Inter-caste marriage creates commotionA Dalit family has been forcefully displaced following attacks after one of the male members eloped with a non-Dalit girl in an inter-caste marriage in Kapilvastu district about a month ago.
The couple belonging to two different castes — Binaya Kumar Harijan, 21, from a Dalit community and Sita Chaudhari, 19, from a non-Dalit community – had been reported missing since July 27 after getting married. Hailing from Lawani VDC-5 of Kapilvastu, Binaya and Sita are students of Nandanagar Higher Secondary School and the Chatrapal Higher Secondary School respectively.
Binaya’s family and relatives have fled the village after being repeatedly threatened and abused by the girl’s family. The girl’s family are insisting that Binaya’s family return their daughter. Binaya’s family is said to be living in hiding to avert further attacks as the girl’s family have reportedly threatened to kill Binaya if they were to find him. Ramnewas Harijan, Binaya’s uncle, said that the girl’s parents have been issuing threats and putting themselves in all kinds of pressure ever since the couple eloped.
According to information received from an international rights watchdog, Gujarati Chaudhari, Sita’s mother, had instituted and registered a case at the Lawani Police Office on August 7 against Binaya and his family, following which police have transferred the case to the Pakadi Area Police Office. The Pakadi Area Police Office had later summoned members of both families to the police station and had conducted an oral inquiry on August 18.
Following the inquiry, police instructed the Binaya’s family to find the missing couple by themselves and within 3 days. They had also been ordered to sign an agreement that they would search for and find the couple, said international rights watcdog Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in a statment.
Binaya’s family have conducted a search to find the couple, but have failed to locate them. The Pakadi Area Police had again facilitated a discussion between the two families on August 21 but failed to resolve the issue. Moreover, Binaya’s uncle Ramewas Harijan had also been arrested and detained in custody without any charge. He was only released after the intervention of Dalit organisations and human rights activists.
On August 22, Urmila Harijan, mother of the boy, had registered an appeal at the District Administration Office (DAO) and the District Police Headquarters requesting security for they have received threats to their lives from members of Sita’s family.
However, the very next day members of Sita’s family had attacked their home and locked up their house. It is reported that Sita’s brother Nanda Lal Chaudhari and his friends Rakesh Yadav, Ramchandra Yadav, Kishun Chaudhari and Nepali Kahar had assaulted members of Binaya’s family. Binaya’s family suspect the couple may have even been killed.
Meanwhile, after fleeing from their homes to avert further attacks, Binaya’s mother and two siblings are currently taking refuge at their relative’s house in Mogalaha in Rupandehi while Ramewas, his wife and their children are staying at their neighbour’s relatives in Nandanagar VDC-1.
AHRC said it is concerned for the safety of the couple and Binaya’s family, urging concerned authorities to immediately intervene and investigate the incident.