New Delhi/Baghpat: Twenty-three-year-old Meenakshi Kumari lives under fear with her 15-year-old sister after a village council in Uttar Pradesh ordered the two “low-caste” sisters to be raped and paraded naked with their faces blackened as a punishment for their brother’s actions, who eloped with a married woman of higher caste.
A village council (locally known as Khap Panchayat) in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, dominated by upper caste ‘Jat’ men, on July 30 passed the diktat against the ‘Dalit’ sisters. Currently taking refuge in New Delhi, Meenakshi said her family fled their village following constant threats from the Jats.
“I can’t sleep, I’m very scared,” Meenakshi told Daily Mail from Delhi, 30 miles from their village in Baghpat, in Uttar Pradesh. “How will we ever return home or to our village? If we ever return they will harm us or rape us. If not today then in the future.”
Meenaskhi said that she and her family were already in Delhi when a neighbour called them to tell them it’s not safe to return to their village.
25-year-old Ravi and Krishna met two years ago, and had eloped twice before but had returned and each time, she was beaten up badly by her family. She was married off by her parents to a groom in Haryana, who ill-treated her, forcing her to return to her village. The couple got in contact again and eventually eloped.
Meenakshi came to New Delhi on May 24 with her family and filed a petition in the Supreme Court to grant them safety. Taking cognizance of the case, Supreme Court has asked the UP government to present its report on September 14, when the case is due for hearing.
Members of British Parliament have also appealed to their government to discuss the matter with Indian authorities to prevent public humiliation of two girls.