Dalit family shunted out from village
“We are now in no-man’s land. Our house was attacked. Fearing further attack, we fled the village and living on the charity of others in Phulbani township
Phulbani: A group of upper caste villagers have allegedly banished a Dalit family in the far-flung Danguli village in Sadar police limits of Kandhamal district.
The family was allegedly banished for their failure to pay a fine imposed on them by a kangaroo court.
Police said the kangaroo court accused the three-member family of murder. The self-styled adjudicators also fined them Rs 6 lakh, of which Rs 5 lakh was to go to the family members of the deceased as compensation.
The rest would have to be donated to the village community society.
In June, a youth from the village died following a motorcycle accident allegedly because of rash driving by Kumudini Behera’s son Kanha. The police arrested Kanha for rash driving.
“However, he was later let out on bailed as it was not a cognisable offence. Later, a section of villagers ostracised Behera’s family and asked them to leave the village,” said sub-divisional police officer Surendra Nath Murmu.
On being informed, the police rushed to the village on June 21 to arrested the people who had allegedly tormented them. However, the mob turned violent and attacked the cops, the police said.
“The attackers fled the village, but the family are unwilling to return fearing retaliation. We are trying to settle the dispute, the cop added.
“We are now in no-man’s land. Our house was attacked. Fearing further attack, we fled the village and living on the charity of others in Phulbani township. We are living a condemned life for four months now. We have run from pillar to post for redress. But it has been of no avail,” said Kumudini, 45, who served in the village as an anganwadi worker prior to being driven out.
“It’s worst form of torture that is being inflicted upon us we hail from lower caste. We fear for our lives. My husband had a grocery shop in the village. But now he is sitting idle. My monthly salary from my job as an anganwadi worker has stopped as I have had to skip duty. Some kind-hearted people in the town have given us shelter by turn,” Kumudini said.
“We are looking at an uncertain future. We have met the district collector and the police chief. But no corrective measures have been initiated so far.”
Source: The Telegraph, Sept 11, 2018