Kamla is ashamed of her existence. First, she shouted maaf karo, maaf karo. Forgive me, Forgive me, Then she shouted Bachao, bacaho. Save me, Save me. Later her voice got lost in a din of gleeful men tearing her clothes and slapping her.
Of course, Kamla is not her real name. Her community insists that not only Kamla, but her entire Vaadi community is also ashamed of Kamla.
This is not a cave age story. It is a modern-day love story from Gujarat. Only that it is not a fairy tale.
Kamla dared to fall in love. She dared to confess her love first to her mother and then her father. Both got furious and warned her that she was committing a big crime that will be punished. She will rot in hell, they told her.
So around Diwali, Kamla decided to run away with her lover.
Like all lovers, Kamla and her beau were both young adults, foolishly in love.
A clan of Vaadi men hunted the couple. Vadis are generally denotified tribes. Sometimes they work as snake charmers. Otherwise, they find casual labour. Times are tough these days during the Covid era. But that does not mean, you can fall in love with an outsider.
First of all, Kamla was paraded in the Vaadi Vasahat, their residential colony. Everyone in the community was asked to see the face of the “bitch” who dared to run away with a man.
Everyone in the colony left their tasks and joined the procession. Men cracked vulgar jokes pulling her clothes. Then Kamla’s father was made to sit down. Kamla was made to sit on his lap. Everyone got turns. Kamala’s head was tonsured. Multiple scissors and blades were used. Then the women were called with tavadi, the earthen pan on which chapatis are made. The women were told to heat these pans. Two pans were soon brought in from the choolahs. The men again took turns and burnt Kamla’s face with the back of the heated pan. Further orders were given. Burning coal from the choolahs were summoned in a vessel.
The crowd cheered and took turns. They put a gunny bag first on Kamla and then took turns to burn her with the flashy red burning coal. She was made to get up and walk as they kept branding her all over the body, including the face. Kamla kept crying but her screams are not heard in the video Vibes of India has. Because excited stupid men were celebrating and shouting some slogans.
After all this, Kamla was again paraded. As a warning. As a message to all Vaadis.
Around 6.00 pm, Vibes of India called up Harij police but they said they were not aware of the issue. Later, Vibes of India called up Patan police chief Akshayraj Makwana.
The police surprisingly went to the Vaadi vasahat today only. We cannot blame the police as such because the Vaadis are a very conservative community and ensure to keep things to themselves. However, Akshay , the police chief himself rushed to the spot. Sadly both the girl and the boy she eloped with are adults and have the constitutional right to marry.
However, a Vaadi community man told this correspondent, “we believe in our Vaadi constitution only. And this is not allowed”.
This reads like a scary devilish tale but to add, Kamla has already been declared a bitch and a witch in her community.
Vaadi is in Harij taluka of Patan district in Gujarat. Over 40 Vaadi males enjoyed this vulgar show of patriarchy along with a handful of women.
The girl’s parents and family were a part of the torture process. They told VOI representative: “We believe in our Vaadi community Constitution. We feel sorry for our daughter but what to do?”
As we file this report, the Patan district collector Suprit Singh Gulati and police chief Akshay Raj Makwana have reached the spot. About 15 people have been detained. At around 11.30 pm, the process of filing an FIR was on.
Dilipkumar Thakor, BJP MLA representing this area told VoI, this is a horrific incident. Ï am shocked. There are over 1500 Vaadi community members. They have electricity, roads, and all other facilities that every citizen in Gujarat has. Never before have I ever heard of such a gruesome crime. We will take “very strict ”action against the culprits. We hope so, too.