Karnataka: Tahsildar creates awareness by washing tea cups used by dalits | Mangaluru News – Times of India

GADAG: Mundargi tahsildar Ashappa Pujar and other taluk officials went to Harogeri village, Gadag district on Tuesday to convince upper caste persons to allow dalit customers into their tea stalls. This followed complaints about untouchability in the village, which has a population of around 2,300 people, including 150 Dalits.
The officials served tea to people of both dalit and upper caste communities. After the meeting, the tahsildar and his team washed cups used by dalits to create awareness against untouchability. These pictures went viral on social media and drew much appreciation.
Pujar told TOI: “We were told that 4-5 tea stalls of the village would shut whenever a person from the Dalit community died. We were also told that Dalits were denied access to barbers’ shops. Accompanied by circle police inspector Sudhirkumar Benki, social welfare officer Uday Kumar and others, we went to the village.”
He added: “Our officials invited about 100 people from both communities and convened a meeting for about two hours. Some upper caste people seemed hesitant about serving Dalits at the tea stall. Therefore, we washed cups used by Dalits. Seeing us, upper caste people came forward to wash the cups used by dalits. They assured us they would treat Dalits on par with upper caste customers.”
Sharanappa Madar, a lecturer from the Dalit community in the village, pointed out that a dalit had died at 4pm on February 28. “Normally, all tea stalls are shut only for a few hours in the afternoon in rural areas. But, on Sunday, no tea stall was opened after the Dalit’s death. When the tahsildar and other officials served tea to everyone and washed cups used by dalits, the upper caste people followed suit. We thank the tahsildar and other officials for their gesture,” he added.
‘Served notice to stalls’

Ravindra P Javi, Harogeri gram panchayat president, said: “When the officials came here, we had gone out of town and heard that someone had complained about closure of tea stalls. After the incident, we served notice to all five tea stalls and hair-cutting salons for practising untouchability. Except for this, there is no untouchability in the village. We’ll ensure this does not happen in the village.”

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Sagar Biswas

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