Nizamabad: Village Body Orders Boycott of Muslims, 2 Other Communities Over Land Disputes
The Village Development Committee, an unauthorised body, even imposed heavy fines on those refusing to follow its diktats.
A local village body recently ordered a social boycott order against Muslims in Balkonda Mandal in Nizamabad district over a land dispute issue between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Due to the diktat, the Muslim community has had to face financial hurdles in the month of Ramzan. Due to another land dispute, the village body asked villagers to also ostracise individuals belonging to Goud and Padmashali communities.
As per villager Sayed Reeyazuddin, some individuals belonging to the Muslim community had lodged a police complaint against members of the Munnurukapu Sangam community (local caste group) for allegedly damaging tombs in the graveyard two years ago. The Muslim community refused to withdraw the case even after facing pressure from the Sangam members. Reeyazuddin claimed that this triggered the Village Development Committee (VDC) —an unauthorised body — to ask local residents to boycott Muslims. The VDC asked Hindus to evict their Muslim tenants and barred people from purchasing anything from shops owned by Muslims. He filed an FIR on May 28 against 23 members of the committee for ordering the boycott order under Sections 385,195, 506 r/w 34 of IPC.
Per reports, a penalty of Rs 5,000 was levied on non-Muslims for speaking to Muslims and a fine of Rs 20,000 for drinking tea at a Muslim-owned restaurant and for buying anything from a Muslim-owned store. Moreover, non-Muslims were also penalised for travelling in auto-rickshaws driven by Muslims. It is not clear when the order was passed.
“This is not the first time that the Village Development Committee has passed such an order. They pass such orders quite often, but this time it has been noticed by everyone. It is a totally illegal body,” All India Democratic Women’s Association leader Asha Latha told NewsCentral24x7.
Meanwhile, the VDC members were angry with the Goud (toddy tapper) families, who had applied for information about village land under the RTI Act. Bombothula Anja Goud filed an FIR against 13 members of the committee. As per the FIR, the VDC directed him to attend a panchayat (meeting) at Mahalaxmi Temple in the village for explaining why the RTI was filed without the VDC’s permission. When he didn’t comply, the VDC passed an order asking the villagers to boycott the Goud community. Further, a fine of Rs 3,00,000 was also imposed on Bombothula Anja Goud and his family on May 24 for filing the RTI without permission and not attending the panchayat meeting. In his FIR, Goud mentioned that he feared for his life.
In a separate case, the committee imposed a fine of Rs 3,50,000 on Thoutu Raju, an individual belonging to Padmashali community for purchasing land without the VDC’s permission on May 24 in a panchayat. As he refused to pay the amount, the VDC members socially boycotted him and his family. Raju also filed an FIR against 13 members of the committee in the local police station.
Speaking to NewsCentral24x7, Balkonda SI Srihari said, “The matter is solved now. We have filed three FIRs against the individuals for passing the unlawful orders. The land dispute issue escalated in the last two weeks. It would have been solved in Lok Adalat, but the individuals belonging to the Muslim community couldn’t attend as they were fasting.”
On Wednesday evening, a police team led by Armoor Assistant Commissioner of Police A Ramulu met and counselled individuals belonging to both the Hindu and Muslim community. The local police also organised an Iftar party for both the communities at Jama Masjid as a goodwill gesture. The boycott was called off on the same day. No arrests have been made so far in connection with the cases.