Dalit MP shunned away from Gollarahatti last week receives grand welcome: Karnataka

On September 16, Chitradurga MP A Narayanaswamy was stopped by residents from entering a hamlet in Karnataka

Chitradurga MP A Narayaswamy who in a blatant practice of untouchability was refused entry into the Pemmanahalli Gollarahatti last week, was welcomed there in a grand celebration on Monday.

The BJP MP who hails from the Madiga community, a Dalit artisan group identified as scheduled caste, was welcomed with garlands thus slashing a centuries old tradition of barring a Dalit from coming into the village. Seers of the Dalit and OBC religious institutions along with the State Yadava Sangh also organized ‘Mathadhishara Samarasyada Nadige’ (seers’ walk for harmony) in the Gollarahatti.

In the past, former MP N. Chandrappa and former minister, Venkataramanappa, also from scheduled castes, did not enter Gollarahatti in fear of facing bias.

About the warm welcome, the MP said, “I am happy that I have won the hearts of the people of this Gollarahatti and that I was able to change their mindset on the practice of untouchability.” He also said that education and spreading awareness among people will eradicate social evils like untouchability from society.

Though the Tumakuru district administration sought a report from the police about the glaring human rights violation he faced a week ago, Narayanaswamy decided not to register a complaint against those who prevented his entry arguing that it wasn’t the solution to the issue.

After distributing LPG cylinders to 19 families, Narayanaswamy said that developmental work like providing housing, constructing roads, sewage lines, etc would start at the earliest. “I have already sanctioned funds for constructing roads and drains. We are also setting up a RO plant so the people can get drinking water. We have to finalise on where the new anganwadi will come up. I have also sanctioned funds to provide interest-free loans to the people living in the village so they can invest in cattle and their agricultural lands,” Narayanaswamy said. He said he would make Gollarahatti a ‘revenue village’ in a year’s time.  

The efforts of the district administration officials in educating the villagers against the evils of caste, seem to have paid off. Today, they also understand how casting aside prejudice and embracing development can be beneficial for their lives. In keeping with the sentiment, a youth from the community said, ““It’s good to see that we are heralding a new beginning. However, many other communities also practice caste discrimination. Hope they will also embrace change like us.”



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