Sattanna and his family have been ostracized for nearly nine months after their daughter eloped.

You bring shame to the community 3 Telangana families face social boycott
news Social boycott Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 12:11

“Nobody talks to us… They don’t invite us to any social gatherings like marriages. If they see any of my family members in the community gathering, they humiliate us by saying that we brought disrepute to the community,” shares a distressed Sattanna, from Chityal village in Telangana.

Sattanna’s family along with his brother Pokalla Rajanna and sister Padma’s family were singled out from the community and have been ostracized for nearly nine months, for their daughter’s ‘sin’. She had committed the ‘sin’ of eloping with a man from the neighbouring Regupalle village.

Sattanna’s younger daughter, Sailaja, married Naresh from the same community. However, the community elders weren’t pleased with the marriage, and accused her of bringing shame.

The families endured the shame and the atrocities meted out against them for months. However, when they were on the verge of ending their lives, they broke their silence and approached the police.

On Monday, the Kadam police received a complaint from Jimbarthi Sattanna alleging a social boycott imposed by his Goondla community elders. In his complaint, he named five people; D Kishtaiah, G Poshaiah, P Gangadhar, G Rajesh and G Ganganna.

These five people were the community elders who imposed the ban on them and were unwilling to revoke it, despite several appeals.

Based on the complaint, the police filed a case under section 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language).

When Sattanna called for a panchayat on Sunday to resolve the issue and lift the ban, the unwilling community members demanded Rs 90,000 as fine and asked for a ‘Kula Bhojanam’ (community lunch) to ‘cleanse’ the family’s sins.

Angered by their unreasonable demands and the highhandedness of the accused, Sattanna approached the police.

Subsequently, on Wednesday, police had a prolonged discussion with the community members to revoke the boycott. In the meeting, police warned the community of legal action if they didn’t revoke the social boycott. However, the community elders remained defiant and justified their actions.

Failing to strike a deal between the two parties, the police said that they will send the accused to judicial remand soon.

Speaking to TNM Sattanna laments, “These five people have been torturing my family for the past nine months ever since my daughter got married. At the time of her marriage, I was in Dubai, and my daughter had told me about her love affair. Owing to my poor financial condition, I couldn’t get her married. I had huge loans. After my elder daughter’s marriage, I was left with no money and had to move to Dubai for work. I asked Sailaja to wait. However, she went ahead with the marriage without our knowledge.”

“Since my daughter was missing, my brother and sister were searching for her. Later, the police told us that they came to the station to get married. We cut off all ties with her at the time, but my community was agitated by my daughter’s action and said that she brought shame and disgrace to the community,” he added.

“By calling yourself a Goondla, you bring shame to the entire community, they would say to my brother,” Sattanna recalls.

A police officer seeking anonymity said, “We have tried counselling the community members by detailing the legal actions they would face, but to no avail. The situation in villages are different, as they have to co-exist. If we take a legal action, the victim’s family might face several problems. However, if the community fails to act, we will have to take action against them.”

A determined Sattanna says that he will not budge, adding, “Unless they apologize to me and my family for the immense hardships they caused to us, I won’t take back my complaint. I have nothing to lose, as we are already facing a boycott. What else can they do?”

It also seems that the case is not an isolated one, and has occurred in Kadam mandal before.

Recently, in Nawabpet village, a woman faced boycott from the community for six months as her sister married a man from the Madiga community (SC community). In both the instances, the community members belonged to the Goondla community (BC community).