//Caste panchayat wants woman to marry brother of dead husband

Caste panchayat wants woman to marry brother of dead husband

Ranjeet S Jamwal/SNS
JAIPUR, June 3. — Twenty-five-year-old Ms Kamlesh was married off at the age of seven but her husband died three months later. She stayed with her parents till they married her to a widower in May last year.

But now her former in-laws have challenged her re-marriage with the help of the powerful caste panchayat to get her back as the second wife of her former brother-in-law Prakash. He is a father of five and is married to her elder sister.

Ms Kamlesh’s case has, in fact, become a matter of prestige for the caste panchayat which has resolved to get her back to her previous in-laws one way or the other.The matter came up before Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday. The court has directed the police to provide security to Ms Kamlesh and her husband and to resolve the matter amicably.
Ms Kamlesh, a resident of village Tudiyana in Karauli, married Bharosi Gujjar of village Langripura in Dausa district about 17 years back. Her second husband, Mr Dharm Singh, is from Padla village in Karauli district. After her former in-laws took the matter to the caste panchayat, it was decided that Ms Kamlesh should come back to the family in Dausa as it has the right to her life.

The lawyer of the couple, who is fighting their case on behalf of an NGO, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Mr Ajay Kumar Jain, said that the caste panchayat had been pressuring Ms Kamlesh to return to her former in-laws. He said that the caste panchayat had even warned that they would kidnap Ms Kamlesh from Mr Dharm Singh’s village if she was not returned. Her former in-laws allegedly kidnapped her brother-in-law in July last year but the police rescued him.The SP, Karauli, Mr Pravin Kumar Pandey said: “We are providing security to the couple and efforts are being made to reach a compromise between both the parties.”

Another police officer said that the matter has remained unresolved for a long time. The caste panchayat that consists of 30 villages has now made it a prestige issue. They want to have Kamlesh back, even if for a day. The offer was not accepted, the officer said.Senior police officers said that since the caste panchayat controls the area, the case can only be resolved by the panchayat. All that the caste panchayat wants is that Kamlesh and her family should admit their mistake, the officer said.