Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Police turning a blind eye to atrocities on Dalits: AIDWA

THENI SEPT.15. The All-India Democratic Women's Organisation and Dalit women have urged the Government to constitute a committee to review the performance of the Protection of Civil Rights wing of the police and the Adi Dravida Welfare department to enable the Dalits to get justice.

Speaking at a regional conference at Andipatti today, the general secretary, U. Vasuki, said peace committees formed in any village to solve any Dalit-related issues were so far used only to suppress the basic rights of the Dalits.

It was an open secret that untouchability, the two-tumbler system, prevention of the Dalits from wearing chappals, entering temples and drawing water from wells were prevalent in most southern districts. How come the PCR wing and the Adi Dravida Welfare department were unaware of them, she asked.

In many cases, the departments informed that they did not receive any complaint. The Government should ask for reports from them, which could be monitored by the committee.

Speakers urged the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, to take steps to eradicate untouchability, a practice prevalent in 19 villages in her own constituency.

A survey conducted by the AIDWA alleged that untouchability and atrocities against the Dalits were rampant at Thimmarasanaickenpatti, T.V. Ranganathapuram, Bomminaickenpatti in the Andipatti constituency and Iyyampatti, Margayankottai, Pallavarayanpatti, Kondamanaickenpatti, Pulikuthi and Narayanathevanpatti.

Not even drinking water was being served to Dalit children studying in a government school at T.V. Ranganathapuram, she said.

The Dindigul MLA, K. Balabarathi, said the Government demanded detailed reports on Dalit issues raised in the Assembly. Therefore, it was the duty of the officials to give detailed report on complaints lodged by people.

The AIDWA vice-president, Mythili Sivaraman said the Chief Minister should eradicate untouchability in her constituency before she converted it into `Arasipatti'.

Many Dalit colonies in the constituency did not have proper approach roads, drinking water or shelter.

The conference condemned the failure to take action against those who assaulted a panchayat president with chappals during Independence Day celebrations at Sivaganga. She criticised the ban on animal sacrifice in temples.

Source: The Hindu, September 16, 2003

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