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Sisters to be raped as punishment for brother running away with married woman

They are aged just 15 and 23 years old.

File photo of Dalit women
File photo of Dalit women
Image: Amnesty International

TWO SISTERS IN India are to be raped as punishment for their brother eloping with a married woman.

Amnesty International has said that an unelected all-male village council ordered that the young women be “raped and paraded naked, their faces blackened”, as punishment for the actions of their brother.

The sisters (aged 15 and 23 years) and their family fled their village in May for fear of reprisals for their brother’s actions. Shortly afterwards, their house was ransacked.

The married woman is from a dominant social class or caste.

Sumit Kumar, another brother of the women, says that members of the Jat caste are powerful, noting: “The Jat decision is final.”

His family, members of the low Dalit caste, fear for their lives if they return to the village.

Protection

The 23-year-old sister, Meenakshi, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking for protection. Her father has lodged a complaint with two national bodies saying that his family has been harassed not just by the family of the eloped woman, but also by the police.

They are also worried about the safety of the Jat woman, who is now thought to be pregnant with Meenakshi’s brother’s child.

Amnesty said unelected village councils are widespread in parts of India.

More often than not they are made up of older men from dominant castes, who prescribe rules for social behaviour and interaction in villages.

“The supreme court of India has described them as ‘kangaroo courts’ and branded their decrees illegal, yet in some states they continue to operate – and their punishments are carried out.”

A petition set up by the human rights organisation is calling for authorities to intervene immediately. At the time of publication, more than 42,500 people had signed it.

Read: Prep school student not guilty of rape, but must register as sex offender

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Órla Ryan

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