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Dalit colony attacked near Srirangapatna, 11 injured

Staff Correspondent

Police lob teargas shells in the village; nine arrested



Top officials camping in the village

Old enmity suspected to be the cause



MYSORE: Eleven Dalits were injured when a mob of over 150 people from “upper caste” attacked a Dalit colony of Chikka Ankanahalli in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district on Friday night.

Three injured Dalits have been admitted to K.R. Hospital, Mysore. On learning about the incident, the police rushed to the village and resorted to lathicharge to control the situation.

When this did not have any effect, they lobbed teargas shells to quell the mob. The situation is now under control and adequate police force has been deployed in the village, according to Superintendent of Police Seemanth Kumar Singh.

Mr. Singh, who is camping in the village, told The Hindu that nine persons had been arrested in this connection and a search was on to arrest others involved in the attack.

Motorcycle torched

The mob torched a motorcycle and three bicycles and damaged many houses. Officials were in the process of estimating the extent of damage, he said.

Senior officials, including Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda, Srirangapatna tahsildar Manjunath Prasad, Assistant Direct of Social Welfare Kavitharani are camping in the village.

Ms. Kavitarani said that efforts were on to disburse compensations to affected Dalits immediately.

According to Chandrashekar, a Dalit leader who visited the village, “caste” Hindus had damaged 37 houses and injured 11 persons.

While the police attributed eve-teasing as the provocation, Dalit leaders said animosity between youths belonging to “upper caste” and Dalits was the reason behind the incident.

There are 150 dalit families at Chikka Ankanahalli, which comes under the jurisdiction of Arakere police. “Caste” Hindus form the majority in the village.

Mr. Chandrashekar said there was a fight between the two groups during Dasara Youth Sports in Srirangapatna recently and “caste” Hindus wanted to “teach Dalits a lesson”.

Provocation

A dalit boy from Vajamangala visited Chikka Ankanahalli to invite his relatives for a ceremony on September 18. He was attacked by “caste” Hindu boys near a tea stall in the village. A few Dalit youths retaliated near Vajamangala gate on September 19.

Mr. Chandrashekar said “Caste” Hindu youths hatched a plan and after immersing the Ganesh idol, they raided a Dalit colony. They threw stones, damaged a Ganapathi pandal and the idol. They smudged the board of Ambedkar Sangh.

TV sets damaged

“Upper caste” youths attacked many houses and damaged television sets in three houses. Many Dalit youths were injured when they tried to stop them, he said.

Protection sought

He urged the district authorities to arrest the accused and provide protection to Dalits in the village. Any failure to do so would force the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS) to launch an agitation, he said.

Condemning the attack on Dalits, Guruprasad Keragodu, a DSS leader, said that it was the responsibility of the Government to take action against the accused by invoking SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act. They should not be allowed to get bail.

‘Dalit Day’

He said giving compensation would not help in solving the problem. The authorities should identify “sensitive” villages in districts, where there was animosity between “upper castes” and Dalits and address the problem. “Otherwise, ‘upper caste’ people will continue their attacks on Dalits, and the Government as a ritual will distribute compensation,” he said.

Instead of conducting a Dalit Day in cities, authorities should organise a function in villages to boost the confidence of Dalits, Mr. Keragodu added.

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