Staff Reporter

The villages form part of Chief Minister’s constituency

The victims say they are facing wrath of upper castes

The tussle started more than a year ago

BERHAMPUR: Ten dalit families of Thuruburei village of Shergarh block in Ganjam district are alleged to be facing severe casteist social ostracisation.

The irony is that this casteist social ostracisation continues in a village which is part of the Hinjli Assembly constituency represented by the Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik.

Exploitive norms

The victims of social ostracisation say they are facing the wrath of upper castes of the village as they are not ready to bow down to their derogatory exploitive norms.

The Thuruburei village is inhabited by around 500 families. Out of them 20 families are ‘washermen’ or ‘Dhobi’ by caste. Pradeep Sethi, an aggrieved dalit of the village said the upper castes have targeted 10 ‘dhobi’ families who refused to bow down to the diktat of upper castes.

It is alleged that the upper castes have barred them from using the village well, tubewell, grocery shop etc.

They are not being allowed to harvest the crop in their field.

Tussle

As per Mr. Sethi, the tussle between the dalits and upper castes of the village had started more than a year ago.

The ‘Dhobi’ families had demanded hike in the yearly payment made by the upper caste families.

Each upper caste family was paying Rs. 20 per year to the designated washerman families to wash clothes throughout the year.

Ten ‘Dhobi’ families had demanded the allowance to be hiked to Rs. 50 per year.

The other 10 washermen families had preferred to continue with the old payment.

Pay revision

This had irked the upper castes who had decided to ostracise the 10 washermen families who wanted revision in the meagre payment.

Several dalits of the village were also fined by the upper castes when they refused to wash clothes at extreme low price.

Tussle between them had aggravated when dalit families opposed construction of an Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife (ANM) centre on a patch of land which they claimed to be a road as per the revenue records.

The dalits used to have a cow shed on the patch of land. On Thursday the tussle took violent shape. One dalit, Bhimasena Sethi was seriously injured.

He was admitted in the MKCG medical college hospital. Both warring groups have filed cases against each other in the Hinjli police station.