Struggles of African-origin Siddis expose India’s ‘black lives matter’ pretence

Most Siddis still reside in the forests, surviving on agriculture and minor forest produce. One of the reasons for that, according to the community, is racial discrimination | Photo - Special arrangement

About 420 km north-west of Bengaluru, in Yellapur, Haliyal and Mundgod regions of Uttara Kannada in Karnataka reside the Siddi tribal community of African origin.

Neglected and isolated for decades, their gradual emergence into mainstream society got a boost recently with the nomination of a member into the Karnataka Legislative Council of Karnataka.

Shantaram Budna Siddi, one of the first from his community to graduate in 1988, has been involved in social service for the upliftment of his community.

His nomination to the Council by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came as a surprise even to him.

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