It is said that casteism is less visible in the state of Maharashtra, but it does not appear so. Buddhists, Dalits, have been ostracized from Parola village in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra.
Report- Kishor Sasane
Today, even after 75 years of the country’s independence, Dalits, Buddhists and Scheduled Caste people are still being treated unfairly in the land of Phule, Shahu and Ambedkar. A terrible oppressive atmosphere has been created in Parola village.
For three to four years, a blue and Panchsheel flag was put up on the Gairaan land as a planned site for the Buddha Vihara. Eight days ago the upper caste people consciously planted saffron flags on both sides and then, what points towards a put-up job, the police came and took away all the flags.
The community continued to protest, but their grievances were dismissed. Undaunted by the attitude of the police, the people got the flag installed again by a bhante, but it was again removed and a nuncupative diktat for the social boycott was issued.
What items are not sold in social boycotts?
The upper caste in the village has resorted to what can be called a scorched earth policy by calling for a boycott, which is elaborate. Buddhists have been declared social outcasts and It has been decreed that village shops should not sell groceries to the Buddhist community. Not only they are not allowed to buy essential items but restrictions have also been placed to grind the flour at the village flour mill. The boycott extends to public roads, watercourses, wells, bores, shops, flour mills, etc, directly and indirectly.
What exactly happened in Parola village?
Realising the need for a Buddhist vihara, the Buddhists reserved some land in Group No. 370 at Parola for the Vihara and put up a compound with barbed wire fencing. A blue flag was also hoisted at the same place, which serves as the venue for various programs of the Buddhist community.
On 9 Oct 2022, some upper caste people of the village removed the blue flag at night and installed a saffron flag there. This touched off a caste dispute. On the morning of October 10, 2022, the police seized the compound wire, blue flag, saffron flag, and panchrangi flag on the pretext of avoiding tension in the village.
But on 13 Oct 2022, when a Buddhist monk came to the village to visit the Buddhist community, the upper castes of the village gathered and started arguing, the next day when the Buddhist community went to the grocery store to buy groceries, the shopkeepers refused to give them anything.
Various organizations and political parties made demands on Parola issue In order to get justice for the Buddhist community of Parola village, various organizations and political parties have submitted a statement to the Chief Minister and demanded justice. Bahujan Samaj Party’s district president of Hingoli district Advocate DrandyawantMore has demanded that the scheduled caste community get space for religious, cultural and personal events. Also, the Buddhist community has also demanded the Gram Panchayat to set up pattern number 8 in the said place.