Yadava couple face social boycott for marrying from same clan

Sukanya and Arun have been facing social ostracism since their marriage as their community leaders refused to accept their relationship.

Published: 12th February 2022 02:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2022 02:14 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

MANANTHAVADY: Since their marriage in 2012, Sukanya and Arun, natives of Erumatheru near Mananthavady in Wayanad, have been banned from interacting with their relatives or members of their Yadava community. Their families have also been warned of facing social ostracism if they keep in touch with the two.

Sukanya and Arun belong to the Vamma clan of the Yadava community and they fell in love. When the couple expressed their desire to get married, their families initially objected to it. The reason for the objection was the deep-rooted social customs, under which a marriage between two persons from the same clan was not allowed in the community. But Sukanya and Arun didn’t want to end their love affair for the outdated social custom. They got married in a temple away from their home and registered their marriage under the Special Marriage Act in 2012. However, the legality of their relationship was not mattered by the community leaders who refused to accept them.

Sukanya told TNIE, “On the day we got married, one of our relatives called me and informed me that we had been ousted from the community. Nobody, including our family members, was supposed to maintain any contact with us. If they were to do so, they would also have to face the same fate. Since then, no one in the community has had the courage to violate the mandate,”

Even when the couple had a girl child in 2015, families of the two were not allowed to meet them. They had seen their parents walking by them, without exchanging a word. However, the community leaders imposed a boycott on their families too alleging that they had communicated with the couple. Though many efforts had been made to end the boycott, all failed and an official notice, signed by 10 community leaders, was circulated to community members in 2016. As per the notice, the couple is 'kuladrohikal' (traitors) and they should be isolated.

Sukanya said they were not the only couple to face the boycott owing to the love marriage or violating the customs of the community. "In Mananthavady alone, a dozen couples have faced the same fate in the past few years. Similarly, over 20 families have been ousted by the community leaders owing to the love marriage of their members in Kozhikode. However, most of them have not come forward to move legally to end the outdated customs,” she added.

Sixty-one-year-old Mahendran and wife Kusumam residing in the same village in Mananthavady are other victims of the custom. The elderly couple has been ousted from the community for supporting the love marriage of their youngest son in 2013. Mahendran said, "Even our close relatives living close by do not interact with us. Our grandchild has no idea about our relatives as they have no contact with us,” he added.

Sanjay K, a native of Mankavu in Kozhikode who is also facing a social boycott by the community after his love marriage, said no written notice has been issued against me. But community leaders have instructed all members to boycott me. "An unwritten social boycott exists against me and my family. People have stopped talking to us. Nobody now visits our home or invites us for any functions,” he said.

He added that a complaint has been lodged with the State Human Rights Commission in this regard seeking its intervention.

He also confirmed that around 20 families in Kozhikode have been ousted from the community for the same reason in the past few years. “Now, some of them are planning to move legally against the injustice," he added.

T Mani, former president of Yadava Seva Samithi, said the community has been following the path shown by their ancestors. The community has its own customs, he added.

However, he denied imposing any boycott on the couple. "Social boycott against a community member is not acceptable,” he added.

Sukanya and Arun started their legal fight in 2017 by sending an email to the prime minister's office seeking help through the PM's mobile application. A few days later, the complaint was forwarded to the chief minister’s office and the social justice department. A report was sought within 30 days from the Government of Kerala.

When repeated efforts to end their ostracism failed, the couple lodged a complaint with the State Human Right Commission too.

Meanwhile, Kerala State Human Rights Commission member K Byjunath said the complaints filed in this regard are under consideration. "We have received one petition each from Wayanad and Kozhikode and the respective RDOs have been asked to submit reports in these cases. After getting the reports, we will take further action," he said.

"As per the preliminary assessment, it is a serious matter. If such a social boycott exists, it is a violation of the human rights and should be addressed seriously,” he added

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