A complaint has been lodged with the Kodigenahalli police that barbers in three salons here were refusing to give a haircut to Dalits. The village has about 600 houses belonging to Dalit families.The barbers have closed their shops after a complaint was registered in the police station. Hanumantharayappa, the complainant, told The Hindu that they were forced to travel to Kodigenahalli or Hindupur in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh for a haircut. This forced people like him to miss a day’s wages, and spend more than Rs. 100 for the haircut.
Anjanappa, another Dalit in the village, said that it was difficult in particular to take old people and children to another place for a haircut. “My forefathers have suffered silently but we will definitely not suffer like them,” he said.
Barber Jagannath, however, said: “We are ready to give a haircut to anybody and we work for our livelihood.” He claimed that since it was marriage season and some of them played musical instruments at weddings, they had closed their shops.
Mr. Hanumantharayappa, however, alleged that the barbers were instead going to the houses of “upper caste” people to give haircuts.
When contacted, tahsildar of Madhugiri taluk, K. Ramesh, said he would visit the village and take action against those who refuse to give Dalits haircuts. ASP R. Lakshman said he had ordered the sub-inspector of Kodigenahalli to visit the village and pursue the case.
Meanwhile, at Panjiganahalli, where a case was reported of the locally powerful Nayaka community (Scheduled Tribe) preventing barbers from cutting hair of the Madiga community (Schedule Caste), the police have intervened to ensure that the latter were allowed into the salon. Sira taluk president of Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, Lakshmikant, told The Hindu : “Only the youth are going to the shop at Panjiganahalli, whereas the older people still fear to step in.”