In a shocking incident that has no place coming at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, by which point one would have expected that the social ills brought by caste would have long faded into the confines of history, a case of honour killing driven by rigid pride in one's upper caste birth has come to light in Maharashtra.
This case is from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar. Mangesh and Rukmini, residents of the same village in the district, had fallen for each other and sought to marry but the girl’s family was against this relationship because Mangesh belongs to ‘Lohar’ caste whereas the girl Rukmini was from the 'Passi' caste. Mangesh tried hard to convince the girl’s family but to no avail, and so six months ago the couple ran away from their respective homes and tied the knot in a private ceremony.
The pair lived together as a married couple since then till the end of April when Rukmini, then expecting, was called home by her mother to attend a puja. After returning to her parents' home on April 30, at night, when Rukmini tried to return to Mangesh, her father refused to allow her to step out. Her father and other relatives then badly beat her and locked her in a room. Frightened, Rukmini called her husband and sought help from him. The next day, when Mangesh came to Rukmini's mother's home to take her with him, family members of Rukmini mercilessly beat him as well. When Rukmini tried to rescue him, her father and uncle allegedly poured petrol on them and set them ablaze, locking the door from outside and running away. Neighbours gathered outside the house hearing Rukmini and Mangesh's screams and somehow managed to open the door and take them to the hospital.
Both Mangesh and Rukmini sustained serious burn injuries. During treatment, Rukmini succumbed on the night of May 5. However, before she passed, Rukmini had given her statement to the police. In her statement, Rukmini told the police that her father had told her that he will never allow her to live in peace. In the six months following their marriage, her father had allegedly threatened them with dire consequences on numerous occasions.
Rukmini’s husband Mangesh is critical & is undergoing treatment in Pune’s Sassoon hospital. Till now, the police has arrested 2 accused persons in the case. The father of the deceased girl is absconding.