By Christine Khamis

Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

NEW DELHI, India- 

A village council in Sankrot, India has ordered that two sisters be gang-raped and paraded naked through their town with their faces blackened. The order against the sisters is an “eye for an eye” punishment that requires them to be dishonored in order to avenge their brother’s alleged crime.

2013 Rape Protests in New Delhi (Photo Curtesy of the Telegraph)

The all-male village council ordered the punishment of 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister after their brother eloped with a married woman from India’s highest social caste, the Jat caste. Ms. Kumari’s family is part of the lowest social caste in India—the Dalit caste, historically known as the Untouchables.

Ms. Kumari’s father has filed a complaint with two national bodies, claiming that his family has been harassed by police and the Jat woman’s family. The family’s home was recently ransacked, with police doing nothing to prevent it. The sisters fled their home after it was ransacked and petitioned to the India Supreme Court for police protection of their family. It is not clear at this point whether police protection will be provided, nor whether the men who ordered the punishment will be arrested.

Amnesty International has run a petition calling for the protection of Ms. Kumari and her sister, which over 100,000 people have signed. Since the petition, extra police have been deployed in Sankrot to avoid any tension that may arise.

Additional Superintendent of Police Vidyasagar Misra states that police investigations revealed no evidence that a village council meeting took place or that there was an order against the sisters. Additionally, townspeople in Sankrot told a BBC reporter that the report of the village council’s sentence is false.

The unelected village councils, called Khap Panchyat, frequently operate outside of the Indian legal system. Due to their operating outside of the legal system, the Indian Supreme Court has labeled them “kangaroo courts”. Khap panchyat are widespread throughout India and are largely made up of men from dominant social classes. The councils often order honor killings and sexual punishments of women, which have been declared illegal by the Indian Supreme Court.

India has faced international criticism over its treatment of women. In late 2012, a 23-year-old female student was gang-raped and murdered, which led to mass street protests in New Delhi. There have been other instances of murders, burnings, and rapes in India since her death, despite the central government’s pledge to reform the Indian penal code.


For more information, please see:

BBC – Did India Village Council Really Order Rape of Two Sisters? – 1 September 2015

International Business Times – India: Village Elders Who Sentenced Sisters to Be Raped as Punishment Face Arrest – 30 August 2015

The Telegraph – Indian Sisters to Be Raped as ‘Punishment’ for Brother Eloping – 29 August 2015

The Independent – Indian Sisters Told They Will be Repeatedly Gang-Raped as Punishment for Their Brother’s Crime Launch Appeal at Supreme Court – 28 August 2015

Author: Impunity Watch Archive