God, a distant reality for Dalits

Kothur, April 19: The name of the village is Demuni Mamidipalle, but Demudu (God) is not accessible to the Dalits of the village. Like several other villages in Kothur Assembly constituency, Dalits have no entry into the temples maintained by the upper castes. Ironically, Shadnagar is a reserved constituency for SCs. The Dalits in the village are left untouched by the developmental programmes initiated by the government. The obnoxious two-glass system still persists in the village with Dalits being served tea in separate glasses, which should be washed by themselves. The village has three hotels and the system of two glasses prevails in all of them. When Deccan Chronicle visited the village, Jangaiah, a Dalit youth was found washing the glass that he used in a hotel. Siddhamma, a Dalit, said that three months ago, some Dalits refused to wash the glasses in a hotel. The Upper Caste people not only insulted them, but also forced them to wash the glasses. The Dalits lamented that even after five decades of Independence, the Dalits here are under subjugation. They said though they very much want to visit the Ram mandir in the village, they dare not enter the temple for fear of reprisals. Earlier, Kothur police took the Dalits into the temple during the Janma Bhoomi programme. But, the Dalits are still afraid of entering the temple. The upper castes have not constituted a temple committee to prevent the Dalit from becoming a member of the committee. In the neighbouring Masjid Mamidipalli also, Dalits are not being allowed into the newly constructed Hanuman Temple. It is said that the Dalits demanded a share in the Rs 15,000 given for the village by the toddy sellers. As a retribution, the Dalits were barred from entering the temple.

Referred by: Benjamin Paul
Published on: April 21, 2001
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