An alleged "failure of divine intervention" landed a family in trouble after a village Panchayat "ostracised" it and imposed a hefty fine in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district.
According to reports, the Panchayat’s directive came after the family members’ allegation of theft of its cattle against a fellow a villager turned out to be false "according to the gods."
The bizarre incident occurred in Pokhrakala village in the district. Prem Bhargava, a resident of the village, had accused his neighbour of stealing his two cows. He had also lodged a complaint with the police at Sadarpur police station a few days ago.
The accused was directed by the Panchayat, which was convened to discuss the matter, to swear in the name of god at a local temple that he had not stolen the livestock.
The Panchayat said that accused would face "divine wrath" if he had indeed stolen the cows.
The Panchayat has convened again on Wednesday when nothing happened to the accused. The village body members then accused Prem of lying and called for his "social boycott."
Reports said that the Panchayat also directed Prem to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh and hold a community feast as punishment lest their social boycott should continue.
"I can not pay the fine even if I sell my entire land,’’ Prem said.
District officials said that they were trying to verify the report and promised stern action against the Panchayat members if it turned out to be true.
Panchayats in Uttar Pradesh had earlier too announced bizarre decisions.