NINE members of the caste panchayat of Kashi Kapdi community have been booked in connection with the alleged superstitious rituals performed after the death of a person from Shukrawar Peth area in Pune.
They also face charges for ostracising and prohibiting the 33-year-old daughter of the deceased from attending the funeral after she opposed the rituals.
An FIR has been registered in this regard by the daughter of the deceased at Yeola Police station in Nashik, as she is a resident of Yeola. The case has now been transferred to Khadak police station for further investigation.
As per the FIR, the father of the complainant died on December 24 after a brief illness. The Kashi Kapdi community has several superstitious rituals that are performed after the death of the person.
The widow of the deceased is bathed by other widows along with the dead body of her husband. Ghee is applied to her head and she is then asked to take off her mangalsutra and bindi. As a practice, then it is enforced that no one sees the face of the widow as she is kept isolated in a dark room for a day.
A police officer from Khadak police station said, “These are superstitious practices that are performed after the death of a person. It is as if the wife of the deceased is responsible for his death. She is treated as carrier of bad omen. The daughter of the deceased opposed these rituals and approached the Caste Panchayat of the community. They said that these rituals were part of the tradition. And the mother and the stepmother of the complainant were forced to undergo the rituals. They were even locked up in a dark room. Further, the community allegedly ostracised and prohibited her from attending the funeral, the complainant said.” Senior inspector Raghunath Jadhav of Khadak police station said, “Nine persons from their Caste Panchayat have been booked under Anti-Superstitious Act. We are yet to make arrests in the case.”
The nine booked have been identified as Sunil Gadekar, Sankar Wadekar, Sharad Bhingare, Narayan Andekar, Deepak Wadekar, Dilip Wardkar, Chandrakant Palkar, Bholanath Watamwar and Mahendra Watamwar.