Villagers defy vote boycott, pay fine

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Published: May 11, 2014 2:12 am

A few residents of Bachhargaon village in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh who disregarded the panchayat’s call to boycott voting were recently made to pay a fine of Rs 500 to end their social boycott and humiliation.

The village had given a call for boycotting the April 10 election for Mandla Lok Sabha seat, saying a bridge they demanded across the Chakrar River had not been built despite assurances.

A complaint received at the Gadasarai police outpost alleged that since the polling day, villagers who voted had been boycotted and not invited to marriage and other social functions in the village. They had been reportedly warned against attending social functions in future as well. The aggrieved villagers wanted to end their humiliation and were told to pay a fine by the panchayat.

The district administration has ordered a probe into the allegation and asked revenue and police officials to visit the village.
Sub-inspector Arvind Kumre said the villagers insisted that they were not forced to give money and that they did it willingly. Only five or six people paid the fine and the panchayat used the money to buy sweets to distribute it among villagers as prasad.

Dindori Collector Chhavi Bharadwaj said the issue was more complex as three local political groups were vying for attention. She said the poll boycott was a result of local rivalry.

She said the administration would verify the allegation and ensure nobody is harassed in the village. However, action would take place only after the counting day.

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