RAIPUR: Slap twice across the face was the punishment meted out by the panchayat to a youth who happens to be a close relative of a local legislator and charged with molestation of a college girl at Jashpur district, about 320 km north-east of Raipur.
The girl with her parents narrated the ordeal at a local police station but the police "didn't register an FIR".
Nitesh Bhagat, who is a brother of the wife of Jashpur MLA Vinay Bhagat, offered a lift in his four-wheeler to the girl who was returning home after appearing in her examination.
He forcibly took her to a lonely place where he tried to assault the girl to outrage her modesty. The girl managed to escape his rape attempt and reported the incident to her relatives.
As the incident of molestation spread like wildfire, the senior citizens of the village called a panchayat meeting and passed a decree to punish the youth by slapping him twice.
Ironically, it was the wife of the MLA who carried out the "feeble punishment’" order of the panchayat by slapping the accused.
Jashpur district police chief S L Baghel said that he learnt about the incident only through social media. “I had sent a police team but no one, not even the relative of the girl, is willing to say anything. If anyone comes forward we will register the compliant", the SP told the Express, who confirmed that the cited accused is the brother-in-law of local Congress legislator.
According to a senior criminal lawyer Faisal Rizvi, the act of the youth apparently in an assault of criminal force to outrage her modesty. “Section 354 of IPC of molestation is punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years or fine or both. This Section comes under cognizable offence” Rizvi said.
The victim’s relatives are not willing to challenge the authority of the panchayat, a local media person stated.