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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Bihar panchayat sanctifies bigamy for the sake of 'love'

Ajay Kumar, Hindustan Times  Muzaffarpur, Bihar, November 30, 2012
First Published: 02:02 IST(30/11/2012) | Last Updated: 18:28 IST(30/11/2012)

Here is a case in point for Khap panchayats.

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A man in Bihar 'gave away' his wife of six years and their two children to his brother-in-law, who had fallen in love with her.

On Tuesday, Shravan Kumar oversaw the 'wedding' of his wife Ranju Devi with his brother-in-law Ravindra Choudhary. What's more, Choudhary's wife of 15 years and Kumar's cousin Babita graced the occasion and accepted Ranju as her 'sister'.

The 'marriage' took place under active persuasion and sanction of the Nawani village panchayat in Madhubani district of north Bihar.

Former sarpanch of Nawani, Gangaram Sharma, was a witness to the wedding.

Jhanjharpur police station chief Surendra Kumar Dev confirmed that he had been duly informed prior to the marriage. "The wedding has been unanimously endorsed by the panchayat," he said.

Asked whether he had initiated any action against those involved in the 'bigamous' act, Dev said he was awaiting instructions from his superiors. Madhubani superintendent of police RK Mishra said, "Although the so-called wedding goes against the grain of the Hindu Marriage Act, it is not a cognisable offence. Besides, we have not received any complaint."

Ravindra, a labourer, stayed back at Nawani after he married Babita. Even as he fathered five children with Babita, he also developed intimacy with Ranju.

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