More than two weeks after 'socially boycotting' as many as 100 families belonging to the Vaddera community, the Village Development Committee (VDC) decided to lift the boycott in Telangana's Nizamabad. This following the intervention of officials, who warned of serious consequences. Vadderas are one of the most backward communities in Telangana.
Located close to the Sriram Sagar reservoir, the Vaddera colony of Khanapur village comprises over 100 families. While the reservoir submerged several villages, a settlement called Maggidi came up between the Vaddera colony and Khanapur village.
The Maggidi VDC, which is controlled by Reddys and other dominant castes has a history of socially boycotting Vadderas in the name of 'village interests'. VDCs are unofficial bodies that often act like extra constitutional authorities.
The present row, however, began in the last week of May amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It all began with some farmers from the Vaddera colony bringing and dumping black soil or mud from nearby government lands in view of the monsoon in order to strengthen the bunds.
The VDC, however, demanded money from the Vadderas for excavating the Nallamatti (black soil) from a tank nearby. The farmers refused to pay, arguing that they're also rightful dwellers.
Angered by the response, the Maggigi VDC announced that tractors should not be given for hire to the Vadderas for any agricultural activities and no one should give coolie works to the community. According to the Vadderas and rights activists, the VDC also passed diktats against calling them for work and speaking to them.
Makkala Linganna, a resident of the colony and Deputy Sarpanch of the Khanapur said, "Why should only we pay the amount? Collecting a fee was inhumane. As we didn't want to pay, they wanted to exclude us by affecting our economic activities."
He added, "As we staged a dharna and lodged a complaint before the Collectorate, officials intervened and talked to the both communities. They have warned the Committee against any such boycotts."
The local Mandal Parishad Development Officer (MPDO), Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) and Sub-Inspector of Police (SI) have asked three members from the village and three members from the colony to resolve issues amicably.
Dandi Venkat, state convenor of Bahujan Left Front and representative of most backward castes association, alleged that atrocities against marginalised sections are not stopping even during the pandemic.
Speaking to TNM he said, "The government and police authorities should take stringent action against the VDC and persons behind them. Despite the Constitution, the police and judiciary, these dominant castes-landlords are curtailing the rights of these people."
Calling the VDCs feudal, Venkat said they are a shame on the people of the Nizamabad and northern Telangana.
This is the third such boycott the Vaddera colony has faced in a year. Earlier in August 2019, the families were boycotted by the VDC on the claims that they allegedly encroached a tiny piece of land for laying a service road into their colony.