Ostracised for inter caste marriage

Bolangir: Nora Mahakur, daughter of Balgopal Mahakur hails from village Ketenpalli which is not too far from Bolangir town. She fell in love with Ashish from the same village. When they decided to marry the duo faced stiff opposition from the villagers. For the bride and the groom belonged to different castes. The village panchayat opposed their marriage tooth and nail.

Finally, the marriage of Nora with Ashish was solemnised in the Bolangir Sadar police station. But the problem of Balgopal and his family did not end there. In fact it was the beginning. The village panchayat jointly decided to outcaste Balgopal and he faced ostracisation. Balgopal had to mingle in the village and he agreed to pay fines for his daughter`s fault. Poor Balgopal borrowed Rs 10,000 and paid the fine and also had to arrange a feast for the entire village.

But poor Balgopal. The village elders were still not satisfied with him despite paying the fines and giving the feast. One day the elders decided that Balgopla`s head should shaved and he should be taken on rounds in the village. And they did that. A barber was called in and Balgopal`s head was shaved.

The humiliation was too much for Balgopal and his family to continue in the village. The entire family now has taken shelter in village Gandhel located on the outskirts of Bolangir town. Human rights activist Bhabani Shankar Satpathy says,"The police must intervene in the matter and punish all those responsible for the sorry state of Balgopla and his family." He asks," After all in which age we are living?"

But the police which had solemnised the marriage of Nora with Ashish say that they have not received any complaints and cannot take any action. "We can take action only after receiving written complaints," says Deepak Kumar Jena, inspector in-charge of Sadar police station. But can Balgopal write complaints against the village elders who are the most powerful elements in his native village and still continue to stay in Kutenpalli. After all the police cannot ensure security of Balgopal and his family.