‘Standing up for Dalits led to defeat of G V Srirama Reddy in Bagepalli Assembly election’

CPI(M) leader G.V. Srirama Reddy campaigning in Bagepalli, in Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka in May 2018.

CPI(M) leader G.V. Srirama Reddy campaigning in Bagepalli, in Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka in May 2018. | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Residents of Sigaranahalli in Holenarasipur taluk paid homage to G.V. Srirama Reddy, former MLA and senior leader of the CPM, who passed away recently. Dalits recalled Srirama Reddy’s support during their struggle against atrocities by the ‘upper’ castes in the village in 2015.

In a programme organised by Sigaranahalli unit of Dalit Hakkugala Samiti (DHS) on May 22, Thayamma, who was one among four Dalit women who was told by ‘upper’ caste persons to pay a fine for entering a temple in the village, said Srirama Reddy took leadership of the struggle and stood by the victims. “We had never visited Bengaluru or Vidhana Soudha. Srirama Reddy took us to then Home Minister Dr.G. Parameshwara and spoke on our behalf. During a visit to our village, he was arrested by the police,” she said.

The village witnessed a series of protests over atrocities on Dalits in 2015. Pro-Dalit organisations of Hassan and CPM played a prominent role in the protests. CPM’s then national general secretary Sitaram Yechury and others visited the village in 2016 to express solidarity with the victims.

“Because Srirama Reddy fought for Dalits in Sigaranahalli, he was defeated in the Assembly election in 2018 in Bagepalli. Voters belonging to the ‘upper’ castes did not support him. However, he did not change his stand despite being aware of the threat to his political career,” said Dharmesh, Hassan district secretary of CPM.

Residents of the village Kumar, Raju, Vijay Kumar and others recalled their association with Srirama Reddy. Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha district president H.R .Naveen Kumar, Madiga Dandora Horata Samiti district president Vijay Kumar, DHS district convener Pruthvi were among the participants at the event.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2022 8:19:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/standing-up-for-dalits-led-to-defeat-of-g-v-srirama-reddy-in-bagepalli-assembly-election/article65453253.ece