A 24-year-old woman from Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district was allegedly forced to undergo a “purification” ritual by her father and other relatives for marrying a Dalit man.
The Kotwali Betul police said the woman’s hair was trimmed, her dress was discarded and she was forced to take a bath in the Narmada river.
Sakshi Yadav, a resident of Chopna, Betul, married 27-year-old Amit Ahirwar on March 11, 2020, in the Arya Samaj temple. She said her family members filed a missing person complaint in January 2021 even though her father knew about her whereabouts and used to meet her.
“I got married on March 11, 2020, and informed my father on January 4, 2021. My father continued to meet me but despite that, he filed a missing person complaint on January 10, 2021, at Chopna police station (in the Betul district),” the woman said, according to a PTI report.
After filing the missing person complaint, the woman was reunited with her family by the police, who took her signature on a paper.
Later, she went to a hostel in February to complete her studies in nursing in the Rajgarh district.
From there, her father took her home on August 18 on the pretext of ‘Raksha Bandhan’. However, she was taken to the Narmada river in Hoshangabad, where a purification ritual was performed for marrying a “lower-caste”.
Sakshi was forced to take a dip in the river, half-naked in front of other people.
On Thursday, Sakshi ran away from the hostel and returned to her husband. Fearing that they might be killed, the couple has sought police protection.
The women’s desk in-charge, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pallavi Gaur, said in her complaint, that her family is against the marriage, owing to caste differences.
Sakshi alleged that since her marriage, she has been getting death threats from her maternal side. She further added she was being pressurised to divorce her husband and remarry someone of her caste.
After marriage, the husband had given a written application against the family members to the SP, station in-charge of Kotwali Betul, but no action has been taken on the application.
A case has been registered against the woman’s father and three relatives under sections 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of the peace) and other sections.The case diary has been sent to the Chopna Police Station in the Betul district for further action.
(With inputs from Rajesh Bhatia and PTI)