Traders, dalits hold protest

Demand: Dalits staging a protest near the deputy commissioner’s office in Hassan on Friday urging the district administration to handover the land encroached by the Upper Castes back to them.  DH photos

The traders of old bus stand closed their shops and staged a protest in Hassan on Friday urging the authorities of KSRTC to open the new bus stand only after providing facilities to the commuters.

They contended that sudden shifting of the bus stand had hit traders, autorikshaw and taxi drivers and more importantly the commuters. The business in the surrounding areas of the old bus stand runs into lakhs of rupees. Besides, it was centrally located. After shifting the bus stand the business has dropped by nearly 70 per cent. The general public was also facing hardship to reach the new bus stand.

They demanded that the new bus stand should be commissioned only after providing all the facilities. After that all the city buses and moffusil buses should be operated from the old bus stand. The traders should be allowed to do their business even at the new bus stand.

In the morning, they went in a procession and submitted a memorandum to the revenue authorities. Later, they came near the N R Circle and tried to divert all the KSRTC buses towards the old bus stand which was prevented by the cops.

Encroachment

In another protest, The dalits, under the banner of Dr B R Ambedkar Yuvaka Sangha, staged a dharna near the deputy commissioner’s office in Hassan on Friday, against encroachment of the land belonged to them by the Upper castes at Agalahalli in the taluk.

They claimed that the deputy commissioner, tahsildar and police have failed to act upon the complaint lodged in this regard. The land belonged to Gowramma, Ramegowda and Siddamma have been encroached upon by the Upper Castes and have constructed houses. This had obstructed their movement.

When this matter was brought to the notice of the authorities concerned, MLA H S Prakash had convened a peace committee meeting and had directed the revenue authorities to take steps for the removal of those encroachments. Subsequently, the department conducted a survey which proved that the land belonged to the dalits were now under the possession of the Upper Castes. Despite the survey report, no action was taken for the removal of encroachments. They have warned of boycotting the SC/ST meeting to be held on January 28 if no suitable action was taken in this regard.

The tahsildhar, Mathai who came to receive the memorandum from the agitators, returned after the agitators raised slogans against him. He was not allowed to say anything regarding the steps taken by the revenue department in this regard.

Later, MLA Prakash volunteered to hold discussion with them. Although, he promised to make the spot visit on Saturday and take steps, the agitators spoke in an objectionable manner, which irritated him. He too left the place in a huff.

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