In a bizarre decision, the family members of a rape victim were told not to register a police complaint against the accused and settle the matter by slapping him instead by a village panchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnore district.
A 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped in Chandak village on Monday. The rapist, who belongs to the same village, then threatened the girl of dire consequences if she informed her parents about the incident.
On Wednesday, when the accused tried to molest the girl again, she told her parents about her ordeal. The parents went to the Mandwar police station to lodge a First Information Report (FIR).
The family of the accused and the members of the panchayat also reached the police station and forced the police not to register the case.
The police then asked the girl's parents to leave and settle the matter in the panchayat.
A meeting of the panchayat was convened in the village on Thursday. The panchayat then passed a resolution that the girl shall not lodge a complaint but slap the accused five times instead.
Sharvesh Singh, a villager, said the panchayat and the family of the accused threatened the girl’s family that they will be socially ostracised if they lodged a police complaint.
The father of the victim, who is a landless labourer, was forced to accept the order of the panchayat.
The family members of the accused are influential and the police too did not initiate any action due to the influence of the local political leaders, according to Sharvesh.
Station House Officer (SHO) of Mandwar police station, Ompal Singh, said, “I have not received any complaint from the victim or her family members. No action had been initiated against the accused or the panchayat members”.
Additional superintendent of police (rural) Bijnore, Radhey Shyam, told Hindustan Times he has sought a report from the SHO asking him to explain why the complaint of the victim was not registered and why no action was taken against the panchayat members for the draconian diktat.
“A police team has been sent to Chandak village to register the statement of the victim. Once we receive complaint, the police would register FIR against the accused," he said.