Around 40 families belonging to the Dalit community in Kantio Kateni village of Odisha’s Dhenkanal district were allegedly socially boycotted after a girl from their community plucked flowers from the farm of an upper-caste man.
According to the villagers, the girl belonging to the Dalit community had plucked the flowers two months ago. The girl’s parents apologized and begged the village ‘panchayat’ to pardon them but there no response from members of the upper caste.
As punishment, the families are barred from taking part in rituals and are not allowed to talk to anybody in the village. Government ration shops have been told not to give provisions to them and the teachers from the community are being forced to obtain a transfer, they allege.
“Due to plucking of a sunflower, we Dalits were boycotted and a case was registered at the 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, a villager and member of the Dalit community told ANI.
Meanwhile, Harmon Mohalik, a villager and member of the upper caste community said, “It was a little issue between the Dalit community and our community. The matter has been already solved in front of police and other officials.”
Pranabandhu Das, the 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 the Police Station in front of officers. Now we are living as we did earlier, as per the discussion between both groups,” Das said.