Against All Odds
If you go through police records, Kolathur would appear to be a village of criminals. The village is situated on banks of Buckingham canal in Kancheepuram District in Tamil Nadu. Just in the last two years, more than 40 young men from this nondescript village of 4000 on the East Coast Road connecting Chennai and Pondicherry have been charged by the police with various mild to serious offences. Villagers say the charges are false and motivated. The real crime, they say, is that they had the audacity to fight against the pollution caused by a shrimp farm owned by a politically well-connected entrepreneur. Kolathur is a Dalit village. Dalit, which literally means “broken,” is a self-descriptor used by communities belonging to the lowest castes in India’s meticulous and still extant caste hierarchy. Historically enslaved and victimised by untouchability in its various forms, Dalits in India are fighting a remarkable battle against discrimination. While open discrimination and untouchability may have been reduced over the last century owing to the outlawing of such actions, Dalits remain an oppressed community, landless and at the mercy of landlords and market forces. Even today, Human Rights Watch observes, police use violence and threat of sexual abuse to “inflict political lessons and crush dissent within the community".
|Title:||Against All Odds|
|Authors:||Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific|
|Publisher:||Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific|
|Appears in Sub-Collections:||Biodiversity|
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