MP woman forced to undergo ‘purification’ for marrying Dalit
The incident happened in August but came to light after the couple filed a complaint and sought police protection as the woman’s family was forcing her to marry a man from the same community
A 24-year-old woman was allegedly forced to take a dip in the Narmada river and cut her hair during a ‘purification’ ritual by her family because she married a Dalit in Betul district, police said.
The incident happened in August but came to light after the couple filed a complaint and sought police protection as the woman’s family was forcing her to marry a man from the same community, said Simala Prasad, superintendent of police, Betul.
Police registered a case against four members of the woman’s family, including her parents, on charges of voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation. No arrests have been made so far.
As per the woman’s complaint, she belongs to an Other Backward Class (OBC) and secretly married a 27-year-old man belonging to the Scheduled Caste community on March 11, 2020. Her family came to know about the marriage in December 2020 after she started living with the man, she said in her complaint.
On January 10 this year, the father of the woman filed a missing person report. Police found her and took her back to her parents, according to the complaint. In March, the woman, who was studying in a nursing college in Betul, was shifted to hostel. In August, her family took her to Sethani ghat of Narmada river for a purification ritual, she said.
“I was not aware of this ritual, but later my family members told me that I had been purified for marrying a Dalit,” the women told reporters. “Now, they want me to remarry a man of my community. On October 28, I came from the hostel to Betul to file a police complaint.”
The woman’s husband said the family of the woman was threatening them with dire consequences, which is why they have requested police protection.
“We are investigating the matter and trying to verify the claims of the woman,” police superintendent Prasad said. “The in-charge of the local outpost of the village has been asked to ensure safety of the couple.”
(with inputs from Mayank Bhargava from Betul)