Katti to attend global meet on racism

Vijayawada, May 29: The World Conference Against Racism, which is scheduled to be held at Durban in South Africa from August 28 to September 1, 2001, will discuss casteism and untouchability in India.

Andhra Pradesh Dalit Mahasabha, represented by its general secretary Katti Padma Rao, would present a paper at the conference on the issue. The conference is being organised by the United Nations NGO Forum to voice against racism.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle here on Tuesday, Padma Rao said he would speak on the atrocities against Dalits in Andhra Pradesh during the last two decades and the caste problem in the country.

He said he would also take up the latest issue of Reddys imposing social boycott on Dalits at Guravareddypalem village in Prakasam district on May 13. He alleged that the district administration and local Telugu Desam MP Karanam Balaramakrishna Murthy were supporting the caste Reddys in the village.

Giving the details of the issue, Padma Rao said the Dalits in the village were not allowed to draw water from a well in the village. He said the caste Reddys used to draw water from the well and give it to the Dalits.

However, on May 11, a Dalit youth, Nadella Anjaiah, drew water from the well. On noticing it, Avula Dasaratharami Reddy abused the Dalit youth and broke his earthen pot.

From then on, the Reddys have denied water to the Dalits for two days, forcing the Dalits to reach the district headquarters, Ongole on May 12 and complain to in-charge Collector B Kishore and superintendent of police Kumara Viswajeet. Both the in-charge Collector and the SP visited the village the same day and allowed the Dalits to draw water from the well.

The Reddys took strong exception to the Dalits drawing water with the support of the officials and imposed a social boycott on them. When the Dalits complained again to the district administration, the officials and the local MP started mounting pressure on the Dalits to have a well of their own in the colony to solve this problem.

But, Padma Rao said the proposal was nothing but accepting untouchability and insisted on the administration to provide protection to the Dalits and allow them to draw water from the village well.

Talks were held on May 26 at Ongole in which in-charge Collector Kishore, SP Viswajeet, MP Balarama Krishna Murthy and Padma Rao participated. While Padma Rao insisted that the administration support the Dalits to use the village well, he said the officials and the MP were in favour of providing a separate well for the Dalits in the colony.

Padma Rao said the Dalits in the village and the Dalit Mahasabha were opposed to the idea of digging a separate well.

Padma Rao said he would take up the issue at the World Conference Against Racism and ensure that the international forum mounted pressure on Indian government to initiate measures against untouchability.

Meanwhile, he wanted the Prakasam district administration to stop aiding the Reddys in the issue. He wondered how the administration was supporting the upper caste people against untouchability.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 31, 2001
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