Bundi (Rajasthan): July 2 was the first day in school for Khushbu of Haripura village in the district. It was also the first day of a state government scheme under which milk was to be provided to school students.
Khushbu was waiting in a queue for milk when she inadvertently hit the nest of a Tithari (sandpiper) and crushed an egg of the bird. And all hell broke lose.
The caste Panchayat held a meeting and ruled that the little girl was guilty of killing a living being. As a punishment, the Panchayat decreed, she would be subjected to social boycott. The family of the girl, following the diktat of the Panchayat, confined her to a tin shed outside the house. She lived there for 10 days in searing heat. Her mother was not allowed to touch her and she was served water and food from a distance.
Collector makes the Panchas see reason
When the district collector Maheshchandra Sharma came to know of it, pressure was brought to bear upon the Panchas for withdrawing the ‘punishment’, which they did reluctantly. Now, the State Human Rights Commission has sought a report from the collector and SP on the issue.
The villagers should have dealt with the issue on their own. When the matter came to our knowledge, the tehsildar and the local police station in-charge were directed to get it resolved.
Girl’s father also punished
Besides ostracising the girl, her father was also punished by the panchayat. He was asked to feed cows, pigeons and fish and gift a bottle of salted snacks and a bottle of IMFL to the panchayat. He was also ordered to immediately pay back a loan of Rs 1,500 he had taken from a Pancha.