Yet Another Buffalo Sacrifice Prevented
Olluru Adijan Panchayat, Nagalamadike Hobli, Pavagada Taluk
Celebrating a festival! It is something nice to happen in a village. Not if you know that the Maramma festival perpetuates free caste labour of the Adijan people with a nefarious design inbuilt in it. The Adijan Panchayat Movement has been spearheading the ban on the sacrifice of Buffalo in this festival only to prevent free caste labour and not to stop the festival. This time the struggle was big. Olluru in Nagalamadike Hobli of Pavagada taluk decided to celebrate the festival of Maramma on 07 April. As usual they took it for granted that they could sacrifice buffalos in gaiety. Leaders of three different castes joined together and decided to take leadership in the festival and the buffalo sacrifice. They also managed to co-opt some Adijan members to tacitly support them.
When news reached the ears of Nagaraj who is the Hobli Coordinator of the Adijan Panchayat Movement and Narayanappa the Divisional Coordinator, they made a representation to Superintendent of Police asking him to prevent the sacrifice. The SP took official measures to stop. However, as the festival approached, the entire village was on the side against the Adijan Panchayat threatening, requesting and pleading with them to allow the sacrifice. The leaders of Adijan Panchayat clearly told them that they were not against the festival. They were only against the sacrifice of buffalo in the festival. This is a clear message that we dish out regularly to the caste people. We also explain to them through pamphlets how this festival perpetuates free caste labour and that we are against this.
The Adijan MLA who won the elections because of our support was like a fish in a drying pond. He could not oppose us openly and he could not ask the caste people to stop the buffalo sacrifice. When our leaders found that he was more with the caste people than with us they decided to approach the Police Inspector who is a good friend of our Movement. He stood firm with us. He personally visited the village and caught hold of the leader of one community. Frightened of being arrested the fellow also betrayed leaders of two other caste communities. At night people from different neighbouring villages gathered for the festival. It was a crowd of thousands of people as usual. In the meantime, Venkatesh who is a former member of the Underground called up the officers and warned them that if the caste people killed the buffalo the consequences for the caste people would also be serious. Then the police department became alert. The police mobilized their forces. Four vans and four jeeps of police surrounded the village with their forces to prevent the sacrifice of buffalo.
This is the price our Organization and Movement have to pay to bring dignity in the life of our people. The funny thing is that some of the Dalit Organizations took a neutral stand on the entire issue only because Adijan Panchayat Movement was in leadership. But what matters is, finally our people have won yet another major battle and have shown a more dignified way to the future of their children.