Caste Discrimination in UP's Bundelkhand is Worsening the Water Woes of Dalits
-TheWire.in/ Khabar Lahariya
Dalit residents in the state's Chitrakoot region are being denied access to water sources by upper castes.
It’s peak summer in Itwa gram panchayat in Chitrakoot in UP’s Bundelkhand. Most of the taps and hand pumps are running dry, like every year. This time around, tankers have been hired to deliver water. They pass by the Dalit basti where the Chamar community resides, and may even pause for a few minutes if requested. However, the vehicles finally head for duty to the upper caste settlements of Brahmins and Thakurs – where the Dalits aren’t allowed.
“We are not allowed to fill water from the hand pumps and bore wells that are all outside our basti or even approach the tankers. Where should we go then?” asks Rama Kumari, a resident of the Dalit basti.
“Water is provided only to the Brahmins and people fight with us when we approach the hand pump,” one Kamta Kumar adds. “There are two people always standing with a lathi ready to hit in case any of us approach their hand pump. Even when a woman or child from our basti goes to collect water, they do this.”
This is evident at any time of the day there is running water in the hand pumps. The Dalit children cower close together as they are pushed back by elder males, and their mothers have to watch on helplessly. The children from other communities look on unfazed.
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