JAIPUR: In a shocking incident of blind faith, a minor girl was banned from entering her house for 11 days by village heads ( Panchs ) in Bundi district of Rajasthan for stepping on the eggs laid by sandpiper bird, which is believed to be the "messenger of rain."
This incident happened on the auspicious day when Rajasthan government launched Annapurna milk scheme under mid-day meal for 62 laks students studying in government schools on 2 July. The girl, while standing in the queue to get milk in her school that day had accidentally stepped on the eggs laid by sandpiper bird, locally known as Titahari. Upset about the girl's act, the village heads announced that she has committed a sin and banned her from entering her house as an act of penance and purification.
"The parents were ordered not to allow the child to enter the house and she was forced to stay outside, in front of her house," sources said.
In the evening, the father created a ruckus under the influence of alcohol and protested against the decision of the Panchs. As a result the Panchs extended the punishment for 11 days.
When the district administration and police came to know about the matter, the local tehsildar Bhawana Singh and SHO Laxman Singh reached the village and found the girl sitting on the charpoy outside the house.
"The family narrated the whole incident and how she was not allowed to enter the house for 11 days, how she was given food outside and was allowed to attend the school," said Bhawna Singh. The Panchs were told that this was against the law to issue such punishment and they agreed to revoke the punishment.
But the girl was allowed to enter the house only after several rituals and her purification followed by temple visit. Not only was the girl banned from entering her house, the father of the child, Hukumchand, was also instructed to serve snacks and a bottle of English liquor for the Panchs and was told to serve grass for cows, flour for fishes and millets for pigeons as punishment.
"It is unfortunate that the girl was made to suffer for 10 days, the village people should have sorted out this matter at their level. When we came to know about the incident we sent our officials to take action," said Mahesh Chandra Sharma, Collector Bundi.
Taking cognizance of the matter the state Human Rights Commission and the state Women's Commission have sought detailed reports from the district administration and Police. "The police have not taken any action against village heads. The matter is under investigation," said SHO Laxman Singh.