Discrimination against Dalits in Chhattisgarh
Sunday, September 2, 2001 (Raipur):
Although the government insists that they are working hard towards the upliftment of the Dalits in the country, daily reports show that their situation has not improved.
In Chhattisgarh, 14 members of a Dalit family are not allowed to talk to anyone. Their crime is that they refused to give up their 1.5 acre plot to the village authorities of Jeeradabaree, who wanted to make a pond on the site.
The Tankodhar Tandi family refused to give up their land, which is their only form of income and now in punishment, the family has been isolated.
"We have been living off this land for 25 years. Now they tell us that they want to build a pond. We told them that they cannot do so," said Babulal, Tankodhar's son and the owner of the land.
"How can they give their land? It is government land. They have been living off this land for 20-25 years. If they give the land, then what will they eat?" demanded Magardass Bareej, a supporter of Babulal.
Since their isolation, they are forced to walk as far as seven kilometers from the village in order to buy their provisions. If any of the other villagers talk to the family members, they are fined. A complaint has been filed at the local police station but no action has been taken.
"If it can be proved that they have exploited the lower castes, then action can be taken against them under the OBC act 1989," said Prashant Aslam, SHO, Basna.
The village is well connected by roads but the authorities still claim ignorance about the incident. This is clearly another indication of the government's attitude of all talk and no action when it comes to dealing with the caste issue in India