LUCKNOW: It could well be called Gorakhpur's Affair of the Sheep.
After learning that a man was living with the wife of another, the village panchayat ordered the lover to give away 71 sheep to the estranged husband. The order said this was to punish the man for eloping with the married woman.
The woman, her lover and her husband were all quick to accept the decision of the panchayat. But there was to be a twist.
Enter the father of the lover, Ram Naresh. He demanded his sheep back and even approached the cops for help.
The case dates back to July 22. It was in Pipraich, a small town in Gorakhpur district, that the young woman eloped with her lover.
Her husband went to the police but even their intervention proved futile. The woman refused to return and insisted on living with her lover.
Recently, the lover and the husband came face to face while grazing their cattle and soon a brawl broke out. Following this, a panchayat meeting was called where the lover was asked to make a choice between his herd of sheep and the woman. The man opted for the woman.
At this, he was directed by the panchayat to give 71 of the 142 sheep his family owned to the husband of the woman he was living with. This led to the sequence of events that culminated in the lover's father demanding his sheep back as we had reported earlier.
With the woman continuing to refuse to return to her husband and reiterating her decision to live with her lover instead, the matter now rests with the police.
The father of the lover has, meanwhile, accused the panchayat of going against the law by allowing a woman to live with another man without her having obtained a divorce.
The five wise men of the panchayat have now gone underground fearing police action.
The young lover, who gave away 71 sheep to the husband of the woman he is living with, seems to be made of sterner material. He is busy insisting that the sheep are his under his right to inheritance and his father has no right to demand them back. He believes his father will soon come around and accept his relationship with the woman.
According to SHO, Khorabar, Ambika Bhardwaj, the police authorities are making all efforts to resolve the matter by speaking to the parties involved.
SSP Gorakhpur Dr Sunil Gupta, for his part, thinks it is imperative to find out who owned the sheep. If they were owned by Ram Naresh, then the woman’s husband will be asked to return the animals to him.