Wednesday, May 28, 2003

5 Dalits stripped, beaten up

GANGAVATHI (Koppal dt), May 27 (DHNS)

Caste Hindus allegedly forced five Dalit men to strip half-naked, tied them to a pole and thrashed them on Sunday at Marakumbi village, around 15 km from here. The five were accused of stealing paddy. The next morning, villagers who congregated at the Gram Sabha, also imposed a fine of Rs 2,500 on them, it is learnt.

The government has built a Samudaya Bhavan in the Harijan area of Marakumbi exclusively for the use of Dalits. A businessman and a farmer Tirumalappa used to store his paddy in this bhavan. The five youth demanded that the bhavan be cleared of all the paddy as it was meant for public use and did not belong to any individual. Dalit leaders expressed their inability to free the bhavan from the clutches of the businessman, sources said.

The five youth then approached Mr Tirumalappa and requested him to clear out of the bhavan. They told him that the bhavan was needed to hold functions and moreover the poor Dalits could sleep in the bhavan in the nights to escape the deadly bite of snakes and scorpions. Mr Tirumalappa did not budge. The youth later threatened to complain to the government. When the news spread, furious caste Hindus held a meeting. Later they accused the five youths of trying to steal the paddy stored in the bhavan. On Sunday, they rounded the youths up and thrashed them. The mothers of the youth were roughed up when they tried to give the youths some water.

Source: Deccan Herald, May 28, 2003

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