Jailed for love
The High Court has observed that there is no bar in the law of the land to the marriage between a groom and a bride of higher and lower castes.
However, difference between the castes in society is a reality, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman said.
The bench came up with the observation on Thursday while hearing a bail appeal filed by one Tushar Das, a member of Harijan community (marginalised or low-caste Hindu) in Shariatpur. Tushar was convicted and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment by a lower court in a case filed on charge of kidnapping his wife Shusmita Debnath Aditi, member of a Brahman family.
There is an apprehension of making families isolated from society if they allow marriage between members of higher and lower classes. But, the law of the land is different, the court said.
Justice Rahim said it cannot be ignored that the caste issue persists in society. “It needs to be considered that if the father of a daughter accepts her marriage to a man from another caste, his family might be shunned by society.”
After hearing the bail petition, the HC bench granted bail to Tushar Das in the case and stayed the lower court order that also fined him Tk 20,000.
The HC bench also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain why the lower court judgement that sentenced Tushar to prison should not be scrapped.
Advocate Shishir Manir, a lawyer for Tushar, told The Daily Star yesterday that Tushar and Shusmita fell in love and got married at Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka on October 15, 2017. They have a three-month-old daughter.
Shusmita’s family did not accept the marriage. Her mother filed an abduction and rape case against Tushar and his parents with Shariatpur’s Palang Police Station on October 24 the same year.
On July 23, 2019, the Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Tribunal of Shariatpur completed cross-examining all seven prosecution witnesses, and delivered the judgement in the case in a very unusual manner, the lawyer said.
The tribunal the same day convicted Tushar and sent him to Shariatpur jail. Later, Tushar filed an appeal with the HC, seeking bail in the case.
During hearing the bail appeal, the HC said the Tribunal completed cross-examining all prosecution witnesses and delivered the judgement in a day. If the lower court judges finish trial proceedings in such a manner, no backlog of pending cases is supposed to take place, the HC bench said.
Advocate Manir said Tushar is yet to walk out of jail as the HC bail order did not reach the jail authorities yet.
Shusmita and her daughter are staying at a relative’s house, eagerly awaiting Tushar’s release, he added.