A panchayat in Bihar’s Kishanganj district has imposed social and economic boycott of Dalits as a deterrent to their filing of cases under the Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Dosia panchayat of Charakhpura village called upon the village not to sell provisions to Dalits and exclude them from other facilities.

The problem began after a Muslim woman had a fight with a Dalit girl over picking up dung from a field.

“The woman assaulted the girl. After this, there were rumours that Dalits were planning to file a case under the Atrocities Act. In anticipation, the mukhiya, sarpanch and zilla parishad [ZP] members had a meeting in which they told the Muslim community to socially and economically boycott Dalits. They said Dalits were filing cases under the Act,” Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar told The Hindu .

An FIR under the Act was filed against 15 persons, including village head Anwar Alam and ZP members. No one has been arrested yet. Tension prevailed in the village for some time on Tuesday.