Karnataka

Koppal Deputy Commissioner gives set of instructions to curb untouchability

Deputy Commissioner Vikas Kishor Suralkar presiding over a meeting of senior officers in Koppal on Friday.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Taking serious note of the Miyapur incident in which a Dalit family was recently fined ₹25,000 after its child entered a local temple, Koppal Deputy Commissioner Vikas Kishor Suralkar, on Friday evening, held a meeting of senior officers and gave a series of directions to effectively curb the practice of untouchability and invoke the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in the district.

One of the directions he gave was the instalment of complaint boxes at the offices of all tahsildars and nada kacheries so as to facilitate people, who wish to be anonymous, to report incidents of atrocities and discrimination against people from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs).

“In many cases, SCs and STs who are assaulted or discriminated against are reluctant to lodge a complaint because of the fear of revenge. They think that lodging a complaint and resorting to a legal process may make things more complex for them. To help them report the incidents and remain anonymous, we should put separate complaint boxes at each tahsildar office and nada kacheries across the district. Anybody who is aware of incidents of untouchability and atrocities against SCs and STs can drop a complaint in these boxes and our officers would take every complaint seriously,” Mr. Suralkar said, asking his officers to put the boxes by Monday.

Mr. Suralkar also gave some standing instructions to the officers concerned and the police on handling the cases of atrocities against the marginalised communities.

“We need to extensively hold programmes across the district to inculcate awareness against the practice of untouchability. We should put display boards at all temples making it clear that there are no restrictions for any person belonging to any community to enter the temple. The boards should also have the phone numbers of the concerned officers and the police so that the incidents of denying entry to the temple could easily be reported to the administration. Our officers should swiftly act upon when they receive complaints and book cases against those, including the priests of the respective temples, who deny entry to the temple. In such case where nobody comes forward to lodge a complaint, the government officials should themselves lodge a complaint with the police,” Mr. Suralkar said.

Stressing the need of intensifying the vigilance as a measure to get an objective picture on the ground with regard to the prevalence of untouchability, Mr. Suralkar asked tahsildars, Executive Officers of taluk panchayats, Block Education Officers, and those key officers in the departments of Social Welfare, Other Backward Classes Welfare, and the police to frequently visit the villages and observe whether Dalits are allowed to enter temples, take services at hotels and hairdressing salons, and use public water sources.

ASHAs and anganwadi workers should be involved in the information gathering exercises.

“Upon noticing the practice of untouchability, the officers should inculcate awareness among the people against such social evils. Local people’s representatives, village heads and social and political activists should be involved end the practice. If the practice continues despite awareness programmes, appeals and persuasions, suo motu legal action should be taken against the perpetrators,” Mr. Suralkar said.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 2:34:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/koppal-deputy-commissioner-gives-set-of-instructions-to-curb-untouchability/article36667941.ece

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