Panchayat ‘pardons’ alleged rapist after making him touch survivor’s feet
BAREILLY (India), Feb 04 (INP): In a shocking decision, a local panchayat here pardoned an alleged rapist after making him touch the survivor’s feet. The entire incident happened in front of a police station.
The survivor, a 30-year-old widow, was working at a levelling project under the MNREGA at a forested area in Meergunj tehsil on January 28. In the afternoon, when her fellow workers left for lunch, she was alone at the work site when the accused, a rozgar sewak named Rohtash, 32, who was in charge of the workers arrived at the spot on a bike. Seeing her alone, he allegedly dragged her to an isolated spot and raped her, threatening to kill her if she reported the assault.
Later the survivor went to Meergunj police station to lodge a complaint. Some constables on duty allegedly refused to entertain her complaint and instead called up the village pradhan, who arrived at the spot with the accused. The Pradhan then called for a panchayat right outside the police station, where Rohtash was ordered to touch the woman’s feet. The panchayat then declared that the alleged rapist was pardoned and asked the survivor to keep mum about the crime.
The widow then brought the entire matter to the notice of Superintendent of Police (SP) rural areas Brijesh Srivastava, who reprimanded Meergunj police and directed them to lodge a complaint. “The matter was brought to my notice, and I have instructed the circle officer (CO) to investigate the matter. If the allegations are found to be true, strict action will be taken against the accused as well as the panchayat members,” Srivastava said, talking to Times of India.