Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Mukherjee

Less than a month since President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016, the first case under it was registered in Pune yesterday. The complainant is a 52-year-old driver who has been cast out from his community over three decades back. The Pune police lodged the complaint against the community head.

Umesh Rudrap, a resident of Kondhwa, along with members of the Maharashtra Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), had approached Kondhwa police. Rudrap said, "I belong to the Telugu Mandleshwar community, and had a love marriage with a woman from another caste. After this I was thrown out from my community and was not allowed to attend any religious ceremony in my community, nor was I invited for an event by the community members. Even my children who are of marriageable age, have been 'banned'. I had approached the community head many times and also written letters about the issue, but no heed was taken."

MANS vice president Shreeram Nalawade and member Milind Deshmukh said, "Anti-superstition crusader Dr Narendra Dabholkar initiated the fight against the practice of social boycott. Besides Rudrap, there are around 50 families from the community suffering similarly, but he had the courage to raise his voice."

Sub-Inspector Lokhande said, "We have registered the case based on the new act. We will soon arrest the community head."

Under the law, members of a community or a caste panchayat can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, for casting people out.