NEW DELHI – A 14-year-old girl was raped on the order of a Panchayat or village council in retaliation for her brother’s attempt to rape another woman in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, a police official told Efe on Wednesday.
The incident began after a man was reported on Monday to the local council of the Gulgulia Dhora village for trying to rape a woman, police superintendent Virender Kumar said.
In an “act of justice,” the Panchayat ruled that the aggressor’s sister be raped by the aggrieved woman’s husband, Kumar said.
The police have arrested the brother of the raped girl, the assaulted woman’s husband and the head of the Panchayat.
Many villages in India continue having councils that impart justice, often violating the norms and processes of the Indian Judicial System and acting as parallel courts.
Their rulings are mostly based on tradition with no legal validity and include “honor crimes,” the prohibition of marriage between people of the same village or a sentence of exile.
In January, a woman was raped in eastern India by 10 members of a tribal council as a punishment for having relations with a man from another village.
Thirty-five percent more rapes were reported in India in 2013 as compared to the previous year, an increase triggered by the rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in December 2012 in New Delhi.
This gruesome act led to unprecedented protests and debates on the condition of women, and ever since, the Indian press has been regularly reporting sexual offenses against women.