7 Dalits Burned Alive in Kolar

Asian Age
Asian Age, Mon. 13 March 2000, p.1

Dalit houses set ablaze in Karnataka, 7 killed

By Our Correspondent, Bangalore, March 12:

Seven members of a dalit family were burnt alive on Saturday night in their house in Kambala Halli, near Chintamani in Kolar, by a group from the upper caste Reddy community half-an-hour after a plumber from their community was stabbed to death by local Dalit Sangharsha Samithi activists over an old dispute.

Witnesses said a big group from the Reddy community converged on the village late on Saturday night and set three houses of the dalit families on fire. They targeted the family of Sreeramappa, one of the DSS activists involved in the stabbing of the plumber, Krishna Reddy. Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna and home minister Mallikarjun Kharge visited the village on Sunday morning and said a judicial inquiry, either by a sitting high court judge or a retired judge, would be ordered into the incident. A compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for the family members of the deceased has also been announced. Mr Kharge said the dalit families would be shifted from the village as they were feeling unsafe.

Witnesses said men from the Reddy community, carrying petrol and kerosene cans and armed with sickles, began to stone the dalit houses while they locked themselves inside one of the houses. The rioting crowd then doused the house with petrol and set it on fire, trapping seven persons inside. Those burnt alive were Sreeramappa, his mother Ramakka, sister Papamma, brother Anjanappa, cousins Narasimhulu and Papanna and aunt Subamma.

Another woman who had locked herself in a neighbouring house has survived with severe burns. Her condition is critical.

Villagers told The Asian Age that the attack lasted an hour, with the armed men surrounding Sreeramappa?s house to ensure nobody escaped. They covered the house with dry grass to help the fire spread quickly, they said.

The police arrived at 11 pm on Saturday night, four hours after the violence. The nearest police station is 40 km from the village and no one ventured in the dark to inform the police, the villagers said.

" [T]he Aryans enforced the caste system on the Black population (the original inhabitants of India), with a cold-blooded racist logic with [w]hites on the top, mixed races in the middle and the mass of the conquered Blacks at the bottom.

Rajshekar, `Dalit: The Black Untouchables of India', p.44, citing Runoko Rashidi.

" The tribals have their own culture and history. They are born into their own peculiar religions."

Ram Vilas Paswan, Hindustan Times, Thursday, February 25, 1999, New Delhi

"[ T ]o mark the 50th Republic Day, an outlawed army of upper caste landlords massacred at least 23 Dalits in the badlands of Bihar."

Times of India, Jan 28, 1999

Rig Veda IX.73.5
" Praise be the stormy Aryan Gods who rush on like furious bulls and scatter the Black Skin."

-- Surinder Majhi,
Dalitstan Journal
Volume 3, Issue 2 (Apr. 1999)


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