Priest slaps Dalit, ties him with rope
Proddutur: A Dalit student was slapped, abused in the name of his caste, and then tied with a rope by the chief priest of an ashram here on Tuesday. The priest, Gangadharananda Swamy, later ordered his followers to ‘dump’ the boy in the police station.
Students of Malayalaswami Oriental college, an institution affiliated to the Nama Erukalaiah ashram here, alleged that the victim, M V Vijay Kumar, is a Dalit activist of the All-India Student Federation who is leading an agitation for improvement of living conditions in the college.
On Tuesday, the chief priest allegedly stopped Vijay Kumar while he was returning after having his bath and began to question him regarding the student activities, said the students. After that, he was slapped, abused in the name of his caste, and then tied with a rope. Gangadharananda Swamy took over the ashram affairs in May this year.
When contacted by newspersons, the chief priest admitted that he had slapped Vijay Kumar. He said he was offended by Vijay Kumar’s callous reply to his queries on the problems in the hostel. The swamy also admitted that he had tied him with a rope and had ordered his followers to take him to a police station.
However, he was prevented by other students from doing so, he added. But he denied that he abused the boy in the name of caste. The Oriental college hostel has 43 inmates. The students charged that though the ashram generates an income of about Rs 1 lakh every month, it has failed to extend basic amenities to the hostel inmates.
They said AISF activists, led by Vijay Kumar, highlighted the problems of the hostel inmates by resorting to a dharna and rasta roko on October 26. Subsequently, the college correspondent Radhakrishna and the Principal Umaramamrao held a meeting with the student representatives, after which the correspondent had assured them that he would get constructed four lavatories and two bathrooms for the hostel inmates within 20 days.
Similarly, he also promised to get the dilapidated hostel building repaired, and install fans and a phone, said the students. The students staged a dharna in front of the revenue office demanding arrest of the chief priest and solution to the problems confronted by the inmates.