Villagers ostracised after voting for Congress
Seven families in Pulaparru village of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh have been ostracised by the villagers for going against their 'unanimous' decision to vote for the Telugu Desam Party in the general election.
The family members were on the verge of starvation as no one
would sell them foodgrains or other essentials. Finally the police
had to intervene last week to arrange a picket for their
protection besides ensuring the supply of drinking water.
A visit to the village showed that the centuries-old traditions still run deep. The writ of the 'Peddavedi', an elder selected from the Banta committees, representing various sections of the village, rules supreme.
A former sarpanch alleged that the village chief had imposed a fine
of Rs 1,000 on a shopkeeper for selling a chocolate to a child
belonging to one of the boycotted families.
The police intervened in the matter following a complaint from the former sarpanch. A case was also registered under Sections 147, 148, 505, 506.
Meanwhile, the police is treading cautiously as immediate arrests
might provoke other communities in the vicinity of the Kolleru lake.
The villagers are being persuaded to lift the ban. On Wednesday last, the families were able to purchase provisions. A village elder M Venkateswara Rao went around telling all villagers, including washermen and barbers, that they could render their services to the seven families as the situation is returning to normal.
The state's two major political parties -- the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party -- have their presence in Pullaparu. The TDP village unit is headed by Jayamangla Subba Rao who is also the village sarpanch and the Congress is headed by former sarpanch Ghantasala Reddiah.
On February 2, a meeting was held where all the villagers decided unanimously to vote for the TDP. But later, sympathisers of both parties clashed with sticks. Cases were registered against them later.
On the polling day on February 16, 50-odd followers of Reddiah put up a pandal in favour of the Congress and even voted for it, defying the Peddavedi's writ.
Punishment was to follow. On March 8, a meeting was called by the villager elders and it decided to socially boycott the seven
families who had rebelled against the collective decision of the villagers.
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