A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice J. Chelameswar has reportedly sought response from the Uttar Pradesh Government on a plea against a Khap Panchayat diktat for rape of two Dalit women. The Panchayat had ordered the two sisters to be raped and paraded naked after blackening their faces as retaliation to her brother eloping with a married girl from the upper-caste Jat community.
The girls, from Baghpat District of Uttar Pradesh informed the Court that instead of offering protection, the State Police has been harassing their family members. The Petition reportedly said, “She and her family cannot return back to her village and have been rendered homeless. She has been condemned by the Khap Panchayat to be raped and paraded naked because her brother Ravi fell in love and eloped with her friend Krishna who belongs to the dominant caste of Jat”. She has hence sought a CBI probe in the incident.
The petitioner’s brother and the woman from the Jat Community were in love for three years. The girl was however married off to a Jat boy against her will. A month after the marriage, the girl eloped with the petitioner’s brother. With continued pressure from the girl’s family and the UP police, they had to return.
After their return, the petitioner’s brother was implicated in a false narcotics case and subsequently arrested. He was later granted bail by a local Court. Her family members were also abducted and tortured by the Police. Her house was looted by the Jats and the family had to flee.
Humans Rights Organization, Amnesty International had also started a petition to save the sisters from being raped and publicly humiliated. Until August 28, the petition had garnered over 16,000 signatures thus far, and called for law enforcement to stop the council-sanctioned rape.
“Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment,” the Amnesty petition reads. “It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately.”