Woman ostracized from village for changing Church

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Staff Reporter
Shillong, Nov 21: 26 – year old Testaiphul Paliar from a remote Domshohksoin village in West Khasi Hills (WKH) district was ostracized by a village Dorbar for allegedly disassociating herself from a Church and instead choosing to join another Church. This also indirectly led to her arrest on trumped up charges till she was released recently.
Testaiphul Paliar, a single-mother of two, was ostracized way back in July 4, 2011, for  allegedly violating the rules of the Dorbar Shnong as she had left her Church and associated with another one (Church). She told reporters on Thursday that the village authority is against anybody who leaves a particular Church to join another.

It is learnt that decision to ostracize Paliar was taken in a meeting held on July 2, 2011, by the Dorbar Shnong and a notice was given to her of the decision two days later.
The notice, however, failed to specifically mention the reason(s) for ostracizing her but simply stated – “We have decided to ostracize you (Paliar) because you have violated the rules of the Dorbar Shnong and that you are not fit to stay anymore in the jurisdiction of the village. You are asked to leave the village at once.”
The Dorbar Shnong also warned action against anyone who sympathized with Paliar.
After her being ostracized, Paliar had no option but to move to Nongstoin where she stayed in a rented house. But there too things turned from bad to worse as she was arrested by the Nongstoin police on September 30, 2013, after the Dorbar Shnong of neighbouring village – Mawthir – under the influence of Paliar’s own brother and cousin brother had allegedly leveled trumped up charges that she created trouble in the village.
Paliar, who is the youngest daughter of the family, also owns a plot of land in Mawthir village, which according to her, her brother and a cousin wanted to snatch away from her.
Paliar was kept in three days police custody and was booked under section 506 of the Indian Penalty Code (IPC) and landed up in the Shillong district jail.
A visit of the magistrate from Nongstoin to the jail resulted in Paliar securing bail on PR bond. She was released on November 15 last.
Paliar’s release came after CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing, who was also arrested and landed in the Shillong jail, intervened as she learnt that there was no hearing in Paliar’s case ever since she was lodged in the district jail.
Kharshiing helped Paliar during her short stay in the jail.
Further, Paliar also told journalists during the news conference on Thursday that it was on the advice of her mother she had gone to Mawthir village on September 28 to fetch her children f after they had attended a cousin’s wedding.
She alleged that on reaching Mawthir her cousin brother and the village secretary stopped and disallowed her from taking back her own children. They instead brought the functionaries of the village Dorbar and accused her of creating trouble in their village.
Paliar also alleged that the Mawthir village Dorbar threatened that they would just kill and bury her body somewhere else, that she was an outsider and should be arrested by police. She said as her mother feared for her life she intervened and requested the Dorbar Shnong to hand her daughter over to the police.
Paliar said, “Police then came and took me away. Since then I don’t know the whereabouts of my kids and my mother till today.” She alleged her arrest is a ploy of her own brother and her cousin to grab her plot of land in Mawthir.
Paliar also informed, “When I was released, a police officer from Nongstoin had advised me not to go back to the village, as my house had been burnt down.”
Meanwhile, two social activists said that they would immediately take up the matter with the authorities concerned in relation to the injustice committed against Paliar.
“We would lodge a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for the uncalled ostracization against the woman,” Kharshiing and RTI activist Angela Rangad said.
Both the women activists said the action taken by the Dorbar Shnong of Domshohksoin is totally a violation of human rights and that too for shifting to another Church, which they said is solely a personal choice and freedom of an individual.
Terming the detention of Paliar as illegal, both the women activists said, “We are putting up a fresh complaint to the Director General of Police (DGP) of the state against the negligence of duty by police that led to illegal detention of Paliar for one and a half months in jail without extending any hearing to her.”
Kharshiing and Rangad said that they would demand action against the police who arrested her (Paliar) in the absence of female police personnel even as both of them informed that such detention also tantamount to false separation of Paliar from her kids while questioning who will compensate for the trauma that Paliar and her kids had to undergo.



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