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Family pariah after CPM diktat

Family pariah after CPM diktat

Author: Our Correspondent
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: April 6, 2009
URL: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090406/jsp/bengal/story_10780816.jsp

When Rezaul Mallick went to the village grocer last week to place orders for his daughter's wedding, he was shooed away.

CPM leaders had allegedly asked the shop owner not to sell essentials to the family, CPM supporters until a month ago, but now behind the Trinamul Congress.

The social boycott is being enforced since Rezaul and his three brothers were seen in a Trinamul procession at Aogram in Burdwan's Mangalkot.

Not one villager of the 165 invited to Rezaul's daughter's wedding turned up this morning.

The family is not being allowed to use the village pond or the only tap in the vicinity where they bathed and washed utensils. The sweet shop owner and the man at the medicine counter, too, are saying "sorry" if they step in.

"They were my regular customers but local CPM leaders told me some 10 days ago not to speak or sell anything to them. We have to stay in the village and can't ignore their orders. I was invited to the wedding but decided not to go," said grocer Firoz Mallick.

Asadul Mallick, 55, the eldest of the four brothers who own two acres of fertile land, has lodged complaints against the harassment with the administration and police.

A police jeep with four personnel stood by the wedding venue today because the family had expressed fears about CPM leaders trying to embarrass them before the groom's family.

Madhurani Khatoon's marriage went off peacefully in the presence of close relatives, some of whom had come from other villages.

Aogram is under the CPM-controlled Gatistha panchayat. The Muslim-dominated village, about 200km from Calcutta, has around 300 families, all of whom are CPM supporters. Rezaul and his brothers are the lone exception.

"For 10 days, we are fetching water, grocery, vegetables, fish and even medicines from other villages, at least 2km away. Nobody in the village is speaking to us," said Asadul.

The family shifted allegiance to Trinamul after local MP Abu Ayesh Mondal quit the CPM on being denied a ticket this time.

"The CPM is grabbing fertile land for industries, we can't support it," Asadul said.

The brothers had not anticipated the fallout of their move. "We spent sleepless nights fearing embarrassment in the presence of the groom's family," said Rezaul.

The police have not started a case following the family's complaint, apparently because there is "no criminal offence yet".

"We will take action if there is any law-and-order problem," said Katwa subdivisional police officer Amlan Ghosh.

The CPM did not deny the boycott. "We haven't told anybody to boycott the family. But the villagers are spontaneously boycotting them. If the villagers don't want to attend the wedding, what can we do?" asked CPM panchayat member Meher Mallick.

At least one villager, however, said he did not dare to attend the wedding because of the CPM's might. "Many of us wanted to attend the wedding as we saw Madhurani grow up in front of us. But we couldn't," said the man who did not dare to be named.

Asadul's uncle Nazrul Mallick, who stays in a nearby house, was asked not to talk to his nephews. "I'm scared that I might also face a boycott," he said.

Block development officer Maniruddin Farooqi promised meetings with the villagers and the CPM leaders "to find an amicable solution".

Burdwan Trinamul leader Mondal Azizul said the CPM was "scared" after his party's tie-up with the Congress.

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