Odisha: Girl elopes with lover; family performs her ‘last rites’

Bhubaneswar: Family members of an 18-year-old girl in Odisha’s Cuttack district reportedly declared her dead and performed her post-death rituals after she eloped with her lover recently.

Payal Mahapatra, daughter of Bishwajit Mahapatra, of Umar village under Bhadreshwar police limits in Cuttack, had eloped with her lover on November 1. The duo later tied the knot, villagers said.

According to the villagers, Payal had earlier eloped with her lover, who happens to be her tuition teacher, some years ago. Her family had lodged a missing complaint in this regard with police.

The police had rescued the girl and arrested her lover as she was a minor at the time of her elopement, villagers said.

However, Payal once again eloped with her lover a few days after she turned 18. She later informed her parents through a video message that she had tied the knot with her lover.

Opposing her marriage, Payal’s family declared her as dead and performed her post-death rituals in the presence of Brahmin priests and relatives, sources said.

They also organized a feast for the Brahmins and community members as part of the post-death ritual, sources added.

“I brought up my daughter with all care till she turned 18. But, she eloped with a person from the lower caste and married him without our consent. With a heavy heart, we declared her dead and performed her post-death rituals,” said Payal’s father Bishwajit Mahapatra.

However, Payal’s in-laws have supported her decision. “She is above 18 now. She has every right to take decision regarding her life partner. My son Akash has accepted her as his wife and we all are happy with his decision,” said Payal’s father-in-law Kashinath Behera.

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