At Jampad village on the Andhra Pradesh border with Bidar taluk, anyone employing a dalit has to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000 to upper caste leaders. Dalits cannot graze cattle in the village and are scared to venture out.
This has been the state of affairs in the village for the last 10 days after dalits tried to go ahead with the construction of an Ambedkar Bhavan under the MLA local area development fund by previous MLA Raheem Khan. District social welfare officer Premkumar told Express that though the government’s construction agency the Nirmiti Kendra had started the process, it could not be completed.
Saidappa, a villager, told Express: “Nirmiti Kendra workers had just dug the foundation when the upper castes in the village stopped the work. They even filled the foundation with mud.’’
Dalits lodged a police complaint against members of the upper caste. “Ever since we filed the complaint, they have been denying us work. We are dependent on them, as they are landlords and we have no land. We will protest before the deputy commissioner on August 27,’’ said another villager, Doulappa.
As many as 50 dalit families have gone to work at villages in Andhra Pradesh like Hokrana and Hussain Nagar. Some have been forced to relocate to relatives’ houses and others are travelling to Bidar town to find work, while labourers from outside the village are being hired to work in the village by the landlords.
Deputy Commissioner P C Jaffer said action will be taken after a report from the district social welfare officer.
Kannada Sahitya Parishat district president Sidramappa Masimade said such incidents happen due to lack of education and social awareness.