Andhra: Dalits put off fast plan as upper caste community revokes social boycott
A group of state ministers intervened in the matter and negotiated with both the groups to resolve the tension.Updated: Jul 28, 2017 18:45 IST
A resolution seems to have been brought about in the casteist tension in an Andhra Pradesh village as the Dalits called off their plans for an indefinite fast, with riders, against the social boycott by an upper caste group after the state government intervened.
The matter pertains to the social boycott of the Dalits by upper caste Rajus of the Kshatriya community in West Godavari district’s Garagaparry village three months ago following the former’s demand for installation of their icon, B R Ambedkar’s statue on the banks of the village tank.
As a fallout, the Rajus stopped employing the Dalits and cancelled the land leased to them for farming and gave it to others.
As tension ensued, a group of state ministers comprising social welfare minister Nakka Anand Babu, labour and employment minister Pithani Satyanarayana and excise minister Kothapalli Jawahar, along with AP Scheduled Castes Corporation chairman Jupudi Prabhakar Rao visited the village on Tuesday.
Following two days of negotiations, the Rajus agreed to lift the social boycott on Dalits and agreed to take them back into work. They also agreed to the installation of the Ambedkar statue on the banks of the village tank.
The ministers also assured that concrete roads with underground drainage system would be laid in the entire village and an English medium school would be opened.
They also promised to look into the demand of the Dalits for distribution of agriculture lands and house sites to eligible Dalit families.
Though the Dalits called off their plan to launch an indefinite fast, they are sceptical about the government’s assurances.
“We have not completely withdrawn our agitation. Though the Raju families have agreed to take us back into work, they have not yet returned the lands which we had taken on lease in the past. We want those lands back,” G Rajesh, a Dalit youth, who has been leading the agitation for the last three months, told HT.
He asked the government to fulfil its promise of giving two acres of agricultural land to each Dalit family so that they would not have to depend on the Rajus for farming.
“The government and the local leaders managed to lure some of our Dalit leaders and forced them to compromise with the upper caste people. But majority of us will not rest till all our demands are fulfilled,” Rajesh asserted.
First Published: Jul 28, 2017 18:45 IST