In keeping with the ancient custom of chadoturu, comes this story from Demti-Kadha village in Poshina taluka of Sabarkantha district.
Under this practice, any unnatural death warrants a price from the deliberate or accidental perpetrator. This tradition is still observed largely among tribes in north Gujarat and Eastern Rajasthan.
Lalit Parmar sold his two wheeler to fellow Sabarkantha resident Shankar Parmar for Rs 15,000. A few days later, Shankar met with an accident while riding the motorcycle and died. The latter’s family blamed Lalit for the bad luck and demanded Rs 5 lakhs as “blood money” or chadoturu. When Lalit refused, five members of the bereaved family attacked Lalit and his kins. Shankar’s wife was left at Lalit’s door stating that “she is now Lalit’s responsibility till the blood money is paid.”
The ironical note is that the entire episode was brought to the notice of the panch, an informal self-governing body of elders belonging to the Dungari-Bhil tribe. The counsel declared the incident “a murder” and slapped the blood money as penalty on Lalit.
However, Lalit and his father stuck to their stand stating that some were “sensing opportunity in the misfortune.” On Saturday, a mob comprising Shankar’s family and also two village elders, vandalised Lalit’s house while attacking them with sticks and swords.
Beaten and isolated, Lalit’s family finally approached the Kheroj PS. An FIR was lodged and on its basis, five members of the rioting group were arrested. “This is clearly a case of blood money. However, the matter will have to be resolved according to the rule of law,” briefed inspector Jignesh Rathwa.