Karnataka government launches anti-untouchability campaign

Karnataka government launches anti-untouchability campaign

Mangaluru: In what looks like an attempt to reach out to Dalits, the state government said on Monday it would soon launch the “Vinaya Samarasya” campaign aimed at raising awareness about the practice of untouchability.

Social Affairs Minister Kota Sreenivasa Poojary told the assembly.

The campaign is named after a two-year-old Dalit boy, Vinay, from Koppal, whose parents were penalized after the toddler entered a local temple.

Poojary was responding to the debate about his department’s grant application for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Poojary said untouchability prevailed in the state even though there was a lot of talk about equality in society. “The parents were fined because the child entered the temple. It is not only shocking, but sad that this has happened these days,” he said, adding that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai would soon launch the “Vinaya Samarasya” campaign.

In September 2021, the child’s family was fined Rs 25,000 in Miyapur in Koppal district after he entered the local temple.

The ‘Vinaya Samarasya’ campaign will be implemented in all gram panchayats in the state. Panchayats where untouchability is eradicated will receive additional funds as a means of encouragement from the government, Poojary said.

The campaign aside, the department decided to cover the child’s school fees. “Whether he wants to be an engineer or a doctor, the government will support him and bear the cost of his studies,” said the Minister of Social Affairs.

Meanwhile, responding to lawmakers’ demands to make Purakarmikas permanent employees and raise their salaries, Poojary said the government would convene a special meeting in this regard. There are about 2 lakh Purakarmikas in the state and the government is committed to their welfare, he added.

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