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Education is a distant dream for these children

S. Bhuvaneshwari


Community members rear pigs, beg for a living

‘Children earn

Rs. 25 to Rs. 30

a day by begging'




Restriction:If parents belonging to the Handhijogi community send their children to school, the elders reportedly impose a penalty on them.

Tumkur: Education is a distant dream for children belonging to the Handhijogi community, despite the various schemes of the Union and State governments. There are around 1,000 families belonging to this Scheduled Tribe community living in Tumkur district.

The elders in the community prevent children from going to school. If parents send their children to school, the elders conduct an inquiry (panchaythi) and reportedly impose a penalty ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 on them.

Community members living in Ramajoisnagar locality say that the colonies lack basic amenities such as drinking water and electricity. They live in tiny sheds covered with polythene sheets and gunny bags and earn a living by rearing pigs and begging.

Since the local administration had banned pig-rearing in city limits, they kept the pigs beside their sheds and fed them with waste from hotels, said Nagaraju, a member of the community. He said that because he had not gone to school, he could not get a job. Therefore, the only option was to beg.

Gangamma, another member, said that the children earned Rs. 25 to Rs. 30 a day by begging. The community elders have also imposed restrictions on inter-caste marriages. According to working president of Tumkur district Kollegeri Hitharakshana Samiti, Syed Altaf, inter-caste marriage is punishable. If anyone violates the rule, he/she will face social boycott. In addition, they have to pay a penalty ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 15,000.

Mr. Altaf said that the elders selected a person called ‘meti' who was in charge. He said that if a person was caught stealing, the meti would impose a fine ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000 depending on the item stolen.

Deputy Commissioner C. Somashekar said he had taken notice of the matter and had taken steps to educate the elders in the community as well as provide basic amenities in their colonies.

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