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The Practice of Two Grass System – Discrimination

  • Posted by: Dalit Sthree Sakthi (DSS)
  • Date of incident: 10-10-1999
  • Create date: 21-03-2014
  • State:: Andhra Pradesh
  • District:: CHITTOOR
  • Police station:: Kurabala Kota
  • Chargesheet:: No F.I.R, No Chargesheet
  • Summary::

    Mudivedu is a major panchayat village in Kurabala Kota Mandal of Chittoor District. The Dalits, belonging to Madiga (SC) of Mudivedu live in two settlements: one located on the eastern side of the village, called ‘east Dalit wada’, and the other on the western side, called ‘west Dalit wada’. In the main village, Muslims and dominant caste Hindus own and operate ten hotels. Dalits are denied entry into these hotels. When Dalits approach the hotel for water or tea, they are served either outside or on the roof of the hotel. Water and tea are served to Dalits in vessels separate from those used to serve the rest of the community. After using these separate glasses, Dalits must wash them and return them to the roof of the hotel.

     

    Though the Dalits registered a complaint with the police regarding this practice of “untouchability”, the police did not file a case.

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Dalit Human Sacrifice

  • Posted by: Dalit Sthree Sakthi (DSS)
  • Date of incident: 06-10-1999
  • Create date: 21-03-2014
  • State:: Andhra Pradesh
  • District:: EAST GODAVARI
  • Police station:: Inavelli
  • Chargesheet:: F.I.R- No. 96/99, u/s 174, 304(A) & 201 IPC., No Chargesheet
  • Summary::

    On 6 September 1999, Satyanarayana left his house to meet a doctor in Kottapeta. He returned by bus at about 10:00pm on the same day. While proceeding to his house from the bus stand, Satyanarayana was allegedly abducted by local landlords Koduri Laxmana Rao and Vakalapudi Gopal Krishna. The next morning, the victim’s children informed their mother Bhavani that Satyanarayana had died and that his body was laying in the fields of landlord K. Chitturi Raja Gopala Chowdhari. On hearing this, Bhavani went to see the body, but the village elders prevented her until the police arrived on the scene. When finally allowed to come forward, Bhavani observed multiple injuries on the body of her husband. There was a deep cut on the back of the neck and backbone, and the head was split. There were bloodstains at the mouth and eyes, and the tongue had been cut. On the left leg there was a wound that looked like it was caused by an axe. Bhavani also observed that the corpse wore different clothes than her husband had worn when he left the house the previous morning. At the time of initial examination, Bhavani, the Police Sub-Inspector and the assembled villagers widely acknowledged the event to be a murder. On 9 September, in the house of Koduri Veeravadra Rao, Koduri Laxman Rao, Vakalapudi Gopal Krishna Chaudhury, and two other Kamma landlords offered the widowed Bhavani two thousand five hundred rupees. Another fifteen thousand rupees were deposited in a bank in the name of her three children. The landlords gave Bhavani another five thousand rupees toward funeral expenses, and she was promised yet another fifty thousand rupees if she remained quiet on the issue of her husband’s death. Meanwhile, elders of the Mala community, under pressure from the Kamma landlords, cremated the body of Satyanarayana immediately following the post mortem examination. The cremation wa s performed in haste, without the knowledge of the victim’s wife, at the expense of the landlords, and in unusual violation of the Mala community tradition of burying, rather than cremating, the deceased. Allegations have been made that the postmortem examiner insisted to the landlords that he would only give a favourable report if the body would be cremated.

     

    The landlords then circulated a story that Satyanarayana had died due to electric shock when he attempted to steal some coconuts surrounded by an electric fence. To support this story, the landlords compelled one of their workers to admit that he was responsible for putting a live electric wire around the coconut heap. The said worker stated that he had arranged the electric wire so that any thief who contacted the wire would shout from shock and thus alert the night watchman. It was in these circumstances, the worker stated, that he found Satyanarayana’s body dead from electric shock. On this admission the police arrested the said worker and registered a case against him under sec. 304 IPC. Due to the atmosphere of intimidation created by the landlords, the wife of the victim felt insecure. Under pressure, Bhavani signed five blank sheets of paper and agreed to the monetary arrangements offered by the landlords. Later, when media coverage of the event led several non-governmental organizations to visit the village and provide support to the intimidated, Bhavani came out with the entire story and filed a complaint with the RDO and police on 29 September. Thus, the story came to light 22 days after the incident, after the most vital piece of evidence had been, in highly suspicious circumstances, disposed of.

     

    After the news broke out and the struggle by the non-governmental organizations ensued, the case was taken over by the DSP. A RDO enquiry was also conducted on 30 September and 1 October. Many witnesses deposed before the RDO that Satyanarayana had been murdered by the landlords and sacrificed to the god Verabadrudu and the goddess Kanaka Durga at the newly constructed temple. A number of witnesses, including the village sarpanch Kommabattula Venkataratnam and Member of the Parishad Territory Constituency (MPTC), Nakka Satyanarayana, deposed before the RDO that they had observed multiple traumatic injuries on the body of the victim, including the wound on the left leg that looked like it was caused by an axe. A case was registered Cr. No 96/99, under section 174 CrPC, and afterwards changed to section 304(A) & 201 IPC. There are a number of evidences that together discredit the version of the story propagated by the landlords, and, in fact, incriminate the landlords for deliberately murdering Satyanarayana. The type and number of traumatic injuries on the dead body observed by Bhavani and multiple other witnesses clearly establish that the cause of death was not accidental electric shock, but murder. The landlords’ offering of substantial sums of money to the victim’s wife, of course, suggests conspiracy and cover-up. Likewise incriminating is the quick and suspicious disposal of the body - the chief piece of evidence - by cremation, without the wife’s knowledge, and at the expense of the landlords, all of which contradicted Mala custom. 

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Dalit Prohibited from Entering Temple Due to Untouchability Practices

  • Posted by: Dalit Sthree Sakthi (DSS)
  • Date of incident: 05-10-1999
  • Create date: 21-03-2014
  • State:: Andhra Pradesh
  • District:: CHITTOOR
  • Police station:: Kurabala Kota
  • Chargesheet:: No F.I.R, No Chargesheet
  • Summary::

    Dalits, belonngin to Madiga (SC) community are not allowed to enter any of the three temples and the two hotels in the village. At the hotels they are compelled to sit outside, where they are served tea and water in vessels separate from those used by the rest of the community.

     

    There are three temples in Thettu village – Venugopala Swamy, Ramalayam and Paletamma Gudi. Thettu Dalits are prohibited from entering all three. Dalits are also not allowed into the village’s two hotels, which are both located in the dominant caste locality. Dalits who come to the hotel are served water and tea in glasses separate from those used by the rest of the village. After drinking, the Dalits are compelled to clean the glasses themselves and return them to the roof of the hotel. Those Dalits who have questioned these practices of untouchability have received threats from dominant caste individuals and have consequently decided not to file a complaint with the police.

     

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A Traffic Delay Leads to Chopping off of a Dalit’s Hands

  • Posted by: Dalit Sthree Sakthi (DSS)
  • Date of incident: 23-09-1999
  • Create date: 21-03-2014
  • State:: Andhra Pradesh
  • District:: CHITTOOR
  • Police station:: Penumuru
  • Chargesheet:: F.I.R- u/s 147, 148, 326, 149 IPC & 3(1)(x) SC/ST (PoA) Act., No Chargesheet
  • Summary::

    On 22.9.99, Dalits of Pedakalikri held a Vinayaka procession that caused temporary delays for traffic bound for Chittoor town. Dominant caste youth Venu Naidu, annoyed by the delay, descended from the bus he was riding to attack and abuse by caste name Dalits in the procession. The Dalits eventually restrained him. Bearing a grudge, Naidu returned to his village, gathered his relatives, and attacked the Dalit colony of Pedakalikri the next morning. Naidu and his relations seriously injured the shoulder of Dhananjayulu and chopped off the hands of Mogili Eswar.

     

    Pedakalikri village is located fifteen kilometers from the district headquarters, Chittoor. The majority of the Dalit families of Pedakalikri work at the sugar factory in Chittoor. With the decent wages they earn at the factory, they have been able to provide a minimum education for their children. The women of the Dalit community have also been very active in promoting developmental activities and Dalit issues. Among other things, they played a vital role in the anti-arrack movement in the district (arrack is a cheap, often adulterated liquor). These and other factors contributed to the Pedakalikri Dalit community’s growing self-respect and confidence. However, as is often the case in modern India, the dominant caste community found the increasing self-reliance of the Dalit community objectionable, and responded with acts of intimidation and violence in an effort to reaffirm the traditional social hierarchy. Since local government machinery consists of primarily dominant caste officials, dominant caste perpetrators of violence against Dalits often enjoy freedom from legal consequences. An instance cited in Pedakalikri is that of a dominant caste youth who raped a Dalit girl in the 1980s, but, due to his social position, was able to avoid legal prosecution.

     

    The Vinayaka festival is traditionally initiated and organized by the caste Hindu community with the Dalits performing as dappu players. For Dalits to initiate and organize their own independent Vinayaka festival goes squarely against caste Hindu custom and dogma. That caste Hindu resentment against Dalits for this breach of their traditional religious authority and “superiority” may have been a factor in the attack cannot be ignored.

     

    On 22 September 1999, the Dalits of Pedakalikri village held a traditional religious procession in which a statue of the god Vinayaka was carried to a water tank and immersed. Crowds filled the village’s narrow streets as they followed the tractor that carried the Vinayaka statue. A public bus proceeding towards Chittoor had to stop for a short time due to the resultant congestion on the main road. While the Dalits were clearing the road for the bus, Venu Naidu, a dominant caste boy from the adjacent village of C.M. Kandrika, got down from the bus and began abusing the Dalits by caste name. He proceeded to beat two Dalits, until other Dalits in the crowd pushed him away and restrained him. Dalit elders then intervened to calm hot tempers on both sides. Venu Naidu, however, left the scene feeling insulted that he, from an “upper” caste, should receive such treatment from Dalits. Immediately upon his return to his native village, he gathered all his relatives and planned to attack the Dalit colony of Pedakalikri with lethal weapons. Around 8:30 the next morning, 23 September 1999, Venu Naidu, Thirumal Naidu, Bhasker Naidu, Niranjan Naidu and other dominant caste associates of Venu Naidu, went to Pedakalikri. They came upon a group of several Dalits, none of whom were present at the previous day’s Vinayaka procession, sitting at the village Raccha Banda (common meeting place). The Naidus attacked them with weapons, causing serious injuries to the shoulder and hand of a tractor driver named Dhanajayulu, and chopping off the hands of a law student named Mogili Eswar. Dhananjayulu’s father Chenaiah registered a complaint with the police who filed a case under sec. 147, 148, 326 r/w. 149 IPC and sec. 3(1)(x) SC/ST Act, and arrested the culprits. 

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Attack & Social Boycott Imposed on Dalits for Objecting to Untouchability Practice

  • Posted by: Dalit Sthree Sakthi (DSS)
  • Date of incident: 16-09-1999
  • Create date: 21-03-2014
  • State:: Andhra Pradesh
  • District:: ANANTAPUR
  • Police station:: Koduru
  • Chargesheet:: No F.I.R, No Chargesheet
  • Summary::

    When dominant caste villagers refused to allow a religious procession to pass through the Dalit colony, Dalit villagers announced that they would no longer play the dappu (drum) for dominant caste functions. Later, when Dalit village servant Jayappa played the dappu to make an official village announcement, dominant caste villagers attacked and beat him. The dominant castes then imposed a social boycott on the whole Dalit community. Karutlapalli village, 25 km from Anantpur district headquarters, consists of Kamma, Boya, Golla and Dalit communities. In recent years, Dalits have been migrating to the nearby state of Karnataka for employment. Several Dalits have taken advantage of nearby government facilities and obtained an education up to the twelfth standard. Panchayat reservations enabled Dalit Ramanjaneyulu to become the village sarpanch. Through education and the availability of outside employment, Karutlapalli Dalits have become less dependent on local dominant caste landlords and have begun to resist the domination of the landlord community.

     

    In September 1999, when dominant caste villagers asked Dalit villagers to play the dappu (drum) for a procession during the Peerla Panduga festival, the Dalits agreed on the condition that the procession should also pass through the Dalit colony. The dominant caste organizers of the festival accepted this proposal. However, once the procession began dominant caste villagers abused the Dalits by caste name and barred the procession from entering the Dalit colony. At that point, the Dalits met and resolved, from that time onwards, not to perform the dappu for the dominant castes. The Dalits informed the dominant caste community of their decision and also declared that they were no longer willing to work for the dominant castes as bonded labourers.

     

    A few days later, the local revenue officer asked forty-year old village servant Jayappa, a Dalit, to inform the village that rice was available at the fair price shop. As is the custom when making a routine, village-wide announcement (dandora), Jayappa proceeded through the village playing the dappu and announcing the relevant information. As he passed through the dominant caste part of the village, the residents questioned him as to why he was playing the dappu when the Dalits had said they would no longer play it. A group of dominant caste villagers then surrounded Jayappa in the street, attacked and beat him. Following the attack on Jayappa, the dominant caste and backward caste communities imposed a social boycott on the Dalits. The caste communities denied Dalits employment in the village and access to the government fair price shop. In September 1999, when dominant caste villagers asked Dalit villagers to play the dappu (drum) for a procession during the Peerla Panduga festival, the Dalits agreed on the condition that the procession should also pass through the Dalit colony. The dominant caste organisers of the festival accepted this proposal. However, once the procession began dominant caste villagers abused the Dalits by caste name and barred the procession from entering the Dalit colony. At that point, the Dalits met and resolved, from that time onwards, not to perform the dappu for the dominant castes. The Dalits informed the dominant caste community of their decision and also declared that they were no longer willing to work for the dominant castes as bonded labourers.

     

    A few days later, the local revenue officer asked forty-year old village servant Jayappa, a Dalit, to inform the village that rice was available at the fair price shop. As is the custom when making a routine, village-wide announcement (dandora), Jayappa proceeded through the village playing the dappu and announcing the relevant information. As he passed through the dominant caste part of the village, the residents questioned him as to why he was playing the dappu when the Dalits had said they would no longer play it. A group of dominant caste villagers then surrounded Jayappa in the street, attacked and beat him. Following the attack on Jayappa, the dominant caste and backward caste communities imposed a social boycott on the Dalits. The caste communities denied Dalits employment in the village and access to the government fair price shop.

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