A case of deception and fraud on a tribal widow, Chandramani Behera (30) by a pastor in Talapokhri village of Mayurbhanj has come to light recently. Dr Poornima Advani, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women told Organiser that the victim is a member of a tribal family of seven and that a pastor took advantage of the poverty of the tribal girl, by forcing her to convert to Christianity and also outraging her modesty.
?The victim'sconsent cannot be accepted as it was out of fear,? remarked Dr Advani, adding that the pastor had an illicit relationship with the girl for six to seven months. She further informed that when the girl was six months pregnant, the pastor took her to get the abortion conducted.
The total earning of the family ranges between Rs 30 to Rs 40 per day. Consequently, they have never known the ?right to health? and often the family has to go without food. Taking advantage of their abject poverty, the tribal people are often duped into conversion. The elder brother of the victim, Shri Bhaskar Behera has said that Rajendra Mohapatra, a pastor of the locality, used to visit their village and their home for the last three or four years to sell medicines although he has no medical qualifications. He was allegedly persuading people to take to Christianity. The villagers were allured with financial assistance provided and they embraced the Christian faith. Shri Behera further said that the pastor pressed him along with his family to accept Christianity for which a sum of Rs 50,000 was promised.
Shri Behera accused Mohapatra of outraging the modesty of his sister Chandramani, particularly as she was a young helpless widow. Mohapatra even took her to an inexperienced quack, who used the most unscientific method for abortion, thus ruining the health of Chandramani for ever.
?A chargesheet should be immediately filed in such cases, but in this incident it was not done for eight days,? she said, adding that the Chief Minister has agreed to meet the cost of treatment of the girl from his relief fund and has also ordered a police enquiry. These are small measures; what the victim needs is rehabilitation and protection to lead a better life in future.