Dalits suffered more than others in flood-hit Cuddalore, says report
The torrential rainfall and floods in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district over the past month have hit the Dalit households the hardest, a report has said. It is also stated that the situation was due to poverty and discrimination by upper caste villagers.
The document surveyed 8,400 Dalit and non-Dalit families in 20 villages of the Cuddalore region. The survey revealed that more than half of them belonged to dominant caste villagers-- to find that around 90% of the houses, livestock and crops destroyed by the deluge belonged to Dalit families.
Of the 1,026 mud houses that collapsed, 971 belonged to Dalits and of the 311 concrete houses that were damaged, 305 belonged to Dalits.
The survey also alleged that the dominant caste people blocked access to clean water and official relief measures remained concentrated in upper caste neighbourhoods that were more accessible by transport.
As a result of this proximity, 128 of the 146 goats killed in the survey area belonged to Dalits. All 20 cows that died belonged to Dalits and 274 of the 292 heads of poultry that drowned belonged to Dalits.
The report said that most primary health centres were located in dominant caste neighbourhoods and were, on an average, three km from Dalit settlements.
Conducted by the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) and the Social Awareness Society for Youths (SASY), the survey said that Dalits made up the lion’s share of those displaced by the floods as they lived in poorly-constructed mud houses.