According to various media reports and Amnesty International, an all-male village council in India sentenced two sisters, including a 15 year old girl, to be raped as punishment for their brother running away with a married woman from a higher caste. The accounts state that Meenakshi Kumari, who is 23, and her younger sister, will then be paraded naked with their faces blackened through the streets as part of this disgraceful, primitive sentence.
The family are “untouchables” or members of the lowest Dalit caste. The brother ran away with a woman from the Jat caste after she was forced into an arranged marriage. They eloped but reportedly returned after the good people of the village tortured the untouchable family. in India – one aged only 15-years – are to be raped as “punishment” for their brother running away with a married woman from a higher caste in the latest caste to shock the country. The sentence was declared morally correct as an “eye for an eye” punishment.
The problem is that these “courts” are allowed to operate outside of the legal system in their imposition a mix of religious and cultural traditions. Because the Jats are politically powerful, the government looks the other way. It presumably cannot do so now. Indeed, in any nation committed to the rule of law, the entire council would be arrested on the basis for the torture allegation as well as other culprits.
The case also shows the continuing desperate plight of women in this tradition oriented Hindu nation. India stands at the crossroads. It must either turn its back on such practices based on ignorance and prejudice or abandon its impressive strides as a leading modern nation.