“After we went to the Supreme Court, the villagers are even more aggressive.”
Over 181,000 people have signed a petition to overrule an Indian village council’s order to rape two sisters to punish their brother.
Amnesty International has organised an online petition to demand justice for Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister.
Their brother, 22, has run away with a 21-year-old married woman from a dominant caste.
Amnesty International states ‘an unelected all-male village council ordered [the sisters] be raped and paraded naked, their faces blackened, as punishment for the actions of their brother’.
This ruling was given on July 30, 2015, but the family (of Dalit caste) had fled the village in Baghpat in May 2015 in anticipation of the impact of their brother’s action.
In early August 2015, Meenakshi filed a petition before India’s Supreme Court, pleading for legal protection so they could return home safely.
Their father also reached out to the National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Scheduled Castes for help.
Not only had they been harassed by the police and the Jat woman’s family, they were also concerned she might be pregnant.
As a result, the Court told the Uttar Pradesh authorities on August 18 to response to the petition by September 15.
But according to another brother of the family, involving the Supreme Court has only escalated things.
He says: “After we went to the Supreme Court, the villagers are even more aggressive.
“In the panchayat, the Jat decision is final. They don’t listen to us. The police don’t listen to us. The police said anyone can be murdered now.”
The runaway lovers are believed to be romantically involved for three years. However, the woman married a young Jat man in February 2015 to fulfil her parents’ wishes.
It is hoped that Amnesty International’s petition will apply pressure to urge the village council to withdraw the order to rape the sisters.