Four members of Kanjarbhat community booked under Maharashtra’s Social Boycott Act
A day after members of the Kanjarbhat community filed a complaint of social boycott by their community, the Thane Police has booked four members under Maharashtra’s Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, on Thursday. The complainants were part of a group that campaigned against the community’s practice of virginity tests for brides
A community leader, Sangam Garuge , had on Monday allegedly warned community members against attending the funeral of the grandmother of the complainant, whereas the other three had supported his decision on social media. According to the FIR, all four have been charged under sections III and V of the act, which says that obstructing a person from attending a social gathering is prohibited.
“Action will be taken against these people on the basis of a probe,” said a senior officer from Ambernath police station. The incident comes almost six months after Akshay Tamaychikar, a student from Ambernath, had filed a complaint alleging that he and his sister-in-law, Aishwarya, were boycotted at a wedding and he was beaten up by panchayat members there.
More than a year ago, Vivek, who is Akshay’s brother, and Aishwarya had started a campaign against the community’s practice of a virginity test. On Tuesday, when Vivek’s grandmother passed away, not a single member from the community attended her funeral, following a video where Garuge allegedly warned community members against attending the funeral.
“We are grateful the police are finally helping us, because this isn’t an incident of being kicked out from a wedding. The incident shows the clout that these leaders have and how their word acts as a final one. My grandmother had great respect within the community. Despite that, no one attended her funeral,” said Akshay. Akshay said their fight is far from over, because virginity tests still prevail in the community, despite them opposing it. The community is classified as a de-notified tribe or vimukta jati.