Bhopal: At a time when the rape and murder case of a 10-year-old Bhopal girl has rocked the nation, with people organising candle marches and demanding justice, another shocking incident has surfaced from Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. Rajgarh is adjacent to state capital Bhopal.
Hearing a rape case of the 17-year-old girl, the sarpanch of Dangarpur village of Narsinghgarh block ordered the survivor’s family to organise a non-vegetarian feast in the village, in a bid to purify her daughter, according to reports.
The 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped by Siyaram, an upper caste man from the same village, four months ago. On the survivor’s complaint, police arrested the accused and sent him to jail.
“Because the rapist belong to upper caste and the victim belongs to lower caste, it is mandatory for the victim family to organise a feast, if they want to purify the raped girl. Till then, the family will be detached from rest of the village and its day to day affairs,” the sarpanch order read, which was reportedly signed by multiple people.
Later, the signature of the girl’s father was also allegedly taken on the ‘verdict’.
Since the family belongs to the marginalised section of society, they failed to organise the feast in the village. As a result, residents of the village, including nearby villages, started distancing themselves from the family.
Days after the sarpanch’s ‘verdict’, the survivor’s family organised a religious programme (Sundar Kand) at home, in a bid to purify the girl, but neither the villagers turned up nor did they accepted prasad (sweets).
Miffed with the villagers’ behaviour, the family has now knocked the doors of the Women and Child Development (WCD) office and has filed a complaint. The following day, local newspaper widely reported the matter with the version of Rajgarh SP Pradeep Sharma and WCD officer Chandsena Bhire.
When contacted, Bhire said, “Acting on the complaint, I visited the village and met the family members and the sarpanch. They have been ordered to organise a feast in a bid to purify the girl. I’m preparing a report, based on my findings and will submit it to the official concerned.”
Based on the news published by a local newspaper, the state Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of the incident and has ordered an enquiry. It has also sought a report from the Rajgarh collector and SP within three weeks.
‘May Leave village’
Meanwhile, the survivor’s family is living in a fear as also facing isolation from the rest of the village. Talking over phone, the father of the girl, Mahendra Jatav (name changed), said: “Because the rapist belongs to upper caste, the villagers have turned against us, instead of supporting us.”
He further said, “I’m the one who suffered most. My daughter is trying to cope up. We are paying the price, but villagers are making it tough for us. If the situation does not improve, we may leave the village. There is no way out.”
Commenting on the issue, Rajgarh SP, Pradeep Sharma, assured security and cooperation to the family.