Badanavalu clash acrimony lives on in politicians' memory

Badanavalu clash acrimony lives on in politicians' memory

Villagers have moved on and are living in harmony

Badanavalu clash acrimony lives on in politicians' memory

The caste clash at Badanavalu in Nanjangud taluk in 1993 no longer causes acrimony among villagers. The wounds have healed and people are living in harmony but politicians and the media do not seem to know.

The clash between Dalits and Veerashaivas had erupted on March 25, 1993. Three Dalits were hacked to death by a mob on the Badanavalu-Devanur road, which triggered unrest in the village and the surrounding areas.

The issue pertained to Dalits’ entry into the newly opened Siddeshwara Temple in the village. Dalits, who were earlier barred from entering the temple by the upper castes, had taken the matter to the authorities concerned, who facilitated their entry into the temple.

But people are now living peacefully and have forgotten the incident. They say the incident is raked up only during occasions like elections. During the canvassing for the Nanjangud byelection, politicians from both the Congress and the BJP raked up the incident to attract voters of both the communities, giving their own version of the story. Preedepa, a villager, said both Dalits and Lingayats had forgotten the enmity. “We have maintained good relations with each other. People of both the communities are sensible. They have forgotten the incident,” he said.

Another villager accused politicians of glorifying the incident to seek political mileage. The media is just adding fuel to the fire, he said. Following the clash, the Election Commission of India has been identifying polling stations in the village as hyper-sensitive. But no clash was ever reported during any election, an elderly villager said. The village has seen at least 10 elections since the clash, he added.

A police officer echoed him, saying villagers are living in harmony and maintaining peace. Even during elections, they are very cooperative and maintain peace, he added. Election officials, however, defended categorising the polling stations into hyper-sensitive, sensitive and normal, citing input from the police.

The village is significant in many ways. It was known for khadi and village industries. Mahatma Gandhi had visited it in 1932 to promote khadi. A group of four Dalit women had established the Badanavalu Khadi and Gramodyog Centre in 1927 on 7.5 acres of land with a view to empower Dalits. The centre prospered for sometime but has been on the decline since.