Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has sought a report from the state government on an alleged rise in ostracism in several rural pockets of the state.
The court has directed the state government to submit its report within four weeks while hearing a petition filed by Debendra Sutar of Odisha Hetubadi Sangathan, a rationalist forum.
In his petition, Sutar had claimed that the medieval practice of ostracisation or social boycott is still prevalent in many rural pockets of the state.
Guided by superstitions, some informal groups or Khap panchayat-like outfits impose social restrictions on a few villagers either from Dalit or poor community.
The petitioner blamed the callous attitude of the state government for rising ostracism in Odisha. “We have achieved development in the field of science and technology but have failed to check the practice of social boycotts. By ostracising poor villagers, some informal groups are infringing upon their Fundamental Rights,” the petitioner said.
In some cases, the administration and police are supporting these informal groups and the kangaroo courts, alleged the petitioner. “Incidents of ostracism and social restrictions imposed by kangaroo courts are tarnishing the image of a democratic country like India before the international community,” informed the petitioner to the HC.
Sutar claimed that he had raised the issue of social boycotts with the state government and other law enforcing agencies but nothing has been done to check the evil practice.
The petitioner had urged the HC to intervene in the issue and direct the state government to take stern action against such informal groups and kangaroo courts.