A dispute over a penalty of Rs 300, incurred more than six decades ago, continues to take its toll on the fourth generation of two families in a Sabarkantha village.
The dispute dates to the 1960s when Harkha Rathod, a Dungari Bheel from Temba village in Poshina taluka, fought with fellow tribesman Jetha Rathod. A community court ruled that Harkha must pay Rs 300 to Jetha’s family.
Claiming the money had not been paid, Jetha’s family members attacked Harkha’s family members and vice versa. The court kept penalizing them, and they continued to remain in each other’s debt.
During Diwali last year, a community ‘panch’ of the Dungari Bheel (a tribe that lives in the mountains) revealed that Harkha’s family had accrued debt of Rs 25,000 in penalty. Since the money remained unpaid, Jetha’s two sons attacked Harkha’s grandson, Vinod, his wife, Champa, and their son, Kanti, in the first week of January.
The dispute between Harkha and Jetha’s families reached the police in January, nearly two months after the last incident of violence took place as it had turned into a medico-legal case.