A man in a Bihar village was ordered by the local panchayat not only to marry off his daughter to a youth who had allegedly raped her but also to pay Rs 50,000 in cash and a motorcycle in dowry to the accused.
The diktat was issued by the panchayat in Katihar district of eastern Bihar a week ago but came to light when the 16-year-old girl and her father brought it to the notice of Katihar superintendent of police Asghar Imam on Thursday.
The girl’s family has been threatened with social boycott if they take the matter to the police.
“I won’t tell you the names of those who held the panchayat as they are very powerful,” the girl’s father told the SP. In fact, he had complained, the officials at Falka Police Station had refused to register a complaint.
“I want stringent action against the accused as well as the panchayat members who have ordered us to pay dowry to the family of the accused in consideration for marriage,” the victim told the SP.
Imam said he has directed the station house officer concerned to look into the matter.
“On the basis of the findings of the investigation, an FIR will be lodged and suitable action will be taken against the culprits,” the SP said.
The girl told the police the youth from her neighbourhood had raped her while she was collecting wood in a nearby field.
“I immediately came back and informed my father about the incident,” she said.
Subsequently, her father took the matter to his co-villagers, who held a panchayat a week ago and found the accused guilty of rape.
The panchayat decreed that the girl should get married to the accused but on the condition that her family paid a dowry.
“I was asked to pay cash and gift a motorcycle to the accused boy’s family. But I am very poor and can’t meet this demand,” he said.