Days after Gollarahatti village, a settlement of the Golla community in Tumakuru’s Pemmanahalli, hit the headlines for denying entry to Chitradurga MP A Narayanaswamy as he is from an “inferior caste”, residents decided to felicitate him and welcomed him to the village on Monday.
Recalling the incident, villagers clarified that only a couple of elders questioned the MP’s entry citing his caste. “The elders came up to the MP and said his entry to the village would be against their beliefs. Others came and stopped them and welcomed the MP, but he was hurt and went back,” former Gram Panchayat president Dasanna said.
He said the villagers have now realised that the MP is trying to bring in development. “The teams from Biocon and Narayana Hrudayalaya, which came with the MP, assessed the village with regard to their Corporate Social Responsibility schemes. The villagers were not used to politicians visiting as they have been neglected for a long time,” he added.
Gollarahatti comprises around 150 huts and farmlands where residents farm ragi, paddy, and groundnuts. Severe drought has hit the harvests since 2016, villagers said.
“Lack of basic amenities and drought conditions have added to our frustrations,” said Ashok D R, a villager.
Meanwhile, Kannada actor Chetan Kumar, members of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS), and leaders of the Golla community along with a group of social workers visited the village in Pavagada’s Pemmanahalli on Thursday as part of a ‘Parivartana Rally’ organised to spread awareness among the residents.
However, the police present at the village reportedly objected to the rally citing the reason that no prior permission was sought for the same. This led to heated arguments between the organisers of the rally and the police personnel, but the programme continued despite the objection, according to villagers.
After interacting with residents, Chetan told The Indian Express it is the collective responsibility of the government, educated citizens and social workers to ensure that the idea of unity in diversity is taken to the last person in villages. “In Gollarahatti, casteism is not about dominance but a sign of lack of awareness and ignorance,” he said.
Soon after the incident made news, Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar K, SP K Vamsikrishna and Zilla Panchayat CEO Subha Kalyan on Wednesday visited the villagers.
“It is not right to stop anyone from entering the village. We are aware of the problems faced by the residents of Gollarahatti and will initiate all measures to fulfill their demands…” Kumar said.
SP Vamsikrishna said special awareness drives will be launched to ensure such incidents are not repeated. “We have not taken any action against those who denied the MP entry as he has not lodged any complaint,” he said.
MP Narayanaswamy said, “It is true that I was hurt, but I will not file a case. I will visit them again and ensure that their grievances are addressed…”
The villagers hope the attention would help them voice their demands.
“We are still deprived of clean drinking water… We have also asked the DC to take up drainage and road development work…” Narasimhappa, president of Pavagada Gollara Sangha, said.
Sources from BJP’s Pavagada unit said they are hopeful of initiating a dialogue between the villagers and the MP to address their long-standing demands, including resuming discussions on the promised Scheduled Tribe status.