A newly-married woman and her distant cousin-turned-lover, who were caught by villagers while allegedly trying to elope, were tied to pillars throughout Wednesday night in Sindrai Madho village of Chhindwara district.
On Thursday morning, the 25-year-old woman and the 22-year-old man were taken before the tribal panchayat and their faces were blackened. They were then garlanded with shoes and stones and paraded through the village amid tribal music for around two hours in the afternoon.
The woman had married another man in May.
“Someone from the village informed the Junnardeo police about the matter, after which a police team raided the village and found that the incident was true. The woman and her male companion were rescued by the police and taken to a safe place in another village,” Chhindwara superintendent of police GK Pathak told HT on Friday.
After investigations, 13 villagers were booked in the matter for outraging a woman’s modesty, criminal breach of peace and criminal intimidation under Sections 354, 355, 147, 504, 506 and 149 of the IPC.
“Eight persons, including two women, have been arrested,” Pathak added.
A sub-divisional police officer and a sub-divisional magistrate were sent to the village on Friday to take stock of the situation.
Adequate police force has been deployed there to deal with any eventuality, the Chhindwara SP said.
Man’s mother and woman’s father,justify the action taken by panchayat
The mother of the man, Ramvati, who is also the elected deputy sarpanch of the village, justified the punishment meted out to her son and niece. “Public humiliation was necessary to prevent reoccurrence of any such unholy love bonding in the future,” she said.
The woman’s father, a school teacher, also justified the action taken by the panchayat and said it was essential to dither other youngsters in the village from doing something similar.