//Unwilling Draupadi pays with her life

Unwilling Draupadi pays with her life

RANCHI: Polyandry, the ugly consequence of Haryana’s skewed sex ratio, has claimed yet another victim and for the first time a state government has stepped in to probe the unhealthy social practice.

The murder of an 18-year-old tribal girl, sold as a bride to a farmer in Haryana’s male-dominated, girl-starved social system has pushed the Jharkhand government to initiate a probe. Tripala Kumari had to pay the price for refusing to play Draupadi to her farmer-husband and his brothers.

According to the Jharkhand welfare department, which is conducting the investigation, the girl from Darhi village in Ranchi district was purchased by a farmer from Dohola village in Jind district of Haryana. After a farcical marriage to obtain a male heir, the farmer, Ajmer Singh, allegedly killed her in the last week of February because she refused to have sex with his brothers… Welfare department officials said Tripala was lured to Haryana by an agent who promised her employment. Haryana police and Jharkhand resident commissioner in New Delhi Rajiv Gauba swung into action after some NGOs and local newspapers reported the incident.

The latter immediately informed the social welfare department in the state after which director Puja Singhal flew to Haryana to investigate the incident. Ajmer was arrested by Haryana police on Sunday.
Trafficking of women from the eastern states has become quite a common occurrence in Haryana where adverse sex ratio — 820 out of 1,000 in the 0-6 age group as per Census 2001 — has resulted in a dearth of brides.

Once married — often with the complicity of the village panchayat — the girls are mentally and physically coerced into sleeping with the husband’s brothers. Social activists working in these areas say sometimes, these women are dumped after they produce a male heir or forced to undergo abortions if the foetus is female Welfare department officials confirmed that Tripala was not the first such they have dealt with. Another girl, Munia who hailed from Koderma in Jharkhand, was forcibly sold and married to one Dharma in Haryana. The constant sexual and physical abuse drove Munia into fleeing from Haryana and finding shelter in a Nari Niketan.