A 55-year-old woman was forced to beg for money and was socially ostracised for seven days for killing a calf by mistake on 31 August at a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind, reported NDTV.
The money she collected will be used to take a dip in the Ganges to wash off her ‘crime’.
Kamlesh, a resident of Matadin village, was trying to pull away a calf from its mother when the rope got entangled in its neck, and the animal was strangled.
The local panchayat then ordered her to beg in the nearby villages for seven days as a mark of penance. She was not allowed to enter her village and was told that if she doesn’t do as directed she would face social boycott for her entire life.
Nobody in the village raised their voice for fear of being singled out and facing the wrath of the panchayat.
Anil Shrivas, son of Kamlesh, said that his mother was staying with a relative in a nearby village and was begging for money as she was told. This everyday exercise made her sick and was admitted to the hospital. Kamlesh was released from the hospital on 4 September.
However, the Panchayat chief reportedly said that no one had forced her to beg. Kamlesh herself had decided to do penance after the deed.
Speaking to NDTV, Anil Singh Kushwaha, an officer of the local police said, “We have not received a complaint. If any complaint comes, we will take action.”
These are not stray incidents. In July, a villager from Tikramgarh was made to take a dip in the Ganges after he had killed a cow who destroyed his fields in a fit to rage. He was also made to arrange a feast for the villagers, as a part of the penance.
Again, a Panchayat in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district has allegedly ordered the marriage of a 5-year-old girl to an 8-year-old boy because the girl’s father had hit a calf with a stone while it was grazing in his field, resulting in its death.
It might be interesting to note that the sentence for killing a cow is five, seven or 14 years in different states, but the sentence for causing the death of a human being by rash or negligent driving is only two years.
When an animal, though given the status of an endeared deity, is respected more than human life itself, we, as people, have failed. It is never right to hurt or kill an animal, but should the punishment for deed go to the extent that it takes a toll on the health and the lives of humans?
The Logical Indian community condemns the entire episode and sincerely hopes that similar incidents do not occur again.