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Denied water access, Dalit man digs own well in Maharashtra village

Anguished over being denied access to water by upper caste people, a Dalit labourer from a village in Washim district of Maharashtra’s drought-hit Vidarbha toiled for hours to dig his own well.

The wife of Bapurao Tajne, a resident of Kolambeshwar village in Malegaon taluka, was not allowed to fetch water from a well by villagers.

In a bid to take his revenge on a social milieu which still discriminates large sections of people, Tajne took it upon himself to dig a well in his village, and is quenching the thirst of the entire Dalit population of the area now. He finished the digging in a mere 40 days and was pleasantly surprised to find water.

Beaming with confidence, a seemingly content Tajne said over phone that he felt fortunate to have discovered abundantly available ground water after his hard work. “I was ridiculed by my family among others, but I was determined,” Tajne said.

The news of the incident soon reached the authorities, following which Washim district administration officiated tehsildar Kranti Dombe to visit the village.

Hailing Tajne’s act, the district administration felicitated him for being “a face of determination and strong will power”, the tehsildar said.

When asked if any government aid would be provided to Tajne, Dombe said there was no such proposal as of now. However, she said the government has taken note of the Dalit man’s extraordinary achievement.

On whether action has been initiated against the villagers who did not let the labourer’s wife draw water, in view of the incident attracting punitive provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Dombe said the well in question was not identified yet nor were the villagers who stopped the woman.

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