A caste panchayat in Barmer district allegedly ordered a woman’s family to be ostracised and also imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakh on them after they refused to withdraw a dowry harassment case against her in-laws.
Most shockingly, when the woman’s grandmother died weeks later, some of the accused and panchayat members allegedly barged into her parents’ house and disrupted the post-death rituals because the “fine” had not been paid.
The woman’s uncle, Kehararam Prajapati, a resident of Khejdiyali village in the district, filed a complaint in a local court of Balotra. According to the complainant, his niece Mafi Devi had been married to Hanumana Ram of Parlu village six years ago. He said that at the time of marriage, his brother had given dowry to his daughter to the best of his capacity. But soon after, he alleged, her in-laws started harassing her for dowry.
After suffering physical and mental torture for long, his niece filed a dowry case against the in-laws, he said, adding that the matter was still sub-judice.
Prajapati said his niece’s in-laws had been putting constant pressure to withdraw the case. On April 12, they organized a caste panchayat, which ordered the villagers to “socially boycott us” and also imposed Rs. 2 lakh penalty.
He further said that on May 27, when his mother died and the family was performing certain rituals, members of the caste panchayat reached their home and forced them to stop the ritual saying we had not paid the fine.
Balotra police in-charge Sukhram Bishnoi said they had got a direction from the local court to file the case.
However, he added that as the case did not fall under their jurisdiction, they had returned the matter back to the court and requested it to send it to the Samdari police station.