Rajasthan woman fed excreta, killed: 5 held, no action against khap panchayat
In the FIR, police have not named any member of the Khap panchayat for allegedly letting off the accused after a minimal fine. The council also sent the two women accused in the case to Pushkar to “absolve” them of the crime with a holy bath.
Police arrested late Sunday five people on charges of killing a 40-year-old woman after feeding her excreta and burning her in Rajasthan’s Ajmer but took no action against a local khap panchayat who allegedly condoned the incident.
The five people arrested include two women and three men, all relatives of the dead women, Kanya Devi, who was allegedly branded a witch, assaulted paraded naked in front of the village with smoldering coal thrust in her hands on August 2.
She died a day later. Her 15-year-old son, the eyewitness to the incident, is yet to recover from the shock.
But here’s the catch: One of the accused, Mahaveer Regar, has told police that the assault was presided over by a spirit called ‘Bhairu Nath Ji.
“Bhairu Nath Ji entered the body of the girls who then told me to bring the excreta and dirty water. I did as they said as it was the spirit who commanded that. One of the girls pulled the hair of Devi while the other held her hand,” said Regar.
In a video that HT has a copy of, Regar and the other accused sit inside the police station, purportedly detailing the assault in chilling detail without any sign of repentance.
By the time the police finally lodged an FIR on Sunday, 11 days had passed after the incident with crucial evidence being lost after the body was cremated in a hurry by the family.
“Her hair as burning too and her hands were twisted behind,” Regar is seen saying in the video, quite nonchalantly, as he says he believed it was fair to do that to a woman, if the spirit of ‘Bhairu Nath Ji’ was giving the orders.
In the FIR, police have not named any member of the Khap panchayat – an unofficial caste-based village council – for allegedly letting off the accused after a minimal fine. The council also allegedly sent the two women accused in the case to Pushkar to “absolve” them of the crime with a holy bath.
Activists have also criticised police for not adding section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (outraging the modesty of a woman) in the FIR, despite her family complaining that she was stripped and paraded naked.
When HT contacted Asharam, the sarpanch of Kadera and asked him about the khap panchayat, he said, that the Regar community didn’t make public information about the incident for days.
“Every community has their Khap Panchayats and they autonomously pass decisions in most matters pertaining to the communities. How would we know about the incident if the community suppresses it?” said Asharam.
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