Social boycott: SC/ST panel member visits village

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Ravindra says stern action will be taken against those responsible

Dalits allegedly subjected to unannounced social boycott by ‘caste’ Hindus at Gonugunta village, near Chimakurthy town in Prakasam district, poured out their woes to State SC/ST Commission member B.Ravindra on Wednesday.

The Dalits explained the circumstances under which they were ostracised as a fallout of the bickering during the conduct of the village festival on April 21.

Recording the statements of the aggrieved Dalits, Mr. Ravindra, who was on a fact-finding mission, said a detailed report on the incident would be submitted to the Commission Chairman and steps to be taken by the State government to prevent recurrence of incidents of social discrimination.

He assured them that “social boycott will not be tolerated. Stern action will be taken against those responsible for it.”

Later, he told reporters here that “It is a first of its kind incident in the State.” Blaming the astrologer concerned for fixing the village boundary excluding the two Dalit hamlets during the Bottu Rayi installation ceremony, a practice in disuse for long but revived of late, he said he would recommend for obtaining prior permission from police during conduct of such ceremonies to avert trouble.

Directing the police to speed up the probe into the entire gamut of issues and bring to book all those responsible for it, he said the Dalits in the village remained aloof on their own from others after the village festival and pressed for water treatment plant, Anganwadi centre, ration shop in their habitations.

They also pressed for distribution of house sites and the ‘Gramakantam’ land for themselves to graze their cattle. They also demanded preferential treatment while leasing the Endowment Department land, which in most cases had been garnered by ‘caste Hindus’, he said.

Awareness meets

He wanted the district administration to hold more and more awareness meets at the Constituency-level against ‘social discrimination.’

Meanwhile, a group of Dalits from Pelluru village sought the intervention of the Commission for opening the newly-constructed village community hall which had been kept under lock and key following a row over naming it as Ambedkar SC community hall.

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