Rajasthan panchayat ostracises girl, family

Jaipur, May 31 (IANS) A caste panchayat (council) in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district ostracised a young woman, her bridegroom and their family members and forced all of them to wear garlands of shoes when she insisted on marrying a man of her choice, police said Friday.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against about a dozen members of the caste panchayat Friday after the couple approached police, they added.

The incident occurred Thursday at Rama village in Jaisalmer district, 600 km from here.

"The young woman, Amka, was engaged to Sawai Ram. However, when her family members came to know that he was an alcoholic, they called off the engagement. The girl then married another man, Chama Ram," a police officer told IANS.

Sawai Ram approached the local caste panchayat and complained that the 18-year-old woman and her family had broken up the engagement, which was against the norms set up by their caste.

"The young Amka, Chama Ram and some members of their families were summoned to a meeting of the caste panchayat in the village Thursday. They forced all of them to wear garlands of shoes to humiliate them. The panchayat members then ostracised the girl, Chama Ram and their family members. Other villagers were banned from mingling with them," said the officer.

The caste panchayat fined the woman's family Rs.10 lakh for breaking the engagement.

"They threatened that the girl would be taken away from the family forcefully if her father failed to pay the fine," said the officer.

The officer added that on complaint of her father, security has been provided to the young bride and her husband.

"We have rushed police teams to various places to arrest the caste panchayat members," said the officer.

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