In a shocking incident of untouchability, a Dalit BJP MP in Karnataka was allegedly prevented from entering a Gollarahatti, a settlement of Golla (Yadavs), at a village in Tumakauru district, prompting the authorities to order an inquiry.
The incident occurred Monday evening as Chitradurga MP A Narayanaswamy went to Pemmanahalli village, which falls under his Lok Sabha constituency, for some development work with a video of the conversation surfacing.
Karnataka Industries Minister and senior BJP leader Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday condemned the incident while a top police official said the local Tahsildar, staff of Social Welfare department and police have been asked to visit the village and hold an inquiry into the denial of entry for the MP.
According to police, when the MP approached near the settlement, some people asked him not to enter saying as he was a Dalit and it was against their traditions.
They also pointed out that earlier too Dalit public representatives have not entered their hatti.
Speaking to local news channels, Narayanaswamy said he was 'pained' that such practices continued even today.
The MP said he tried to convince those who prevented his entry that he was there for developmental work and not for any political reason.
"Some among them wanted me to go in, but I moved away with the intention that there should not be any differences between the people within the community leading to clashes," he said.
"But, in the days to come I will certainly work towards eradicating such superstitious beliefs in the community and for their development ," he added.
Tumakauru Deputy Commissioner K Rakesh Kumar said meetings will be held in the village to sensitise the locals and if needed he would also visit them.
"I will have to get the report on what was the reason for their (people) conduct. If we get to know who has done, we can book case under SC/ST Atrocities act," he told reporters.
A video of the MP talking to people and trying to convince them by asking them whether he should work for their development or not, was telecast in local news channels.
In the video, Narayanaswamy can be seen telling people that he has come to do good for them but a section of them were adamant on not letting him inside hatti.
Meanwhile, some villagers told local TV channels that according to their traditions, "Dalits cannot enter" their community settlement. Any 'violation' of the tradition would result in "something bad" happening, they claimed adding there were precedents.
Another villager admitted that the MP had come for a good reason. But said people have been following certain traditions for long. "I apologise to the MP, if he is pained," he added.