Sahibabad Kulhadd (Vaishali) Bihar, June 5 : Many villagers in the Vaishali region of north Bihar are compelled to drink contaminated water due to the prevailing caste system here.
In Sahibabad Kulhadd Village, wells have been demarcated for people divided into upper caste and lower caste. They are forbidden to collect water from each other's well.
The ostensible reason behind the separate arrangement of water is state to avoid caste-clashes.
But the one used by the upper caste people is well maintained whereas the well used by the poor families of the lower caste is in bad condition and requires maintenance. The lower caste people at this village have to manage with the contaminated water of the well.
Anyone undermining the local code over water has to face the other caste's fury.
"We have water problem here. The water is very dirty. We first have to boil the water and we drink. Children fall ill due to the condition of the water. There is a place where we collect water from," said Gyanpatya Devi, a resident of Sahibabad Kulhadd.
Adding to their problems, people belonging to the upper casters own most of the land and anyone not belonging to their community is not allowed to apss through tit. As a result, the lower caste people have to take a de-tour to go from one place to another.
"People think we are downtrodden. They block the road and do not let us walk through it. These days we take water by some other way to survive," grieved Badri Paswan, another villager of Sahibabad Kulhadd.
Nearly 200 families, belonging to the lower castes, hardly get water to cook or wash.
"There are 150 to 200 families in this village. We don't use the well water, as it is dirty. The problem, here is that when we go to collect water from theirs (wells of the Muslims), disputes arise and they stop us from taking water. Here the people believe in untouchability. It is sad that they are encouraging untouchability as they belong to the higher caste and they are landlords," he added.
Villagers' water problem has been brought to the attention of Bihar Chief Minister.
"We will look into the problem. The District Magistrate and superintendant of Police will be asked to sort out the matter," assured Nitish Kumar, the Bihar's Chief Minister.
The discriminated villagers of Sahibabad Kulhadd hope that the Chief Minister's directives will be complied with the concerned authorities. By Ajay Kumar