On Thursday, a would-be-bride called off her wedding just hours before it was slated to take place. She did not want to get married in a village where people did not respect women. Her anger was sparked by the alleged rape of a three-month-old infant girl by a guest from the groom’s side.
The bride, Rizwana Parveen (18), and her family called on the Panchayat in Dabarsi on Thursday, invited over a dozen pradhans (village heads) from nearby villages, and called off the wedding in protest against the inhuman treatment meted to the infant by a wedding guest Farhan Ahmed (20).
The gruesome incident took place on Tuesday, when Ahmed, hailing from Kithor village in Meerut, took the three-month-old girl (from Dabarsi, the bride’s village) to an isolated place and allegedly raped her.
He was later caught and thrashed by the villagers and handed over to the police who registered a rape case against the accused.
The three-month-old infant is battling for her life at a hospital here.
Parveen said she does not wish to get married at a place where women are not respected. On Thursday, the panchayat, headed by Dabarsi village head Basid Ali, decided to call off the wedding and also ordered the groom to return the Rs 60,000 that the girl’s family had spent on the marriage preparation.
The Nagar Panchayat Chairman--Matloob Gaur--(from Kithor) tried in vain to convince the Dabarsi residents against the decision. “The accused is from an influential family and may pressurise us to withdraw the rape case. Now the battle lines are drawn and the case would be fought against them,” Ali said.
At the same time, the Panchayat, along with the 14,000 residents of the village, were unanimous in their decision that that their daughters would not be married in Kithor village any more.
“How can we marry our daughters in a village whose men do not know how to respect women? We will not marry our daughters in that village anymore,” said 40-year-old Bismillah Khatoon.
The wedding-guests and groom were allowed to leave after they returned Rs 60,000 and apologized.