Dhenkanal: Around 40 socially backward families were allegedly subjected to social boycott for over a fortnight after a 15-year-old girl plucked flowers from the garden of an ‘upper-caste’ man in Kantio Kateni village under Tumusinga police station in Dhenkanal district. Their ordeal however ended following the intervention of police and administration, an official informed.
“Two groups of the village were at loggerheads for a long time due to an old rivalry and it snowballed into a major controversy after a girl from socially backward family plucked flowers from the garden of an upper-caste man belonging to the other faction,” Tumusinga police station inspector in-charge A K Dungdung said.
Following the incident, the socially backward families in the village were subjected to social boycott They were denied ration from local shop and also barred from attending social events, he said.
Steps were taken to resolve the issue after representatives of the boycotted families approached the police and the district administration a few days ago and submitted memoranda in this regard, sub-collector of Kamakhyanagar sub-division, B P Acharya, said.
The village comprises over 700 families, of which 40 belong to the Scheduled Caste Naik community, the official said.
The girl’s father claimed that the representatives from the socially backward group tendered an apology following the incident but still they were boycotted.
Local Gram Panchayat Sarpanch Pranabandhu Das admitted that the villagers were asked not to communicate with the families but claimed that the restrictions were limited to only that.
He said the matter between the two groups was bound to be resolved in due course of time, adding that members of the majority community did not intend to “invite trouble” keeping in mind the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Acharya said a peace meeting was held between the two groups in the village in the presence of senior district administration and police officials on Friday and the issue was resolved.
Both groups arrived at a compromise forgetting the bitterness of the past and normalcy has been restored in the village, he said.
Police said FIR was not filed over the issue as both sides wanted to arrive at conciliation and sort out the matter.