HYDERABAD: Even after framing strict laws against the malady of 'social boycott' In India, a few sections of people, especially those belonging to influencial sections, continue to enforce this heinous practice. The ostracisation, oozing with feudal mindset and with medival anarchy, is meted out as a punishment to marginalised sections of the society like the SCs, STs and backward class minorities in villages to suppress their rights.
One such incident came to light in Velpur village of Nizamabad district in Telangana on Tuesday after a few people, who were victimised with this practice, lodged a complaint with the district collector alleging that the Village Development Committee (VDC) has isolated 150 Muslim families in the village. This one turns out to be the classic case of 'the fence eating crop' as it is none other than the VDC that is guilty of ordering the ostracisation.
D Venkat, state president of Bahujan Left Front (BLF), along with a few others met the district collector and gave a detailed account of the barbaric treatment of the victims in the village.
Following the VDC’s social boycott decree, these Muslim families have been isolated from the rest of the villagers. As it turns out, no villager is stepping into the shops owned by these Muslims in the village.
One of the victims, Sheikh Nayeem, said that "differences cropped up between the Muslims and the VDC over the construction of a compound wall around a graveyard last year."
As the Muslims refused to heed to the VDC instructions on this issue, the powerful local body called for a social boycott a year ago. A second boycott ordder was also passed just before the coronavirus lockdown began. And now, the VDC has decided to impose the social boycott against them for the third time from June 3, with renewed vigour.
From June 3, adhering to the VDC call for social boycott, the villagers stopped talking to these Muslim families besides shunning all types of purchases including essentials and water from the Muslim-owned shops.
Even the auto-rickshaws have no one to ferry as most of them are owned by these minorities and none of the villagers are boarding them these days. The blanket social ban is now beginning to show its worst impact on the livelihood of 20 Muslim auto drivers.
"We had even approached the district collector and complained against this social boycott," Nayeem told The New Indian Express daily.
Responding to the complaint, sub-inspector (SI) of Velpur Sridhar Goud registered a case over the issue and initiated an inquiry. But the twist came from the police officer, who claimed that there is no evidence of this social boycott as of now.
Speaking further he added that boycotts were being repeatedly imposed in the district.
"A similar social boycott was imposed on 93 families in Nallamadugu village of Kamareddy district," said SI Sridhar.
Police said that he had personally consoled a few Dalit victims in Nallamadugu village.
The SI assured the victims from Velpur that stern action would be taken against the VDC members, and that they would be arrested under the PD Act.
Venkat demanded stringent action against the VDC members besides their arrest under the PD Act.