Pointing to the absence of a law to stop social boycott when the state is seeing a rise in such incidents, CM Devendra Fadnavis said the Maharashtra government will introduce a law to prevent boycott and ostracism in three months.
The law is currently in the draft stage, Fadnavis said, while replying to the issue raised by NCP legislator Rana Jagjitsingh Patil in the legislative Assembly. The CM said it was equally important to raise awareness.
Patil pointed out the rising instances of social boycott in the state’s villages and cited several cases from Raigad, Aurangabad and Jalna.
“There are laws to deal with orthodox beliefs, but nothing specific that deals with ostracism. The law is in a draft form now and we are studying it further. I would expect it to be tabled within three months from now,” Fadnavis said.
Caste and religion were the dominant factors in the cases of social boycott discussed in the house. Patil said people were ostracised for inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, and widows and families from weak socio-economic backgrounds were targeted.
That social boycott thrived in the state came to light after reports surfaced about an entire village boycotting a couple in Poladur, Raigad, because the wife wore jeans, and not a sari, and did not wear the mangalsutra or a bindi on her forehead.
After villagers burnt down the couple’s cowshed, a police complaint was filed, bringing the incident to the fore (see box).
“In Raigad alone, there were 46 such incidents reported. Complaints have been registered in 28 cases. There needs to be a permanent stop to such incidents, for which stringent laws are required,” Patil told the house.
Independent MLA Bacchu Kadu supported the demand. “Many reasons are to do with orthodox beliefs. A family will be kept away because of their birth stars or gotra. The government needs to come up with an awareness program as well,” Kadu said.
* Everest climber, wife shunned
Rahul Yelange, 30, who was part of a team that successfully climbed Mount Everest in May 2012, and his wife were boycotted by the elders of his village Poladur in Raigad, as his wife wore jeans and not a sari, and did not wear the mangalsutra or a bindi on her forehead.