Pregnant Dalit Sarpanch Attacked at Temple in Telangana 

The family of Prabhakar Reddy prevented me from offering coconut to the deity, said the sarpanch, Pavithra.

2 min read
She was attacked allegedly for offering coconut in temple.

A pregnant Dalit woman Sarpanch and her husband were assaulted allegedly by her political rivals belonging to the dominant Reddy caste, for offering a coconut to village deity during the Bonalu festival. The incident happened on Sunday, 18 August, in Thurkaguda village, Ibrahimpatnam mandal, Rangareddy district.

The Sarpanch, Pavithra, belongs to the Madiga community, which is categorised as a Scheduled Caste in Telangana. Pavithra is a TRS party member, and says the family of former Sarpanch Prabhakar Reddy from the Congress had been waiting for an opportunity to assault and insult them.

“Usually, every year during the village festival, the village Sarpanch would carry the Bonam (a religious offering to the deity) and visit the temple. However, when we reached the temple, the family of Prabhakar Reddy objected to it and prevented me from offering coconut to the deity.”
Pavithra, Sarpanch

“When my husband intervened, they abused him and said, “You Madiga have no place here. Why did you come here?” They then shoved me and physically assaulted my husband,” the Sarpanch alleged.

Pavithra claimed that ever since Prabhakar Reddy’s side lost the election, they have been looking for an excuse to attack and humiliate them. Speaking to TNM, the Sarpanch’s husband, Kathula Kumar said, “They abused us with casteist slurs and assaulted me. They wanted to show their domination against us, and reminded us that we are transgressing the caste lines.”

Following the incident, the Sarpanch was admitted to a hospital. “I shudder thinking about what could have happened to her in this scuffle. Fortunately nothing major happened to her,” Kumar said.

Alleging caste-based discrimination and criminal intimidation, Kumar filed a complaint with the Ibrahimpatnam police on the same day, and named eight persons behind the incident – Jayender Reddy, Mahdukar Reddy, Tirumal Reddy, Maruthi Reddy, Narender Reddy, Janardhan Reddy, Ram Reddy and Sudhakar Reddy.

Police registered a case under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult) and The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and have arrested two persons – Ram Reddy and Sudhakar Reddy.

“The arrested persons were sent to Cherlapally jail. The others are absconding,” Ibrahimpatnam Inspector, Guruva Reddy said.

(This story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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