"My daughter came to the village but was sent back"
A Karnataka-based couple are bearing the brunt of having an intercaste marriage, with villagers shunning them and their newborn.
The incident has prompted government intervention, with officials hoping to convince the villagers to be more accommodating towards the couple, who have speech and hearing impairments.
Savithramma is originally from Karnataka’s Chitradurga district.
After finishing her diploma, she began working at a private firm in Bengaluru as a data entry operator.
At work, Savithramma met Manikantha. The pair fell in love and decided to get married.
Her mother Gowramma said: “She did not inform us. The two married at the sub-registrar’s office on April 7, 2021.
“We were angry, but also happy for her.”
The couple earned Rs. 14,000 (£138) between them.
The intercaste couple were unaware of the repercussions back in Savithramma’s village but her family was already facing backlash.
Her younger sister, who is married within her own caste, was shunned by the village.
The village leaders then offered a solution, asking Gowramma to pay Rs. 50,000 (£490) to allow her younger daughter to re-enter the village.
She then sold her sheep and paid Rs. 30,000 (£295).
On September 26, 2023, Savithramma returned to the village with her husband, only to find out that they were not welcome.
Gowramma explained: “We are from the Jogi community and our son-in-law from the Reddy community.
“My daughter came to the village but was sent back as villagers had boycotted them.”
Savithramma then went to her former school and explained her ordeal to the teachers.
Gowramma continued: “With the help of teachers, the couple went to Santwana Kendra, a shelter for destitute women.
“Manikantha, who cannot stay there, is living with one of our relatives in Challakere.”
“I cannot see my daughter suffering like this. No parent should go through this trauma.”
The district administration soon found out and Rehan Pasha visited the couple.
He said: “The mother and child are being taken care of at a Swadhar Greh.
“We will visit the village with other department officials on Saturday and take appropriate action.”
Chitradurga deputy commissioner Divya Prabhu said the district administration is taking all necessary steps to help the intercaste couple.
“Officials have visited the village and held meetings with Jogi community leaders and other residents.”
“They have been able to convince them and the couple will go back and live peacefully. We will do whatever it takes to instil confidence in the couple.”
Bharathi Banakar, Deputy Director of the Women and Child Development Department, said:
“We used the help of staff who understand sign language.
“She told me she was having a stomach ache and was shifted to a hospital, where doctors said she was under stress. She will be discharged soon.”