The Mullick family of Augram, about 135 km northwest of Kolkata, are the latest victims of a CPM boycott. This joint family of four brothers and their families were warned, after youngest brother Zahirul attended a Trinamool Congress meeting at a neighbouring village, against continuing their association with that party. “We hoisted a flag from our rooftop,” says eldest brother Asadul. The boycott started the next day. And it hit the family hard when third brother Rezaul’s daughter got married on 2 April. They couldn’t buy or hire anything from the village. Even some of the relatives didn’t dare to come. “And the local doctor has refused to attend to me,” says Asadul’s mother, Shakina Bibi. The price for violating the boycott, which extends to the family’s kids as well—their classmates don’t speak to or play with them anymore—is Rs 5,001! CPM leaders deny the allegations and ridicule the Mullicks, calling them a troublesome family. “It is they who have boycotted the rest of the village,” claims local CPM leader Abdul Hasib Sheikh. But some villagers, and district officials, confirm the boycott. Block Development Officer Maniruddin Farooqi says he’s trying to convince the CPM to lift the boycott.
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