Ahmednagar Police have arrested three persons including the maternal grandmother of the 13-year-old girl after it came to light that the young girl ‘married to deity Lord Khandoba’ had delivered a baby two months ago. When she was two years old, the grandmother had devoted the victim to the Lord Khandoba as a murali and used to perform at religions events at the temples and households. Police are yet to arrest the ‘rapist’.
Police has registered offenses against the three arrested suspects under various acts including Protection of Children from Sexual Abuses, Indian Penal Code 376 (2) rape, Prevention of Dedication (Devdasi) among other relevant sections. A fourth accused who’s yet to be arrested is learn to have “raped” the minor girl.
The incident has happened in village Sugao in Akole taluka of Ahmednagar district. Police have recorded the statement of the rescued girl who has been has sent her to a rescue-home.
The girl delivered the baby girl in October this year. She was staying secretly with the baby away from the village -apparently on her grandma’s advise -on a hill in a shanty so as not to attract attention. The incident came to light after locals noticed the girl and the daughter after she returned to her grandmother’s house with a two month old baby.
As per this ‘tradition’ in Maharashtra, childless couples prey to deity Lord Khandoba for a child promising that if they are ‘blessed’ with children the first child will be devoted to his worship. The child is given away and is devoted to performing ritual called Jagran in temples and households. A boy devoted to Khandoba is called Waghya while a girl is termed Murali.
According to M B Patil, Police Inspector, Akole Police Station the 60-year-old grandmother was responsible for dedicating the girl to Lord Khandoba at the age of two. Later two other accused namely Rajendra Chavan, (45) and Suman Jadhav (40) both residents of Akole – who acted as godfather and godmother of the victim – conducted the marriage ceremony of the girl with absconding suspect Gautam Pawar who is leartn to have ‘raped’ the girl.