Six fishermen families were ostracised allegedly by village elders at Gundayipalem in Prakasam district

Six ‘ostracised’ fishermen families heaved a sigh of relief as the Prakasam police swiftly intervened to end ‘social boycott’ imposed by elders at Gundayipalem in Ongole mandal of Prakasam district.

Deputy Superintendent of Police P.Joshu visited the village on Saturday night. Warning the village elders of criminal action, the DSP explained to them about the legal consequences. He brought about an understanding with members of the six families and village elders, leading to resumption of normal social life in the coastal village.

According to the fishermen families, the village elders allegedly imposed social boycott on some families as they were unable to digest the fact they were prospering and had acquired property over the years and also accused a fishermen family of practising black magic.

“A village elder who reportedly borrowed Rs. 20,000 from a fisherman Ila Subba Rao, accused his family of practising black magic after his wife died .”

Subba Rao who had lodged a complaint with the Ongole Taluka police, was elated over the development and expressed confidence that “from now on we can lead a normal life and carry on our avocation without any hindrance.” “Even during the recent general elections, we were allowed to mingle freely and allowed to exercise our franchise without any fear,” said another fisherman Venkat Rao.

“However, last week we were shocked over village elders announcing a fine of Rs. 10,000 each on those who are in talking terms with us and denying essential commodities, making our lives miserable'', complained yet another fisherman Brahamkandam.

Even last year, the six families were subjected to ‘social boycott’ and fish workers were not allowed to work for them. Meanwhile, speakers at a round-table conference convened by the All India Agricultural Workers Union(AIAWU) and Kula Vivaksha Porata Sangam(KVPS) appreciated the district administration for ending the social boycott.

“Economic reason has been the root cause of the trouble in the village,” said AIAWU district secretary P. Hanumantha Rao.

The families had settled in Gundayipalem and acquired movable and immovable property over a period, incurring the wrath of elders in the village, said KVPS district secretary A. Malyadri.