Vijayawada: On one hand, Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, takes oath as the 14th President of India. While on the other, more than 300 Dalit families in Andhra Pradesh are on indefinite fast to protest against their alleged boycott by upper caste by all means.
Dalits of Garagaparru village in West Godavari district are holding the fast from today in protest, reports India today.
Belonging to Mala community, Dalits are facing a massive social boycott by members of Raju community, an influential Kshatriya community in coastal Andhra Pradesh, for the last three months.
The reason behind the protest:
The unrest started when the upper caste removed the statue of B R Ambedkar installed by Dalits of Mala community in the village on April 24. The statue was erected by Dalits which got removed within hours of its installation.
Since then, Dalits of this community are going work less. Upper caste landlords are denying giving any Dalit work in their fields, people of Mala community rely on agricultural livelihood as labourers.
After the alleged social discrimination came to light, the West Godavari district administration registered a case against members of the Raju community under Section 341 (Wrongful Restraint), 506 r/w 34 (Criminal Intimidation) of the IPC and the SC/ST(Prevention Of Atrocities) Act.
All the accused, however, have been released on bail.
Politicians visit the village:
K Ramulu, a member of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), visited the village on June 27 and asked the district administration to take steps to restore order in the village.
A few days later, YSR Congress president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on June 30 visited the village and demanded strict action against the accused.
Several Ministers of TDP as well on Monday had visited the village to pacify Dalit families.
The protesting Dalit families have demanded two-acre plot and Rs 1 lakh as compensation for each family. They have also demanded a separate Gram Panchayat for the Dalit colony in the village. The TDP government has assured them of a positive hearing and reinstatement of Ambedkar’s statue at the earliest.