Untouchability In Work Spaces: Dalit Fired For Touching Ganesha Idol

An “upper” caste principal of a college sacked a Dalit sweeper for touching a religious idol installed in the college premises.

Debaraj Barik, the sweeper was conducting his daily duties by cleaning the premises of Rajendra Autonomous College, Bolangir, Odisha when the principal Rajalaxmi Mishra witnessed his sweeping the periphery of a Ganesha idol. The principal shouted at the sweeper for his alleged ‘trespass’, falsely accused him of trying to attack her with a broom and fired him on the spot.

Debaraj and his family filed a police complaint but to no avail. The law ignored this clear breach of article 17 of the constitution. Article 17 declared that “‘Untouchability’ is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability’’ shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.”” But no inquiry was conducted into the matter.

Debaraj contacted his community and together they staged a rally at the college gates to protest against the caste discrimination. Principal Rajalakhsmi resigned from her position. The new principal re-instated Debaraj but he has yet to receive compensation for the days he was suspended.

And Rajalaskhmi has yet to be held accountable to the law for blatantly practicing a 3000 year old unconstitutional, illegal atrocity.

Call to Action:- Call the District Collector of Bolangir, Mr. Debaran Mishra on 06652232001 and ask him to take actin against the ex-Principal Rajalakhmi Pandit and award adequate compensation to Debaraj.

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