Four Muslim ward members from Tonk’s Malpura municipality have accused their community panchayat leaders of ostracising them for not voting for the Congress in the civic body polls held in August last year.
The four members, who abstained from voting, have complained to the Tonk district administration and sought protection for their families. The post of chairperson eventually went to a BJP candidate.
“The people had led us — Akram Khan from ward 3, Najma Bano from ward 4, Almanul Haq from ward 16 and Mohammad Shakir from ward 19 — to victory in the recent elections. But right after that, some people called a panchayat of the Muslim community, where they pressured us to vote for the Congress candidate for chairperson (of Malpura Nagar Palika),” the four wrote to the collector.
“When we refused, the panchayat externed us from the community for five years and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on us. Some people from the community have become a danger for us and our families and we are having to live outside Malpura for our protection. We request you to initiate legal proceedings against these people and arrange for the protection of our families,” they wrote.
The four ward members were not available for comment.
When contacted, district collector Rekha Gupta said, “We have received the complaint. I am not in Tonk right now. We will look into the matter and if there is anything that the administration can do in this case, we will certainly do it.”
The letter they received from the panchayat — accessed by The Indian Express — has been signed off by its “general assembly” and states that since the four ward members abstained from voting for the post of chairperson, they stand expelled from the community.
“They should resign from their posts within three days and pay a fine of Rs 10,000,” it states.
The Congress, meanwhile, said it will take action against the four as they won the election on a Congress ticket but later refused to vote for the party candidate.
“I don’t know what the community leaders have done but the party will take strict action against these four. You can’t win the election on the party symbol and then refuse to vote for our candidate. That’s just wrong,” Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot told The Indian Express.