The police today booked ten members of a village community in Bundi district Oof Rajasthan for allegedly declaring a five-year-old scheduled caste girl an “outcast” and depriving her of proper food, care and shelter, an official said.
The case was registered on the orders of the state’s child rights panel chief Manan Chaturvedi who swung into action after the plight of the hapless child came to her notice.
Earlier, following a diktat by community elders, the girl was barred from entering her home, left to stay in the front courtyard and surviving on loaves thrown into her plate from a distance by her pregnant mother.
Hindoli Police station SHO Laxman Singh said the case was registered against ten persons on thursday.
The girl was declared an outcast, initially for three days and then for another eight days, after she unwittingly damaged sandpiper’s eggs in her school.
The girl was declared an outcast and ordered to undergo punishment according to a local superstition that breaking of the sandpipers’ eggs was a bad omen and could deprive the village of rain.
The child’s plight came to light after her father complained to the area ‘tehsildar’ (revenue official) that the community head was demanding costly wine and various snacks besides fodder for cows and edibles for fishes to end her ostracisation.
The ‘tehsildar’ and other officials rushed to the village along with police personnel on wednesday and warned the community members against continuing ostracisation of the child.
Enraged by the girl’s father reporting the matter to the authorities, the community head wednesday night, however, declared the entire family of the girl outcast for life.
Rajasthan State Commission of Protection of Child Rights Chairman Chaturvedi took note of the incident and visited the village thursday. What she witnessed appalled her.
Following a stern order by Chaturvedi, the police lodged an FIR under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Juvenile Justice Act and the Untouchability Act against ten persons of the village.
The FIR was lodged under various penal provisions, including sections 384 (extortion), 508 (putting a person in the fear of divine displeasure) 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, section 75 (exposing a child to various acts of cruelty like abandoning or neglecting it) of the Juvenile Justice Act and section 6 (for refusing to sell goods or provide various services after declaring a person untouchable) of the Untouchability Act.
The community leaders who were named in the FIR included Chittar Lal, Onkar, Durga Lal, Chaturbhuj, Raghunath, Kalu, Moddu, Giyarsilal, Ramdev and Moddu, the SHO said.
Following Chaturvedi’s intervention, the child’s family was also given a gas connection and two months of ration , officials said. The family was also promised an electric connection, benefits of the food security scheme and fund for toilet construction, they said. PTI