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Posted at: Jul 13, 2018, 1:22 AM; last updated: Jul 13, 2018, 1:22 AM (IST)

5-yr-old barred from home, ostracised

Punished for stepping on bird’s egg; sarpanch among seven villagers booked
5-yr-old barred from home, ostracised
Chairperson of the Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Right Manan Chaturvedi with the rescued child.

Yash Goyal

Jaipur, July 12

In a shocking incident, the gram panchayat of Haripura in Bundi district barred a five-year-old girl from entering her house for 11 days, treating her as “untouchable”, only because she inadvertently crushed a bird’s egg on her first day in school (July 2). The State Human Rights Commission has taken cognisance of the matter.

The girl was in a queue for a glass of milk when she accidentally stepped on a bird’s egg. This led to rumours that there would be no rains in the area as the embryo of the red-wattled lapwing, considered a ‘messenger of rains’, had been destroyed. A panicky village head, Mangi Lal Meghwal, announced that the child, who belonged to the Raigar caste (SC), had committed a sin, and that penance was a must.

The girl was confined to a cot outside her house under the scorching heat for killing the “rain messenger”, said Manan Chaturvedi, chairperson of the Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Right, who visited the family on Thursday. “The child’s pregnant mother would serve her food from a distance as she was barred from touching her,” she said.

A video of the ‘punished’ child went viral and district officials led by the Hindoli tehsildar rushed to the village, 30 km from Bundi. They rescued the girl and united her with her father, who is a labourer. But the girl was allowed to enter her house only after a ritualistic bath and a visit to the village temple.

An FIR was registered against seven persons, including the village sarpanch, under Sections 384, 508, and 120-B of the IPC, the Juvenile Justice Act and the Untouchability (Offences) Act on Chaturvedi’s orders.

“The sarpanch and panches asked the girl’s father to serve them liquor and snacks in lieu of his daughter’s ‘freedom’ , which he did. Despite that the child was not set free. Later, they demanded that he paid back a loan of Rs 1,500,” said Chaturvedi, who paid the money herself.

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