Panchayat offers money to muzzle rape victim

Girls family asked not to report matter to police

When the entire nation was roaring in anger over the Delhi gang rape, a panchayat in Muzaffarnagar district, about 450 kilometres from here, was offering Rs 1.5 lakh to a teen rape victim to “buy her silence” and not approach police.

According to reports, the 15-year-old victim was kidnapped from her home and held captive for three days at Charthawal village in the district and raped repeatedly by her neighbor.

The victim somehow managed to flee from his clutches and reached home on Wednesday, and narrated the incident. The matter was brought to the notice of the caste panchayat, which deliberated on it for more than a day.

“After several rounds of discussions, the panchayat decided that the culprit should pay her Rs 1.5 lakh,” said Aslam, who had taken part in the meeting. The girl’s family was asked not to approach police.

Compensation rejected

The girl’s family, however, rejected the compensation and instead demanded justice for her. They later approached police, who  arrested the alleged culprit.

“A case was immediately registered and culprit Tasavvur was arrested. We are also looking into the reports of the panchayat offering money to the victim to keep mum,” said investigating officer inspector Charan Singh.

Caste panchayats have emerged as the biggest enemies of girls in the state. In the past, the panchayats have denied justice to the rape victims and sided with the culprits. Earlier also rape victims were offered financial compensations to remain silent.

A few months ago, a panchayat of several communities convened in neighbouring Baghpat district had banned love marriages and warned of stern punishment if its orders were violated. “Love marriages will not be accepted.

Such couples will be thrown out of the villages,” the panchayat, attended by members of as many as 36 communities had declared.

Panchayats in Uttar Pradesh are infamous for their insensitive and at times bizarre diktats. In the past they have  also pronounced death penalty for lovers.

Comments (+)