Woman & Family Ostracized For Knocking At Court’s Doors

Bhubaneswar: In what is reminiscent of infamous khap panchayat in cowbelt, a woman and her family in Puri district continue to live an ostracized life for seven years as she had gone against the villagers’ decision and had moved the court to get engaged as an Anganwadi worker.

Though armed with High Court verdict in her favour, the victim woman had to pay heavy price for defying locals who were bent upon having their own nominee as their Anganwadi ‘didi’.

Despite legitimate claim for engagement as Anganwadi worker, the victim woman Bhanumati Pradhan (38) has faced the wrath of people in Bhatapada village under Brahmagiri block and was forced to flee the village with family members to lead an exiled life.

Bhanumati’s trials and tribulations date back to 2007. She was selected for Anganwadi worker’s engagement in the local Integrated Child Development Centre. However she had failed to get the engagement following revision of government guidelines. Instead, Kanchanmani Jena another shortlisted candidate was issued the letter of engagement by the authorities concerned.

Pradhan deprived of engagement moved the Orissa High Court. After five years of legal battle, the High Court had ruled in her favour and directed the administration to engage her Anganwadi worker.

However the locals resolved not to allow Pradhan to work in the local ICDS centre as they were bent upon the posting of Jena, the rival candidate, to work in ICDS centre.

Locals insisted upon her to withdraw the court case. As she had expressed her unwillingness, the villagers unanimously resolved socially boycott Pradhan and her family.

The decree of villagers still holds good with Pradhan having left the village for good with family. Despite court’s verdict, the victim woman is dispossessed of engagement as Anganwadi worker. She does not have the required monetary resources to knock at the High Court’s doors again to assert her claim on the Anganwadi worker’s job.

The woman is left to fend herself all alone as the local civil and police authorities have turned a blind eye to her plight.

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