JAGTIAL: Nearly 55 families of a particular section of Dalits (Malas) were socially boycotted by people of other castes at Kustapur village in Mallapur mandal of the district and, more shockingly, their request for action against the villagers fell on deaf ears. The boycotted families staged a protest on Friday at the district headquarters to bring the issue to the notice of higher officials.
According to reports, the Dalit families in the village have been making a living by digging graves for burying the dead. However, the villagers have asked them to dig graves free of cost. Ramesh, a Dalit, said they were into this profession for decades and were being paid Rs 2,000.
``In the recent past, the villagers have decided not to pay and told them to work as bonded labour,’’ he alleged, adding that their refusal to do so made the villagers boycott them. The Dalits were asked not to talk with anyone in the village and if any person of other communities was found talking with them, a fine of Rs 50,000 would be imposed, Ramesh said.
Also, the villagers wanted the Dalits to donate money for construction of a temple. As they pleaded helplessness to donate money, the Dalits were kept away from the temple consecration rituals and were also barred from entering the temple. However, at the intervention of the police, they were later allowed to enter the temple.
Another victim, Betapu Mallesham, alleged that the upper caste people created a divide among the Dalits by boycotting the families belonging to Malas and leaving out other Dalits. “The villagers also passed a resolution that no one should operate tractors in our fields and similarly no villager should hire our tractors to till their fields,’’ he said. Meanwhile, the Dalits approached the court which directed the Mallapur police to register cases against those who boycotted them and take necessary action.
A case was registered 10 days back but nothing has changed for the victims. The frustrated Dalits on Friday staged a protest at the Jagtial headquarters and wanted to submit a memorandum to district collector A Sharath. In the absence of the collector, they met superintendent of police B Anantha Sharma. The SP said he would visit the village to inquire into the incident and take action.