was the only remedy.

It’s been a couple of days now since 20 water pumpsets have been installed on the tank bund to pump out water into nearby fields and drains in the village.

The village has no other source for drinking water and residents, mainly women, have to trek two kilometres to fetch drinking water. Efforts by officials, including the tahsildar and Assistant Commissioner, to convince the residents not to empty the tank has been futile.

When contacted, Chief Executive Officer of Dharwad Zilla Panchayat B.C. Satish said that repeated attempts to convince the residents has not yielded results. “They have hired heavy-duty pumpsets to pump out the water. This is despite the fact that water supply through Malaprabha canal is going to stop on December 6. They are firm on their decision and have told the officials that they are ready to face any water crisis, but will not touch the water from the tank,” he said.

On Tuesday, work on draining out the water body, spread over 32 acres, was still on. The elderly, like Amrutgouda Patil of the village, are of the staunch belief that the woman’s body had poisoned the water body. Some of the villagers told reporters that they would bring pressure on the concerned authorities to get water from the Malaprabha canal to fill up the tank again.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 8:16:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/fear-of-hiv-drives-villagers-to-empty-only-water-source/article25666403.ece

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