Mysuru Man Harassed, His Son Beaten for Cutting Hair of SC, ST, OBC Customers at Same Price
In India's caste-based society, people from the marginalised caste or community often have to cut their own hair.
In yet another shocking incident of casteist discrimination, a hair-dresser from Mysuru district, Karnataka, has been facing backlash from members of the upper-caste community for giving people from SC, ST and OBC communities a haircut.
Mallikarjun Shetty has expressed his plight after the leader of the dominant caste imposed a social boycott on him following a fine of Rs 50,000 for treating the people of other castes 'equally'.
Speaking to The News Minute, Shetty said that the trouble began three months back when two Nayak leaders came to his salon and asked whether he provided services to people of from other communities. They were further angered after finding out that Shetty provided the services to all his customers at the same cost, irrespective of their caste.
They in turn asked him to charge Rs 300 for a haircut and Rs 200 for a shave from customers belonging to SC, ST or OBC community. On denying to charge such exorbitant amounts, the leaders had asked him to pay a fine of Rs 5000.
Shetty had called the police on the leaders for threatening him and in vengeance, they kidnapped his son, forced him to drink alcohol, beat him, stripped him naked and shot a video. They also extracted Rs 5000 from him.
At last, when the 47-year-old man couldn't find any other way out of this, he took the matter to the press.
"I have been seeking help from the Nanjangud Tahsildar so many times but he doesn't care so I decided to speak to the press," Mallikarjun alleged.
The Nanjangud Rural Police reiterated that they couldn't take any action against the accused as Shetty didn't file any complaint in the fear of having his son's naked video leaked.
However, this isn't the first such instance when people from the marginalised communities have been denied a haircut.
Weeks after people from the Scheduled Caste (SC) Chakkiliyan community of Kerala's Idukki were denied services at local hair-dressing shops, Vattavada panchayat in September launched a government shop to cater to all sections of the society.
The shop was inaugurated by Devikulam Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) S Rajendran, The News Minute reported. The development came after reports surfaced that people from Chakkiliyan community were denied services at local salons because of their caste. But now, the government-run shop will provide services to everyone. Also, other shops in the area have been ordered to remain shut till they comply with government orders.
In 2019, reports surfaced in Uttar Pradesh's Moradab, Salmani community of Muslims in Bhojpur area refused to cut hair of people belonging to the Balmiki community. Balmikis are Dalits, most of who take up the roles of sweepers and manual scavengers and face extreme social discrimination.
In 2017, Valmikis in UP's Fatehpur Shamshoi village got haircut after 70 years — only after they threatened to embrace Islam.
The barbers in the village had shut their shop, as for the first time in decades, they were asked to give haircuts to the lower-caste Valmikis. With the intervention of police and district administrative officials, the stand-off had ended, as per a PTI report.