Maharashtra Sets Up Panel To Collect Data On Inter-Faith Couples

New Delhi: In the wake of Shraddha Walkar murder case, the Maharashtra government has set up a panel to collect information on inter-faith and inter-caste marriage couples, and the families of the women if they are estranged, news agency PTI reported.

A Government Resolution (GR) issued on Tuesday, by the state’s Women and Child Development Department, said the “Intercaste/Interfaith marriage-family coordination committee (state level)” will be headed by state minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha, who said the step has been taken to avoid a ‘repeat’ of a similar case.

“The fact that Walkar’s family was not aware that she had died six months ago is scary…We don’t want to have another Shraddha Walkar and this is the reason why the committee is being set up to ensure women in such marriages are not away from their families,” PTI quoted Lodha as saying.

The panel will be monitoring district-level initiatives for women involved in such marriages and provide any assistance if needed.

  

According to the GR, the committee will be a platform for such women and their families to seek counselling and resolve issues. It added that the panel will have 13 members from government and non-government fields who will study policies of the state and central government regarding welfare schemes and laws.

The panel will also hold regular meetings with district officials and gather information of registered and unregistered inter-faith and inter-caste marriages; marriage that took place in places of worship, and marriages that took place after elopement.

Meanwhile, the opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) called the step “retrograde” and said the Eknath Shinde government has no right to spy on personal life of people.

Senior NCP leader and former state minister Jitendra Awhad tweeted, “What’s this rubbish of committee to check inter-caste/religion marriages? Who is govt to spy on who marries whom? In liberal Maharashtra this a retrograde, nauseating step. Which way is progressive Maharashtra heading towards. Stay away from people’s private life.”

However, Eknath Shinde-led ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ spokesman Krishna Hegde welcomed the step.

“Welcome move by Govt of Maharashtra to set up State level committee to study data of Inter-religion and Inter-caste marriages. Proactive steps taken by the Govt in the right direction,” he tweeted.

Notably, Shraddha was killed allegedly by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala in Delhi in May this year, who chopped her body into 35 pieces and dumped them across the city over several days.

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