Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
A little less than a month ago, a Dalit duo – father and son, Malliappa Talageri and Vittal Talageri – were brutally murdered by upper-caste men. The Talageris come from the Madiga community, which comes under the Scheduled Castes in India. They are Dalits.
The case is pending in the courts, and the accused are out on anticipatory bail.
The family of the victims and the accused have to live uncomfortably close to each other in the village of Shirol in Mudhol taluk, Bagalkot district in Karnataka. Now, the Talageris, the victims’ family members, are facing more threats of violent action.
The Talageris earned a living cultivating sugarcane on their own land. Now, they own vehicles like tractors, bikes and cars.
In fact, one family member was elected gram panchayat member from the BJP. Some dominant case men in the village, however, began harassing them as they could not accept their success.
Sometime this year, a family member Yellappa Talageri told some youngsters of the dominant caste that they must ride their motorcycles carefully or they would risk the lives of pedestrians.
Unable to stomach the fact that a lower caste man was instructing them, a group of men allegedly came to their house and beat up both men and women. Women were harassed and their sarees were pulled off. Yellappa, who was hit on the head with a machete, sustained a deep cut.
On May 8 this year, following this incident, Yellappa filed two cases against the attackers under the ST/SC (Prevention of) Atrocities Act, enraging them even more.
Among the dominant caste, people are Reddys and Lingayats. They become only more confident because of police inaction despite the FIR, and to plot their revenge, they met up under the banner of the ‘Hindu Jagranna Vedike’.
On October 11, Arun Nagaraddy put up a picture on Facebook, of the group posing with long swords, along with the caption: “The final victory is ours.” In a second picture, more knives can be seen laid out in front of a Durga idol.
The family members were threatened and attacked on several occasions, but they managed to escape every time. One of them was almost run over by a tractor. However, throughout the months, there was alleged police inaction.
On October 15, the father-son duo were brutally murdered.
“I went to the police station to try to file a case of harassment again on October 15, and that’s when I found out about the murders of my grandfather and uncle,” family member Mahantesh was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
The Talageris have now alleged that they are receiving more death threats, one of which claimed that more male family members will be killed before the village festival on 6 December this year.
Mahantesh alleged that that out of the four cases that were under the SC/ST (Prevention of) Atrocities Act, as well as several sections of the IPC, only six out of the total 13 people named in the FIR have been arrested, and no action has been taken against the others.
However, Lokesh Jagala, the SP of Mudhol police station, said that two policemen have been posted outside their houses.
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