As many as forty Dalit families in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district faced social boycott by an entire village, after a 15-year-old girl from the community was caught plucking flowers from the garden of an upper-caste family. This incident reportedly took place two months ago in Kantio Kateni village. it is said that the two communities haven’t been able to resolve the issue yet. The Dalit families have been facing the boycott for the last two weeks now, local residents reported.
“We had immediately apologised so that the matter could be resolved, but following the incidents, several meetings were called and they decided to boycott us. Nobody is allowed to talk to us; we are not allowed to participate in any social event of the village,” the minor girl’s father Niranjan Naik told TIE. The village is comprised of nearly 800 families, of which these 40 families are from the Scheduled Caste Naik community.
According to the reports, the community is living away from the crowd. “We have to walk 5 km to buy essentials. Villagers have even stopped talking to us,” said Jyoti Naik, one of the villagers. They have submitted a memorandum to the police station on August 17. The memorandum says “A diktat has been issued that our community’s children cannot study in the local government school. Even teachers who belong to our community have been asked to get themselves transferred elsewhere on their own”. It also stated that the villagers made sure “that our people do not get apple work in the village” and have to move in search of work. “Most of our people are semi-literate and illiterate and work in the villagers’ fields,” it adds.
What You Should Know
- A 15-year-old girl from the Dalit community was caught plucking flowers which led to an Odisha village boycotting 40 families from the community.
- “Nobody is allowed to talk to us; we are not allowed to participate in any social event of the village,” the girl’s father said.
- A formal complaint was submitted on August 17.
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Meanwhile, Harmohan Mallik, secretary of the village development committee, said, “It is true that people were asked not to talk to them, and it is because of their wrongdoings. But other allegations are baseless.”
“For a couple of days, as per the committee’s decision, the majority community had stopped talking with members of the Dalit community. The situation is now returning to normal,” said the sarpanch of the village justifying these allegations.
Police said that they are working to resolve the matter and will soon organise a peace meeting.
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Feature Image Credit: The Hindu