#India – Dalit headmistress alleges caste discrimination in Mangalore


STAFF CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

A Dalit headmistress in a government school, who claimed to have been harassed by upper-caste teachers on the basis of caste, alleged that the police inaction led to the case being closed due to “lack of evidence”.

Airing her grievance at the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes meet held at the Police Commissioner’s office here on Sunday, Kamalakshi, who is the headmistress of Government Higher Primary School in Panelabarike near Konaje, said there was discrimination and harassment by a Brahmin couple, who teach at the school.

“They have shouted swear words at me several times. They do not cooperate in the decisions I take. They have even said that because the government gives us Dalits so many schemes and provisions that we have become arrogant. The two have also pressured the SDMC (School Development and Monitoring Committee) to expel me, so they could drive me out of the village,” she claimed.

Though she has been working in the school for six years, the harassment started after the husband-wife duo joined the school in 2011.

After entreaties to the Block Education Officer went in vain, Ms. Kamalakshi filed a complaint against the two at the Konaje Police Station on February 22. However, a week ago, the police eventually filed a B-report in the case. “How can there be no evidence when the SDMC can testify to the insults and threats?” she asked Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar who chaired the meet.

Though Mr. Kharbikar said there “could be no wrongdoing” on the part of the police in closing the case, he assured the headmistress that the case would be looked into again.

Another allegation of the police bucking to bribes and pressures from influential persons came from Dalit leader Srinivas Shetty, who said the Bajpe police had done little to arrest the main accused in a reportedly illegal sand-mining case.

The accused, who is the president of the Gram Panchayat Chandrahas Shetty, is alleged to have abused fellow member Hariyappa Muthoor, who is Dalit, for having opposed the sand mining.

“Chandrahas Shetty used foul language and even threatened to kill Hariyappa. We filed a complaint with the police on May 18, and an atrocities case was filed. But there have been no arrests. In fact, we hear that the police are in constant touch with the accused,” said Mr. Srinivas Shetty. Mr. Kharbikar assured a “detailed probe” into the matter.

 

5 Comments (+add yours?)

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