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Khap ' lesson' for a defiant teacher.

A KHAP panchayat of the Meena community ( a scheduled tribe) in Rajasthan has ordered the abduction of a schoolteacher because she has refused to accept the man she was married off to as a child.

The panchayat ordered 25- year- old Santara Meena's abduction after she refused to accept her marriage solemnised around 12 years ago to an alleged ruffian. Santara, who has a Masters in Hindi literature, said her husband, a non- matriculate, is also unemployed.

" I am a gazetted officer, why should I accept to live with an uneducated and uncultured man to whom I was married when I didn't know the meaning of marriage. My parents support my decision," she said on Tuesday.

Immediately after the order, the panchayat members confiscated the house of Santara's parents.

Her husband Dinesh and in- laws locked her in a room of the house in Pyariwas village, around 15 km from the district headquarters of Dausa, last Saturday to take her away forcibly.

Santara, who has always scored a first division, managed to escape around 2.30 am. She walked 3 km before taking a bus for Jaipur, 60 km from Dausa.

There, she got in touch with senior advocate Hemraj Gaur for assistance.

Her scared father, labourer Ram Prasad Meena, also fled with his family when he came to know about her disappearance.

For the next two days, Gaur sent representations to chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the district collector and the SP seeking police protection, but failed to yield any results.

On Monday, when Santara accompanied by her counsel went to meet Dausa collector R. S. Jakhar they were asked to wait outside. As the collector didn't bother to meet them, the two got in touch with SP S. N. Khinchi.

Khinchi instructed the SHO of Nangal Rajawatan police station Laxmi Kant Sharma, under whose jurisdiction Pyariwas falls, to register an FIR and provide her protection.

But the SP's subordinates advised Santara and her counsel to leave the premises immediately.

On Tuesday, the SHO said he had filed FIRs against Santara's husband and in- laws under various sections of the IPC. He also moved an application before the court of the assistant district magistrate for issuing restraining order against the accused for maintaining public peace, he added.

According to villagers, the panchayat has constituted a group of over 50 armed members who are looking for Santara to capture her " dead or alive", Gaur said.

But Santara, though scared, is determined not to succumb to pressure.

The panchayat's diktat came two days after she appeared for the preliminary examination for the Rajasthan Administrative Services ( RAS), conducted by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission.

She had been appointed a lecturer in the Government Senior Secondary School of Kherli in Alwar district in 2011after passing the national eligibility test ( NET) for lecturers in the first attempt.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jun 20, 2012
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