BHOPAL: Financially crippled by COVID-19 pandemic, 14 tribal families are allegedly facing social boycott in a village of Madhya Pradesh's Balaghat district over inability to pay demanded donation for last month's Durga Puja.
The 14 families are neither being allowed to graze cattle in open pastures nor being allowed to work. They are even being denied medical and health services, besides being disallowed essentials from shops in Motegaon village -- around 400 km from state capital Bhopal.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has left us with little money, owing to which we were not in a position to pay the Rs 201 demanded from each family for the Durga Puja celebrations in our village last month. We were ready to pay up to Rs 151 instead of the demanded sum, owing to which we've been socially boycotted in the village, under pressure of a small group of powerful men," alleged Dhansing Parte, who belongs to one of the socially boycotted families.
Munsing Masram, who represents another such family alleged "our bad financial position, made us incapable of paying anything more than Rs 101as chanda (donation) for the village's Durga Puja celebrations last month. Since then a group of powerful men have pressurised the villagers to socially boycott us."
According to members of the allegedly boycotted families, even efforts by the local Lamta police station to resolve the issue have been thwarted by the powerful people.
"We reported the matter at Lamta police station, after which the cops tried to resolve the matter through consensus. But the powerful men in the village ensured that our social boycott didn't end," alleged Masram.
The members from aggrieved tribal families went to the Balaghat district police superintendent office on Tuesday for justice. Confirming the development, the additional police superintendent (ASP) Gautam Solanki said, "the sub-divisional officer police (SDOP-Paraswada) has been tasked with probing the allegations. Based on findings of the probe, appropriate legal action will be initiated."