Minor Dalit girl sent out of village for inter-caste affair


A minor Dalit girl from Bannirsarige in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka was forced to leave the village by her family and local people for falling in love with a boy from a different caste and, in their view, bringing “ignominy” to the community.

Suma (name changed), 17, and pregnant, was left to fend for herself after her father and other family members threatened to commit suicide if she did not leave the house.

She was lured into a relationship by the boy from an adjoining village at a construction site where they worked. He had won Suma’s confidence after promising to marry her. He did not tell her that he was already married. He is now absconding.

Suma’s ordeal began after her mother’s death when she was sent to her aunt’s place in Maadigara bedi in Kollegal by her father, Dasaiah. But her aunt, on learning of Suma’s pregnancy, sent her away.

Suma then went to the government hospital in Kollegal. The doctors, who learnt of Suma’s predicament, sent her to Odanadi Seva Samsthe, an NGO working for the rehabilitation of women and prevention of child trafficking, in Mysore, for assistance on Sunday.

Speaking to The Hindu, Parashurama of Odanadi and a member of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) said the girl was emaciated, anaemic and could hardly speak, but she narrated the sequence of events. “I sat with her for some time to elicit information, but the girl, being asthmatic, was gasping for breath and unable to walk.” Suma was being treated for asthma and a certificate issued by doctors at the Kollegal hospital confirmed her pregnancy.

Lochana of the CWC in Chamarajanagar said there were conflicting reports about Suma’s banishment, and CWC staff had been sent to Bannisarige village for a probe.

Mr. Parashurama said the Chamarajanagar Rural police did not take any action as there was no case or complaint filed. But Deputy Superintendent of Police Mahadevaiah has promised to initiate action, if a complaint is filed.

Odanadi will file a complaint seeking action against the boy. “However, the larger issue of convincing the local people and her family to accept Suma will be challenging because of their misplaced sense of honour,” said Mr. Parashurama. Till then the girl will be sheltered by Odanadi with the authorisation of the CWC, he added.

(With inputs from V. Paneesha in Chamarajanagar)


Karnataka Khap panchayat ostracises 16-year-old pregnant Dalit girl


Bannisorige village elders upset that she had an affair with a lower caste boy, thus “offending the family and the village”

Imran Khan 

 May 2, 20120–A khap panchayat in Karnataka has ostracised a 16-year-old Dalit girl for getting pregnant by her lover. Jaya (name changed to protect identity), who works as a labourer, was slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 by the Bannisorige village panchayat in Chamrajanagar district before banishing her. The village elders were particularly furious with Jaya for falling in love with Kumar who belongs to a caste considered lower than hers.

The incident came to light when Jaya was found begging at the Kollegal government hospital, near her village, by a local journalist. Now, seven months into her pregnancy Jaya had spent almost a month staying in the hospital compound, since she was banished from her village by the panchayat. When the matter was highlighted by the local media, the hospital authorities swung into action and admitted her as an in-patient; after nearly ignoring her for a month.

Jaya got into an intimate relationship with Kumar, who hails from the neighbouring village of Agrahara, after he promised to marry her. However, her family, who got wind of her relationship after she conceived, was furious when they realised that the boy hailed from a different caste.

The matter was reported to the village elders who held her “guilty” of “offending the family and the village” by having an affair with a boy from a lower caste. The panchayat declared her guilty and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 and sent her out of the village.

Left to fend for herself, Jaya went to the government hospital in nearby Kollegal taluk for treatment. When the hospital authorities failed to take notice of her, Jaya started living at the corridors of the hospital and was forced to beg for food and money from the visitors at the hospital.

When contacted, the local police authorities said that despite being aware of the situation there was little they could do since no complaint had been registered. Chairperson of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Nina P Nayak told Tehelka that the commission will investigate the matter and take further action.

Imran Khan is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.


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