Repeatedly slapping a love-struck couple with shoes for their 'illegitimate' love affair, an Uttar Pradesh village council forced them to tie a rakhi and become siblings, police said on Thursday.
The incident occurred late Wednesday in Kukra village in Bijnor district, about 350 km from Lucknow.
Pintoo Sharma, 30, and his 28-year-old lover were brought before a village panchayat when they were found sitting together in a garden Wednesday evening, locals said.
"Initially, the duo were asked to slap each other; when they refused some members of the panchayat and villagers started beating them with shoes on their faces," Hardhar Kumar, a local, told reporters.
"Later, Sharma was forced to touch the woman's feet as a sign of acknowledging her as his elder sister, while the woman was made to tie a rakhi on his hand. As a part of their punishment, the panchayat also ordered them to move to different villages," he added.
Police have initiated an enquiry into the matter, but no arrest has been made as yet.
"At any cost, we will not allow the panchayat to behave in an autocratic way. Stern action will be taken against those behind the incident," police inspector SK Saxena told IANS.