Saturday, September 25, 2010

Man says dog 'untouchable' after 'lower caste' family fed it

A man said that his pet dog had become untouchable after it was fed roti by a Dalit [lower caste] family in the neighbourhood. Worse, the man abandoned the dog and threatened the Dalit family, asking them to pay compensation for spoiling the dog.

This is another example of the horrible caste practices and prejudices that are prevalent in Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh. The case got attention due to the recently initiated public hearing scheme in which citizens can meet top officials on a week day and make direct complaints to them.

The incident occurred in Malikpur in Morena district. The Dalit family was fearful to live in the area. The neighbour was forcing them to either pay him Rs 15,000 for the loss of his 'well-bred' dog who had been corrupted or face consequences. Even the Panchayat members supported the oppressor.

Incidentally, in this case also the accused doesn't belong to the Upper Castes, rather he is a member of a dominant backward caste. Moneyed and land owning OBCs are harassing Dalits and Tribals in many parts of the country.

The District Magistrate and the DIG also appeared shocked by the incident. The officials concerned have been asked to take action and provide security to the family of the victim Chandan Jatav.

Chandan's wife Sunita insists that she was returning from fields and had an extra 'roti' which she gave to the dog but the neighbour was aghast, threatening her to face the consequences for the act.

In fact, discriminations due to caste and economic status don't get adequate attention in media. In my last post regarding Shobhaa De's article on denial of admission to Muslim youths in colleges, I had mentioned that discriminations are all around and not limited to any particular community alone.

How would a family feel when they are told that even the dog gets untouchable if they touch or feed him? It's horrible. It shows how poor communities in rural and semi-urban India continue to face segregation and humiliation.

Perhaps, it was because of the public hearing scheme that the news came out and reached officials, else such complaints are not even registered at the police station level, where complainants are simply turned away.