Woman, family ostracised for moving court

Woman, family ostracised for moving court

The village panchayat at Kelahalli in Jayapura hobli has allegedly ostracised the family of a woman who defied its diktat and approached courts to settle property disputes with her brother.

The victims, Devamma and her son Mahesh staged a protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office and also submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah here on Monday. Mahesh said that Devamma had approached a civil court, seeking equal share in 10 acres of their ancestral land after her brother staked claim on seven acres. As per the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, sons and daughters have equal share in ancestral property.

The village panchayat had convened a meeting between Devamma and her brother to settle the matter out of the court. The panchayat head directed Devamma to withdraw the case, which she refused, said Mahesh.

Irked over her defiance, the panchayat head decided to ostracise the family, stating that a woman approaching court would set a “wrong precedent” for other women in society. Mahesh and Devamma had come to the city, carrying household items such as mattress and stove and seeking intervention of the authorities.

He said that on December 14, 2012, the panchayat head did not allow them to offer puja to the village deity, following which they had lodged a complaint against him in the Jayapura police station. In another incident on April 5, 2013, the village leader allegedly threw the family out of the temple. When a complaint was filed with the tashildar, he asked them to bring witnesses. But nobody came forward to testify, he said, seeking action from the district adminstration.

Dalits boycotted

In a similar case, nine dalit families have allegedly been facing social boycott from ‘upper caste’ families in Banavara village of Chikmagalur taluk.

The families are said to have been prohibited from washing clothes in public place, collecting water from public taps and participating in festivals. A land dispute is said to be the reason for the boycott.