Saturday, August 16, 2003

Nimbarga: official team to gather facts

GULBARGA Aug. 15. The State Government has decided to depute the Additional Director-General of Police, Subhash Bharani, and the Director (Social Welfare) to the trouble-hit Nimbarga village in Aland taluk of Gulbarga district on Saturday to find out the reasons for the clash between upper castes and Dalits, and also the alleged police excesses on the latter.

Disclosing this to leaders of dalit organisations here today, the Public Works Minister, N. Dharam Singh, said the officials had been asked to submit a report to the Government.

Based on the report the Government would initiate action against the Additional Superintendent of Police, D. Prakash, or any other police official.

The Dalit leaders, who staged a protest in front of the Iwan-e-Shahi Guest-house, where Mr. Singh was staying, demanded the immediate suspension of Mr. Prakash.

They said that he was allegedly responsible for the lathi-charge on the people in the Dalits' colony on the outskirts of the village on Wednesday.

Mr. Singh, who was closeted with the Inspector-General of Police, Kempaiah, the Superintendent of Police, Ramachandra Rao, and the Deputy Commissioner, Anjum Parvez, for more than an hour, sent word to the Dalit leaders to meet him at the guest-house.

But the Dalit leaders rejected the offer and insisted that Mr. Singh meet them where they were staging the protest.

The Dalit leaders, including the State convener of DSS (Sagar), Malleshi Sajjan, the central committee member, Arjun Bhadre, the district convener, Ambaraya Ashtagi, the Bahujan Samaj Party leader, Suryakant Nimbalkar, the State convener of DSS (Ambedkarwada), S.R. Kollur, the DSS district convener, Mallikarjun Poojari, and members of various Dalit organisations, who marched to the guest-house in the morning, were stopped at the main gate by the police.

Mr. Singh met the Dalit leaders outside the compound of the guest-house and tried to convince them that the Government was not shielding any officer.

No one would be spared if they were found guilty, he said.

Mr. Singh was told by the Dalit leaders that Mr. Kempaiah and Mr. Parvez had already submitted a report to the Government and how the police had allegedly tried to present a wrong picture about the incident on the first day by saying that eve-teasing by a Dalit youth was responsible for the clashes while the real reason was the differences between the upper castes and Dalits in the village.

Mr. Singh, who spoke to the Home Minister, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, over telephone, on the demand of the Dalit leaders for the suspension of Mr. Prakash, said the two officials would visit the district and hold discussions with the Dalits and other sections of society.

They would also visit Nimbarga.

Not happy with the response of the Government, the Dalit leaders tried to prevent Mr. Singh from proceeding to the Chandrashekhar Patil stadium to hoist the national flag.

Some 80 Dalit leaders and activists of dalit organisations were taken into custody when they refused to disperse.

Source: The Hindu, August 16, 2003

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