Unable to pay Rs 200 each for Durga Puja, 14 Gond families face social boycott for two weeks

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    Not able to pay Rs 200 each for Durga Puja, 14 Gond households face social boycott for two weeks

    Written by Iram Siddique
    | Bhopal |

    Updated: November 20, 2020 7: 18: 07 am





    durga puja 2020 These households, who were severely struck by the Covid-19 lockdown, had actually offered to pay Rs 100 each instead however it was ruled out.

    FOURTEEN FAMILIES of the Gond people living in a town in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district had to face social boycott for more than two weeks as they might not manage to contribute Rs 200 each towards event of Durga Puja in the town.

    These families, who were badly struck by the Covid-19 lockdown, had actually volunteered to pay Rs 100 each instead but it was ruled out.

    Deprived of all centers like buying provision and denied work, the families finally approached the district administration, which resolved the problem today.

    On October 14, regional puja organisers Sarwajanik Durga Puja Sanstha held a conference in Lamta town of Balaghat where it was chosen that all 170 households in the village will contribute Rs 200 each towards the event. However as lots of as 40 Gond families, a number of who worked as migrant labourers and walked for days to reach house after the lockdown, expressed failure to pay the cash.

    Under social pressure, 26 of the households lastly relented. The remaining 14 families provided to pay Rs 100 however it was refused.

    After the Durga Puja, another conference was hung on November 3, when representatives of the town unanimously released a diktat for ‘paani-tanga’– no villager was permitted to talk to or visit the 14 families. They were not permitted to acquire ration and even the town medical professional– a personal specialist– was alerted against treating them.

    According to Dhan Singh Parte, a member of among the afflicted families, none of the employees at the Lakdi depot, where his dad worked as a labourer, were permitted to work with him. “Nobody would come close to my dad at the depot. The wooden logs are heavy and individuals generally operate in groups and bring them however my father was asked to work alone in a corner, if at all,” stated Parte.

    For 39- year-old Lakshmi Wadkhade, who works as a labourer after her hubby fell ill to take care of her household of seven, paying Rs 200 was beside impossible. “I remained in Allahabad looking for work when my ill partner and daughter back home were boycotted. I had actually walked six days to return from Nashik after the lockdown. We had no money for days and starved until we were provided 5 kg provision,” she stated.

    She stated they used Rs 100, which was refused. “Even in 2015, my family was boycotted and I had to return to work in the city and send out Rs 500 to my family to pay to the Sanghatan to get the boycott lifted.”

    As the boycott continued from November 3 to November 17, the households headed by Radhelal Madsole, zilla president of Gond Samajh Mahasabha, submitted a memorandum to the cops inspector at Lamta police headquarters. As the villagers stayed undeterred after two rounds of meetings, the families approached the Balaghat Collector along with the Superintendent of Police and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

    Collector Deepak Arya told The Indian Express, “These households approached us and we held a conference with the villagers. They have been alerted that if this continues, action will be taken versus them. The matter has been resolved and circumstance has actually normalised.”

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