Dalit family's social boycott ends, dominant castes apologise
The Dalit family that had been facing social boycott in Betul, 175 km south of Bhopal, is finally relieved as the dominant upper castes that had issued a diktat against them have backtracked and have apologized for their conduct.
Rajesh Uvnare, 40, and his family no longer faces any restriction and local residents have begun interacting with them. The family was earlier ostracized because Uvnare, a Dalit, had sung a 'bhajan' at a religious event, which was opposed by the local upper castes. He was brought down from the dais.
Subsequently, the local residents were asked to shun all ties with his family. The residents of Mathni (Betul) were warned that no one should talk or deal with the family and if anyone didn't listen to the diktat, they would be fined as well as facing similar diktats.
Those who defied including a flour mill owner and a friend of Uvnare were fined. Hindustan Times had published a report in this regard on January 24. The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) had subsequently taken up the issue and sent a notice to the district administration, seeking report about the situation.
"Now, I no longer face any problem. It has been resolved", says Uvnare, while talking to Hindustan Times over phone from Betul.
"The representatives of the district administration arrived and prevailed upon them. Following which a meeting was held recently and they apologized. I have been assured that it would never happen again", he said.
"The strongmen among the Pawar community had issued the diktat. They have now given me the apology letter", he said.
"Of course, I had suffered during the period as no one came to my shop but now everything is fine", added Uvnare.
Uvnare, a tailor, also sold clothes in Mathni, to eke out living. After the diktat was issued last month, he had no customers.
Besides, in this period, he and his family members couldn't go to any shop to buy goods including milk and products of daily need. Does he have any bitterness?
"Though we faced a tough time, I don't want to rake it up or reflect on it anymore. I have to live here after all and hence I feel contented that the issue is over", he said.
Joint director (Public Relations) Rohit Mehta, who is posted with the MPHRC, says that after receiving report about the incident, a notice was sent to the officials in Betul, asking them to intervene and take action.
"However, we are waiting for the district administration to submit the compliance report", Mehta said.