Complaint: A 36-year-old man from Jigmecholing in Sarpang has lodged a complaint with the Gelephu police, alleging that his in-laws conducted funeral rites for his wife, not because she is dead, but because she married him.

He said that he has been legally married to his wife for the last four years and that they have two children.

The man, in his complaint letter, alleged that his in-laws conducted the ritual since he is from a lower caste. “This is violating human rights,” he stated. “We have the right to marry the person we love.”

Kuensel talked to the in-laws, who claimed that the ritual was conducted in accordance to the prevailing system in the community. “There is an age-old tradition to conduct rituals if someone from our family marries a person belonging to a lower caste.”

The brother-in-law of the complainant, however, said that they did not conduct funeral rites but a ritual of handing over their sister to the caste of the man she married.

He also said that they are compelled to conduct the ritual because if they don’t, their relatives, neighbours and others in the community would not come to their house during festivals, marriage ceremonies or during times of death.

“It doesn’t mean that my sister and her husband are not allowed to come to our house. They are allowed,” he said. “There is no grieving because it is not a new system we introduced in our community.”

It was learnt that there are other problems associated to caste in the locality.

A source said that caste system plays a factor especially when it comes to marriage, as placing in the system determines what if a marriages can take place.

Yeshey Dema | Tsirang