Panchayat orders swapping of wives

Infamous for their bizarre and insensitive diktats, a panchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district, about 400 kilometres from here, reportedly ordered exchange of wives after one of them allegedly eloped with the husband of the other.

According to the reports, the panchayat directed payment of Rs 10,000 to the woman, whose husband had eloped with wife of another person. The incident took place in the Babugarh area of the district on Tuesday.

Reports said that a woman, who had been married to a youth of the village a few years back, had eloped a few days back with her married lover after a brief affair with him. The lover was also a resident of the same village. The woman had a five-year-old son also.

The husband of the woman approached the police to trace his wife but the cops did not take any interest in the matter. 

The desperate husband then approached the elders of the village and asked them to settle the matter.

A panchayat was convened to deliberate on the matter and it was decided that the youth would get to keep the other woman (the wife of the lover). 

“She will live as his wife...the youth will also get Rs 10,000 as compensation,” the panchayat directed.

The youth, however, was not happy with the decision as his wife had also taken their five-year-old son with her. “What about my son,” he asked.

The local police said that they had no information about the panchayat and added that they would look into the reports.

It is not the first time that a panchayat has delivered such a diktat. In the past also the panchayats in the state had issued bizarre orders in cases involving women. They even let off rape accused simply by levying fine on them or even ordering them to do penance and in some case by paying money to the victims’ families.

Barely a few days back a panchayat had settled an alleged rape case by ordering that the accused be slapped five times.

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