What would a district collector do if villagers boycott a dalit-run government designated fair price ration shop in their village?
This is a tricky question? In a similar situation district collector of Patan district in Gujarat has directed that all the 436 ration card holders belonging to Kanosan village can buy ration from neighbouring village Edla. They are free not to buy ration from the dalit-run fair price shop of their village.
Collector Arvind Vijayan , a 2014 batch IAS from Gujarat cadre is said to have passed the order after hearing the arguments of villagers as well as the fair price shop owner.
Kanosan village in Gujarat is dominated by Thakor (non dalit ) community. All of them have consensually decided not to buy ration from village's fair price shop run by Kanti Parmar, a dalit.
The Thakors, who comprise 90% of the village's total population of 2,200, have accused Kanti of threatening to get them booked in false cases under the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act – commonly known as Atrocity Act.
On the other hand Kanti has denied all the allegations and are now considering to challenge the collector's order in court. He said that Thakors boycotted his shop because he (Kanti) denied a Thakore ration on an ineligible card.
“Since then they are after me. They are threatening people for not buying ration form my shop,” Kanti said.
What Government says
Patan Collector Arvind Vijayan said that the order was passed following thorough internal enquiry and opposition from the villagers.
Patan DSO D S Ninama said that the order has been passed keeping every aspect on record.
“Villagers are unwilling to buy ration from that shop. Also they alleged that the shop owner threaten them. Villagers have given their statements in writing. On the basis of those statements, the collector has passed the order,” Ninama said.
In the process of arriving decision, the district administration
recorded statements of 268 residents of Kanosan. 260 of them wanted to buy ration from neighbouring ration shop while Eight had no problem with Kanti's shop.