Karnataka: Father Tied To A Tree And Beaten For Helping Son Elope With Woman Of Other Religion

The Logical Indian Crew

June 29th, 2017

Dalit Beaten Tree

Courtesy: Hindustan Times | Image Credit: Hindustan Times, Deccan Herald

A Dalit farm worker was brutally beaten up while tied to a tree in Halagundakanala village in Karnataka’s Vijayapura district on Tuesday.

The attack stemmed from suspicions that the 52-year-old farm worker, Mareppa Harijan, helped his son, 22, eloped with a Muslim girl from the village. Mareppa’s youngest son claims that his brother was in love with a girl from Neeralagi village, who they police are trying to verify

The farm worker alleged in his complaint to the police that the girl’s father and relatives assaulted him and did not spare his younger son when he tried to stop them. He also suffered multiple injuries and was admitted to the district government hospital, reports Hindustan Times.

Mareppa’s son, Ningappa, had left home a month ago, while the daughter of Mebhoobsab went missing a fortnight ago. This had led Mebhoobsab to believe that Ningappa has eloped with his daughter. Mereppa’s other son, Allabaksha, was also beaten up by the girl’s family members when he came to the rescue.

“The attack happened because the girl belonged to the Muslim community and had eloped with a Dalit man,” said the office of the Additional Superintendent of Police, Vijayapura district to The Logical Indian.

The accused, girl’s father and relatives, were booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and Section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code, said additional superintendent of Vijayapura, Shivakumar Gunari, as per Hindustan Times.

“The girl’s father is yet to be arrested but almost all the other accused have been held. The boy and the girl have been missing for more than 20 days. The girl’s family has not lodged any case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, which they could,” Gunari added.

As per Deccan Herald, members of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti held a protest in front of the mini Vidhana Soudha in the district against the attack.

This is the second incident this month when family members turned violent while objecting to a couple from different religions eloping together. On June 3, a 21-year old pregnant Muslim woman was burnt alive in an insipid village of Karnataka’s Bijapur district for marrying a Dalit man.

The Logical Indian take

The objection against people falling in love with someone from a different caste or religion stems from the prevalence of patriarchy and discrimination in the society.

These crimes, mostly prevalent in the rural parts of India, are sparked by couples eloping or marrying without their parents’ consent. A section of the Indian society does not view marriage as a commitment between two individuals, but as a contract to uphold the societal status of families. Here, the Dalit man was deemed unfit for marrying into the Muslim family. Even today, there is a massive prejudice against Dalits, who are sometimes considered ‘untouchables’

As the onus of upholding the family status falls upon the children, it is they who “pollute the sanctity of the caste system/religion” by marrying someone their parents did not approve of. But in extreme cases, the family members turn violent just to protect their ‘dignity’ and resort to brutal violence.

The Logical Indian strongly condemns the attack on Mareppa Harijan and his sons. It is disheartening to see that such instances still prevail in 2017. The only solution that remains with us, as a society, is to educate and spread awareness from the grassroot level about the evils of discrimination on the basis of caste and religion. We hope that Mareppa’s perpetrators are rightly punished and he gets the justice he deserves.

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