‘Double tumbler’ system still in vogue here

R. Arivanantham

KRISHNAGIRI, Mar 19 : Gandhiji called them ‘Children of God’. But Dalits in villages such as
Mavanatti, Devanthotti, Urigam, Kottaiyur and Thakkatti in Thali block of Krishnagiri district are subjected to the pernicious practice of untouchability in the form of a ‘double tumbler’ system (i.e. one set of tumblers for them and another for people from other communities).

B. Veerabadran, a Dalit youth from Mavanatti village, told The Hindu that owners of eateries kept plastic tumblers near bins outside their shops. Mr. Veerabadran said Dalits were served tea or coffee in these tumblers. After drinking tea they had to wash the tumblers themselves and keep them at the designated place – near the bin. The tea would be poured to the tumblers by the hoteliers who would take care not to touch them.

Many times the food joints do not give Dalits tea or coffee even if the shops have enough milk, sugar and tea or coffee powder.

Young members of the community find it hard to bear this. “Why do we have to face this humiliation? We want the state government to totally eradicate untouchability in society. We want to sit with others in hotels,” they said. They alleged that when they complained to the police about this practice and atrocities against them the police intimidated them and foisted false cases on them.

Superintendent of Police Anisha Hussein told this paper that 48 cases had been booked in different police stations in Denkanikottai and Thali areas. The district administration should take stern action against those practising untouchability, Ms. Hussein said.

Two hundred and twenty two Dalit families live in the patta land and 50 and odd group houses given to them by the district administration in Mavanatti village. Their population is about 1,200. Most of them work as coolies in farm lands and quarries. Some of them have small pieces of land in the area where they cultivate crops.