40 Dalit Families Face Social Boycott in Odisha After Girl Plucks Flowers from Upper-caste Man’s Garden

Around 40 Dalit families were subjected to social boycott for over a fortnight after a 15-year-old girl plucked flowers from the garden of an upper-caste man in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district, officials said on Sunday.

Their ordeal ended following the intervention of police and administration, a police officer said. The incident took place in Kantio Kateni village in Tumusinga police station area, he said.

“The two groups were at loggerheads for a long time due to an old rivalry and it snowballed into a major controversy after the girl plucked flowers from the garden of an upper-caste man,” Tumusinga police station inspector in-charge A K Dungdung said.

The Dalit families were then subjected to social boycott. They were denied ration from a local shop and barred from attending social events, he said.

Steps were taken to resolve the issue after representatives of the Dalit families approached the police and the district administration a few days ago, sub-collector of Kamakhyanagar sub-division, B P Acharya, said. They also submitted memoranda to the administration and the police, he said.

The village comprises over 700 families, of which 40 belong to the Scheduled Caste Naik community, the official said.