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Dalits in Andhra Village Face Boycott After Installing Ambedkar Statue

The Dalits say that the upper caste community denied them food, work and even imposed a fine of Rs 500 to Rs 1000 over those who helped the Dalits

Sakshi Khanna | CNN-News18

Updated:June 28, 2017, 4:18 PM IST
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Dalits in Andhra Village Face Boycott After Installing Ambedkar Statue
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Hyderabad: The Dalits in Garagaparru village of Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district allege that they have been facing social boycott for the past two months after they installed a statue of BR Ambedkar.

The Dalits say that the upper caste community denied them food, work and even imposed a fine of Rs 500 to Rs 1000 over those who helped the Dalits.

It all started when over 1,000 Dalit families in the village decided to install an Ambedkar statue. The Dalits allege that the upper castes opposed the installation and boycotted the entire community.

Ex-MP Harsha Kumar who has been fighting for the rights of Dalits in the village has begun an indefinite strike “until the guilty are arrested”.

“The Dalits were boycotted merely for installing an Ambedkar statue. They were denied agriculture, work and even food. There was even a fine of Rs 500 - 1000 imposed on people who helped them. Low level officers have been suspended, but why no arrests? What about higher officials and leaders who turned a blind eye to it?"

A team of Scheduled Caste Commission visited the village and ordered immediate arrest of the guilty.

K Ramulu, a member of the commission who visited the village, said, "We spoke to villagers there. They told us how they were boycotted. We called the collector and SP. They have issued warrants but no arrests have been made yet."

YSRCP leader Jagan Mohan Reddy said he will be visiting the village on June 30.

YSRCP MLA Srikanth Reddy said, "How can Dalits be boycotted? It’s a serious crime and against our Constitution. Our leaders have gone to the village and people confirmed that they were denied work due to their caste. It all happened under the patronage of ruling TDP leaders in the area."

After the intervention of activists and the SC commission — the local tehsildar and circle inspector have been suspended.

The police said that they have received a complaint only three days ago, and that a case has been registered under the SC/ST Act against three people.
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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