BARGARH: Defying the poll boycott diktat of the village committee cost two families of Rasali under Bhatli Assembly segment dear.All the family members were ostracized after they went out to vote in the elections held on April 18. In January this year, the residents of Rasali and a nearby village Tarakana got into a squabble during Makar Sankranti celebrations and the animosity had persisted since.
This time, the around 290 voters of Rasali village were allocated a polling booth at Tarakana. The residents of Rasali appealed the district administration to set up a separate booth for them in their village. Since, setting up of a separate booth was not possible due to paucity of time, the district administration suggested providing police protection to the villagers while voting.
This was opposed by the Rasali residents who then took a decision to boycott the polls. However, two of its residents-Bikash Sahu and Sanjib Budhia, defied the boycott and went on to cast their vote at Tarakana village.
Upon their return, the two along with their families were ostracized by the villagers. They have been barred from using water in the village and even talk to others. They have also been banned from buying anything from the village shops and vendors.
On April 20, the two approached the Bargarh Collector and alleged that they have been subjected to social exclusion. While many suspected the authenticity of the allegations, former Bhatli block chairman and BJP executive member Sauri Charan Barik confirmed that six members of the families were banished by the villagers for five years. However, he also stated that the ban is not likely to last long.
Meanwhile, though district administration is aware of the matter, it has not yet stepped in yet to resolve the dispute.Bargarh Collector Indramani Tripathy refused to talk about the matter when approached. The ostracised families are still waiting for justice.