Karnataka: BJP lawmaker barred from entering village in his own constituency

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Updated: September 18, 2019 2:25:10 PM

A Narayanaswamy had gone to Pemanahalli village in Pavagada region of Tumakuru district for a drinking water project. He was, however, barred from entering a hamlet (Gollarahatti) of Kadu Golla tribe on the ground that he belongs to the Dalit community.

A Narayanaswamy is a BJP MP from Karnataka’s Chitradurga Lok Sabha seat. (File photo. Indian Express)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s MP from Chitradurga in Karnataka, A Narayanaswamy, was allegedly barred from visiting a village in his constituency by the locals because he belongs to the Dalit community. Chitradurga parliamentary seat is a reserve parliamentary seat for the Scheduled Caste. He had won from here by a margin of nearly 80,000 votes, defeating Congress rival BN Chandrappa.

Narayanaswamy had gone to Pemanahalli village in Pavagada region of Tumakuru district for a drinking water project. He was, however, barred from entering a hamlet (Gollarahatti) of Kadu Golla tribe on the ground that he belongs to the Dalit community, a report in The Indian Express said, adding that villagers argued that the “entry of an untouchable would bring them misfortune”.

The BJP MP returned without arguing with the villagers and no complaint has been filed in the matter either. The district administration, however, has launched an investigation into the episode on its own and promised action against those found guilty.

Nagaraj, a villager, told news agency ANI, “We have traditions. There is a history of incidents. So people said he should not be allowed.”

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The video of Narayanaswamy’s visit to the village was also aired on local TV channels. The videos show him trying to reason with villagers to allow him to enter the village as a few locals insist that he can’t enter the hamlet.

“The others come for votes, I come to bring you development. Your community has backed me in the elections. I want change and development, not votes,” Narayanaswamy told the villagers. When villagers refused to allow him to enter, the MP returned. He later said that he was pained by the incident. “Some people wanted me to enter the hamlet, but I moved away to avert a clash within the community,” he said.

The incident of blatant caste bias has triggered a string of political reactions. Deputy CM Ashwath Narayan said that discrimination has no place in society and promised action against those involved. “If such kind of incident has happened, I think it should be condemned and necessary action should be taken. In society, there should not be any kind of discrimination, there is no place for discrimination. Human values should be respected,” he said.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, Karnataka Congress president, condemned the incident and called for societal reform. “‘This should have happened. He is a Member of Parliament. If this can happen with such a person, it shows that society has not reformed completely. We need to reform our people, change our people. I condemn this,” he said.

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