PUNE BECAME the first city in the state to implement the Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act that was passed by the state legislature in April 2016 and came into force from July 13, 2017.
The first case under the Act was registered with the Pune City Police, in which persons belonging to the Telgu Madelwar Parit community in Pune filed a complaint against 17 members of their caste panchayat, at the Kondhwa police station on July 17. The complainant, Umesh Chandrakant Rudrap (now 51), then residing in Pune Camp area, had married Manju, a Buddhist girl who lived in the neighbourhood, on January 25, 1990.
But, the couple was soon socially boycotted by the caste panchayat of Telgu Madelwar Parit Community. Since then, the couple said, they had been struggling to find a place of respect for themselves in their own community. So, after the state passed the bill against social boycott, the couple lodged an FIR against the caste panchayat members, with the help of activists of the Maharashtra Andhashradda Nirmulan Samiti (ANIS). Later, the court granted the suspects booked in the case on bail.
The second case, too, was lodged with the Pune City Police. Rambhau Lokhande, a 70-year-old retired employee of the High Explosive Factory in Khadki, lodged a complaint under the Act after his family and families of his brothers were allegedly boycotted by the caste panchayat of Vaidu community for opposing its diktats.
In his FIR, lodged at Khadki police station on July 18, Rambhau had named 25 members of the caste panchayat.
Later, offences were registered under the Act at different places across the state. Hamidul Hasan Mohammed Sayyad (35), a Shia Muslim from Sayyadwada in Junnar taluka of Pune district, had lodged an offence with the Pune Rural Police against the Shia community panchayat on October 23.
According to ANIS, this was the first case lodged against a Muslim community panchayat under the anti-social boycott bill. Hamidul had alleged that the panchayat members socially boycotted him on May 10, 2016 after falsely blaming him for not submitting the accounts details of the Shia Madarsa Trust, where he worked as a helper. Meanwhile, the panchayat members, too, filed a cross-complaint against Hamidul for causing alleged financial misappropriation worth Rs 46 lakh.