Abani points to the acres of grass that was once his fertile paddy farm. Picture by Tapas Mukhopadhyay
Manteswar (Burdwan), April 17: Abani Mondal,once an affluent farmer, has been reduced to penury because he refused to give three bighas of his land to his estranged daughter-in-law.
CPM leaders in Burdwans Manteswar have ensured that Abani, 84, and his family of 12 are ostracised by residents of Gangania village, 155km from Calcutta. He cannot find a labourer to till his 13-bigha paddy farm, where only grass grows now. The local grocer and the barber, too, have shut their doors on the family.
Struggling to make ends meet, Abani was forced to pull his five grandchildren out of school.
The widowers misery began two years ago when CPM leaders led by Nilu Bhattacharya, the local committee secretary, called him to a shalishi meeting and asked him to give the land to Rupa, the wife of his third son Prabhat.
They virtually forced me to go to Debpur High School and asked me to give three bighas to Rupa on July 29, 2006. I committed the mistake of refusing. After that, the CPM leaders instructed villagers to boycott me, Abani said.
Rupa had approached the CPM leaders in December 2005 with a torture charge against Prabhat, who had left Abanis house 17 years ago with his share of his fathers property.
Prabhat was arrested and Rupa and her two sons went to live with her father.
She then knocked on the CPMs door for the land.
Prabhat, who is now out on bail and living alone 600 metres from his fathers house, is also facing social boycott.
Abani said he had written to the block development officer and the officer in charge of Manteswar police station but no action was taken. But OC Arup Sarkar said he was working on the complaint.
Bhattacharya, the CPM leader, admitted asking Abani to give three bighas to his daughter-in-law. But we did not issue any order to villagers to boycott him and his family.