After Dimple Mishra, a 27 year old from Mumbai, abandoned by her husband, turned to Facebook for support, a panchayat in Bhadohi ordered her husband’s family to accept her as their daughter-in-law or face a boycott.
Dimple, a native of Chaubepur in Varanasi who had been working in Thane with a telecom company, married Vipin Mishra after she met him in the city in 2009. The marriage was formalised without the consent of Vipin's family.
During that time Vipin, who also hailed from Varanasi’s neighbouring district, Bhadohi, was working at a photo studio in Thane.
But when Vipin's family came to know of the marriage, it started to pressurise him to return. For some time Vipin resisted, but in April 2011, a few days before a daughter was born to the couple, he returned to Bhadohi and re-married another girl as per his family’s wishes.
After appeals to her in-laws and letters to the district administration did not help, Dimple turned to Facebook this September to build support for her cause.
“Whoever I turned to for help, wanted something in return. The police paid no attention to my complaint. So I thought of turning to Facebook and befriending journalists and bloggers to help me and my daughter,” says Dimple.
She says that her in-laws had once come to Thane, physically assaulted her and demanded Rs 10 lakhs. Her husband had discussed with her the possibility of getting re-married to please his parents but to continue living with her. The stress of the situation killed Dimple’s father Balwant Mishra in April 2011.
“My in-laws said that our marriage was not in accordance with local customs. For it to be accepted, we would have to give them dowry and host a feast. Vipin left in April on the pretext of seeing his ailing
grandfather and married a girl from Allahabad in return for a huge dowry. He met me a few times after our daughter was born but then told me he could no longer be responsible for us. My in-laws began to
threaten me saying that I had brought shame to them,” she says.
On Saturday, Dimple reached Varanasi with her daughter and was received by a crowd of supporters, among them social activists—many of whom had first heard of her plight on Facebook. The local
administration provided her security as she reached the locked home of her in laws home in Bhadohi.
On Sunday, a panchayat was called to discuss the matter. Dimple presented photographs as proof of the marriage and of the couple’s life together. In the absence of representation from Vipin’s family the panchayat ordered that Dimple be accepted as his wife within a week, failing which the family would be socially boycotted.
“I had written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and to the National Commission for Women. But it is the support from Facebook which gave me the courage to come to Bhadohi. The panchayat has spoken, now it is for Vipin’s family to respond. This is a fight for my daughter’s rights. I need to have answers to the questions she will ask me when she grows up,” says Dimple.