KANNUR: Life has been one long struggle for Chithralekha. Ostracised and shunned over the years because of her layered identity as a Dalit woman autorickshaw driver, the hardest battle she has had to fight, however, might have been against the CPM which, she says, has been continually harassing her in the name of caste.
Tired of waging the lone battle against the Goliath party and its alleged casteism, the Payyannur native has now made the decision to try and escape from the shackles of caste by converting to Islam. “I am doing this because I am unable to continue this fight alone anymore,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.
“Just because I was born a Pulaya woman and I dared to question the caste discrimination practised by the CPM, I was tortured to the extent that I had to run away from my own village,” Chithralekha said in her Facebook post. Even though she had fled from Payyannur and settled down in a house in Kattampally, the harassment did not end.
CPM workers allegedly went on to set ablaze her autorickshaw at Edatt in December 2005, just a year after she bought it. Chithralekha said she was not even given the consideration that she was a woman and belonged to a Dalit community.
“Though the UDF government led by then chief minister Oommen Chandy had given me five cents of land and Rs 5 lakh to build a house, the LDF government revoked this order after it came to power in 2016. The case is still pending in the High Court. I don’t know if I will ever get that land back,” Chithralekha told TNIE over phone.
Stating that she had to learn more about the religion before converting, she said she hadn’t decided when to embrace Islam yet.
“Some people have offered to help me with these learnings. But I do not wish to reveal their names here. Once I make a final decision, I will announce it publicly,” she said.
Meanwhile, she warned people against troubling her further with allegations of ‘love jihad’, adding that all she wished was to live peacefully.