Karnataka: After Dalit Woman Drinks From Water Tank, 'Upper-Caste' Locals 'Clean' it With Cow Urine

After reports of the incident, police and district officials led a group of young people around the village in question to drink from all such reservoirs and denounce the practice of untouchability.

New Delhi: After a Dalit woman drank water from a community drinking water tank in the Heggotara village in Karnataka’s Chamarajnagar, ‘upper caste’ residents of the village reportedly drained out the tank and ‘purified’ it by washing it with gomutra (cow urine).

According to a report in the New Indian Express, the initial incident took place on Friday, November 18, during a wedding between members of the Dalit community. After the wedding, a woman, thought to be one of the bride’s relatives who had travelled to Heggotara from a village in the neighbouring Mysore district, reportedly drank water from the tank in question.

This reportedly led to a local man from the area gathering others and berating the woman for doing so. After the woman left, the locals reportedly emptied out the tank and ‘cleaned’ it with cow urine.

The next day, the revenue inspector and other government officials visited the village and took note of a complaint by a local resident who belongs to the SC community. 

On Sunday, Chamarajnagar Tehsildar Basavaraj and deputy director of the Social Welfare Department, Mallikarjun led a group of youths, accompanied by the police, around the village, where they drank water from all such reservoirs, denouncing the practice of untouchability.

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This group also painted signs on all such reservoirs making clear that any person is allowed to drink from them.

Further, the police reportedly took cognisance of a complaint filed by one Giriappa against the reported accused, Mahadevappa. The police reportedly said that a case will be registered and the accused will be charged under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act).

Thereafter, Karnataka infrastructure development minister V. Somanna, who is also the minister in-charge of Chamarajanagar district, also visited the district on Sunday and said that he directed the deputy commissioner to probe the matter further and apprehend those guilty.

Tehsildar Basavaraj, however, told NDTV that while it is clear that ‘upper caste’ locals cleaned the tank after the Dalit woman drank from it, it cannot yet be ascertained that it was cleaned using cow urine.

He also said that he would file a report to the district commissioner, appraising him of the situation, and will await further direction.