Andhra caste violence: No relief after 8 months, Garagaparru Dalits protest

The Dalits are demanding implementation of promises made by the Ministers’ team, including compensation to each family and grant of agricultural land.
By arrangement
The tremors of caste violence on Dalits in Garagaparru, West Godavari district are still being felt, as most of the “socially boycotted” Dalits are up in arms against the government and are going to nearby villages for livelihood.
Dalits from the village on Monday staged a protest at the Collectorate demanding implementation of promises made by the Ministers’ team, including compensation to each family and grant of agricultural land, The New Indian Express reported. 
They also made a representation to National SC/ST Commission Chairman K Ramulu, seeking his intervention in delivering justice to around 300 families.
With many choosing to go to other villages for employment, several Dalit “tenant” farmers are turning into daily wage labourers at aqua parks in neighbouring villages such as Gollalapaderu, Seetala and Bhimavaram.
This is a result of the “conflict” and alleged “social boycott” of Dalits by upper caste men in the village over installation of a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar.
According to sources in the village, around 260 Dalit families have got Rs 1 lakh compensation each, while 38 other families are yet to get any. 
Venkata Ratnam, one of the Dalit activists from the village said, “These 40 people did not get compensation as they didn’t have a ration card.”
Garagaparru seems to be normal, despite not much interaction between Dalits and other castes. 
Rajesh Ericharla, member of the Peace Committee formed by district authorities, who led Monday’s protest said, “It is not just about compensation, we were also promised two acres of land for each family.”
Rajesh, who was also a tenant farmer on two acres of land, has lost his main source of livelihood as the landlord from the upper caste took away his land given the fight between upper castes and Dalits in the village. Rajesh now works as a construction labourer in the neighbouring villages.
When TNM asked how others in a similar situation are doing, he said, “Youth from Dalitapalle / Malapeta (SC colony) are going to nearby aqua parks in neighbouring village, if they find work they will do it otherwise that is all for the day.”
Earlier, Social Welfare Minister Nakka Anand Babu, Labour Minister Pithani Satyanarayana and SC Corporation chairman Jupudi Prabhakar had assured speedy justice to the victims, when they brokered the peace between the Dalits and upper castes.
During the movement for justice, a Dalit activist called Yakobu had died in a road accident and the government had promised Rs 10 lakhs compensation to his family, which is yet to be given.
However on Monday, SC Commission Chairmen K Ramulu asked district authorities to pursue the matter urgently, according to reports.
Human Rights Forum (HRF) representative, Yedida Rajesh, demanded immediate fulfilment of the promises made to Dalits of Garagaparru.
He said, “Government should give compensation amounts to remaining families, they don’t have any source of livelihood and they should all be given lands so they won’t have to depend on the others.”
In the meanwhile, the statue of Ambedkar which is standing in front of the village panchayat office, is waiting to be installed at the location where Dalits wish for it to be. 
The allegation is that the local MLA seemingly doesn’t want the statue to be installed beside other statues, perpetuating the saga of caste discrimination from last year.


Related Articles

Back to top button