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PUCL Bulletin, December 2006

Boycott and ostracising of Dalits in Kadkol village

Karnataka PUCL Statement

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The shocking boycott and ostracism of hundreds of Dalits in Kadkol village (Basavanna Bagewadi Taluk of Bijapur District) by “upper caste” people since 25 July 2006 has been reported in the media recently. The reason for the boycott is their having drawn water from the village tank.

In the 21st Century, as India develops High technology and plans to send a human to the moon, society still practices untouchability even though this is a violation of the Constitution and laws of the land. Worse, even after 3 months, government authorities stand by and do nothing to punish those who have carried out this boycott. The Kadkol incident is only the most recent visible example of anti-Dalit action by “upper caste” people with the tacit support of government officials.

We strongly condemn the boycott and ostracism of the Dalits on constitutional and humanitarian grounds and demand that the Government of Karnataka to: Immediately provide water, food, cash and medical relief to the affected families. Ensure free and total access to water sources in the village to Dalit families. Immediately arrest the ring leaders of the boycott and take immediate action to ensure that boycott ends. Those who instigated the boycott should be charged under the Atrocities Act, and fast-track legal action be taken against them. Punish the owner of the PDS outlet, who has denied food to Dalits by canceling his licence, and enable and empower Dalit families to cooperatively operate a PDS outlet in the village.

Promulgate the actions taken (including punishments awarded) so that similar incidents do not recur anywhere in Karnataka or indeed, anywhere else in the country.

Appoint a permanent Dalit Watch Commission to monitor the rehabilitation of the Dalit community of Kadkol and also keep watch over conditions of Dalits in Karnataka to prevent their social ostracism. – Dr V Lakshminarayana, PUCL-Karnataka, Convener, Secretary, National Alliance for Peoples Movement, and Major General (Rtd) S G Combater, 23-10-06 .

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014