Workers of the Youth Congress in Kerala allegedly “purified” a spot where a Dalit MLA had held a sit-in protest in Thrissur district on Saturday, PTI reported. In a police complaint on Sunday, the MLA, Geetha Gopi, said the act was casteist.
The Communist Party of India leader had staged the protest in front of the office of a Public Works Department engineer at Cherpu village on Saturday. She was protesting against the poor condition of a road. She ended the demonstration after officials assured her of action, reported News18.
However, activists of the Youth Congress staged another protest, claiming that Gopi’s sit-in was an act to fool the people. They sprinkled water mixed with cow dung at the place, which is traditionally done to purify a spot.
“The Congress workers should have resorted to many other democratic ways of protest, they sprinkled the cow dung mix water on the protest site only to harass a Dalit woman lawmaker,” Gopi told News18. She said she would also file a complaint with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and demand action.
Gopi claimed that the president of the Cherpu gram panchayat was among the Congress workers who sprinkled the water.
“Even after a woman from Scheduled Caste became a member of Legislative Assembly, these people insult me using my caste,” Gopi said in her complaint, according to The News Minute. “This is also an insult to Kerala, which is often quoted as a completely literate state.”
The police filed a case based on the complaint, under Section 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code and also under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
State Culture Minister AK Balan said: “Such acts are normally seen in north India. It cannot be accepted.”
“The casteist discrimination against Geetha Gopi MLA is shocking,” Health Minister KK Shylaja said. “It’s criminal and highly condemnable that the Congress workers poured cow dung-mixed waters at a place where a protest was held democratically. Kerala, which is far ahead in renaissance, shouldn’t do such a thing. Strict action should be taken against them.”