A caste council, or panchayat, in India ordered that a child rape victim be married to the rapist's child son. (Image Source: Flickr: Joe Athialy)
A disturbing development just occurred in India, a country rife with the problem of rape in recent months. In the northwestern state of Rajasthan, a child, raped by a middle-aged man, was ordered by her caste to marry the rapist's child son. This event occurred even as the child was raped again by the same person during negotiations. Now police have arrested the rapist and are investigating the victim's caste.
The incident occurred in the village of Keshavpura, located in the southeastern part of Rajasthan, India. The child, a 6-year-old girl, was raped about two weeks ago by a 40-year-old man only known as Kailash. After the incident was reported to the local caste, the elders refused to involve the police. Instead, they called a council, known as a panchayat, to discuss the matter and iron out a resolution.
However, rather than punishing Kailash, the panchayat ordered the parents of the rape victim to marry the rapist's 8-year-old son, possibly because the rape victim's purity had been destroyed by the rapist and her standing only maintained by marrying into the family. The parents, as well as the rapist, objected to the caste's order. The parents did not want to be traumatized further by being forced to have this rapist into their life, and would likely have to pay a dowry, or fee to the groom. As the parents and Kailash tried to negotiate with the caste on the matter, the rapist raped the girl again on Wednesday.
After hearing about the second rape, social activists in Rajasthan brought the girl and her parents from Keshavpura to the local police station in nearby Mahaveer Nagar. Filing a police complaint, Kailash was arrested on the charge of rape. In addition, the caste elders and members of the panchayat are now facing investigation for failing to report this incident with the police.
This child rape incident comes as the nation is reeling from repeated cases of rape and gang rape against women throughout the country. Just today, four men accused of raping a young journalist in Mumbai in August were sentenced to jail.