Pune: MANS Establishes Safe House In Satara For Inter-Caste And Inter-Religious Couples

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Pune, 15th February 2024: Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), founded by the late rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, has inaugurated a safe house in Satara District to provide refuge to inter-caste and inter-religious couples. The MANS initiative aims to shield couples facing societal and familial opposition due to their choice of a life partner outside their caste or religion.

Dr. Hamid Dabholkar, the President of MANS, stated that this safe house is the first of its kind, offering protection and security to inter-caste couples facing threats and animosity.

According to MANS, states like Punjab and Haryana have witnessed cases where inter-caste couples faced fatal consequences for defying societal norms. In response to such challenges, the Satara safe house has been modeled after similar government-run facilities in those states. Newlywed couples often face threats, violence, and societal ostracization during the initial years of their marriage, making safe shelters crucial for their protection. The current safe house, situated on land owned by MANS activist Shankar Kanse, is operated by Adhar Sanstha, a social organization.

In line with a Supreme Court directive in January, the Home Department has instructed the formation of committees in each district to provide protection to inter-caste and inter-religious married couples. The government has also mandated the establishment of safety shelter centers in every district. MANS sees this decision as a positive step that aligns with its mission to eradicate caste superstitions through the promotion of inter-caste marriages, a cause championed by Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.

MANS assured strong support and protection for couples involved in inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, emphasizing their commitment to Dr. Dabholkar’s vision. To further assist such couples, MANS has initiated an Aadhaar group to help them navigate the challenges they may encounter.

In its operation of the Inter Caste, Inter Religion Marriage Support Centre, MANS conducts comprehensive interviews with boys and girls seeking assistance. With the assistance of the police, the organization facilitates their marriage and provides a secure shelter if required. The safety shelter center operates free of charge, and MANS offers a toll-free helpline (9922355435) for those seeking help from the center.