Slow Clap for India 2020, Where Barbers are Harassed for Daring to Service “Lower Caste” Clients


Slow Clap for India 2020, Where Barbers are Harassed for Daring to Service “Lower Caste” Clients

Illustration: Arati Gujar

India has still a long way to go, when it comes to ironing out caste-based discrimination. The fact that it still tragically affects the lives of many is visible from the latest incident in Mysuru, KarnatakaA barber has alleged that members of “upper caste” communities in his village had ostracised him for cutting the hair of people belonging to SC, ST and OBC communities, and also demanded a “fine” of Rs 50,000 for doing so.

The barber, identified as Mallikarjun Shetty was socially boycotted by members of the Nayak community. Shetty claimed that this had happened to him for the third time, and that he paid fines earlier as well.

On Thursday, Shetty, a resident of Hallara village, submitted a written complaint to the Nanjangud Tahsildar Mahesh Kumar, seeking intervention. “If there is any evidence of any atrocity committed, I will ask the police to take suo motu cognisance and register a first information report,” he said.

Shetty stated that around three months ago, Mahadeva Nayak, Shankara, Shivaraju and their followers came to his shop and asked if he gave haircuts to members of the SC, ST and OBC communities. The men asked Shetty to charge Rs 300 for a haircut and Rs 200 for a shave from members of the lower castes. 

Shetty refused saying that he wanted to keep prices equal for all and that he could not charge more than Rs 80 and Rs 60 for a haircut and shave. Shetty also visited the police after the incident, who issued a warning to Mahadeva.

However, the issue didn’t subside. Nayak and his men asked villagers to socially boycott Shetty. Shetty alleges that they also took away his son from his residence. “They forced him to drink alcohol. When he was drunk, they stripped him naked and shot a video of it. They can be seen forcing him to speak bad things about the Nayak community,” he told The News Minute. 

The shocking nature of this case has triggered outrage on social media, with people demanding that these goons be put behind bars for their actions.

The perpetrators of this crime must be immediately charged under law. This should be unacceptable in India of 2020.