No groceries, no work: Scheduled Castes face social boycott in Andhra village
The SCs are not allowed to be hired as workers or buy groceries from local kirana stores.
S AGRAHARAM (EAST GODAVARI): An uneasy calm prevails in Srungavaram Agraharam, a remote village in Rowthulapudi mandal, where people from the scheduled caste (SC) community are facing a social boycott, and live under constant fear of being attacked. This is even after a posse of over 100 policemen are deployed in the village to prevent violence.
The SCs are not allowed to be hired as workers or buy groceries from local kirana stores. They are allegedly being subjected to such inhuman treatment that they are not even allowed to use open lands on the outskirts of the village to attend to call of nature. This village has 25 SC families, while the BCs, including Yadavs and Rajakas, constitute a population of 2,800.
Though the relationship between the two social groups has never been better, it hit an all-time low on the night of May 9, after some dalit women were allegedly disrobed and thrashed by BCs, and a social boycott was imposed on them.
On May 9, Chindada Dasu, a local youth, who is pursuing his education in Visakhapatnam, was crossing a street on his two-wheeler with his friend V Samuel. Some objected to this, and thrashed both of them, Kumari, Dasu’s mother, said. She, her husband Ramana and others from the SC community were also allegedly thrashed after they rushed to Dasu’s rescue.
Some women were disrobed and beaten, Kumari alleged. “We ran for safety when they tried to set our huts on fire,’’ another woman alleged.This did not end there as the locals imposed a social boycott on the SCs.
“No one is selling us basic commodities. We are afraid to even enter their locality. We are not allowed to attend to call of nature on the village outskirts,’’ alleged another dalit man. “Here, we have a problem of insufficient space at the local burial ground. We had even submitted a petition to the revenue authorities to allocate some more land for the burial ground, a move that did not go down well with the BCs,” Palla Jyothibabu, a local SC leader, told TNIE when this correspondent visited the village on Tuesday.
There has been tension between the two communities for long. Even Dr BR Ambedkar’s statue installed in the village by the SCs remains unveiled for the past one year, a villager said, pointing to a statue covered with a white cloth.
A small shop owner said they were ordered by their elders not to speak or sell anything to the SCs.
When contacted, Annavaram SI Murali Mohan said following a complaint of attacks on SCs, a police picket was set up in the village.
A peace committee meeting was also held and efforts were underway to bring the situation back to normal, he added.Meanwhile, DSP ABG Thilak visited Srungavaram Agraharam on Tuesday after SCs lodged a complaint with the SC/ST Monitoring Cell.
Courtesy: The New Indian Express