In a disturbing case of caste discrimination, members of Youth Congress in Thrissur, Kerala performed a “purifying ritual” at a venue where a Dalit MLA of Communist Party of India (CPI), Geetha Gopi, had staged a sit-in protest on Saturday. The Youth Congress members allegedly sprinkled cow dung-mixed water to “purify” the place. MLA from Nattika constituency in Thrissur, Gopi has filed a complaint with Cherpu police against caste discrimination by the Congress workers.

She is also going to be filing a complaint with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Kerala Assembly speaker P Sreeramakrishnan. Cherpu Police has lodged an FIR based on the MLA’s complaint under provisions of the SC/ST Act.

The Youth Congress members allegedly sprinkled cow dung-mixed water to “purify” the place. MLA from Nattika constituency in Thrissur, Gopi has filed a complaint with Cherpu police against caste discrimination by the Congress workers.

“Even after a woman from Scheduled Caste became a member of Legislative Assembly, these people insult me using my caste. This is also an insult to Kerala which is often quoted as a completely literate state,” Geetha Gopi said in the complaint letter.

On Saturday, the CPI MLA protested at the Cherpu Mini Civil Station, demanding maintenance work done at Triprayar to Cherpu state highway. She ended the protest after Public Works Department (PWD) officials offered her assurance of the maintenance work. After Gopi and her supporters left the premises, members of Youth Congress reached the spot to “purify” it by sprinkling diluted cow dung on it.

“The Congress workers should’ve 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,” Geetha Gopi said. She revealed that among those who sprinkled the cow-dung mixture on the spot was the Cherpu Gram Panchayat president and shared that she will be meeting chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan today and will hand over a complaint against the Congress workers demanding action, News 18 reported.

MLA Gopi and others staged the protest because recently a two-wheeler passenger had sustained injuries in an accident due to the poor condition of the road. Kerala Minister for Health, Social Justice and Woman and Child Development, KK Shailaja expressed shock over the casteist behaviour, Gopi met with.

“The casteist discrimination against Geetha Gopi MLA is shocking. It’s criminal and highly condemnable that the Congress workers poured cow dung-mixed waters at a place where a protest was held democratically,” Shailaja said.

“The casteist discrimination against Geetha Gopi MLA is shocking. It’s criminal and highly condemnable that the Congress workers poured cow dung-mixed waters at a place where a protest was held democratically,” Shailaja said.

“Kerala, which is far ahead in the renaissance, shouldn’t do such a thing. People who have carried out such acts are showing their culture. It’s bringing back fear of untouchability. Strict action should be taken against them,” she added.

Kerala Cultural Minister A K Balan also slammed the members of Youth Congress for discriminating against Gopi for her caste and said, “Such acts are normally seen in north India. It cannot be accepted.”

Youth Congress President Dean Kuriakose also reacted to the incident and called for strict action against those who indulged in the activity, said, “Some Youth Congress members had conducted an agitation against local MLA Geetha Gopi. I have directed the state general secretary in-charge of the district to give notice to them asking for a proper explanation about the controversy from them. Strict action will be taken if there is any discrimination against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,” he told ANI.

Image credit: Mangalam

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