Udupi: Octogenarian Dalit man fighting for 36 years to get justice against corruption
Udupi, Dec 18: Family of the 87-year-old Dalit Giddaiah has been struggling for over 36 years to get justice which has been denied by the Karnataka forest department. The corruption of the department even cost Giddaiah his son Narasimhamurthy who also had worked as an employee at the forest office for 23 years. Narasimhamurthy was denied salary which he was liable to receive for the service he rendered, to a fake appointment made to the same post. This had sent him into a state of depression which claimed his life at the age of 42.
“Voicing their agitation in the matter, Giddaiah and his daughter have written seजानकारीveral letters ranging from the forest officer to the forest minister, pleading for justice. However, the plea of the family fell on deaf ears which has brought the family to a pitiful condition,” said Dr Ravindranath Shanbagh, president of Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi.
He was speaking in a press meet organised on Friday, December 18 at Vaikunta Baliga Law College, where he briefed Narasimhamurthy’s story and the struggles he faced.
Giddaiah’s elder son Narasimhamurthy had joined the forest department as a temporary D-group employee in 1984. Despite the Supreme Court’s specific directions and Karnataka government’s orders which prevents the removal of daily wage workers who joined before 1984, the forest officials had wrongfully dismissed Narasimhamurthy in the year 1988. When his requests to correct the wrongdoing were not paid any importance he was compelled to approach the Labour Court.
In 1991, the Labour Court held that Narasimhamurthy was unfairly dismissed and the forest department was to reinstate him immediately along with payment of his wages.
Although the forest officials reinstated him, they did not pay the pending wages he was liable to receive. When his repeated request for wages did not yield any result, he filed another case against the department. After three years, the Court heard Narasimhamurthy’s case and ordered the department to pay his wages without further ado. To get a meagre amount of Rs 45,944 Murthy was stalled for seven years.
In 1994, the Karnataka government had passed an order based on the Supreme Court’s direction to provide regularisation of the services. But the forest officials violated this government order as well. Even though several daily wage workers were benefitted by this order, Narasimhamurthy was unlawfully denied this right.
Meanwhile, the forest officials unlawfully regularised another person named S Narasimhamurthy by misusing the documents related to H G Narasimhamurthy.
Aggrieved by these illegal actions, Narasimhamurthy suffered depression and passed away from due to it, leaving behind his parents and sister.
On humanitarian grounds, Narasimhamurthy’s sister Hemalatha was then offered to join the forest department. Hemalatha who is a graduate in arts joined the office as a computer operator for a monthly salary of Rs 1,000. She worked in the same office from 2007 to 2016 and repeatedly requested for the regularisation of her brother’s service. However, no officers responded to her request, leading her to face humiliation until she was terminated for no reason.
When her four-month pay was not credited to her account, she conducted a detailed inspection. Her observations helped her discover that the forest office had released funds in the name of someone called Prashanth Kumar. The salary drawn was Rs 10,463 per month for the post which she was appointed for. She also noted there was no one working for the department under the name ‘Prashanth Kumar’.
On questioning these fake transactions, Hemalatha was dismissed again. Following which, she directly wrote to the secretary of the forest department and explained her ordeal. The secretary responded to her letter and promised to bring her to justice. However, instead of getting justice, she was terminated for the third time from her job and along with loss of pay of a nine-month period.
Now, Giddaiah approached the Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi to help him in his quest for justice.
“I have all the necessary evidence to prove my brother’s name was misused and of the fact that the post was sold to another person with the same name. I will not let this matter go without a fight,” Hemalatha said. She also alleged that the forest department is corrupt and that no other innocent must suffer the ordeal her family did. “I have documents from the RTI to prove my case, but because of my financial constraints, I am unable to approach the Supreme Court,” she added.
Dr Ravindranath Shanbagh said, “There are many families in such miserable conditions across the state. But, they do not have the courage to stand up against harassment. Giddaiah is in distressed condition and his family should get justice against the wrongdoing of the forest department.”
Deviramma, Giddaiah’s wife, was also present on the occasion.
Courtesy : daijiworld.com