The matter came to light after a month when the residents of Mote village lodged a complaint with Balaghat additional superintendent of police.
Fourteen tribal families were ostracized in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district, 431 km north east of Bhopal, for donating Rs 50 less for installation of Durga Puja pandal in the village, said police.
Home minister Nirottam Mishra ordered an inquiry and asked police to take tough action against villagers for boycotting these families.
The matter came to light after a month when the residents of Mote village lodged a complaint with Balaghat additional superintendent of police Gautam Singh Solanki on Wednesday.
A villager, Dhan Singh Parte, said, “The musclemen of the village were setting up a pandal for Durga puja in October. They asked all the villagers to donate Rs 201 for the puja pandal but a few families, who were already facing financial constraints, donated Rs 151. But the organisers didn’t accept the donation and announced a social boycott of 14 such families.”
Another villager Saghan Singh said, “The villagers stopped us from grazing our cattle and working in the other people’s farms. They even banned us from availing medical facilities at the primary health centre of the village. They stopped inviting us for functions in the village.”
Balaghat, additional superintendent of police (ASP), Gautam Singh Solanki said, “The representatives of 14 families had come to lodge a complaint on Wednesday alleging that some villagers boycotted them for not paying donation for Durga puja pandal as demanded by them.”
“They said they lodged a complaint at the nearest Lamta police station a few days ago. The police station in-charge warned the villagers but they didn’t listen to him and started harassing the complainants,” said Solanki.
Mishra said, “Sub-divisional officer of police (SDPO) Paraswada has been asked to inquire into the matter and punish the villagers, who called for boycott of the 14 families.”
Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said, “The law and order situation has collapsed in MP. Scheduled caste and scheduled tribe and women are being harassed in MP but BJP-led state government ministers are busy in making hollow announcements. A team of Congress leaders will go to the village and stage a protest, if police don’t take any action.”