Within the next 15 days, the Maharashtra Government will be launching a distress helpline for women in interfaith or inter-caste marriages. Women and Child Development Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha said Wednesday.
“For women who are in distress, and who are in interfaith or inter-caste marriages, can reach this helpline asking for any kind of help that is required, and the government will provide such help immediately,” Lodha said.
The announcement comes a day after the government set up a special committee named “inter-caste/interfaith marriage-family coordination committee (state level)”, to gather detailed information about couples in such marriages, and the maternal families of the women involved if they are no longer living together.
A government resolution to the effect was issued by the women and child development department Tuesday. The committee became operational on Tuesday itself and comprises 12 members other than Lodha, who is its chairperson.
“Usually it is noticed that when women marry intercaste or interfaith, against the wishes of their parents, in some cases they remain in touch with parents, and in some cases the relationship breaks. Parents tell girls ‘you are no longer our daughter’, and daughters say ‘you are no longer my parents. In such cases, we all saw what the outcome can be, as it happened in the case of Shraddha Walkar,” Lodha said, alluding to the murder of Vasai resident Shraddha Walkar in Delhi allegedly by her partner Aaftab Poonawala.
“Eventually, the men they marry and go home with, realize – now my wife has no one to look after her, to care for her, that she is cut off from her family. In Shraddha Walkar’s case, no one in her family knew for six months if she was alive or dead. These events should not happen. We are setting up a helpline for distressed women in such marriages,” Lodha said.