Even 60 years after independence, zero untouchability still remains a dream. “It is still the archaic way of life there,’’ S Japhet, director, Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, told TOI.
The old practices of dalits not being employed as priests or allowed to enter temples during common village festivals still persist. Among the most frequent forms of untouchability, dalits have restricted access to public sources of water. Another sore point is a bar on entry into non-dalit homes.
In some areas, dalit homes are located on the border of the village, which is also a predominant form of outcasting. “This is a strong phenomenon in Gulbarga, though it is present in other districts,” Japhet said.
Untouchability has been reported from the villages of Bommanahalli and Varangere in Gulbarga and, to a lesser degree, from the villages of Karki and Morba in Uttara Kannada.
The trends are similar in other parts of the state as well. Some southern districts are, in fact, stronger in their untouchability quotient compared to even Uttara Kannada district.
The sample size could have been increased but for resource constraints. The survey and study was commissioned by the Centre in which Karnataka has been studied in a total of six states, 22 villages and 12 districts across the country.