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Outcast Families Threaten Suicide in K’taka Village, Cops Step in

19 families from the Harikantra community were ostracised for rebelling against community leaders.

Updated
India
3 min read
19 ostracised families from the Gud-Kagal village in Karnataka’s Uttar Kannada district will finally be allowed back into the village’s fold. (Photo: The News Minute)

For five years they were ostracised by other villagers. But now, 19 families from the Gud-Kagal village in Karnataka’s Uttar Kannada district will finally be allowed back into the village’s fold.

Shiva Harikantra and his wife were among the 19 families belonging to Harikantra community, a fishing community in the district, to be ostracised by their caste leaders.

While there was a different reason behind every family’s ostracisation, for Shiva’s family it started because of differences over the illegal liquor business in the area. Shiva had opposed illegal brewing as many youngsters were turning to alcohol.

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I got the police authorities to check on the hooch business. Some caste leaders were associated with the business. So before I could say anything to defend my decision, they held a meeting to keep me away from the village. There are over 70 families belonging to the same community.
Shiva

The village’s system is a well-planned one.

One member from each family is expected to turn up at the meeting. The heads would describe to them what our violations were and ask them to keep away from us. They would penalise anyone who disobeys the decision.
Shiva

People would have to pay a fine ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for interacting with the ostracised families.

Pavan faced ostracisation for interacting with Shiva and then for refusing to pay the fine.

Many others disobeyed the rules and were ostracized. Some broke rules by giving water to one of the 19 families. Some were caught sitting together in the bus with them.
Pavan
One of the houses of the family boycotted. (Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)
One of the houses of the family boycotted. (Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)
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Once made an outcast, life can be miserable, says Shiva. He, along with his wife, were asked to stay away from the village for over 5 years.

There is no respect. People belonging to the community would treat us like dirt. They would not interact with us. They would neither sit with us in the bus nor would they let us draw water from the village well. They would neither come for our functions nor would they call us for theirs.
Shiva

“What was worse is nobody would come to help us during deaths in the family,” laments Shiva.

On 5 July, the affected families submitted a memorandum to Uttara Kannada district commissioner, SS Nakul, saying that they would commit suicide if the authorities did not take up the issue.

Uttara Kannada district-in-charge minister RV Deshpande asked the administration to look into the issue.

Families facing boycott have submitted a memorandum. (Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)
Families facing boycott have submitted a memorandum. (Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)
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An ACP rank officer visited the village along with other officials on Thursday. The village heads have been warned against carrying on such practices and been told to solve the issues among themselves. They have agreed to do so but we will conduct constant checks.
R V Deshpande

The government and police have promised to intervene if the ostracisation continues. Shiva, Pavan and others like them hope that perhaps now they would be able to lead a life with dignity.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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