Shaken by the decision of a khap panchayat (self-styled community council), five persons, including two children killed themselves by jumping before a speeding train in Karauli district (150 km from Jaipur) on Wednesday night.
The khap panchayat had ordered Gajendra, 40, to pay his lady friend Kunwar Bai, 35, a ‘fine’ of Rs 50,000 and to return her jewellery worth Rs 10,000.
The panchayat gave its “verdict” after Kunwar Bai’s mother complained that agricultural labourer Gajendra had an illicit relationship with her daughter and was exploiting her financially, a police officer told HT.
Unable to mobilise this kind of money, Gajendra, his wife and two children aged 8 and 9 decided to jump before a speeding train. Kunwar Bai joined the family in its suicide pact, the police said.
Gajendra’s brother Bhupendra said in a complaint to the police that the khap panchayat’s verdict had a lethal effect as Gajendra went into a depression as he was in no position to fork out the money. So the family and friend decided to kill themselves rather than face social humiliation.
“We found a suicide note, which said the panchayat’s harsh verdict was responsible for their death,” said Karauli Additional Superintendent of Police Manam Singh Yadav.
The police have registered a first information report (FIR) against four khap panchayat members, accusing them of abetting the multiple suicides. They are likely to be arrested after preliminary investigations, Yadav said.