In a shocking incident, around 40 Dalit families in Kantio Kateni village of Dhenkanal district in Odisha were allegedly subjected to social boycott after a 15-year-old girl plucked flowers from the garden of an upper-caste man. The village comprises over 700 families, of which 40 belong to the Scheduled Caste Naik community.
“The two groups were at loggerheads for a long time due to an old rivalry and it snowballed into a major controversy after the girl plucked flowers from the garden of an upper-caste man,” Tumusinga police station inspector in-charge A K Dungdung said.
According to the villagers, the girl belonging to Dalit community had plucked the flowers two months ago. The girl's parents also apologized and begged the village panchayat to pardon them but there no response from upper caste people. Their ordeal ended following the intervention of police and administration, a police officer said.
According to ANI, as a punishment the families are barred from taking part in rituals and are not allowed to talk to anybody in the village. In fact, the government ration shops have been told not to give provisions and the teachers from the community are being forced to obtain a transfer, families allege. However, the matter is resolved now.
"Due to plucking of a sunflower, we Dalits were boycotted and a case was registered at Police station. Police had called the two groups to resolve the matter. But they did not obey, so after some days, we complained again. Now the matter has been resolved in front of officials," Bijay Kumar Naik, villager and member of Dalit community told ANI.
Harmon Mohalik, villager and member of upper caste community said, "It was a little issue between Dalit community and our community. The matter has been Already solved in front of police and other officials."
Pranabandhu Das, village Sarpanch said that the villagers are living as they used to live earlier.
"It had happened two months back but people turned it into a matter related to communities. Today it was resolved at Police Station in front of officers. Now we are living as we did earlier, as per the discussion between both groups," Das said.
(With ANi inputs)