A minor Dalit girl from Bannirsarige in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka was forced to leave the village by her family and local people for falling in love with a boy from a different caste and, in their view, bringing “ignominy” to the community.

Suma (name changed), 17, and pregnant, was left to fend for herself after her father and other family members threatened to commit suicide if she did not leave the house.

She was lured into a relationship by the boy from an adjoining village at a construction site where they worked. He had won Suma’s confidence after promising to marry her. He did not tell her that he was already married. He is now absconding.

Suma’s ordeal began after her mother’s death when she was sent to her aunt’s place in Maadigara bedi in Kollegal by her father, Dasaiah. But her aunt, on learning of Suma’s pregnancy, sent her away.

Suma then went to the government hospital in Kollegal. The doctors, who learnt of Suma’s predicament, sent her to Odanadi Seva Samsthe, an NGO working for the rehabilitation of women and prevention of child trafficking, in Mysore, for assistance on Sunday.

Speaking to The Hindu, Parashurama of Odanadi and a member of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) said the girl was emaciated, anaemic and could hardly speak, but she narrated the sequence of events. “I sat with her for some time to elicit information, but the girl, being asthmatic, was gasping for breath and unable to walk.” Suma was being treated for asthma and a certificate issued by doctors at the Kollegal hospital confirmed her pregnancy.

Lochana of the CWC in Chamarajanagar said there were conflicting reports about Suma’s banishment, and CWC staff had been sent to Bannisarige village for a probe.

Mr. Parashurama said the Chamarajanagar Rural police did not take any action as there was no case or complaint filed. But Deputy Superintendent of Police Mahadevaiah has promised to initiate action, if a complaint is filed.

Odanadi will file a complaint seeking action against the boy. “However, the larger issue of convincing the local people and her family to accept Suma will be challenging because of their misplaced sense of honour,” said Mr. Parashurama. Till then the girl will be sheltered by Odanadi with the authorisation of the CWC, he added.

(With inputs from V. Paneesha in Chamarajanagar)