JAIPUR: A young couple was allegedly stripped and made to bathe naked in front of hundreds of people for their alleged affair in Rajasthan's Sikar district.
The local Panch-Patels of the Sansi tribe who form a virtual Khap Panchayat reportedly inflicted this inhuman punishment in order to ‘purify’ the couple and also imposed on them a fine of Rs 53,000.
The incident reportedly happened on August 21 when hundreds gathered to see the couple being stripped and bathed to ‘atone for the sin of illicit relation’. But such is the fear of the village caste council that nobody spoke out against the punishment. Eventually, the matter came to light on Tuesday when some members of the Sansi Development Council submitted a memorandum to the Sikar district police administration.
The couple belongs to Sikar’s Sola village and is allegedly related to each other as aunt and nephew. A few weeks ago, an objectionable video of the couple was made secretly and had gone viral. On August 21, members of the village caste council not only made the couple bathe publicly but also imposed a fine of Rs.31,000 on the man’s family and Rs 22,000 on the woman’s side. Once the fines were deposited, the couple and their families were accepted back into the social fold and the money was allegedly distributed among the Khap members.
On the basis of the complaint lodged by the Sansi Development Council, the Sikar Police have now registered a case against nine people. According to the Addl SP of Sikar Devendra Sharma, “It was with the consent of their families that the young couple were bathed. We have questioned the woman’s in-laws and even the victim herself. The CO of the SC-ST Cell and CO of Laxmangarh have been sent to the village for investigation.”
According to the General Secretary of the All Rajasthan Sansi Development Council, Rakesh Kumar, “This social evil has been continuing in the Sansi tribe for centuries. If the families of the couple had not agreed to bathe them publically, they would have been made social outcasts. Their families would not have been called to any social functions and if somebody had dared to invite them, that family too would have been made outcasts.”
Functionaries of the Sansi Development Council say that the Panch-Patels of their community keep exploiting situations in their community to punish the poor and illiterate people of their tribe and impose heavy fines and penalties which they later divide among themselves. They claim that though complaints against these Khap members have been made even earlier to the Rajasthan Women’s Commission, they continue to function arbitrarily and often terrorise people belonging to the backward Sansi tribe.