A man in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh got his five-year-old daughter engaged to a minor boy four months ago to honour a condition imposed by a tribal panchayat as retribution for killing a calf, officials said. The two families were set to marry the minors, as ordered by the panchayat, before the district administration made the fathers of the minors and two panchayat members sign a Rs 20,000 bond, whose violation will land them in jail. The officials also warned villagers of dire consequences if they continued to ostracise the family.
“The marriage would have taken place had the girl’s mother, Pushpa, not approached us,’’ Additional District Magistrate Niyaz Ahmed Khan said. Jagdish Banjara, a resident of Tarpur village in Aaron block of Guna district, had reportedly killed a calf by throwing a stone when he was trying to drive away cattle from his fields.
When villagers came to know of the incident four months ago, they made Jagdish take a bath in the Ganga, visit temples and offer a feast to the community, Khan said. However, the community continued to ostracise the family saying no one would marry their daughter to any boy from the village unless Jagdish completes his punishment, Khan said.
Jagdish was then asked to marry off his daughter to a boy in Vidisha district, claiming it to be a precondition for other marriages to follow. Anganwadi members in the village and the police have been asked to keep a watch on the family. The panchayat has been warned that they will be prosecuted if the family is harassed.