Refused Haircut, Denied Water: Dalits Allege Caste-based Discrimination In Madhya Pradesh Village

The administration calls the allegations made by Dalit families to be politically motivated.

Bhopal:  In Naisamand village in Madhya Pradesh, dalit families have alleged that they are being discriminated against on the basis of their caste. Families allege they are denied haircuts at barber shops and refused water in hotels.

Jagannath Ahirwar, a dalit, who is a resident of Naisamand village, told PTI, “Local barber refuses to do a haircut saying we belonged to lower caste. We are also not being given water from hotels.”

Mr Ahirwar claimed that barber does not allow them to sit on the same chair where upper caste people sit, nor are they allowed to use same razors.

“We are offered tea in disposable cups but they refuse to provide water in glasses,” he said.

According to Mr Ahirwar, the village, with the population of about 1800 people, has a total of 70 dalit families.

A similar issue had surfaced last year after a complaint of discrimination was lodged with the authorities. Following this, a community feast called sahabhoj, which saw participation from various castes, was held to promote social harmony in the village.

The administration denied the Mr Ahirwar’s allegations, calling them to be ‘politically motivated’ and being leveled due to personal enmity.

People have been living peacefully in the village after a sahbhoj was organised last year and such voices are being raised due to political reasons, Rajeev Nandan Shrivastava, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Berasia) said.

However, Mr Ahirwar claimed the district collector and the sub-divisional magistrate ignored complaints by his brother Lal Singh Ahirwar in this regard.

Mr Ahirwar said that after the action taken last year, there was a brief respite. However, since past three months, the situation remained unchanged. He further said that local MLA Vishnu Khatri did not turn up despite being called.

Mr Khatri said that at previous occasions, complaints of prevalent caste-based discrimination in the village were found to be untrue.

“Some outside leaders of a political party have got involved in this personal dispute of a couple of families. The officials had visited this village but complaints about caste-based discrimination were found untrue,” Mr Khatri claimed.

Mr Ahirwar alleged that similar discrimination is being faced by the villagers of surrounding village. Mr Khatri assured that he would look into the matter.

(With Inputs From PTI)

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