Over 270 families belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) Chakkiliyan community in the Vattavada panchayat in the interior Idukki district of Kerala are barred from availing the services of barbershops.
After facing such ostracism by the dominant caste communities continuously, the members of the community approached and petitioned the local panchayat, The News Minute reported.
These people cover a distance of 42 km to Munnar or 12 km to Ellapetty to get a haircut. The Chakkiliyan families reside in the Kottakamboor, Vattavada and Koviloor villages, which come under the Vattavada panchayat of Idukki district.
Apart from them, 2,000 families of dominant castes also reside in the same area. One of the members of the Chakkiliyan community in Kerala’s Vattavada, R Balan, told the media that the members of the community mostly cut each other’s hair because the barbers refuse to allow them into their shops.
He further said that dominant caste members prohibit them from entering their houses or even premises. However, there are no problems when it comes to purchasing goods from shops. The practise of untouchability has been prevalent from the very beginning in the area.
Speaking to TNM, President of the Vattavada panchayat, P Ramaraju said the authorities have held discussions on various occasions with the dominant caste members about doing away with the practice. However, the situation has not changed.
He further said that the panchayat has now constructed a common barbershop. This development is the result of an agreement with a barber from Kanthalloor who will provide his services to all communities. The expenses for the functioning of the shop will be met by the panchayat.