Nearly a year after he promised rehabilitation, the Chief Minister is yet to deliver

Dalit woman Chitralekhas auto still caught in Chandy road-blockPics by Sreekesh R Nair
news Caste Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 12:24

Nearly a year after he met Dalit auto driver Chitralekha and assured her that the government would give her land to build a house, nothing has materialised.

Now on an indefinite day-night dharna in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram since January 5, Chitralekha hopes to jog the Chief Minister’s memory a bit so as to enable him to deliver on his rehabilitation promise.

In May 2015, The News Minute had reported on Chitralekha’s 11-year fight for social justice. Chitralekha has battled relentlessly alleged casteist persecution by Left party cadres for plying an auto in a CITU-affiliated auto stand in her native town Payyanur, Kannur district.

Read: Dalit woman auto driver continues fight against the Kerala left's goondagiri

With Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy himself stepping in to resolve the issue at the end of a five-month dharna outside the Kannur Collectorate in February, Chitralekha had harboured hopes of resuming a normal life.

But even after almost a year, Chitralekha is still awaiting the five cents promised to her by Oommen Chandy in Kannur town.

Chitralekha in Thiruvananthapuram, on an indefinite dharna since January 5.

This governmental delay reportedly stems from unconfirmed reports doing the rounds that Chitralekha was allegedly in possession of acres of land, which she terms as a baseless rumour to The News Minute.

Many individuals and non-governmental organisations have unofficially offered her full support to her continued fight for social justice.

Officially however, a sympathetic ear for her woes and speedy implementation of the CM’s promise seems a distant dream.

Yet as Chitralekha puts it: “One need not die a thousand deaths every day. Either my persecutors kill me or I obtain what is due to me. I really don’t have much of a choice in this matter, do I?”

She also hopes that with Chandy's  personal intervention the false cases hoisted against her husband and herself by the Left sympathizers too would be withdrawn.

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