Exactly a month ago, her son left their village home saying he had found a job in Pune. After that she never heard from him. The only thing this 45-year-old Dalit woman heard was taunts and blame from villagers who said her son had eloped with a girl from an upper caste family in the village.
Things went out of hand on Monday
, when she was tied to a tree, stripped and beaten up by fellow villagers in Moolgaon village in Patan taluka of Satara
— Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan
’s home district.
Lying listlessly in Ward No 9 of Krishna
Medical hospital in Karad
, the woman broke down at the mention of her only son. “Why did I have to see this day?’’ she said on Thursday, surrounded by Dalit
Mahasangh activists who have taken up her cause.
For the three days that she has been in the hospital, she has not had a single visitor from her village. She recalled how the neighbours would blame her and threaten her for what her son did. She said on Monday the threats turned real when the girl’s family and other villagers hit her and dragged her across the village. This followed a spat near the village well with the girl’s parents.
“For three hours I was beaten up till one of them said that if they did not stop I would die. I had to drag myself to a rickshaw after I was freed to approach the local police station
,” she said.
Five persons from the village were arrested in this connection. On Thursday, a court sent them to police custody for two more days. They have been booked under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
“I have been staying in the village for the last 22 years after my marriage. I lost my husband very early in life and I have been doing all odd jobs to raise my two children. My daughter is married and settled and my son, who has studied till Class X, has been trained in driving. I run a small grocery shop from my own house,” she said.“On December 12, my son left the house saying that he had a job in Pune
. I even packed his tiffin. Since then, I have not heard from him,” she said.
She said she did not know anything about her son eloping or his reported affair with the upper caste girl.
Although there were allegations that the Patan police station
was initially hesitant about registering her complaint, Superintendent of Police K M M Prasanna told The Indian Express
that the police extended full cooperation. “She is admitted to the hospital and we are ensuring that there is peace in the village,” he said.
The villagers are tightlipped about the entire incident.
Despite everything, the woman said after discharge from hospital she wanted to go back to her own village. “I will not be treated well, but I can’t live in fear elsewhere. I would rather die in this village itself,” she said.