A tribal sarpanch in Damoh district was allegedly threatened, beaten up and forced to flee the village after he refused to give his hen to a local upper caste man "for a party".
Dev Singh Gond, the sarpanch of Hardua Sadak village under Nahota police station, along with 17 members of his family, has been living in a nearby village since August 17 and is unwilling to return fearing for his life.
The sarpanch’s nightmare started on August 17 when Bhikam Singh Lodi, a strongman, demanded from him a hen for a family party. Lodi and his family are affluent and known for their unfair behaviour.
"I had two hens. One day before August 15, Lodi demanded a hen which I had given out of fear. Two days later, he again demanded the only hen I was left with, but I refused. On this, Lodi threatened my family and even beaten me up. I got information that they had planned to kill my family, hence I ran away from the village on the same night," Gond told HT.
The population of Hardua Sadak is about 1,800, and there are only two tribal families in the village. "I complained to police about the incident, following which the accused were arrested. But now their family members have become more violent and they can attack me anytime," he said.
"They had earlier threatened me to burn alive and kill my family," said Gond, who is currently living with his family in Mala Mangarh village, about 20 km from his village.
Additional superintendent of police, Damoh, GP Parashar, said police were trying their best to settle the issue and talking to residents of Hardua Sadak village.
"It all started because of hen which the sarpanch refused to give (to the accused). We have registered a case and arrested three accused... He (sarpanch) has not asked for any security till now, but we are trying our best for his return to Hardua Sadak," he said.