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Victims of social ostracisation land in capital city to seek justice

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: For a week now about 8,000-strong population which belongs to dalit community in Bhuban under Dhenkanal district are depending on their distant relatives for securing grocery and other daily essential commodities.

Reasons: they have been reportedly denied access to grocery stores, usually owned and operated by upper caste people, in their own hamlets.

This was part of social ostracisation penalty imposed on ‘Pana' community because one member of the community mustered courage to report to police about an assault carried out on him.

A delegation of the dalit community from Bhuban reached capital city on Saturday for exploring legal options to protect themselves from being further “harassed” by upper caste people.

With the upper caste communities getting united to teach the dalit community a ‘lesson', the rift was developing into an extremely volatile situation at Bhuban.

It all started from a trivial incident. “On March 28, a pig being reared by my brother strayed into boundary of an upper caste people. It made the upper caste,

Kapadia community, anger. My brother was brutally assaulted,” said Duari Mallik, brother of the victim, here on Saturday.

Subsequently, the victim approached Bhuban police station and reported the matter to which upper caste people allegedly felt offended.

“On March 9 last, at a meeting of the upper caste communities it was resolved to boycott us socially. As a result we were not allowed to take bath in government ponds. Grocery shop owners refused to sell any commodities to us. Commuting on a public road became extremely dangerous,” alleged Fakir Mallik, a dalit community leader.

“There is a reign of terror in 15 hamlets of Bhuban village. We have already witnessed indiscriminate stone-pelting targeting our houses during night,” charged Mr. Mallick.

He said although police authorities were informed about the volatile situation, no concrete step was taken .

Mr. Tripathy further said the Protection of Civil Rights Act also clearly stipulated that in case of such atrocities committed on the ground of untouchability collective fines could be imposed on the community .

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