CHENNAI: Even as Tamil Nadu is in an embarrassing situation after the presence of human feces in a drinking water tank that supplies water to a Dalit colony in the Pudukottai district, a Block Development Officer (BD0) in Tirupur district is being accused of denying drinking water connection to Dalits.
The incident occurred at Mettupalayam in Tiruppur district.
Eighty Dalit families were taking water from a borewell and when the water level fell, the Dalit families approached the Aranmanikkatupudur panchayat. The panchayat passed a resolution and the necessary sanction was accorded to dig a new borewell at a revenue 'Puramboke' land two km from the Dalit settlement. The well was dug two months ago.
The Dalit community members of the panchayat alleged that the Block Development Officer (BDO), K. Jayakumar objected to the laying of pipelines to supply water to the Dalit settlements citing that permission was not taken for constructing the well.
Duraiswamy, a resident of the panchayat and himself belonging to a Dalit community while speaking to media persons said that the Panchayat officials had approved of the well.
However, the concerned BDO, Jayakumar while speaking to IANS said, "A section of the villagers had opposed the well and they had complained that it was in private land."
The villagers said that the statement of the BDO was not true and that they have already complained to the district administration about the action taken by the BDO.
Tamil Nadu is already reeling under several incidents of Dalits being denied their rights and even two tumbler systems are rampant in several villages of the state. It may be noted that in many areas of South Tamil Nadu, Dalits, and Upper Caste people had many physical confrontations, and killings had taken place from both sides.
Dr. M Sivaraman, sociologist, and Dalit thinker while speaking to IANS said, "While Tamil Nadu claims of Dravidian ideology and equality, in reality casteism and ostracisation is rampant across the state. Separate tumblers in tea shops for Dalits are seen in many villages of the state.
"These social realities are being deliberately forgotten while eulogising the Dravidian model of development and administration. The BDO denying permission for a borewell to Dalits is an extension of what is happening in daily lives for people of Dalit communities across the state."
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