RAYAGADA: AIDS continues to remain socially more threatening than the pain it inflicts on the patients. Forget about extending treatment, creating awareness about the disease remains a far cry in remote areas of the State. As a result, the dark age practice of ostracising such patients is still followed.
Umasankar Garadia (25) and his wife Babuli (22) of Bhairaguda in Muniguda block have been boycotted from their village. The couple along with their one-and-half-year-old son on Monday met Rayagada Collector Sashibhusan Padhi seeking his intervention to help them lead the life with dignity.
Though the couple have tested HIV positive, their son is unaffected by the disease. Ostracised by the villagers, they have been told to leave the village but the couple have nowhere to go. They alleged that the villagers have been threatening them and attacked Umasankar on August 11. The couple lodged an FIR in the Muniguda police station next day, but no action has yet been taken against the errant villagers.
To avoid the wrath of villagers, the couple stayed in the police station for two days but were then asked to return to the village by the cops. Though Umasankar has been seeking housing assistance under Mo Kudia scheme, block officials have rendered a deaf ear to his plea. They eke out a living from `300 each that they get under the Madhu Babu Pension scheme. Forget medicines, managing two square meals a day has become a struggle for them now as none in the village allows them to even work as daily labourers.
The couple appealed to the Collector to save them as villagers have threatened them of dire consequences if they did not move out of the village at the earliest. Padhi has reportedly assured them of looking into the matter.