A Dalit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament, A Narayanaswamy, from Karnataka’s Chitradurga was allegedly prevented from entering a Gollarahatti – a settlement of Gollas (Yadavs) – at a village in Tumakauru district.
Narayanaswamy had on Monday (September 16) gone to Pemmanahalli village, which falls under his Lok Sabha constituency, for developmental works but was asked not to enter the settlement as he was a Dalit and that it was against their tradition, said police. They added that such incidents had happened in the past as well.
The incident was condemned by Karnataka Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar. Meanwhile, a top police officer said that staff of Social Welfare department, the local Tahsildar and police were asked to hold an inquiry into incident.
Later, Narayanaswamy told local news channels that he was pained seeing that such superstitious practices still continue in some communities. He added that he had tried to convince the locals that he had visited their settlement for developmental works.
“Some of the locals wanted me to go inside the settlement. But I moved away so that it does not lead to differences among the people within that community that could have triggered clashes,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
A video showing the MP trying to convince the locals and asking them whether they want him to work for their development or not, was carried by local news channel. The video showed a section of the locals were adamant on letting him in.
Responding on the incident, Tumakauru Deputy Commissioner K Rakesh Kumar assured that the villagers will be sensitised on the issue of caste discrimination and that he would visited them if needed. “We can book a case under SC/ST Atrocities Act once we get to know who all have done this,” he was quoted in the report.
While justifying their actions, some villagers told local television channels that as per their traditions, “Dalits cannot enter” their settlements, reports said. Violation of this tradition, they said, would make “something bad” happen. Opposing him, another villager said that the people have been following such practices for a long time and that the legislator had come for a good reason.
(With inputs from agencies)