The heavy caste of rehabilitation

The heavy caste of rehabilitation

Social stasis

The heavy caste of rehabilitation

Many families who lost th­eir houses in the floods two years ago have demanded that the newly-built Aasare houses be allotted caste-wise so that they would not have “social inferiors” as their neighbours.

And in an appalling and shameful surrender, the State government has agreed. The evil of social stratification has raised its ugly head in the allotment of houses constructed for the flood-affected families under the Aasare sc­heme in a few villages of Si­ruguppa taluk in the district.

These people lost their houses in the floods in Tun­gabhadra and Hagari rivers that were swollen with heavy rain. The houses constructed for the families in Matooru, Shridharagadde, T S Kudluru, Honnarahalli, Chikkaballari, Muddatanooru, Gun­digan­ooru and Mylapura, who lost their dwellings, are ready for occupation and are to be handed over to them on June 25 and 26.

Unwanted neighbours

But many families have ins­i­sted that they do not want “other castes” as neighbours or even on the streets they live in.

The State government, instead of turning down the demand, has acceded to it, and has agreed to allot the houses in the new housing colonies in accordance with the occupancy pattern in the old villages.

Casteism came to the fore during the government-organised programme to allot the houses by lots at Siruguppa on June 22.

Allotment opposed

Many families opposed allotment by lottery, and wanted the houses as per the numbering in the old villages. It is people belonging to the majority comunities in the villages, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that have placed such a demand.  The district administration and the MLA, Somalingappa, have given into the demand.

Quick occupation

Anticipating that they may not be able to choose their neighbours, caste communities in T S Kudluru and Matooru have already occupied the newly-built houses even though they are yet to be allotted.

The administration and the elected representatives have upheld the local argument in favour of caste-wise allotm­ent – that allotment without being sensitive to the caste sensibilities would lead to disharmony in villages and even conflicts.

Dalit leaders A Manayya and Benakal Basavaraj have questioned such caste sentiments, pointing out that donors whose contributions helped build the houses for the flood-affected had done so without bothering to know the caste of people who would benefit.

“Why is the government, which has the duty of bringing about social equality, encouraging caste differences by acceding to such demands,” they questioned. 

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