“As many as 500 Dalit families belonging to Saligrama village in K.R. Nagar taluk have been in dire straits following social ostracism by members of an ‘upper caste’ community for the last two weeks. [...]
“The immediate cause for the social boycott of the Holayas was a petty incident. Some cattle belonging to the ‘upper caste’ community was found grazing on the land belonging to one Govindaraju, a Dalit. Govindaraju took objection to the cattle being on his land as he was entirely dependent on the land for his livelihood.
“Govindaraju had an altercation with members of the ‘upper caste’ community on the matter, which led to him being assaulted. Govindaraju immediately filed a police complaint seeking protection. The ‘upper caste’ members feeling that he had ‘exceeded his limits’ by daring to file a police complaint, decided to boycott the Dalits from September 26.
“The incident came into the public domain after a fact-finding committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), led by State secretariat member Maruti Manpade, visited Saligrama on Monday and shared their findings with the media.
“The team visited the village and discovered that all Dalits had been dismissed from their jobs while those who employ their women folk as housemaids were asked to pay Rs. 2,000 for not abiding by the diktat of the ‘upper caste’. ‘What is worse is that those who brought this “violation” to the notice of the “leaders” were rewarded with Rs. 500,’ according to Varalakshmi, who was part of the CPI(M) team. The CPI(M) members said the Dalits in Saligrama were being denied work in farms while those who were working as lorry drivers, auto drivers and electricians had lost their jobs.”