“Give us permission to die; we want nothing else,” this fervent appeal by a Dalit family at a grievance redress meeting here on Monday took officers, including Deputy Commissioner D.K. Ravi, and the participants by surprise.
Shankarappa, a resident of Shyanubhoganahalli in Kolar taluk, explained the family’s plight due to the alleged harassment by upper caste people in the last two years.
As the meeting was in progress, Shankarappa, his wife, Rathnamma, and other family members, including their children Akash, Anusri and Amalasri, entered the hall at B.R. Ambedkar Bhavan.
They started complaining that they no longer are able to endure the harassment being meted out to them by caste Hindus and that death was the only solution to their problem as the officials concerned had failed to provide justice to them.
Though cases have been registered and the matter has gone to court, the family came to the meeting with the hope of finding relief.
Rathnamma vociferously appealed to the meeting with folded hands: “Give us permission to die. We cannot bear the harassment any longer,” even as several Dalit activists tried to console her.
The investigation officer of the Civil Rights Enforcement Directorate has, in his report, concluded that Shankarappa’s family was under threat from caste Hindus.
“However, our family is yet to get justice,” Shankarappa and Rathnamma told the meeting.
The report of the directorate, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, has said that the local police has colluded with the perpetrators of crime.
“My parents, Basappa and Lakshmamma, are living in an undisclosed location due to threats, and my children are unable to attend school,” Shankarappa said.
The family members left the venue after Mr. Ravi assured them of redressing their grievance.
Kolar Superintendent of Police Ram Nivas Sepat, Kolar Gold Fields Superintendent of Police Rohini Katoch, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer R. Vinod Priya and Assistant Commissioner C.N. Manjunath were present.