After more than three months of escalated tension, peace may have finally returned to Andhra Pradesh's Garagaparru village in West Godavari district.
The village had been on the boil, after Dalits in the area had alleged that they had been ostracised by some upper caste men, after they installed a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar in the heart of the village.
Seeking to broker peace, state Social Welfare Minister Nakka Anand Babu, Labour Minister Pithani Satyanarayana and SC Corporation chairman Jupudi Prabhakar visited the village and spoke to both warring factions on Monday.
Following this, the state government distributed Rs 1 lakh each, to 385 Dalit families, and announced a slew of development plans for the village, which included roads, drains, water tanks, and even the construction of an Ambedkar Bhavan in the village.
"I compliment both the sides (Dalits and Kshatriyas) for ending the acrimony. Restoring peace in the village has always been the endeavour of the government and accordingly we held talks with the two sides. We are happy that they came forward to restore normalcy in the village," Babu was quoted as saying.
Local MLA Vetukuri Venkata Sivarama Raju and others were also reported to be present.
The case came to light last month, after the village witnessed high drama, and lower castes took to the streets and staged roadblocks.
Section 144 was imposed in the area, as armed pickets and several policemen were deployed to avoid untoward incidents.
The Dalits had gone ahead and installed Ambedkar‚Äôs statue on the night of April 24, despite not getting ‚Äėpermission‚Äô from village elders, only to see it removed soon, by unknown persons.
Following the incident, they alleged that they had not been getting any labour work, and they were not being given agricultural land on lease, and were socially boycotted.
A member of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, K Ramulu, who paid a visit to Christianpeta in Garagpparu village, also confirmed the same.
‚ÄúThey should get back their farms and be able to work in the village as usual. There is an immediate need to restore normalcy in the village. Legal action should be initiated against the accused,‚ÄĚ he had said at the time.