WATCH | Bihar panchayat punishes couple for marrying after falling in love, forces them to lick spit, fines their families
In a shocking display of medieval approach to man-woman relations, a young couple in Bihar’s Supaul district was publicly insulted and punished by the panchayat for falling in love with each other.
PATNA: In a shocking display of medieval approach to man-woman relations, a young couple in Bihar’s Supaul district was publicly insulted and punished by the panchayat for falling in love with each other and marrying.
Ranjeet Kumar, 22, and Julie Kumari, 19, were forced to do sit-ups holding their ears and also lick their own spit from the open ground at a meeting of the village panchayat. The duo was summoned before the fuming panchayat members who, after a brief hearing, declared their act as one “against Indian culture and very corrupting”. The panchayat also imposed a fine of Rs 11,000 each on Ranjeet and Julie’s families.
The incident, which occurred in Barhara panchayat under Marauna police station on March 1, came to light when a video clip purportedly showing the couple undergoing the punitive orders went viral on the social media on Tuesday. Julie is seen in a red bridal sari and bending down in front of an all-male panchayat to lick the spit from the ground.
Ranjeet and Julie, both residents of Barhara, had married at a temple on February 16 despite protests from their families. The couple then got the marriage registered officially before a magistrate on February 26.
“We had left home together in order to get married because our families were dead against this marriage. When we returned as husband and wife, our families no longer resisted, but the village panchayat penalised us all,” said Ranjeet.
The couple’s families are yet to lodge a complaint with police about the panchayat’s act, said an official at Marauna police station. Supaul SP Mritynjay Kumar Chaudhary said he had asked the DSP of Nirmali, Santosh Kumar, to probe the incident and take suitable legal action.
“Diktats such as those issued by the panchayat are not allowed in a civilised society. I have sought a report on the matter from the SP and asked him to get an FIR registered against all those involved in it,” said Bihar ADGP (headquarters) SK Singhal.
State parliamentary affairs minister Shravan Kumar said: “An adult person is free to choose who to marry. The law provides protection to married couples facing threats for their decision. If necessary, this couple will be given protection”.