NHRC takes serious view of ‘Nata Pratha’, issues notice to 4 states | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NHRC takes serious view of ‘Nata Pratha’, issues notice to 4 states

ByNaresh Chander
Jun 06, 2024 01:54 PM IST

The commission has requested the Union ministry of women and child development and the concerned states to present an action taken report within eight weeks.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to four states—Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. This notice follows a 2020 case in which a father sold his daughter for 2.5 lakhs and later filed a complaint with the commission upon discovering her dead body.

 (Representative Photo)
(Representative Photo)

The NHRC has expressed serious concern over the social practice of Nata Pratha, where girls are sold by their family members under the guise of marriage in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat. The commission has requested the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and the concerned states to present an action taken report within eight weeks.

The statement cites the 2020 case where a father alleged that his daughter was kidnapped in Rajasthan’s Salamgarh and found her dead body in Danpur, Banswara. The commission’s investigation revealed that the father had sold his daughter for 2.5 lakhs under Nata Pratha on July 11, 2019. However, the groom paid only 60,000 and failed to pay the remaining amount. The father then bought his daughter back and fixed her Nata to another man for 32,000.

The statement further mentions that the girl objected to her father and returned to her husband. She filed a complaint with the SP Banswara, alleging that her father, an alcoholic, had arranged her Nata against her will with multiple men to earn money and had also threatened to kill her.

The NHRC highlighted that the police failed to take any action, leading to the girl committing suicide on June 16, 2020, by consuming poison. The father filed a complaint to evade the police complaint filed by his daughter against him.

The commission’s investigation division recommended strict action against the father for selling his minor daughter and against the Danpur police personnel for failing to take timely action on the minor’s report, which might have prevented her suicide.

The NHRC also stated, “Nata Pratha is comparable to modern forms of prostitution. Nata Pratha must be prosecuted under laws relating to human trafficking and the relevant provisions of the POCSO Act for selling minor girls.”

There are arguments over researchers over the true nature of the Nata Pratha, in Rajasthan. Meenu Walter, Associate Professor at SPC Government College Ajmer, Rajasthan, noted in her research titled Nata Pratha: Women’s Selection or Women’s Exploitation, “Women’s consent is never taken or even considered in this custom. The ancient practice was initially for married or widowed men and women but has evolved to include single people as well. Women who go with another man are forced to abandon their children, who later face neglect, and physical and psychological abuse.”

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