Govt should spread awareness on social boycott law: MANS

Saturday, 23 February 2019

The law disallows social boycott in the name of caste, community, religion, rituals or customs.

PUNE: Members of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) have demanded that the government should take stern action against Jaat Panchayats and communities practising virginity test in their communities. While addressing the press conference at Patrakar Bhavan on Friday, the members said that the State government should organise awareness campaign on the Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016 as members of several Jaat Panchayats continue to trouble their community members by imposing several illegal customs and rituals on members.

Speaking about the cases of social boycott in the State and Pune district, Avinash Patil, State Head of MANS said that 40 such cases have been registered in the State and eight of which are in Pune. “While no such case have reached till the conviction stage, the hearings in such cases are in progress. Pune has the largest number of cases in the State,” added Patil.

MANS members said that there is massive need of awareness among police officials, lawyers, caste panchayats and people so that people are not harassed through different customs like the virginity test. The continuous fight of MANS against such caste panchayats has led to the dissolution of 13 such panchayats across the State. 

Speaking on challenges of collection of evidence in such cases of social boycott, Patil said that there are provisions of circumstantial evidences in such cases and police should rely on those. “Many a times, it is observed that police demand the complainant to submit the evidence which should not be the case,” added Patil.

The members said that they will organise a State level awareness camp about the law so that caste panchayats are aware that action can be taken against them in case they break the law. 

Advocate Manisha Mahajan said that MANS members are receiving requests from Karnataka seeking guidance to implement the law in Karnataka and hence, MANS has decided to approach the Centre to implement the law across the country as caste panchayats are present across the country. The law disallows social boycott in the name of caste, community, religion, rituals or customs. If any individual or group tries to prevent or obstruct another member or group from observing any social or religions custom or usage or ceremony, or from taking part in a social, religious or community function, assembly, congregation, meeting or procession, the act amounts to social boycott.

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