'Untouchability deeply rooted in Kuppegala'

While the dust over caste issues at the Kuppegala school is just settling down, other “untouchable” practices continue to persist in the village.

The disparity between the ‘upper castes’ and members of the dalit community had become evident when a dalit cook was appointed at a school and students stopped eating midday meals.

However, other restrictions imposed on the members of the dalit community, such as not being allowed inside the Anjaneyaswamy Temple, the only temple in the village situated in a Vokkaliga locality, were brought to the fore at a phone-in programme held in August.

Though the dalits were allowed to enter the temple after the phone-in programme, ever since that day, members of the upper caste community have not set foot in the village.

Manjunath, an activist, who highlighted the issues pertaining to Kuppegala, said that all valuables inside the temple, which were used to adorn the statue of the deity, were removed once the dalits started going to the temple. “While the school issue might have come to an end, other discriminatory practices in Kuppegala will continue,” he said.

He said that in the past, caste-based discrimination had led to violent eruptions. The last such clash between the communities was in 2001. “All the differences among villagers should be sorted out amicably. Measures should be initiated to maintain harmony in the village,” he said.

Nanjaiah, a senior citizen, said untouchability was being practised in barber shops and hotels, too.

Owing to such differences, people go to establishments belonging to members of their community, while avoiding others, he said.

He said the situation had worsened in the past few days and added that such practices existed in the village for several years.

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