A teenager in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand was burned alive after her parents reached out to local village council and told them about her rape.
The 16-year-old girl was reportedly gang raped in a nearby forest in the village of Raja Kendua after being kidnapped while her family was attending a wedding. After discovering that their girl had been raped, the parents approached the village elders seeking justice.
According to Ashok Ram, the officer in charge of the Itkhori police station, the accused rapists were told by the council to pay approximately $750 and do 100 sit-ups as a punishment.
The men were outraged at the council’s decision and with the help of a group of friends they allegedly set the victim’s house on fire after brutally beating up her parents.
The girl died in the blaze.
“The two accused thrashed the parents and rushed to the house where they set the girl ablaze with the help of their accomplices,” said Ram.
Police added they have made 14-18 arrests in connection to the incident. However, one of the accused men is still on the run.
Village councils, known as kangaroo courts by critics, may be illegal but they are an integral part of rural areas in India. These councils decide issues like land disputes and sexual harassment arising among the members of their community — and mostly their word is the law.
The recent incident comes as the country rages over the gang rape and murder of Asifa Bano, an 8-year-old in Indian-occupied Kashmir, who was repeatedly raped by at least three men in a Hindu temple after they slipped her sleeping pills, according to the authorities.
Days later, Asifa’s bloodied body was found in a forest.
In India, rape has become a menace and such horrific incidents keep coming forward way too frequently. However, many of these unbelievable cases also go unheard as they are never reported because of the stigma associated with sexual assault.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Abhishek N. Chinnappa