Dalits continue to be denied access to drinking water allegedly on caste lines in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.
The latest incident was reported from Betul district on Monday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was praising the exalted persona of architect of constitution BR Ambedkar at latter’s birthplace 275 km away at Mhow-Indore.
Dalit woman in Barahwi village of Betul district, including Parwati were allegedly denied access to water from taps connected to a tube well, allegedly on caste lines.
The 45-year-old Ingle alleged that the Dalit women had gone to fetch water for an Ambedkar Jayanti program, when the women from the powerful Thakre clan stopped them from drawing water from the taps.
When the Dalits protested, the women from other caste allowed them to have water from two of the nine taps, but along with a rider that neither the Dalits nor their buckets should touch the water vessels of the other caste, which dominates the village.
The Dalits protested over this development, after which the women from the other caste started verbally abusing the Dalits and forced them to go away from the spot.
The matter was subsequently taken up by the village panchayat headed by a tribal sarpanch Mamta Sariyam, but with none of the two groups ready for a compromise, the matter remained unresolved.
Parwati and other Dalit women subsequently submitted a complaint to the Betul AJK police station on Friday morning, demanding action against the other caste women.
Acting in the matter, an AJK police team led by sub-inspector RK Bisare conducted on spot investigations in the village and recorded statements of all concerned. “We’ve recorded statements of both groups and will take necessary action in the matter on Saturday,” RK Bisare told Hindustan Times.
Several incidents of Dalits allegedly denied access to drinking water have been reported in the recent past in MP.
A 13-year-old Dalit boy in MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s home district Sehore was allegedly assaulted and his arm broken when he drank water from the well of an upper caste farmer on April 7.
A month earlier in Damoh district, a nine-year-old Dalit boy drowned in a well in March where he had gone to drink water after being denied access to the hand pump in his school.
The same month Dalits and Patels had clashed over drinking water dispute in Chhattarpur dispute and cases were lodged by both sides against each other.