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Police arrest Patwari, 2 others for scripting old lady’s death act

Udaipur : Three men including a Patwari have been arrested by the police for scripting death story and false charges against an innocent person in the 90-year-old woman ‘burnt alive’ case at kalipole village of Salumber tehsil. Ramlal Meena, a patwari posted at Matasula village was the master mind behind the death act of his grandmother, who cooked the story to aid his father Bhera to settle old dispute with Manaram, their neighbor.

On the night of February 14, Bhera had complained to the police that his neighbor Manaram had set his house on fire which burnt alive his old and paralyzed mother Jamudi. The police and the villagers had helped to contain the fire. Some mortal remains and bones were discovered from the house which were alleged to be that of the old lady. However, two days later, the police found Jamudi alive from another village and thus exposed the conspiracy behind the entire episode.

Bhera and his sons had played the ‘ death act’ to avert Mautana demand by Manaram.. “Mana’s son Shankar was killed in a road accident in Dungerpur a year ago and Ratna Meena (one of Bhera’s relative) was with him who escaped the mishap. After the incident, Mana believed that Ratna and Bhera were responsible for Shankar’s death and since then had been claiming death compensation from them” Herambh Joshi, the circle inspector of Salumber police station said. Bhera and his sons were tired of Mana’s nagging for money and thus planned a story to hook him up in false murder charge of the old lady. On Wednesday, Bhera, Ramlal and his cousin Aaviya son of Deva Meena, were sent to judicial custody.

Mautana: is an old tradition prevalent among the tribal communities of South Rajasthan. ‘Mautana’ has been made of two words- ‘Maut’ and ‘Ana’ which means “death money” or money claimed as compensation for an unnatural death. The tradition started among the tribal people with the noble intention of providing relief to the victim’s family when families clashed with each other in the remote areas to gain control over resources. However, over the years, it has turned into a deadly culture with an addition of another custom “ Chadhotra’. If a family is unable to pay Mautana, the victim’s side would simply destroy its property, forcing it to migrate from the village in what is known as chadhotra .

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