To end caste discrimination at salons in different parts of rural Karnataka, the Social Welfare Department has come up with a recommendation to set up government-run barbershops.
The move comes after the Kerala government started the government-run barbershops in villages, where Dalits were shunned from using a common salon.
"As barbers deny services to Dalits in several villages, atrocity cases are being filed. Hence, it is appropriate to open barbershops, run by the local body, in all gram panchayat limits. The Social Welfare Departement can sanction the required funds," the proposal said.
This proposal was a part of the agenda tabled during the recent review meeting on SC/ST Atrocities Act, chaired by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Deccan Herald reported.
According to the sources, the recommendation was placed during the meeting but was not taken up for discussion, even as the CM directed authorities to increase the conviction rate in cases of atrocities against SC/STs.
The humiliating practice is still prevalent in some rural areas of Karnataka, and cases are reported frequently. In October 2019, police and tahsildar had to step in to diffuse tension between Dalits and other communities, stirred after barbers refused to serve Dalits. Similar cases have also been reported in districts such as Koppal and Dharwad.
MLA N Mahesh, who was part of the meeting, confirmed that the issue was part of the agenda. "The problem is largely in the north and central Karnataka districts. The government should tackle the problem," he said.